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Brussels struggles to find venue for 2016 terror attacks trial

20:07 26/03/2019

Deciding the location for the trial of those accused in the Brussels bombings of 2016 is proving to be a difficult task. 

According to a federal prosecutor's spokesman, Éric Van Duyse, the trial will need a room that can accommodate at least 1,000 people. There will be 12 defendants, each with between one and three lawyers, 600 civil claimants and hundreds of lawyers to represent those parties.

To add to this already large crowd, the jury will be larger than average due to the length of the trial. There will also need to be enough room for the public who want to watch the trial. 

The Brussels Courthouse is not nearly big enough to accommodate this amount of people, so alternative venues are under consideration. 

Three of the buildings being considered are Forest National, Brussels Expo, and the old NATO buildings. A fourth, yet more difficult, option would be to build an extra room on to the Palace of Justice and relocate the other, smaller lawsuits to make room for the trial. 

Whatever option is chosen, it will come at a huge cost. Forest National costs €10,000 per day and Brussels Expo is €7,000 a day, but it would end up costing more like €14,000 with electricity service, cleaning and security.

Venue availability is also another concern. Since this is a long trial, the venue would need to be booked for months at a time, which is difficult or impossible with concerts and shows. 

Currently, the judicial investigation is in its last phase of final verifications before the trial. 

Written by Sophia Moll



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