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No collective pardon from King Philippe

12:20 23/07/2013

King Philippe has decided not to grant a collective pardon on the occasion of his accession to the throne, justice minister Annemie Turtelboom is quoted as saying in De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad. The last collective pardon dates back to 1993, when King Baudouin granted a six-month remission of sentence for all prisoners on the occasion of the Belgian presidency of the European Union. Albert II was unable to make a new collective pardon at his coronation as the previous pardon had just been approved. The position of King Philippe regarding individual pardons is not yet known. According to constitutional law professor Emmanuel Vandenbossche these pardons, both individual and collective, are in contradiction with international law: only judges are allowed to determine the length of a sentence. The abolition of the system of royal pardon should therefore be examined shortly. According to the justice minister it is "a point of discussion on the agenda of the modernisation of the monarchy", and should be debated in the Senate. In 2012, there were 955 pardon applications, 96 of which were successful.

Written by The Bulletin