Understaffed judges threaten to release all underage criminals as of next week
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
The juvenile judges of the French-speaking Court of First Instance in Brussels are threatening to release all juvenile offenders as of Monday, according to La Dernière Heure.
The judges wrote a letter to the Federal Justice Minister Koen Geens, complaining about the lack of personnel, which has been going on for several years.
“If there is no immediate reinforcement of personnel we will be forced to give priority from 29 June to minors who are in danger, without taking responsibility for the minor offenders who are referred to us,” they warned.
There have never been so few clerks and staff, according to the juvenile judges. They started their working day on Tuesday with 59-minute work interruptions, La Dernière Heure reported.
Geens acknowledges that the situation is serious, and that the occupation at the French-speaking Court of First Instance in Brussels is currently at 79%. A procedure for the recruitment of 45 clerks and 21 administrative court staff members is underway, he said.
Filling these vacancies is reportedly going more slowly than desired, however. That is why it was agreed in March to allocate 17 contractual posts in order to meet the most urgent needs. A consultation with the court staff’s trade unions is reportedly planned for July.