Hundreds ask Brussels court for coronavirus measures to be lifted
Wednesday, 14 October 2020
Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
More than 200 people on Wednesday demanded before the Brussels Court of Appeals that a whole series of measures taken by the federal government in the fight against the coronavirus be lifted.
According to the plaintiffs, these measures unlawfully affect their fundamental rights and freedoms and have no legal basis.
The federal government objected that the measures had just been taken to protect the right to life and that the plaintiffs would have to address the Council of State.
“We have no problem with measures being taken in the fight against the coronavirus, but we ask for measures that do not restrict our fundamental rights and freedoms,” argued master Michael Verstraeten, the plaintiffs’ lawyer.
“We are thinking of the right to property, the right of assembly, the right of a trader to keep his shop or restaurant open. The government has imposed a whole host of rules that have no legal basis, such as the ban on physical contact, or rules that violate and restrict our privacy.”
According to the plaintiffs, the public authorities can take a number of measures, if they set clear objectives, but they do not: “Limiting the number of deaths is a legitimate objective, but how many deaths are involved? The same goes for restricting the occupancy of hospital beds, how many beds are affected?”
Nor would the measures be proportionate. “Closing down the hospitality sector, for example, may be a good measure, but you must always check that there are no other measures that have the same effect”, says Verstraeten.
“The aim must be to protect the vulnerable in society, not those who are not affected by the virus. The measures must be clear and workable, the government cannot impose anything.”
According to the authorities, the measures taken do have a legal basis, namely the law on civil security. “The measures are also regularly evaluated, with the policy following the scientific advice,” it sounded. “They always weigh up how far one can go to protect people without restricting their fundamental rights.”
According to the Belgian state, the plaintiffs also address the wrong court: “Actually, they ask for a suspension of the measures and only the Council of State can do that”. The court pronounces at the latest on 25 November.