Belgium 1996

Yearbook 1996

Belgium. On August 13, Marc Dutroux in the town of Charleroi was arrested for being involved in the disappearance of several underage girls. Two days later, police found in his basement two girls, who were kidnapped and kept hidden, but who survived. It was the prelude to the unveiling of the so-called pedophile heritage in Belgium, which would have major consequences for the country. During the year, the remains were found after four murdered girls, and another eleven children were still missing at the end of the year.

The political consequences of this became widespread. Confidence in the judiciary and police dropped dramatically, and the entire political establishment was questioned by citizens. Large popular demonstrations were organized, partly as support for the affected families and partly as a protest against what was perceived as legal root in Belgian society. Among other things, widespread protests were triggered when the very popular investigating judge, Jean-Marc Connerotte, was forced to resign, after the Supreme Court considered that he had been mutilated by attending a dinner at a charity event in favor of the victims of the pedophiles. In October, as a result of the popular protests, the government promised radical reform of the judiciary that would limit the political influence over the legal system.

The suspicion that the pedophile had protectors in the political system resulted, among other things. in that the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was accused of mistreating an underage boy. However, he was released in December from the suspicion.

Still at the end of the year, police were looking for remains of pedophile victims.

The investigation into the 1991 murder of André Cools, leader of the Belgian Socialist Party and Deputy Prime Minister, resulted in the arrest of former Minister Alain van der Biest, suspected of involvement. More arrests were made, but no trial was initiated during the year.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does BE stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Belgium. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.


Belgian law is largely codified, and the most important law collections established in writing originate from the Napoleonic era, when Belgium belonged to France. The Civil Code, called the Code Napoléon, the Trade Code, the Civil Procedure Code, the Penal Code and the Penal Code have undergone extensive changes over the years. The judiciary consists of over 200 small court cases, a number of courts, appellate courts and the Court of Appeal in Brussels.

There are also commercial courts, labor courts, special criminal courts at the provincial level for serious crimes and a so-called State Council for reviewing administrative acts. Legal developments in Belgium have been greatly affected by its membership in the EU. The death penalty was abolished in 1996; the last execution took place in 1950.

Heads of State


1831-65 Leopold I
1865-1909 Leopold II
1909-34 Albert I
1934-51 Leopold III
1951-93 Baudouin I
1993-2013 Albert II
2013 Philippe

Population 1996

According to, the population of Belgium in 1996 was 10,186,194, ranking number 71 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.360% yearly, and the population density was 336.4037 people per km2.

Belgium Population Distribution by Age