Six years after the attack of July 14, 2016 in Nice, eight defendants appear from this Monday before the special assize court of Paris for a new extraordinary terrorist trial. Scheduled to last more than three months, it will be broadcast for the hundreds of civil parties who did not go there and will be recorded “for history”.

An extraordinary trial therefore, by the nature of the crime committed, by the size and duration of the exchanges. It also begins in a particular context: on Friday, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin reminded BFMTV that the “terrorist threat remains very significant”, evoking “intentions to come to national soil and commit attacks”.

This attack on the Promenade des Anglais, on the evening of the National Day, left 86 dead, including 15 children and adolescents, and more than 450 injured. This is the second deadliest attack on French soil, after those of November 13, 2015. The attack, eighteen months after the Charlie Hebdo attack and eight months after those of November 13, had been claimed by the Islamic State organization. A claim “of pure opportunity”, however, concluded the investigation, which did not establish a direct link between the author and the jihadist group.

The perpetrator, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, will be conspicuously absent from the debates. On July 14, 2016, driving a 19-tonne truck, he drove into the crowd gathered to attend the fireworks and concerts organized that evening on the famous avenue in Nice. He was killed there by the police. During the investigation, this delivery driver, father, was described as very violent and unstable. He would have “found in the radical Islamist ideology the” soil “necessary to favor the passage to the murderous act”, according to the investigators.

865 people joined as civil parties at the end of August; others may do so during the hearing. As a symbol, the trial will take place in the ephemeral and “tailor-made” courtroom built for the trial of November 13 (known as “V13”), in the historic Courthouse of the capital. For those who cannot come to Paris, it will be broadcast at the Acropolis convention center in Nice. As during the V13 trial, the hearing will be broadcast by web radio for the civil parties, with a 30-minute delay. New in the device: this web radio will be accessible from abroad, and a translation will be provided in English.

In addition to judging their alleged perpetrators, these major trials of terrorist acts also make it possible to “facilitate the work of reconstruction of the victims”, underlined on France Inter the attorney general at the Court of Cassation, François Molins. In addition, they “participate in the construction of a kind of collective memory around the mass killings”, added the one who was Paris prosecutor during the attacks of 2015 and 2016. The trial will also be filmed and recorded for the Story. Among the witnesses expected, the former President of the Republic François Hollande and his Minister of the Interior at the time Bernard Cazeneuve. Both had previously testified in the V13 trial.

The magistrates of the special assize court, chaired by Laurent Raviot, will examine the responsibility of seven men and a woman, aged 27 to 48, members of his entourage or presumed intermediaries in the arms trafficking intended for Mohamed Lahouaiej- Bouhlel. Three defendants (Ramzi Kevin Arefa, Chokri Chafroud and Mohamed Ghraieb) are prosecuted for terrorist criminal association. The first, in a state of legal recidivism, incurs life imprisonment. The other two, twenty years in prison. Mohamed Ghraieb had “a relationship of camaraderie” with the terrorist. For the prosecution, he would have been fully aware of the project of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel.

The other five defendants (Maksim Celaj, Endri Elezi, Artan Henaj, Brahim Tritou and Enkeledja Zace) are being prosecuted for criminal association and weapons law violations. They risk five to ten years in prison. Five weeks will be devoted to the testimony of civil parties, relatives of the victims and survivors of the attack, before the first interrogations of the accused in early November.