A Brussels Court is going into session to decide whether the child sex killer Marc Dutroux should be allowed to serve the rest of his sentence out of prison, but wearing an electronic tag. Dutroux is personally attending the hearing that is being held in the capital’s courthouse rather than in Nivelles prison in Walloon Brabant where he is currently being held.
The fact that the custody hearing is being held in Brussels rather than in the Nivelles prison is controversial. A total of 200 police have been deployed in the operation to bring Detroux from Nivelles and make the Palais de Justice in Brussels secure. The police indicate say that this is costing around 50,000 euro.
The extra security measures are needed as the authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of an incident in 1998 when the serial rapist and murder was able to escape from the courthouse in Neufchâteau. He was later caught by a local forestry worker. The significant police presence is also needed for Dutroux’s own safety.
Much of the controversy surrounding the hearing centres around the fact that many believe it to be pointless. The chance that Marc Dutroux will be electronically tagged and released extremely small, if not non-existent. Marc Dutroux is also reported not to be happy about his hearing being in Brussels. His solicitor said that “Marc Dutroux didn’t want this entire big circus”. “A hearing at the prison would have been better for everyone.”
One of Dutroux victims Laetitia Delhez and the father of one of the girls he murdered Jean-Denis Lejeune have lodged a complaint against Belgium with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
They are demanding that victims be allowed a greater say in hearings that decide on whether convicted criminals will be given early release and under what conditions early release will be granted.
The brother of another of Dutroux’s victims Eefje Lambrecks is also taking legal action. The hearing will listen to all the arguments for and against Marc Dutroux’s early release.