A court has agreed to temporarily suspend the hefty penalty payments slapped on the government for failing to initiate the repatriation of children of Belgian Islamic State (IS) fighters from Syria.
Striking down a request for the penalty to be revised downwards, the Court of Appeal ruled that the fine imposed on the government was justified but agreed to grant the state a deferment, De Standaard reports.
The deferment comes as the bill the Belgian government was ordered to pay after failing to meet the deadline granted by a previous ruling soars past €500,000.
Last year, Belgium was ordered to repatriate ten children of IS members with claims to Belgian nationality or pay a fine of €5,000 for each child and for each day it failed to move towards the repatriation.
The court agreed to grant Belgium a deferment of three months in order for the government to take the necessary steps to arrange the repatriation of the children without their parents.
The latest ruling is expected to allow the four parents concerned by the ruling to sign a document signalling their agreement to be separated from their children, Het Nieuwsblad reports.
While the Belgian government had said at the start of the year that it would comply with the ruling, it remained unclear on how to bring back the children without their parents, who said they would resist the separation.
Following the deferment ruling, a separate case in which the Court of Appeal was expected to study whether Belgium could repatriate the children without their parents will be postponed, at the request of the government.