King Filip criticised for pardons to traffic offenders
Politicians and road safety organisations are criticising the news that King Filip has pardoned traffic offenders in response to applications forwarded by the federal justice department
Justice department calls an end to pardons until elections
The king was criticised by several road safety organisations, including the Belgian Institute for Road Safety (BIVV) and Parents of Children Killed in Road Accidents. Karin Genoe of BIVV said that the royal pardons “undermined the work we have done to improve road safety”. Flemish transport minister Hilde Crevits told Radio 1 that she felt sympathy with road accident victims and wanted more clarity on the decision that was made.
Although none of the offenders whose fines were reducted caused accidents involving victims, the revelation sparked debate in the federal parliament on the abolition of royal pardons. N-VA and Open VLD consider it an anachronism. Theo Francken of N-VA called it “a custom dating from the middle ages or the Roman Empire when the emperor could decide a person’s fate by raising or lowering his thumb”.
The decision to turn applications for pardon over to the king, however, is made by the federal justice department and has mainly been granted to prisoners suffering from serious illnesses to help reduce the prison population. Justice minister Annemie Turtelboom announced that no more pardons will be granted before the elections next May.
Traffic in Flanders
largest area covered in traffic ever recorded in Belgium in kilometres
time Antwerp drivers spend in gridlock per year in hours
traffic diversions in Flanders per year