Five metis children appeal against the acquittal of the Belgian state

Five metis children appeal against the acquittal of the Belgian state
The children, who were taken away from their mothers, are often without birth certificates. Credit: MVB

Five ‘metis women’, children of Congolese mothers and Belgian fathers, are appealing a decision by the Brussels civil court which states that the Belgian state is not guilty of crimes against humanity.

The civil court of Brussels acquitted the Belgian state in December in the trial of the metis children. Five women had charged Belgium with crimes against humanity.

Between 1948 and 1961, numerous metis were kidnapped by colonial officials. They often forced the mothers to say goodbye to their children, who would be placed in orphanages or missions. According to the judge, it is not about crimes against humanity, and the case is also time-barred.

The five women are appealing the ruling. The case has been brought before the Brussels Court of Appeal. A calendar has yet to be established at a later date.

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The case also interests the special committee that investigates the Belgian colonial past in the House. One of the lawyers of the five metis children, Michèle Hirsch, will be heard on Monday in the Commission, which has meanwhile started work on rectifying the mistakes of the colonial period. She pleaded for reparations in court in December.

In 2018, then-Prime Minister Charles Michel apologised to the metis children of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi on behalf of the Belgian state.


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