Debates on Civil Claims

At the end of this long, challenging, yet instructive Assize procedure, full of misunderstandings and frustrations, but also occasionally allowing freedom of speech and providing relevant insights, and in the absence of an appeal by the defendants against the convicting judgments of the Brussels Court of Assizes, it is now time for debates concerning the civil claims against the convicted individuals.

The law stipulates that during this phase, the Court of Assizes shall sit concerning civil interests in the presence of the 3 professional magistrates, excluding the 12 actual jury members and the alternate jurors.

The session days at the Court of Assizes, focusing on the victims' claims for damages, are scheduled as follows:

- Tuesday, April 16th, starting from 2 p.m.;
- Wednesday, April 17th, starting from 2 p.m.;
- Thursday, April 18th, starting from 2 p.m.;
- Monday, April 22nd, starting from 2 p.m.;
- Tuesday, April 23rd, starting from 2 p.m. (reserve day).

The sessions will always take place in the premises of the courthouse.

The convicted individuals are not obliged to be present personally as they can be legally represented by their lawyer.

You are welcome to attend personally as a civil party, but you are by no means obligated to do so as you are legally represented by V-Europe. We do not insist on your personal presence given that the debates will mainly be of a technical nature and it is, of course, impossible to plead the individual case of each of you.

You are aware that a personal claim for damages (with evidence) has been submitted in writing for each of you. These claims have been thoroughly prepared and submitted by the team of lawyers from V-Europe.

The phase of civil claims is thus more of a written procedure. The Court of Assizes (the three judges) will make a ruling in the coming months, deciding on the compensation for each victim who has submitted a claim for damages.

Only the convicted Hervé BAYINGANA has indicated his intention to contest that he owes compensation and interest. We have already responded clearly that his position is incorrect. Mr. MASSET will also argue on this aspect at the hearing, starting from the afternoon of April 16th.

The team of V-Europe is prepared to argue the most important principle issues and even very specific aspects. The team of V-Europe is ready to answer any questions from the Court of Assizes.

One thing is certain: the Court of Assizes can convict the guilty parties to pay the requested amount to the civil parties, or less. The Court of Assizes cannot award a higher amount than requested.

Other victims, whether part of a group (L4B) or not, advocate in their own name or through their legal representative, according to their own choice and procedures.

It remains a fact that each claim for damages must be supported by written documents. Within the legally prescribed form and deadline, V-Europe has submitted a claim for damages with supporting documents for each of you.

No payments are expected from the convicted parties, as they are all insolvent. Payments will, however, be requested from victim support funds, occupational accident funds, employers, insurers, or other third-party payers, with reference to the civil judgment (the awarded compensation).

This phase of the debate on civil claims and the upcoming judgment are important because, after so many years, they represent the culmination of the criminal case against the accused.

The team of V-Europe wishes you success and remains at your disposal.

Debatten over de Burgerlijke Vorderingen