Ms. Garnier, now 30, escaped from the Bataclan uninjured after bursting through an emergency exit. But she wants to see the accused in person and wants the world to understand what victims have been through: the exhausting hyper-vigilance, the endless medical procedures, the administrative obstacle course to get compensation from France’s official victim’s fund, the isolation from friends and family, the broken careers.
“To measure the real impact that this event had on our lives,” Ms. Garnier said. “So that they really realize that six years later, it’s still very, very close.”
All but one of the 20 men on trial are accused of being accomplices. They will be tried by a panel of judges, including Salah Abdeslam, who prosecutors say is the sole surviving attacker, and others who are accused of helping to plan and coordinate the assaults. Of the 10 attackers, nine were killed — some as they carried out suicide bombings, other who were killed by the police.
When Mr. Abdeslam, who arrived at the courthouse on Wednesday under tight police escort, was asked by the presiding judge to confirm his name, he started by invoking God.
“I abandoned all professions to become a fighter for the Islamic State,” said Mr. Abdeslam, wearing a black T-shirt and black face mask, when asked about his job.
The trial is the first in French history to be accessible for plaintiffs on a live internet radio. People can become a “partie civile,” or plaintiff, in a French criminal trial if they were harmed by the crime in question, a status that could give them the right to compensation. It will also be one of the rare trials in France to be filmed.
On Wednesday, the courthouse, surrounded by checkpoints, was teeming with camera-toting journalists and police officers with bomb-sniffing dogs. Plaintiffs were offered lanyards indicating their willingness to talk to the news media — green for yes, red for no.