(JTA) — France’s justice minister said she would not intervene in the trial of a killer whom French Jews said should be charged with a hate crime.
Meeting with Jewish leaders Tuesday, Nicole Belloubet cited the constitutional principle of separation of powers in saying she wouldn’t intervene in the case of Kobili Traore, a Muslim man charged in the April 4 slaying of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish physician and teacher in Paris.
Francis Kalifat, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, and other Jewish leaders want police and prosecutors to treat Halimi’s killing as an anti-Semitic hate crime. However, an indictment filed against Traore did not mention anti-Semitism or any other aggravating element. CRIF has called this a cover-up.
Kalifat and two of his deputies attended the meeting with Belloubet, CRIF said in a statement Tuesday.
Belloubet said she empathizes with Halimi’s relatives and is following the trial closely, but that she would not intervene, the CRIF statement said.
Traore is charged with striking Halimi, who was in her 60s, and throwing her out the window of her third-story apartment.
Neighbors said Traore invoked Allah during the incident, which he has admitted perpetrating but maintains was the result of temporary insanity. He has no record of mental illness. Halimi’s daughter claims he once called her a “dirty Jew” in the elevator of her mother’s building.
On July 16, French President Emmanuel Macron commented on the Halimi affair after being urged publicly to do so during a speech by Kalifat. Macron said the judiciary should “make clear the truth” in the case “despite the murderer’s denials.”