Prince Laurent’s attorney, Laurent Arnauts, on Wednesday contested point by point the proceedings initiated against his client as well as the November 2013 law on which they are based. Arnauts said the rights of his client were being violated and the law, as interpreted by the Government, imposed a prescribed course for beneficiaries of allowances, which runs counter to the European Convention on Human Rights.
The attorney began his remarks before the special commission set up by the Chamber on the Prince’s allowance at about 11 a.m. The Government wants to slash the allowance by 15% because of the Prince’s participation, without prior authorization from the Executive, in a reception given on the 19 July at the Chinese’s diplomatic mission to the European Union.
These proceedings mark the first time application of the provisions of a 2013 law, allowing for sanctions on members of the royal family who receive allowances if they breach their obligations.
According to the litigant, the principle of a sanction was adopted without the prince or his counsel having been heard. Arnauts also deplored the absence of certain documents from the dossier, the positions taken by members of the Government or the majority later called upon to testify, and the short time given to his client to prepare his defence.
“Parliament is not in a position to judge with impartiality”, stressed Arnauts, who said he was prepared to submit the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Moreover, said the attorney, the offence imputed to his client, namely attending a reception for the anniversary of China’s armed forces, does not hold up. This was a formal invitation from a friend, whereas the official invitation reached the Palace – and not the Prince – just two days before the event.
“The political nature of Laurent’s presence at the reception has also not been established”, the attorney stated.
The Brussels Times