26 February 2004
BRUSSELS – Alleged child murderer Marc Dutroux should receive the death penalty if it were still legal in Belgium, according to two thirds of Belgians questioned in a countrywide opinion poll published on Thursday.
The study of a representative sample of 1,001 Belgians was carried out by newspapers La Derniere Heure and Het Laatste Niews and broadcaster RTL-Tvi.
It found that 66 percent of Belgians think Dutroux should be executed for the crimes he is alleged to have committed.
This will not happen however, as the death penalty is no longer legal in Belgium or any other European Union nation.
The study also re-confirmed how little confidence most Belgians have in their criminal justice system.
According to the survey, 88 percent of the population does not believe Dutroux’s forthcoming trial, which opens in the Walloon city of Arlon next Monday (1 March), will answer all of the questions surrounding the alleged murderer’s arrest.
Ever since Dutroux was captured back in 1996, rumours have abounded that he was part of a major paedophile network that included extremely well-placed members of the Belgian establishment.
No concrete proof has yet been presented to support such theories, but 65 percent of Belgians nevertheless believe that Dutroux is being protected by ‘very highly placed people’.
The survey also found that 65 percent of Belgians think both the police and the Belgian justice system have handled the Dutroux case badly.
A minority – 16 percent – even thinks the suspected killer could be let off on a technicality because of shoddy work by prosecuting magistrates.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news