Brussels terror trial: The prosecution and defence

Brussels terror trial: The prosecution and defence
Federal prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw. Credit: SOPHIE KIP/BELGA

The trial for the 2016 Brussels terror attack, which killed 32 and injured hundreds, will start on Monday. Frédéric Van Leeuw will act as federal prosecutor. Brussels lawyer Delphine Paci and Michel Bouchat will be on defence.

Van Leeuw's office will lead the case against Salah Abdeslam, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the 2015 Paris terrorist attack, and other defendants.

An introductory hearing will take on place on Monday but a jury won't be put together until a month later, on 10 October. Van Leeuw had been against the suspected attackers appearing before a jury, on the grounds that it would be too complex a case for a jury, with many violent images shown over the course of the months-long process.

Van Leeuw believes these kinds of cases should only be heard by professional judges but was overuled by presiding politicians.

Nonetheless, public prosecutor in Halle-Vilvoorde Ine Van Wemersch and a colleague Van Leeuw, gave assurances that the prosecutor "will certainly try to bring this process, which is so important for our country, to a successful conclusion. The whole world is watching."

The defence

Salah Abdeslam will be defended by the Brussels lawyer Delphine Paci and her colleague Michel Bouchat, from Charleroi.

Abdeslam was defended by Paris lawyers Olivia Ronen and Martin Vettes at the assize trial on the terror attacks of 13 November 2015, which took place in Paris in recent months, but they no longer represent his defence.

In August it was announced that the Brussels criminal lawyer Delphine Paci would defend him at that trial. At the time it was already reported that she would do this together with a second colleague, but the name of that second colleague was not yet released. This has now been announced to be criminal lawyer Michel Bouchat.

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