Language compromise Brussels justice puts Dutch speakers at a disadvantage

Language compromise Brussels justice puts Dutch speakers at a disadvantage
Language compromise Brussels justice puts Dutch speakers at a disadvantage

Van Tigchelt announced that the Brussels Public Prosecutor may also speak Dutch in the future as a breakthrough. “That’s actually logic itself. The Constitutional Court also states this clearly in its judgment. Yet the Flemish have to pay a price. It will take at least another ten years before a Dutch speaker gets the chance to head the Brussels public prosecutor’s office. In addition, the language knowledge of all kinds of magistrates is being tampered with. That will not strengthen the position of Dutch, on the contrary,” says Van Vaerenbergh.

A thorough knowledge of Dutch is no longer necessary

The bill provides that the chiefs of police of the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking courts, the Public Prosecutor and the labor prosecutor, as well as many other positions, must only prove functional knowledge instead of a thorough knowledge of the other language. “We end up in absurd situations where judges of the peace and police still have to prove thorough knowledge, but their chiefs of police do not. A chief of police must therefore be less bilingual than the person he has to direct, monitor and evaluate. You would expect the opposite,” says Kristien Van Vaerenbergh.

Temporary judges: only French speakers?

The temporary framework of the Court of Appeal provides for a distribution in which four of the ten members are Dutch-speaking. This division will be abolished so that in the future all temporary magistrates at the Brussels Court of Appeal can be French-speaking. “The Court of Appeal does not only deal with Brussels cases. It deals with cases from all over Flemish Brabant. A minimum of Dutch speakers among the temporary judges is therefore a necessity, otherwise the judiciary in Flemish Brabant will be phased out,” says the MP.

French speakers help decide on Halle-Vilvoorde

In addition, the coordination committee, which organizes the operation between the jurisdictions of Brussels and Halle-Vilvoorde, will have a different composition. The committee will consist of an equal number of French speakers and Dutch speakers. “Why should there be as many French speakers as Dutch speakers in this? Halle-Vilvoorde is simply a Dutch-speaking jurisdiction and Brussels is bilingual. This gives French speakers even more say in policy in Halle-Vilvoorde. Everyone knows that the Halle-Vilvoorde public prosecutor’s office works so well that the courts in Brussels cannot follow suit. Perhaps the intention is to slow down the Halle-Vilvoorde public prosecutor’s office from Brussels,” Van Vaerenbergh wonders.

The article is in Dutch


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