November 13: a poignant book plunges us into the heart of the trial of the attacks

Louise Bernard and Solene Delinger
modified to

11:51 a.m., September 08, 2022

Folder V13 offers a fascinating and poignant dive into the months of trial of the attacks of November 13. An extraordinary trial, as we have often said, that Azzeddine Ahmed-Chaouch followed for the show Daily by Yann Barthes. Valentin Pasquier, meanwhile, is a journalist cartoonist for several media. They had not decided before the opening of the trial to make a book of it. It was in the face of the historical moment that they were aware of living, that they realized that there had to be a more substantial trace left.

“A simple description would never have replaced a visualization”

They then created together this book which is distinguished by its form. Already it is a large format, the size of the A4 page. And then, it’s a graphic story: texts and photos rub shoulders. With a particularity: the drawings are not there only to illustrate the text, they also provide information, in addition to the story. Azzeddine Ahmed-Chaouch explained to the microphone of Europe 1 this desire to give a big place to the drawing.

“Obviously, when we tell something that we have seen, we would like people to be in the place of our eyes. That is always the challenge. We also wanted to change the usual format that we know, that of sometimes a little austere procedures of the judicial chronicles. For example, when we speak of François Hollande who comes to the bar, it takes on a historical character in the most primary sense. It seemed more than important to us to see him, to imagine. This moment of theatre, because this is a moment of theatre, of justice, we wanted to see it with a little more than a few words. It’s true that a simple description, however precise or lyrical it may be- it would never have replaced a visualization”, he explains on Europe 1.

Inevitably, among these nine months of trial, choices had to be made. It was impossible to tell everything. But the book endeavors to transcribe a great diversity of moments with testimonies from civil parties, police officers, François Hollande too, and the speeches of the accused, of lawyers.

“I needed a little strength to write the testimonies of the victims”

These nine months have sometimes been difficult for journalists, obviously disproportionate to the suffering of the victims and their families. Azzeddine Ahmed-Chaouch insisted on it. But he confided to me the difficulty, sometimes, of following the trial.

“The five weeks of testimonies from victims, also from civil parties, is very difficult. And these are, for example, the chapters that I wrote at the end. Because to be honest, I needed a little strength, courage. We’re not trained in that. We’re used to doing trials, sometimes seeing horrible things when we do justice, police. But there, we weren’t ready. “It was still difficult, these stories that were detailed to us with talent by the people who came to speak, the victims. They had experienced something, but they managed to explain it to us with heart, with precision”, underlines -he.

Folder V13 by Azzeddine Ahmed-Chaouch and Valentin Pasquier is out today in bookstores, published by Plon.

November 13: a poignant book plunges us into the heart of the trial of the attacks