Interior minister issues warning to Senate head

30th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2005, BRUSSELS – Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has given the socialist president of the Belgian senate a written warning for trying to influence a judge.

30 May 2005

BRUSSELS – Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has given the socialist president of the Belgian senate a written warning for trying to influence a judge.

Anne-Marie Lizin, who is also a bourgmestre in Huy, came under fire in March for writing to a judge asking her to re-examine a mother’s custody case.

She has since apologised to the judge for making the request, as well as to her fellow senators. The opposition parties Ecolo, the CDH, SPA, the CD&V and the MR all criticised the senator at the time and called for her to explain herself in the senate. She retained her post despite widespread calls for her resignation.

Lizin has said she believes that she has not breached the constitutional separation between politicians who make laws and the judges who interprete them.

But Dewael disagrees and has censured her in a letter. He was asked to write to her by Michel Foret, the governor of Liege province, where the legal case was being heard.

Dewael added he hoped such an incident would not be repeated.

In a statement Lizin said she took note of Dewael’s letter and thanked him and Foret for correcting her properly.

In March, Lizin stated she systematically passes on the files of people who have contacted her about legal cases and said that she did not intend to influence the judge's decision.

"I can assure you that the only thing I wanted to do was to help a mum and her children, given the information that I had received which had touched me,” she told her fellow senators at the time.

"I hoped to be able to help by bringing the elements which had been communicated to me to the attention of the judge. I committed in this context clear errors which can be deemed faults."

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Subject: Belgian news

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