Belgian Govt Refuses to Budge on Covid Measures Despite Court Ruling

ER Editor: See the preceding report from earlier this week, titled Belgian State Told to Lift Covid Measures Within 30 Days – Brussels Court.


Condemned by the courts on sanitary restrictions, the Belgian State persists


The Belgian state will not lift the health restrictions deemed illegal by the Brussels court. The Minister of Health said he was “not impressed” by the court’s decision.

The tug of war between the Belgian government and the courts continues, as the executive has confirmed that it will not suspend the health measures condemned by the Brussels court. The latter had indeed ruled on March 31 that the Belgian restrictions had no legal basis and had enjoined the authorities to provide one within 30 days, under penalty of having to pay a daily fine of 5,000 euros.

Speaking on LN24, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said the measures would not be lifted. He said the government would appeal to find a solution within 30 days. During that time, the restrictions will remain in place, as will the criminal prosecution of citizens who violate them.

“We are not lifting the measures. I see on social networks people saying, “we will go abroad, no more masks, etc.” It’s not decided […]. Nothing is going to change while waiting for these 30 days. The measures remain in force. There are still criminal proceedings,” explained Vincent Van Quickenborne on LN24.

However, the minister admitted that the court order was “contrary to what the government has done so far”. He said that the Pandemic Law, which is supposed to regulate any future health crisis, would continue to be discussed in parliament.

Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, who told De Morgen newspaper that he was “not impressed” by the court’s decision, said the same thing.

“The measures will have to be applied strictly. Both collectively and individually […]. We must maintain these measures. Period,” he told the Dutch-language daily.

The State faces justice

The Brussels court had taken up the issue following a petition from the League for Human Rights. This is not the first time that government-imposed health measures have been the subject of legal debate.

In Belgium, for example, some 50 restaurant owners have filed a lawsuit against the government to obtain the reopening of their establishments, which have been closed since October. The case is due to be heard on April 21, reports Le Soir.

In France, 241 residents of the Alpes-Maritimes region had also challenged in court the partial confinement established in the department. At the beginning of March, the administrative court of Nice and then the Council of State ruled against them.

Associations or ordinary citizens may also attack governments more directly on the handling of the crisis. In July, after receiving 90 complaints, the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) opened a judicial inquiry into the management of the pandemic in France. Former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe as well as Olivier Véran and Agnès Buzyn were the target. Their homes were searched.

According to the CJR, 155 complaints have already been filed against ministers since the beginning of the epidemic, reports Franceinfo.




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