Belgian government to appeal court’s ruling against anti-Covid measures

The authorities should review within 30 days the legal basis of its confinement regulations

Photo: Europost Closed restaurants on Grand Place in Brussels.

On Wednesday, the Brussels court of first instance ruled that the Belgian government should review within 30 days the legal basis of its confinement measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19 virus, after a complaint from the Human Rights League, Belgian media reported.

According to the decision, the measures restricting constitutional freedoms and human rights do not have a sufficient legal basis. The ruling concerns all the orders issued at the federal level, among which mandatory wearing of masks, closing businesses, banning non-essential travel and introducing social distancing obligation.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told the Chamber on Wednesday that the government will appeal the decision. She recalled that several judicial decisions have previously confirmed the grounds of these measures.

The appeal could not cease the enactment of the judgment.

The Belgian state now has 30 days to put an end to this situation and if failed to do so, a fine of €5,000 per day of delay will be imposed.

The human rights organisation challenged in February the lawfulness of the health crisis management through ministerial orders, aiming to provoke a parliamentary debate.

This concentration of powers in the hands of the executive power, without any parliamentary control intervening, is no longer tolerable", explained Olivia Venet, the League for Human Rights President.

She also underlined that the unclear promises of a legal framework which would come into effect in June 2021, and which would only be intended to govern the next epidemics, are far from sufficient.

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