Expatica news

Belgium mulls end of Dutroux trial

23 June 2004

BRUSSELS – Convicted Belgian child killer Marc Dutroux may be going to prison for life but the end of his trial still leaves many questions unanswered, the Belgian media said on Wednesday.

Newspapers, radio and television all agreed that the end of the Dutroux trial does not mean the end of the Dutroux affair.

“The trial is over: now what?” was how Le Soir headlined its Wednesday editorial on the end of the case.

“We do not know everything. There are still grey areas,” the newspaper argued.

Le Soir said for example that there was still not enough information on how  two of Dutroux’s victims, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, died.

The two eight year olds were left to starve to death in a cellar at one of Dutroux’s properties while he was serving a jail sentence.

But the precise details of how the girls were captured, imprisoned and eventually met their deaths remain unclear said Le Soir.

La Libre Belgique argued that with Tuesday’s sentencing a chapter had certainly been closed in the Dutroux affair, “The curtain falls on the guilty” it wrote in its lead editorial on Wednesday.

But elsewhere in its pages La Libre Belgique went on to argue that the many questions remain to be answered.

“The Dutroux affair dies. The Dutroux affair is born again,” it argued.

As with Le Soir and many other Belgian media, La Libre Belgique argued that the final outcome of the Dutroux affair would depend on the findings of a separate and ongoing investigation into the child killer’s crimes.

That inquiry is looking into allegations that Dutroux may have been part of a wider paedophile network and is supposed to be following up leads that were not far enough advanced to have been presented as evidence in the trial that ended on Tuesday.

These leads include traces of DNA and hair from unknown people that were found in one of Dutroux’s secret cells.

Meanwhile Dutroux’s lawyer on Wednesday announced that his client would appeal against the life sentence he received on Tuesday.

While the news caused much indignation in Belgium, commentators were quick to point out that even if a court agrees to hear Dutroux’s appeal, the substance of his conviction cannot be changed.

The appeal, if ruled admissible, can only concern technical and procedural issues on which the Judge presiding over the Dutroux trial made have made errors.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news