A Brussels court has ruled that infamous paedophile Marc Dutroux must undergo a new psychiatric assessment, in a move furthering his lawyer’s intentions to request their client’s conditional release in 2021.
The Brussels criminal enforcement court (TAP/SURB) approved a request by lawyers Bruno Dayez and Nicolas Cohen to create an expert committee to reevaluate their client’s mental state, BX1 reports.
The new assessment, which will particularly focus on whether Dutroux is at risk of recidivism, represents a step forward for Dutroux and his legal representatives as they prepare to renew a request for conditional release.
Dutroux, 62, has been incarcerated since 2004 for abducting six teenage girls whom he kept in his cellar, where he repeatedly raped and tortured them. He killed two of his victims, two others died of starvation in captivity and the remaining two were rescued by police after his arrest.
Legally eligible for release since 2013, Dutroux introduced a request for his conditional release with an electronic bracelet that same year, but the request was struck down by a Brussels court, who said at the time there were “no prospects” for Dutroux’s reintegration into society.
After the establishment of the committee was approved by the court on Monday, the introduction of a new request for his early release will hinge on the conclusions reached on Dutroux’s mental state.
A former unemployed electrician, Dutroux has a lengthy record of criminal offences ranging from car theft and drug dealing to rape and torture, for which he was jailed in the 80s alongside his now ex-wife Michelle Martin.
After the pair were released for good behaviour, they went on to kidnap the six girls, victims in a case now known as the Dutroux affair which shocked Belgium, leading to widespread reforms of the police system and receiving widespread coverage from international media.
Psychiatrists who examined him during the trials that led up to his current life sentence have previously described him as a psychopath.
At the end of September, the TAP court agreed to a conditional release request submitted by Michel Lelièvre, jailed since 1996 for assisting Dutroux in kidnapping his victims.
The news sparked widespread condemnation and saw hundreds respond to calls for a Black March in opposition to the decision, referred to as “pragmatic” by Lelièvre’s lawyer.
“Cases like Lelièvre’s are subject to particular scrutiny,” his lawyer said. “Making him serve out his whole sentence opens the door to no follow-ups upon release. The court made a pragmatic choice.”