Welcome to the fifth edition of the V-Europe newsletter. The trial was finally able to progress as planned this week, which is a great relief for a large number of civil parties.
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The past week
The week began on Monday 9 January with the swearing in of the witnesses of the day, namely members of the SEDEE (army demining service) and the DR6 (judicial police). The witnesses presented their findings on the day of the attack. The images shown were particularly difficult, and this was reflected in the atmosphere of the courtroom. Following a request from a civil party via his lawyer, it was agreed that the names of the deceased would be announced before showing the images in which they appeared, so that the family could be informed and could leave the courtroom if they so wished. About 20 civil parties were present. Abdeslam did not go to the Justitia following a medical certificate. The other detainees were brought to the Justitia, and the court registry took note of their statements that they were subjected to genuflecting strip searches. Abrini, Krayem and El Haddad Asufi decided not to attend the hearing.
Tuesday 10 January began with the oath-taking of 9 witnesses. The DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) presented the methods used in Maelbeek. This was followed by the emotionally intense testimonials of the victims of the Maelbeek attack. Ms Tordoir, who worked for the railway police in Maelbeek, then recounted her day on 22 March 2016. It was an intense testimony, where the witness had difficulty holding back her tears... The next witness, a firefighter in Brussels, was unfortunately unable to be present because of schedule changes. The investigating judges presented their investigation into the events in Zaventem at around 3pm, starting with several important facts linked to the Paris attacks. The day continued with the testimony of two firemen and the continuation of the investigation by the investigating judges. A dozen civil parties were present. Abdeslam's absence was again covered by a medical certificate. Krayem and El Haddad Asufi chose to return to their cell.
Wednesday 11 January began with a detailed reconstruction of the terrorists' taxi ride from the flat in Max Roos Street to the airport, in the presence of the taxi driver. Investigating judge De Coster then introduced Zaventem's case. The afternoon was devoted to the analysis of the videos from the airport surveillance cameras. The movements of the terrorists, from their arrival until the escape of Abrini after the explosions, were shown in detail. The analysis of these movements and in particular the explosions and their consequences took place in a heavy silence, a sign of the intense emotion that these images caused. The day ended with a presentation of the exhibits, leaving the telephone part for Thursday. A dozen civil parties were present. Abdeslam was once again not present at the courthouse. Krayem and El Haddad Asufi chose to return to their cell.
The week ended on Thursday 12 January. The day began with the telephone part of the investigation, which is very technical. The other initial investigation duties ordered for Zaventem were also presented, but this remained very technical. Surveillance video footage showed Abrini's route during his escape after the two explosions at the airport. Few civil parties were present, about 8 people. All the defendants were in the box, but Krayem decided to return to his cell.
No juror left the jury during the week. Next week's schedule will be posted online this weekend. The new schedule will then be posted on the calendar page.
Support and representation
V-Europe provides support to any victim of terrorism who requests it. At least one of our coordinators is present every day at the trial, wearing a distinctive white jacket with the V-Europe logo on the back. Feel free to let them know you are there if you wish. More information about our coordinators can be found on the V-Europe website, by calling this number:
Do you want to be represented at the trial? V-Europe has set up a group of lawyers who defend the victims during the trial. Guillaume Lys, Nicolas Estienne, Adrien Masset and Sanne de Clerck are joining forces to defend you during this long trial. More information here or by email at email@example.com
We want to hear your opinion!
Do you have any advice or remarks to improve the newsletter? Do not hesitate to send an e-mail to Florian Jehin: firstname.lastname@example.org.