No, Kobili Traoré cannot be judged.
The man who killed his 65-year-old Jewish neighbor Sarah Halimi in 2017 was in the midst of a "delusional puff", probably linked to heavy regular cannabis use, and cannot therefore be tried,
ruled on Wednesday the Court of Cassation.
Why Experts Believe Sarah Halimi's Alleged Killer is Irresponsible
On April 4, 2017, Kobili Traoré, a 27-year-old Muslim, broke into his Jewish neighbor's home.
He had beaten her up to cries of "Allah Akbar" while reciting verses from the Koran, before throwing her over the balcony of their HLM in Belleville, in the east of Paris.
The case had revived a lively controversy over the anti-Semitism that would permeate certain working-class neighborhoods, causing even President Emmanuel Macron and the head of the Israeli government to react.
Four years of vagueness on the Traoré case
But two and a half years later, the prospect of a trial was fading.
On December 19, 2019, the Court of Appeal concluded, on the basis of three medical expertises, that the young man was “criminally irresponsible” because of a mental disorder at the time of the facts.
This decision, the subject of the civil parties' cassation appeal, had been strongly criticized by politicians from all sides, including the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.
Other personalities, in particular from the Jewish community, were moved by it.
I do not forget #SarahHalimi whose memory never leaves me like all the deaths linked to anti-Semitic fanaticism.
And like many, I hope that justice will be done to him.
- Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) January 5, 2020
"If the consumption is excessive and leads to the abolition of discernment, the author has voluntarily put himself in this situation", had put forward before the Court of Cassation Master Julie Buk Lament, stressing that Kobili Traoré consumed about fifteen joints per day since the age of 16.
In defense, Master Patrice Spinosi had hammered that his client was unaware of the risk.
Kobili Traoré hospitalized automatically
While acknowledging a "legal vacuum" and a "complex" issue, Advocate General Sandrine Zientara had invited the Court to remain faithful to its past decisions, which leave the assessment of criminal irresponsibility to the judges on the merits.
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During the investigation, seven psychiatric experts all concluded that the young man had a "delusional flush", probably caused or aggravated by his heavy use of cannabis.
One of them, Doctor Daniel Zagury, however, stood out on the legal consequences, suggesting to retain "the impairment of discernment" in view of "chronic voluntary intoxication".
The court of appeal had not followed it up and found it to be irresponsible, while retaining the anti-Semitic dimension of the crime.
Now hospitalized automatically, Kobili Traoré is subject to about twenty security measures, including the ban from coming into contact with the relatives of the victim and from returning to the scene.