Clearing Bouwel cemetery: Judge orders that one grave may not be touched (for the time being) (Grobbendonk)

The eviction of the cemetery is in full swing. — © Marc Peeters


A resident of Bouwel (Grobbendonk) has started two legal proceedings against the municipal council of Grobbendonk. The bone of contention in both files is Bouwel’s old cemetery, where the complainant has a fundamental problem with the application of new management regulations. The complainant declined to answer substantive questions. Alderman for Legal Affairs Eric Van Meensel (N-VA) does.

Marc Peeters

Today at 14:03

In Bouwel, the partial evacuation of the old cemetery around the church started this week. To this end, a regulation was previously drawn up that was approved by the city council. The oldest graves are in principle removed. People who still want to keep an older grave for a while can do so by paying a concession fee, which the complainant would refuse to do on principle.

“The citizen who has summoned the municipality is of the opinion that our regulations discriminate and go against the constitution that prohibits any form of discrimination,” explains Alderman Van Meensel. More specifically, it concerns the equal treatment of graves of former combatants. “This case will be brought before the court of first instance in Turnhout next week. That means that it is determined whether there is a case, but the treatment on the merits is for much later.”

The grave that will be protected is demarcated with a red and white ribbon. — © Marc Peeters

Time that the complainant, who wants to keep one specific grave, does not have as the eviction is in progress. The grave belongs to a former combatant and relative of the complainant. That is why the Bouwelnaar unilaterally went to court earlier this week to request that the eviction of the cemetery be stopped.

“The judge did not consider that”, Van Meensel knows. “But he has ordered that the one grave that is close to the complainant’s heart may not be touched for the time being.” There is also a penalty associated with it. “The judge has ordered that an adversarial debate must be held in the very short term, in which the municipality can present its arguments about whether the one grave should be preserved for the time being. This is pending the conclusion of the final procedure regarding the regulations.”

Ribbons around grave

To avoid mistakes with the 1969 grave, which is in poor condition, a red and white ribbon has been hung around it. “The case about that one grave will be initiated on Tuesday, the treatment will follow soon after and the verdict is probably before the end of October,” Van Meensel suspects.

If the temporary protection of the grave is confirmed, it can remain as usual. In the other case, paying the concession for the time being seems to be the last resort. “The case about the regulations starts on Wednesday”, concludes Van Meensel. “Before there is a verdict on a possible form of discrimination in the regulations, we will all be a few years older.”

The article is in Dutch


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