To conclude that Belgium has commited a concrete fault in the context of its handling of the perpetrators behind the Paris arrack in 13 November will be difficult, explains Marie-Aude Beernaert, professor of criminal law at the Catholic University of Leuven. The mother of a victim from the Bataclan concert hall expressed on French radio that she has decided to file a complaint against the Belgian state. She accuses the state of “inaction” during its surveillance of jihadists.
“Will this person carry out her complaint in France or Belgium, in the civil or criminal court?” questions the expert. In case it will be a criminal court, an investigative judge will have to carry out an investigation for the first stage.
“One would have to find that the Belgian state has carried out a concrete error and that is not very evident”, says Marie-Aude Beernaert. It can be compared to cases of non-assistance of persons in danger, one would have to clearly specify who should have acted in a proactive way. And you need to beware of shortcuts. It’s not because many of the young jihadists come from the same neighbourhood that concludes that the Belgian state is responsible”, she says.
The European court of human rights has judged in similar cases, for example in a case against the Italian state, explains the criminalist. A man had been killed by prison detaines while they had been out on parole. The family of the victim filed a complaint against the Italian state, but the court judged that it was not responsible.
Nevertheless, what could encourage Nadine Ribet-Reinhart, the mother of the victim from Bataclan, who wishes to carry out the complaint against Belgium? “The conviction of one or several persons deemed to be responsible as well as damages and interests as a result of the loss she has suffered”, responds the professor in criminal law.