Rennes: Three Somali pirates went on trial on Monday for hijacking a yacht in 2009, which prompted a rescue operation by the French special services in which the skipper died.
French troops stormed the Tanit sailboat on April 10, 2009 and captured the trio in a bid to free Florent Lemacon, his wife, their three-year-old son and two others.
Florent Lemacon died in the operation.
The pirates are now aged between 27 and 31.
"We will prove that they are children and there is a difference between the way things are presented and reality," said Ronan Appere, the lawyer for the youngest pirate.
The lawyer for Lemacon`s widow Chloe, Arnaud Colon de Franciosi, said the family was "traumatised and shocked but at the same time wanted justice".
Chloe Lemacon was angry with the French state for ordering a "dangerous operation," he said.
The Lemacons left the northwestern French port of Vannes in 2008 for a journey to Zanzibar. They were taken hostage on April 6, 2009 off the Somali coast.
France has taken a tough line on pirates caught by its forces in the waters off East Africa, scene of a rash of pirate attacks in recent years.