Court proceedings against 13 accused of terrorist attacks get under way

More than four and a half years since the terrorist attacks at Zaventem airport, near Brussels and on the Brussels metro, court proceedings have got under way against 13 people suspected of involvement in the attacks. 32 people died and 340 more were injured in the explosions at the airport and at the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels. 

Proceedings are taking place at what used to be the headquarters of NATO. It is the first time that the site that has been renamed “Justitia” will host a trial. The trial will be the largest in Belgian legal history and due to its nature requires the strictest security. This make the former NATO site far more suitable that Brussels’ main courthouse building in the city centre.

For the next two weeks deliberation will be largely procedural and it will be decided which of the 13 suspects will stand trial in front of a judge and jury. It will also be decided what charges they will be tried on. Proceedings during the next 10 working days will be held behind closed doors.

The job of the court over the next two weeks will be to decide which of the 13 accused should go to trial. 

The events of 22 March 2016 will remain etched in our collective memory for every. Just before 8am a bomb exploded in the departure lounge of Brussels Airport at Zaventem (Flemish Brabant). Around an hour later there was a second explosion this time in an underground train that had stopped at the Maalbeek metro station. 

Three of the four bombers died in the attacks. The fourth bomber, the so-called “man in a hat”, walked away. In addition to him a further 12 people are accused of involvement in the attacks. 8 of these are accused of 32 counts of murder committed with a terrorist motive.  There are also 687 charges of attempted murder with a terrorist motive. These relate to the people that were injured ore simply present at the place where the two attacks took place. 

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