13 April 2004
BRUSSELS – The trial of convicted Belgian paedophile and alleged serial child killer Marc Dutroux was on Tuesday slammed as a fiasco by the parents of one of his alleged victims.
Dutroux, 47, a previously convicted child rapist, is currently standing trial in the Belgian city of Arlon on charges of kidnapping six girls and of murdering and raping four of them.
Carine and Gino Russo, the parents of eight year-old Melissa Russo, who was found starved to death, issued a statement accusing the investigating magistrate in charge of the Dutroux case, Jacques Langlois, of leading an “incompetent” and “foolish” enquiry which has buried the truth of what happended to their daughter.
The Dutroux case is surrounded in controversy, fired by a series of bungled investigations, with widespread media speculation that the unemployed electrician benefited from an official cover-up. Dutroux himself has claimed he was acting for an influential paedophile “network”, an idea dismissed by the prosecution.
Melissa and another eight year-old, Julie Lejeune, were kidnapped in June 1995. After Dutroux’s arrest in 1998, his now estranged wife Michelle Martin, who is a co-defendant at the Arlon trial, told investigators that the girls were held in a basement dungeon under the couple’s home.
Langlois has already told the court that Martin admitted allowing the girls to starve to death after Dutroux was briefly imprisoned late 1995 for car theft crime.
Melissa’s parents have previously made known their criticisms of the investigation and the trial by refusing to attend the hearings.
Their statement, released on an internet site dedicated to Melissa and Julie, accused the Belgian judiciary of “killing” any hope of establishing the facts of the girls’ murders.
They were scathing of the Liege court of criminal accusations, which they described as having the role of a judicial “control tower”, for deciding that the “defficient” investigation led by Langlois was complete in 2001.
They blame the magistrate for misshandling the case to the point where the trial is now incapable of discovering the truth about Dutroux’s alleged crimes.
“Numerous questions remain hanging” and the trial has been pursued in an improper manner, they said..
“When the civil parties and the proscutor asked him (Langlois) for explanations about the defficiencies of his investigation he didn’t react,” their statement read. “Today it is possible to measure the extent of incompetence, or foolishness, of the investigation.”
Dutroux admits rape charges but denies killing the girls.
Martin is accused of conspiracy to kidnap while two other defendants, Michel Nihoul, 62, and Michel Lelievre, 32, are accused of kidnapping.
The trial continues.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news