The trial of 20 men accused of orchestrating the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 began on Wednesday.
The trial marks France’s biggest criminal trial in history. The trial has begun almost six years after what was the deadliest attack in France since World War II. The trial is being held in a specially designed high-security courtroom inside the historic Palace of Justice in Paris.
Members of an Islamic State (also know as IS / ISIS / ISIL) cell armed with assault weapons and explosive vests targeted a football stadium, bars and cafes and the Bataclan music venue, killing 130 people and injuring more than 400.
French national Salah Abdeslam stands trial for the attack. Police and prosecutors believe he is the sole survivor of the 10-man cell.
Abdeslam is the only defendant facing murder charges. Nineteen other suspects are also standing trial, accused of providing assistance and playing roles in the organization of the attack. Charges include facilitating terrorism, providing money, transport and arms. Of these 19, six will be tried in absentia, including five of the accused who are thought to have died in Syria.
Abdeslam has refused to speak about the attack for more than five years, since his arrest.
In the beginning of the trial, Abdeslam was asked to identify himself and his profession, to which he declared himself “an Islamic State soldier.”
Testimony from 1,800 victims and families will be heard during what is expected to be a nine-month case.