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Corsica trial begins over killing that sparked global feminist campaign

Corsica trial begins over killing that sparked global feminist campaign
A banner reading ‘Justice for Juie’ outside the court in Bastia where Bruno Garcia-Cruciani has gone on trial. Photograph: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images

A man has gone on trial in Corsica accused of gunning down his former partner in a killing that sparked a global feminist campaign.

The death of Julie Douib in March 2019 highlighted the scale of femicide in France and led to a movement by women to reclaim the streets with marches, demonstrations and the posting of collages.

In the months before she was killed, Douib, 34, had made six formal legal complaints about the behaviour of the father of her two children and had reported him to police on several other occasions.

Bruno Garcia-Cruciani, 44, is alleged to have shot her with a Glock pistol before reportedly handing himself and the weapon in to police.

The accused, who appeared in court with his head shaven and dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and a black mask, is accused of murder and faces life in prison if convicted.

The prosecution said Garcia-Cruciani had told investigators he had gone to the home of Douib, from whom he had separated six months earlier, with a gun and shot her. He has said the act was not premeditated.

It was the 30th killing of a woman by a partner or former partner out of 146 in France in 2019, and triggered widespread anger and outrage when it was revealed that Douib had gone to the police, reportedly in fear of her life, on several occasions.

Afterwards, the then equality minister, Marlène Schiappa, admitted Douib “was not sufficiently protected”.

Just before the hearing opened at Bastia, Jean-Sébastien de Casalta, counsel for the Douib’s parents, Lucien and Violetta, said what they wanted to hear was the truth.

“We are waiting to hear the truth from the accused and for light to be shone on what happened, the crime, the context, the life of Julie the last few months, that were particularly painful. We must always put these acts in context,” De Casalta told Corsican radio.

“We think his explanations were unsatisfactory and contradicted by a certain number of elements … including ballistic.”

Garcia-Cruciani’s lawyer, Camille Radot, said his client should be tried for what he had done and not as a the symbol of violence against women and girls in France.

“Two or three cases like this are judged every week in France why is this case more important than another?” she said.

“He shouldn’t be held responsible for all the femicides that happen. A trial is not a place for politics or activism. What he has done is terrifying and we will see in this process how we arrived at this extreme position.”

Radot added: “He knows what he has done, he accepts it, he regrets it. He doesn’t want to be punished for all the crimes perpetrated against women in France.”

The trial continues until 16 June.

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