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Chovanec family reacts with disbelief to further delays to disciplinary hearings

General commissioner of the Federal Police Marc De Mesmaeker pictured during a session of the joint justice and interior affairs commissions of the federal parliament in Brussels, Tuesday 01 September 2020, regarding the Chovanec case. ( BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE)
10:13 28/01/2021

The family of Jozef Chovanec, the Slovak passenger who died in February 2018 after being detained in a police cell at Charleroi airport, said on Wednesday that they were stunned by the statements of federal police commissioner General Marc De Mesmaeker made the day before.

De Mesmaeker suggested that the start of disciplinary proceedings against the police officers involved in Chovanec’s death were likely to be delayed until a court has ruled on the case.

"The fact that to date, almost three years after the events and six months after the images of this horrific event were made public, disciplinary investigations have still not begun and are therefore facing a statute of limitations, is unacceptable to the family," the Chovenecs' lawyer said in a statement.

According to Commissioner General De Mesmaeker, however, the statute of limitations can be paused until the courts have ruled on the facts concerned, allowing possible disciplinary sanctions to be handed out after a judgment. The disciplinary authority would consider activating the section allowing this suspension.

Jozef Chovanec's relatives find it incomprehensible that disciplinary investigations can be announced so early on in a case, but these have still not even begun. The family does not accept that "the complexity of legislation can be invoked to justify inaction," their lawyer said. “The family calls on all relevant authorities to take the necessary steps immediately."

Regarding the investigation itself, a re-enactment scheduled for 9 and 11 February has been postponed to a later date due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mons public prosecutor's Office announced on Wednesday.


Andrew van Veen

Justice delayed is justice denied. The poor family will not receive any satisfaction as the deliberate miring of this in procedural plonk is deliberately designed to put this out of mind until it can no longer cause any political damage.

Jan 29, 2021 09:39


Jan 30, 2021 10:01