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Belgium

Yearbook 1997

1997 BelgiumBelgium. In order to qualify Belgium for the monetary union EMU, the Belgian government implemented a austerity policy, which gave rise to several hostile demonstrations at the beginning of the year. One of the larger demonstrations also formed into a manifestation for the victims of the pedophilia leg revealed in 1996 and against the sexual exploitation of children.

According to Countryaah, the pedophile scandal of 1996 thus had repercussions also in 1997. Marc Dutroux, the head of the so-called pedophile, was indicted at the end of January for the murder of the two girls Ann Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks. He had previously been charged with kidnapping them and six more girls during the period June 1995 to August 1996. A few weeks before that, the Supreme Court had announced that it reopened the preliminary investigation against Deputy Prime Minister Elio di Rupo, who is accused of having sexual relations with minors but wiped clean by a lower court in December 1996.

The parliamentary commission commissioned to review the pedophile business presented its report in mid-April. In this, the police and judiciary were accused of incompetence and grave negligence, which may have contributed to some of the children's deaths. However, confidence in the Commission was disrupted when one of its members, MP Patrick Moriau, published a memo book in which he reproduced some of the testimonies submitted in confidence to the Commission.

1997 Belgium

As part of Edward Snowden's revelations in the summer of 2013 by the NSA's global Internet and telecommunications surveillance, it emerged that British intelligence GCHQ had infiltrated Belgium's telecommunications giant Belgacom and that the UK and US were listening to all incoming and outgoing communications from the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Sexual aggression against women is a serious problem in Belgium. In 2013, an average of 8 rapes and 10 other sexual assaults were reported daily. In 44% of the rape cases, no charges were raised; in 56% of these because of "lack of evidence" and in 17% of cases because the perpetrator was unknown. Therefore, the rapist is rarely sentenced. The 13% sentencing rate is below the EU average.

Belgium is the observation list of states that violate the Convention against Torture and degrading treatment. This is because the chronic overcrowding in the country's prisons (typically 50% overcrowding); the failure to deal with prisoners with mental health problems; Russia and the United States where they have subsequently been subjected to torture, murder of detainees and mistreatment. Jonathan Jacob died in police custody in 2011, and three years later, no official investigation into the circumstances had yet been initiated.

The May 2014 parliamentary elections became a disaster for the right-wing Vlaams Belang, who lost 9 seats and had to settle for 3. The second loser was the ruling Social Democracy, which lost 3 seats and had to settle for 23. Its voting share was 11.7%. The big winner was the liberal, conservative nationalist Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), which went 6 seats up to 33. It thus became the largest party in the 150-seat parliament. It took 5 months to form a new government. It was made up of the 4 civil parties CD&V, Open World, MR and N-VA. The price N-VA paid to form a government was that Charles Michel of the smaller party Mouvement Réformateur (MR) became prime minister.

Following the attack on the satire magazine Charli Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, Belgian terrorist forces carried out an action against a suspected "terror cell" in Brussels. Two were killed.

In June 2015, the European Court of Human Rights handed down judgments in Belkacemi and Oussar vs. Belgium. The verdict held that the 2011 law against total obscurity violated the human rights of the two women. The legislation against veils that has been implemented in several European countries besides Belgium is thus contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Parliament adopted several rounds during 2015 of "terror-related" austerity measures under the Penal Code that violated the Human Rights Convention. The option was imposed to deprive a person of Belgian citizenship or refugee status if the person was convicted of a «terror-related» crime. Furthermore, new measures were taken to combat "violent extremism". As with previous tightening of the legislation, no examination was made of the points at which the tightening was contrary to the conventions. Following the Paris attacks in November, the Prime Minister announced further tightening of legislation. Several of the assailants had lived in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. The detention period for suspects was extended from 24 to 72 hours; arbitrary searches can be carried out without a verdict in «terror-related» cases; finally, a database of Belgian nationals or residents who had tried to travel to join armed conflicts or fight for armed groups characterized by the government as "terrorist groups" was established.

However, the subsequent events were to show that the introduction of police-like methods - aimed at Muslims in particular - could not stop criminal acts. On the contrary. In March 2016, IS completed attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station in the city. A total of 35 were killed - including the 3 assailants. The attacks were retaliation for Belgium's participation in the war against IS. Since October 2014, Belgian planes had bombed IS in Iraq, and in November the Iraqi government warned members of the US bomb coalition that IS would retaliate against members of the coalition. After the assaults - the bloodiest in Belgium's post-war period - three days of national grief were decreed. Belgium was already the country in Europe that had relatively delivered the most "volunteers" to the civil war. 440 had departed until December 2013. million. residents. Denmark was in second place with 27 pr. million residents.

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