France’s President Emmanuel Macron urged an immediate change to French law after a court ruled that a man who murdered a Jewish woman in 2017 was not responsible for his actions because he was high on cannabis at the time of the crime.
“Deciding to take narcotics and then ‘going mad’ should, not in my view, remove your criminal responsibility,” Macron said to Le Figaro in an interview. “I would like Justice Minister (Eric Dupond-Moretti) to present a change in the law as soon as possible.”
The Court of Cassation’s Supreme Court of Appeals—France’s highest court—ruled on Wednesday that Kobili Traore was too overcome by marijuana to be held criminally responsible for the 2017 murder of his neighbor Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman. The court said he committed the crime after succumbing to a “delirious fit” brought on by his use of cannabis. The verdict means Traore will not face any trial.
Halimi died after Traore, who was 27 at the time, pushed her out of the window of her Paris apartment while he shouted in Arabic “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”). Traore, a heavy marijuana smoker, admitted to the killing and has been in psychiatric care since Halimi’s death. He remains there following Wednesday’s ruling, according to AFP.
Macron told Le Figaro, “It is not for me to comment on a court decision. But I want to assure the family, relatives of the victim and all fellow citizens of Jewish faith who were awaiting this trial of my warm support and the determination of the Republic to protect them.”
In January 2020, Macron criticized a lower court’s insanity ruling in the case, saying there was “a need for a trial” even if the judge decided that Traore held no criminal responsibility.
Lawyers representing the Halimi family said they plan on referring the case to the European Court of Human Rights.