Brussels terror attacks: what if you are selected as a juror?

36 jurors to try defendants brought to court in the Brussels terror attacks trial are being selected today.  They will be expected to put their lives on hold for six months. The trial starts on Monday, but first 12 jurors and 24 replacement jurors need to be chosen from 1,000 candidates.

Jurors who are selected will have to serve.  It’s a duty all Belgian citizens can potentially face.  A juror who fails to attend commits a crime and faces a fine of up to 400 euros.

The presiding judge can excuse candidate jurors with medical or physical issues. Work commitment too can excuse potential jurors.

Jurors receive a daily payment of around 50 euros as well as travel expenses.  Their wages too will continue to be paid for the first five days by their employer, for the remainder by the Belgian state.

Jurors receive no psychological support during the trial despite often facing dreadful accounts and being confronted with horrendous acts and images.  Jurors have to depend on their peers for support.

Twelve jurors are needed to deliver a verdict in a case before the court of assises.  If a juror falls ill, he or she can be replaced, but the number of reserve jurors is limited to 24.  In 2020 a case was halted for seven weeks while jurors recovered from Covid.

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