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Published on 10 January 2020

Crif - Francis Kalifat meets with Nicole Belloubet, Minister of Justice

It was in the tense climate of the Sarah Halimi Case that Ms. Belloubet received Francis Kalifat, president of Crif, at his request.

Francis Kalifat began with a lengthy description of the frustration and anger that permeates the Jewish community. By declaring the presumed assassin criminally irresponsible, the investigating chamber deprives, at this stage, Sarah Halimi's family of a trial that is essential to her work of mourning, but also deprives the whole of France of a necessary trial of antisemitism.

Francis Kalifat expressed his incomprehension of the Attorney General's request for abolition. He underlined that the debate between abolition and alteration of discernment should have been decided by an Assize Court and a People's Jury, “in the name of the French People". Without prejudging the criminal responsibility of the alleged assassin, a trial would have had the virtue of shedding light on certain grey areas in the investigation, in particular the lack of reconstruction, and would have enabled the families to complete their painful work of mourning.

A trial would also have made it possible to judge the radicalization process that goes hand in hand with antisemitic hatred, recognized by the Court of Appeal, which agrees that the crime is aggravated by antisemitism. Francis Kalifat recalls in this regard that the Investigating Judge had waited 9 months for the aggravating nature of the crime of antisemitism to be recognized by the Investigating Judge.

The Minister stressed the non-definitive nature of the decision of the Indictment Division, since the civil parties and the Paris Public Prosecutor had referred the matter to the Court of Cassation. She then recalled the Law, namely that alteration or abolition must be assessed at the time of the facts.

Francis Kalifat fears a bad signal of a fight against antisemitism that does not match his actions with commitments. Time is no longer a time for an obligation of means, we must without delay set ourselves an obligation of results and use all the levers of the State: Police, Justice, Education and society as a whole to apply the principle of zero tolerance with the rigour that the situation imposes.

After a long and intense conversation, other topics were discussed, such as the significant increase in anti-Semitic acts and violence in 2019 compared to 2018 and the Crif's repeated call for the publication of condemnations of anti-Semitic acts. The Minister replied that no distinction could be made between anti-Semitic acts and all acts of discrimination. The Minister undertook to publish this information.

The Minister was accompanied by Mr. Olivier Christen, Deputy Director of the Cabinet.

Francis Kalifat was accompanied by Yonathan Arfi, Crif Vice-President and Robert Ejnes, Crif Executive Director.

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