Schaerbeek murder: Liberal leader calls for external oversight of judiciary

Schaerbeek murder: Liberal leader calls for external oversight of judiciary
Credit: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga.

Georges-Louis Bouchez, president of French-speaking liberal party MR, repeated on Wednesday his call for an independent body to oversee the justice system after the assailant who murdered a police offer last week was found to have already been under increased surveillance.

Last Thursday, news came out that a man had attacked two police officers in the municipality of Schaerbeek, resulting in the tragic death of one of the officers.

In the following days, it was revealed that the assailant had reported himself to police on the morning of the incident and was brought into hospital for psychological care before being discharged. The man had been previously listed by the OCAM (Belgium's national body that monitors terror threats) as a potentially violent extremist.

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On Monday, Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told MPs that Brussels' Public Prosecutor’s Office had acted in a “professional and responsible” manner. Yet he questioned the lack of communication between the police and the Saint-Luc hospital where the alleged perpetrator was taken.

In response, Bouchez restated his concerns about the work of the prosecutors in this case on Bel RTL. In his view, there were sufficient reasons to detain the perpetrator which would have stopped him from going on to commit the stabbing that day. Bouchez called for an external body to oversee the judiciary.

Currently, checks on the judiciary only take place internally.

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