Belgian State Told to Lift Covid Measures Within 30 Days – Brussels Court

The State condemned by the court of Brussels which considers the covid measures “illegal”


The Court of First Instance of Brussels ordered the State, this Wednesday, to put an end to the exceptional measures taken in the framework of the pandemic, and this within 30 days. A fine of 5,000 euros per day will be due if the State does not comply with the decision.

The League of Human Rights had introduced, three weeks ago in the name of all Belgians, a summary action before the Court of First Instance of Brussels. The latter ordered the State, this Wednesday, to put an end to the exceptional measures taken in the framework of the pandemic, and this within 30 days, Le Soir has learned. A fine of 5,000 euros per day will be due if the State does not comply with the decision. The court of summary judgement considered that the urgency invoked by the plaintiffs was established by the fact of the extension until April 1st, by ministerial decree of February 6th, of the disputed measures, and this “without a real communication having been made on the subject”.

The plaintiffs questioned the responsibility of the Belgian State in that it had committed a fault by adopting measures, by way of regulation, that infringed fundamental freedoms “in disregard of the constitutional and/or legal rules that require it to abstain or to act in a certain way”. None of the three laws invoked by the Belgian State to restrict the freedoms of Belgians, considered Me Despontin and Me Lackner for the LDH, could serve as a basis for the litigious ministerial decree. The ministerial decree, underlined the two lawyers, “violates the principle of subsidiarity of criminal law, the obligation to consult the Council of State and the principle of legal security”.

As others had done before, without obtaining success, the LDH underlined that the defendant, in this case the State, “had abstained from legislating whereas it knew that the ministerial decree was illegal” and that, on the other hand, it supported the “illegal” prosecutions and penal sanctions linked to the application of this decree.

The main law on which the Minister of the Interior based the “corona” measures is the law of May 15, 2007 on civil society, which concerns evacuation measures and which was adopted following the Ghislenghien disaster. In the order issued this morning, the court of first instance found that this law defines “in a restrictive and predictable manner the powers thus conferred on the executive”, and that the situation related to covid is not covered by this law. “The closure of various establishments (cultural, festive, sports, recreational, events, hotels and restaurants, contact professions), the suspension of compulsory schooling, the limitation of public or private gatherings, the limitation of movement from and to Belgium are not covered by the terms “requisition and evacuation”, concludes the ordinance.

It appears, says the court of first instance, that the measures restricting constitutional freedoms and human rights, enacted by the ministerial order of October 28, 2020 and its subsequent orders “do not rest, on the face of it, on a sufficient legal basis.

The amount of the fine, set at 5,000 euros per day, cannot exceed a total of 200,000 euros. “In view of the complex circumstances related to the health crisis and without questioning them, the court granted the State a period of 30 calendar days to comply with the decision. It would be surprising if the State did not appeal this decision.

It should be noted that the “pandemic” law, intended to put an end to these problems, will be debated this Wednesday afternoon in committee in the House.

The Prime Minister’s office is not reacting for the moment. They are waiting to study the judgement of the Brussels Court of First Instance.



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