Belgian-congolese women appeal decision acquitting Belgium from crimes against humanity

Five women, daughters of Congolese mothers and Belgian fathers, are appealing a decision by the Brussels civil court which states that the Belgian State is not guilty of crimes against humanity.

The Brussels civil court acquitted the Belgian State in December in the trial of the "mixed-ethnicity children". The five Belgian-Congolese women had charged Belgium with crimes against humanity.

The case also interests the special committee in the Federal Parliament that investigates the Belgian colonial past and has begun to rectify its mistakes. One of the lawyers of the five women, Michèle Hirsch, will be heard tomorrow, Monday 4 July, by the special committe in the House of Representatives. She pleaded for reparations in court in December.

“My clients were abducted, abused, ignored, expelled from the world,” ​ Hirsch said last year. “They are living proof of an unconfessed state crime, and soon there will be no one left to testify,” the lawyer highlighted.


Between 1948 and 1961, several mixed-ethnicity children were kidnapped by Belgian colonial officials. They often forced the mothers to say goodbye to their children, who would be placed in orphanages or missions. According to the ​ Brussels civil court judge, it is not about crimes against humanity and the case is time-barred.

The five women are appealing the ruling. The case has been brought before the Brussels Court of Appeal. A calendar has yet to be established at a later date.

In 2018, then-Prime Minister Charles Michel apologised to the mixed-ethnicity children of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi on behalf of the Belgian State.




© BELGA PHOTO (HADRIEN DURE) Folders with "Enfants Metisses" (mixed-ethnicity children) tags at a hearing in the case of five Belgian-Congolese women against the Belgian State for crimes against humanity, 14 October 2021.

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