Faced with such barbarity, such cruelty, many countries in the world would have favored an expeditious, summary response, guided by a feeling of revenge. Or, as we saw after September 11, the use of force, military prisons, “extensive interrogations”, exceptional trials, often on the fringes of the law.
Belgium, like France after the attacks of November 13 in Paris, has chosen another path, that of ordinary justice, that of the rule of law. The path of the long term, of explanation, of resilience.
Contrasting final words at the trial of the March 22 attacks
It was not a foregone conclusion. The scale of the case, its complexity, the tangle of the geopolitical context, all of this seemed very heavy for a jury made up of ordinary citizens little familiar with the subtleties of criminal procedure. And then, we wondered, would they resist pressure or even threats? Would they have the perseverance to see it through to the end? The start of the trial, disrupted by the poor quality of the accused’s box and the blunders of the body search, even gave rise to fears of a fiasco for a moment.
But today, 10 months of hearings later, the most doubtful recognize the positive outcome of the trial. The involvement and commitment of the jury and magistrates are unanimously praised. The victims were able to share in complete freedom, in front of their executioners, their unspeakable suffering and the immutable ravages of their trauma. A form of contrition even seems to have been detected among certain accused.
Justice was delivered in the trial of the attacks of March 22, 2016 in Zaventem and Maelbeek
The trial is now definitively over. Justice has been served. Serenely. With dignity. The country, bruised, can now not forget, but complete its work of mourning. This is also what justice is for.