Volunteering to join Ukraine’s army in its fight against the Russian invasion is not a crime under Belgian law, according to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.
However, the profiles of volunteers returning from Ukraine will be monitored by State Security, Belga News Agency reports.
Normally, participating in mercenary work is a crime in Belgium.
- More than 70 people in Belgium signed up to fight in Ukraine, 12 leaving today
- 60% of Belgians would not take up arms to protect their country
But Van Quickenborne recalled that the motives mentioned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in late February when he first called for the formation of an international legion for territorial defence were “resisting the Russian occupants” and “protecting global security.”
Relevant office determined no laws are being violated
“The Attorney-General’s Office has examined this issue and has come to the conclusion that, in the current state of affairs and under existing regulations, the departure of these volunteers to join the Ukrainian army does not, in itself, constitute an infraction, not even under the Belgian law on mercenaries,” the Justice Minister said in response to questions raised on Wednesday in the Justice Commission by parliamentarian Marie-Christine Marghem.
He added, however, that the profiles of these “volunteers” would be monitored by the state security Services “in order to manage their return appropriately.”
For this, State Security has “platforms and partners within the TER (Terrorism, Extremism and Radicalism) strategy,” he explained.