PM: greater efforts to combat youth crime

24th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 April 2006, BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said on Sunday he wants even greater attention for the fight against youth crime, explicitly pointing to crimes of extortion.

24 April 2006

BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said on Sunday he wants even greater attention for the fight against youth crime, explicitly pointing to crimes of extortion.

Verhofstadt was one of many politicians who participated in Sunday's silent march in honour of murdered teen Joe Van Holsbeeck. Most of the Flemish and Francophone party leaders were sighted, along with many MPs.

But on request from Van Holsbeeck's family, politicians stayed out of the spotlight. However, this doesn't mean that they remained completely aloof.

On behalf of the federal government, Verhofstadt said the march was a complaint from the entire population against senseless violence.

He stressed that the government must fight every form of violence. "Therefore, we will place still more attention on youth crime in general and particularly 'steaming' or extortion in national and zonal safety plans," he said.

"The march is an important social signal of which I completely support. Not only because this murder can not be trivialised. No psychological or sociological reason can justify it. But let us especially hope that that this signal will hold youth back in the future from carrying out a similar crime."

Flemish Premier Yves Leterme stressed that politicians must search for solutions, but warned that the government cannot do everything. "A signal from society is also necessary."

He said everyone should discourage immoral acts in their vicinity and urged for greater attention on ethics and mutual respect.

Left-wing Spirit Brussels MP Fouad Ahidar, who first proposed the silent march, praised the large turnout: "This is brilliant. All of these different people from different origins and faiths who together give a powerful signal. I can't say anything more".

In the Francophone press, a statement from the deputy-chairman of the Union of French-speaking Juvenile Court Judges, Eric Janssens, was especially noteworthy.

"Give us the means that we need. We are not currently in a state to carry out our job," he said.

Due to a lack of capacity at youth detention centres, the judiciary is said to be unable to respond adequately in cases where delinquents have committed serious crimes.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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