A bailiff is to be present Tuesday afternoon at the office of Theo Francken (N-VA), State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, to demand 20,000 euros in fines. As per a recent decision of the Appellate Court, the Belgian State in fact owes 4,000 euros per day in constraints to a Syrian family until it provides them with visas or a pass. If Mr. Francken does not comply, seizures are possible, explained Hakim Boularbah, lawyer and professor of judicial law (ULB, ULg).
“A constraint is a private fine, a financial penalty to be paid by the party which did not respect a decision of the justice system compelling the party to do or not do something,” clarified firstly the civil procedure specialist. In this case, Theo Francken was sentenced by the Appellate Court of Brussels to pay the mentioned fines if he dos not execute a legal decision made by the Council of Foreigners’ Litigation obliging him to issue visas or a laissez-passer to a couple and their two minor children who presently live in Aleppo.
“Mr. Francken cannot be materially forced to sign a document. The financial sanction is therefore a means of exercising pressure,” said Hakim Boularbah. The fines are owed to the party that was favoured by the decision, although in the present case the lawyers of the Syrian family have made it known that the family would donate the sum obtained to a Belgian association that combats poverty. Depositing the money into a blocked account, an option which was being considered by federal government, is allowed only for decisions made in first instance or through agreement with the other party, stated the professor.
This is not the situation in the present case. Mr. Francken is thus obligate to pay. If he does not, seizing measures are possible. Specific treatment however exists for State-owned property: “It is forbidden to seize public service property. The bailiff will thus not be able to seize the service vehicle of the State Secretary or computers from his office, but may seize the painting of a master,” declared Mr. Boularbah.