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    Chamber approves bills to aid victims of terrorism

    The Chamber of Representatives on Thursday approved a series of bills aimed at improving the lot of victims of terrorism and speeding up the provision of aid to them. Over the past two years, the victims of the 2016 Brussels terror attacks have regularly complained of the difficulties and even distress they undergo due to the long, drawn-out compensation process.

    The Parliamentary Investigation Commission on the attacks echoed their complaints, finding that there were too many public and private entities involved and too many medical examinations as well.

    The reform aims to improve the performance of the Commission for Assistance to the Victims, one of the lynchpins of the system. A “terrorism” section is to be created, made up of a single chairman, while the emergency aid ceiling will be increased from 30,000 euros to 125,000 euros.

    The Commission will grant victims an initial aid package to help them cover the first expenses that arise, and a subrogation mechanism has been created with regard to insurers. The reform also allows people not resident in Belgium to be granted national solidarity status.

    A special category has been created, that of “cold cases”, covering mainly cases linked to the ‘Brabant Killers’, while victims can now receive a new type of compensation, exceptional damages, in cases where the criminal investigation lasts for at least 10 years without ascertaining the identities or motives of the perpetrators

     The Commission for Assistance to the Victims will be able to grant exceptional assistance of 125,000 euros to enable them to cover attorney fees or psychological support, for example.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times