The Human Rights League and its Dutch-speaking equivalent, the Liga voor Mensenrechten, are filing a complaint against the Belgian state. They challenge the legality of the ministerial orders taken to fight the covid-19 pandemic.
The Human Rights League (LDH) and the Liga voor Mensenrechten (LvM) are bringing an interim action against the Belgian state. The case was brought on February 22, 2021 before the French-speaking court of first instance in Brussels. The organizations want justice to resolve the issue of the legality of the management of the Covid-19 crisis by ministerial decrees.
The associations consider that a parliamentary debate is necessary to fight against the pandemic. As reported by the Rtbf, Olivia Venet, president of the LDH, issued a press release in which she underlined the importance of the role of the legislative power in decision-making: “This concentration of powers in the hands of the executive power, without no parliamentary control intervenes, is no longer tolerable. The vague promises of a legal framework which would come into effect in June 2021, and which would only be intended to govern the next epidemics, are far from sufficient. “
The LDH and the LvM raise the question of the legality of ministerial decrees “in that they are based on inadequate legal bases and are systematically excluded from the consultation of the legislative section of the Council of State under the pretext of urgency” , specifies the press release. At the microphone of the RTBF when she left the Palais de Justice on February 22, she said: “These are the ministerial decrees that have been adopted since October 28, 2020. Successively 33 ministerial decrees. This is what is under attack. “
On La Première, she emphasizes: “What we are asking is to show that the legal basis is not sufficient. And above all, we are asking Parliament to adopt a legal framework with a parliamentary debate, so that our rights and freedoms can only be restricted by a law. ” In addition, she considers that the penalties for non-compliance with the measures are “extremely heavy”.
Pleadings will take place on March 12. The lawyer of the LDH Me Audrey Lackner explains that if the arguments of her clients were heard, “the very concrete consequence would be that the ministerial decree would be declared, to a certain extent illegal and that criminal sanctions could no longer be applied for failure to comply with these measures ”.
No easing of measures in sight
The protest against health measures in Belgium has brought together citizens on several occasions. Nearly 500 people were pre-emptively arrested on January 31 in Brussels to prevent two protests banned by authorities against anti-Covid measures, a local police spokesperson told AFP. Belgium has around 2,000 new cases per day and around 20,000 deaths in total.
The Belgian government on February 22 ruled out any easing of its anti-Covid restrictions in the coming month, due to fears over the spread of new variants of the virus, including the British variant. “We have to be very careful to avoid a third wave,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said during a press conference called that morning.