Former Head of State François Hollande and his then Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve are also called to testify on Monday afternoon, but it is the hearing of François Molins, scheduled to last all morning, which focuses the attention of the civil parties.
At the time of the attack that left 86 dead and more than 400 injured on July 14, 2016, François Molins – today Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, one of the highest French magistrates – was public prosecutor of Paris, in charge of terrorism cases at the national level.
It was he who ordered an autopsy “when the cause of death was not completely obvious”, for “patients treated medically, even briefly” before their death and when there was “suspicion of attack” by firearm, said at the bar, at the start of the trial, the former director of the forensic institute (IML) of Nice, Gérald Quatrehomme.
On each autopsied body, organs were removed and placed under seal, in case additional analyzes were necessary for the investigation, continued the doctor. It was not the case.
If justice can authorize the removal of organs to find the causes of death, the families of Nice have never been informed of these acts, recalled to the bar many civil parties in heartbreaking testimonies.
“I seek to understand how the medico-judicial system could have come to such absurdity: chopping my 12-year-old daughter to pieces to determine that she died of polytrauma consistent with percussion with a high-kinetic device. All that for that. But we already knew it!”, had thus declared at the bar Anne Gourvès.
In 2018, she discovered “with horror a report of the sealing of organs”. “My daughter’s vital organs were removed and no one informed us,” she was indignant.
She had drawn up a frightening list of organs taken from her daughter’s body: brain and dura mater, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, cervical block, adrenal glands, spleen…
The body of his daughter Amie had not been damaged despite the impact of the truck. He had been promised that there would be no autopsy since the causes of his death were beyond doubt.
Anne Gourvès made a request for the restitution of the organs, accompanied by a DNA test – which was refused. A medical document (which evokes a female person in her twenties) even made him doubt that it was indeed those of his daughter.
– “Not justified” deductions –
Last week, Christophe Lyon, who lost six members of his family during the attack, also recounted having learned with “horror”, on the occasion of the testimony of Gérald Quatrehomme, that the organs of his autopsied father were still resting at the IML in Nice.
Autopsies were performed on fourteen victims, including four children. A total of 173 organs were removed.
“The majority of the organs that were removed are healthy organs, (…) which were not affected by bullets, injuries or haemorrhages. So the real question arises of what is the need for these samples? Me, I don’t see any. And besides, Professor Quatrehomme did not really answer this question during his hearing, “said Virginie Le Roy, lawyer for AFP. 100 civil parties and the Promenade des Anges association.
This is why “I had the prosecutor Molins quoted so that we have additional information” and to understand what happened, she added, stressing that the opacity of these samples had generated a lot of “fantasies”.
During his hearing, Gérald Quatrehomme took refuge behind the “usual general protocol”, without convincing the lawyers for the civil parties.
“Why were the uterus and ovaries removed from a six-year-old child?”, had thus questioned Me Le Roy, without obtaining an answer.