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La justice transitionnelle en Belgique dans les affaires pénales après la Première Guerre mondiale (1918–1928)

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image of Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review

Transitional justice in Belgium after the First World War in the area of criminal justice (1918–1928). – After the First World War, from 1918 until 1928, Belgium experienced a form of transitional justice, especially in the area of criminal justice. In order to meet demands for revenge fostered among the population against various individuals accused of high treason, the death penalty was reinstated for a number of political crimes, military tribunals were given powers to hear cases of offences against state security committed by civilians, and the judicial branch of Public Prosecutions (Ministère Public) was empowered to prosecute the same offences in connexion with the military prosecuting officers (auditeurs militaires). As a result, arbitrary arrests and detention occurred in several cases, the rights of the defence were curtailed, some criminal statutory provisions were allowed to be applied retrospectively, criminal law tended to be construed extensively, indictments were based on an arbitrary selection, and, although the law excluded forfeiture of private property and assets which had been acquired through dealings and collaboration with the enemy, that hurdle was circumvented by the procedural device of introducing the Belgian State as a private litigant in criminal proceedings (partie civile) in order to obtain compensation for the crimes committed by the defendants


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