28 March 2012
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to change Belgian law on war crimes would let Bush snr off but
Agreement was reached in the Belgian Parliament´s Justice
Commission, which voted on 25 March to limit the scope of the
law known as "universal competence" under which cases
may be brought before the Belgian courts
regardless of where crimes were committed, the nationality of the author of the crime or of the victim, in cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. This law allowed cases to be brought against Ariel Sharon and George Bush senior in Belgium, and the multiplication of "suits of a purely political nature" which have caused Belgium diplomatic embarassment particularly with regards to Israel and the US.
Some criteria to "attach" Belgium to the cases are to be introduced including whether the crime took place in Belgium, whether the suspected author of the crime is not Belgian and the victim is not Belgian or whether they have not resided in Belgium for over three years. If there is no connection only the federal prosecutor may launch a case, whereas if a connection a civil lawsuit is enough, as is currently the case. If the country whose national is responsible has relevant legislation in force, the prosecutor would merely inform it of the violation, and Belgian justice would no longer be seized with the case. The amendments would affect suits brought later than 1 July 2002, including the suit against Bush senior, but not the one against Sharon.
previous report: Source Say, 19/03/2003
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