The police may be able to reopen the Abdeslam file, closed as a “non-case” in 2015, before the Paris attacks. The Federal Prosecutor, Frédéric Van Leeuw, stated this during a parliamentary inquiry commission on the Brussels attacks. The Prosecutor indicated to the committee of deputies, “It is a fact that in the minds of police officers, a case closed for lack of evidence should never be reopened on the basis of new evidence coming to light. We should therefore be urging law officers working within police training college environments to change the general police mindset, in this arena, at the outset of police careers.”
He further said, “I think some elements in this case may merit reopening it.”
He raised the lack of capacity which is affecting the police when faced with the multitude of cases resulting from incidents in the Brussels area.
Frédéric Van Leeuw however stated that the so-called “red” file of the Abdeslam brothers which had been a “non-case” in 2015 was looked into by Comité P, being a matter of concern in respect of multiple liabilities.
The Federal Prosecutor and even the French Gendarmerie had had access to its particulars, which were, admittedly, misinterpreted.
However he said that the file was significant, recalling that, at the time, it dealt with acts of radicalism which were not directly prosecutable.
The Federal Prosecutor also stressed that the charges being formulated in this case now are on the basis of information, which was not all known when the case was originally investigated.
He equally indicated that the Comité P report contained errors which he was inclined to go through in camera.
More broadly, Van Leeuw considered that radicalism might be likely to emerge at local level.
He warned against policies which venture into wanting to criminalise this phenomenon.
“Making radicalism a crime may open the door to a form of arbitrairiness,” he said, envisaging above all, at social problem.
The President of the inquiry commission, Patrick Dewael, invited prosecutors to communicate with aldermen about these phenomena.
Dewael said, “It is all too easy for prosecutors to entrench themselves within the secrecy of a given investigation and not to communicate information to municipal authorities.”