Illegal covid measures: for the Human Rights League, “there is no sufficient legal basis for fines”
By the editorial staff
MOn Wednesday, the Brussels Court of First Instance ordered the state to end the exceptional measures taken in the context of the pandemic, within 30 days. A fine of 5,000 euros per day will be due if the State does not comply with the decision.
Olivia Venet, president of the League of Human Rights (LDH), at the base of this summary action, explained this Thursday at the microphone of The first one that the goal is not to lift health measures, but to obtain an adequate legal framework. “What we were asking for was that there was a real debate in Parliament, legislative power. A public debate on containment measures with real democratic control ”.
However, the president of the League of Human Rights admits that it is indeed a breach for the citizens: “A breach which, for me, was already obvious before. It has been said for a long time that there was no sufficient legal basis. So the Council of State adopted another position, in suspension and also in urgent decisions, but we were not the only ones to say so. It was nevertheless fairly unanimous in the legal community and to say that there was no sufficient legal basis. For me, this decision was relatively expected. “
“No sufficient legal basis, no basis for fines”
Faced with this unprecedented situation, Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD) did not fail to react on LN24. For the Minister of Justice, “we are not lifting the measures. It is not decided. The parties had asked the Ministry of Justice to stop prosecuting, but the court said no and we will continue to prosecute. There were other decisions, the Council of State decided that there was a legal basis on several occasions. The government has decided with our colleagues Verlinden to appeal. We would try to convince the Brussels Court of Appeal to take a decision within 30 days. “
For the Minister of Justice, “nothing will change while waiting for this decision. The measures remain in force, there are still criminal proceedings and there are no penalties. We will appeal and continue to work on the Pandemic law. She is already in Parliament. We did not wait for this decision to talk about it. “
But from then on, it will be necessary to wonder what will be the impact of this decision of the court of first instance of Brussels on the daily life of the citizens. What about, for example, criminal fines? For Olivia Venet, “if there is no sufficient legal basis, there is no basis for fines. And there is certainly no retroactivity ”. According to her, even if a law fixes the situation of covid measures and creates a legal basis, it cannot act retroactively in criminal matters ”.
Vincent Van Quickenborne adds: “Apart from going to appeal, we are going to put in place the Pandemic law and vote for this law after the Easter holidays. Yesterday (Wednesday), we learned of this decision, there have already been statements in Parliament. Today, we have the debate with the Prime Minister in Parliament. ”