PEDOPHILE CASE JUDGE BREAKS DOWN IN COURT
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
March 6, 2004
Jean-Marc Connerotte, who gave evidence in the Dutroux trial.
The Belgian judge who
saved two young girls from Marc Dutroux's pedophile dungeon has broken down in
the witness box, alleging high-level murder plots to stop his investigation into
a child-sex mafia.
Jean-Marc Connerotte was in tears on the fourth day of the trial on Thursday, describing the bullet-proof vehicles and armed guards needed to protect him against shadowy figures determined to stop the full truth coming out.
"Never before in Belgium has an investigating judge at the service of the king been subjected to such pressure," he said.
"We were told by police that (murder) contracts had been taken out against the magistrates. As the danger mounted, emergency measures were taken." He then froze in silence and the court was adjourned until he recovered.
He said "organised crime methods" were used to discredit his work and ensure his inquiries ended in "judicial failure".
A hero to millions of Belgians, Judge Connerotte was removed from the Dutroux case after he had dinner with families of the victims in October 1996: this was deemed a conflict of interest.
The move resulted in workers going on strike and 300,000 people marching silently through Brussels in protest.
Seven years later, some of the families are boycotting the trial, describing it as a circus and saying the inquiry effectively shut down the moment Judge Connerotte left.
Addressing the jury of 12 at the Arlon Palais de Justice, Judge Connerotte relived the moment in August 1996 when his team rescued Sabine Dardenne, 12, and Laetitia Delhez, 14, from the cage beneath Dutroux's house.
He said the girls recoiled into the cell when the heavy hidden door was pulled open, fearing that a pedophile "band" had come to get them.
As Dutroux coaxed them out, saying there was nothing to fear, they clutched on to him as their protector. Sabine had been held for 79 days, much of the time chained by the neck. Dutroux admitted this week he had raped her 20 times. He said the plan was to hand her over to the criminal network, but he kept her because he was "depressed".
Judge Connerotte said Dutroux displayed a "frightening professionalism" in designing the secret cells. "Clearly they were built so they couldn't be found," he said.
"He had installed a ventilation system so that the odours were extracted from above. The dogs couldn't smell the presence of the young girls."
He castigated local authorities for failing to take action much earlier. Dutroux had been named in police files in July 1995 as a suspect in the abduction of two eight-year-old girls more than a year before their bodies were found on Dutroux's land.
"The sum of 150,000 francs ($A6000) was mentioned as the price for girls. I was struck by the richness of these documents. Any magistrate should have acted the way I did later," he said.
The girls apparently starved to death in the dungeon while Dutroux was in prison.
In January 1996, Judge Connerotte wrote to King Albert alleging his investigations into crime networks were being blocked because suspects "apparently enjoyed serious protection".
He went on to say that the "dysfunctional judiciary" was breaking down as mafia groups took secret control of the "key institutions of the country".
CHILD RAPIST DENIES KIDNAP, MURDER CHARGES
March 4, 2004
Convicted child rapist Marc Dutroux denied kidnapping and killing two young girls found buried in his garden, saying he kept them in a dungeon to protect them from a child sex ring.
The Belgian took the stand yesterday on the third day of his trial for a string of gruesome paedophile murders in the mid-1990s that traumatised the nation and discredited its police and judiciary.
"I didn't want this to happen to them," the 47-year-old former electrician told the court under questioning by presiding judge Stephane Goux.
A convicted multiple child rapist, Dutroux is charged with the abduction and rape of six girls and the murder of four.
In testimony at times rambling and contradictory, he told the jury that all the crimes of which he was accused were carried out by a criminal gang based in the city of Charleroi, which had enjoyed "police and political protection".
The last two victims survived his arrest in 1996 and were found in a makeshift cell in a cellar to which he had built a concealed door in a house in Marcinelle, southern Belgium.
Dutroux denied any involvement in the kidnapping and death of eight-year-olds Julie and Melissa, the first two girls to be abducted in July 1995, telling the court he had found them at his home with his wife and two other men - Michel Nihoul and Bernard Weinstein.
Asked by the judge why he had built the trap door to the cell, in which the girls were held for months, he said: "I wanted to create a hiding place to spare them from being sent to a prostitution ring."
He accused co-defendant Nihoul, as well as Weinstein, a Frenchman found buried in Dutroux's garden in 1996, of planning to use the children for prostitution.
"When I learned from Bernard Weinstein that it was for paedophilia, I didn't even know what paedophilia was. It was all Chinese to me," Dutroux told the court.
Asked why he had not denounced his accomplices sooner, he said: "I didn't want to endanger my family."
He spoke about his childhood and career, depicting himself as the victim of an authoritarian mother.
Asked why he had changed his testimony so often during nearly seven years in custody, he said it was to protect his ex-wife, Michelle Martin, on trial with him.
"My statements were full of lies," he said, while insisting that this time he would tell "the whole truth".
Dutroux had sought to fan conspiracy theories that he was just a cog in a bigger machine by telling VTM Flemish television on the eve of the trial that he was a scapegoat for a mafia network involved in trafficking children.
Defence lawyers, outlining their case, evoked satanic cults, mysteriously deceased witnesses and forensic evidence of the presence of other people in Dutroux's cells as evidence that their client was not a "lone pervert".
The prosecution says investigators have found no evidence of such a wider conspiracy, although a parallel probe into the allegations is continuing.
Lawyers for the victims called the defence strategy a "smokescreen" and appealed to Dutroux to tell the truth about crimes that Belgians have struggled to comprehend.
The trial is expected to last at least two months. Dutroux, who was jailed in 1989 for a series of violent rapes, including on minors, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In their indictment, prosecutors described Dutroux as a manipulator who saw himself as a victim of a hateful society.
"In his mind, all social rules are perfectly recognised, but they are either rejected as being unacceptably constraining, or used for his own beneit," the indictment said.
Convicted child killer Marc Dutroux was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Belgian court today, and his ex-wife to 30 years.
At the end of a three-month trial which rocked Belgium, 47-year-old Dutroux was found guilty last Thursday of murdering An Marchal, 17, and Eefje Lambrecks, 19, and an accomplice, Bernard Weinstein.
Dutroux and ex-wife Michelle Martin were also found guilty of imprisonment causing death of two eight-year-olds, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo. Another two girls were rescued by police.
While Martin was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, a further co-accused, Michel Lelievre, was sentenced to 25 years. He had been found guilty of assisting Dutroux in the kidnappings.
Convicted fraudster Michel Nihoul, who acted as a link between Dutroux and a larger paedophile ring, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. He had been found guilty of people trafficking.
Politicians and police
Outrage continued to grow as more arrests were made and evidence of high-level government and police complicity continued to emerge. One of Dutroux's accomplices, businessman Jean-Michel Nihoul, confessed to organizing an ‘orgy’ at a Belgian chateau that had been attended by government officials, a former European Commissioner, and a number of law enforcement officers. A Belgian senator noted, quite accurately, that such parties were part of a system “which operates to this day and is used to blackmail the highly placed people who take part.”
According to the BBC, Nihoul has brazenly claimed: “I am the monster of Belgium.” He has all but dared the state to prosecute him, claiming that he is beyond the reach of the law because he has information that, if made public, “would bring the Government and the entire state down.”
In September 1996, twenty-three suspects - at least nine of whom were police officers - were detained and questioned about their possible complicity in the crimes and/or their negligence in investigating the case. As the Los Angeles Times noted in a very brief, two-sentence report, the detainments “were the latest indication that police in the southern city of Charleroi may have helped cover up the alleged crimes of Marc Dutroux.” The arrests followed raids on the police officers’ homes and on the headquarters of the Charleroi police force and were based on information supplied by police inspector Georges Zicot, who had already been charged as an accomplice. Three magistrates had also reportedly been interrogated by police investigators.
Louf identified Michel Nihoul as a regular organizer of ‘parties.’ These parties, she said, “not only involved sex, they included sadism, torture and murder.” She described in detail the murdered victims, and how and where they were killed.
The bodies of seven children were believed to have been hidden by the ring, which was thought could be linked to Dutroux through Michel Nihoul. Two months after that, a man named Patrick Derochette and three of his family members were arrested following the discovery of the body of a nine-year-old girl.
.” The ring was also said by the Times to offer what were cryptically referred to as “custom-made videos” for the hefty price of $5,000 each.
Sentence has been passed in the Belgian "trial of the century" of the pedophile child murderer Marc Dutroux and his accomplices. Dutroux was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years "internment at the government's pleasure" --- a measure intended to block his being paroled. His mate and accomplice Michelle Martin got 30 years in prison, as requested by the prosecution. Another accomplice, Lelièvre, got 25 years, 5 less than requested by the prosecution. Peculiarly, the enigmatic alleged ringleader Michel Nihoul was only sentenced to 5 years in prison, despite requests by the prosecution that no sentence less than 10 years be pronounced.
My own sentencing would have spared society the expense of guarding and caring for the inmates, except Nihoul, whose life I might offer to spare in exchange for turning state's witness.
Timeline: Dutroux paedophile case
Belgian paedophile Marc Dutroux, 47, is on trial for the
murder of four young girls. The bodies of two teenage girls, An Marchal and
Eefje Lambrecks, and two eight-year-olds, Melissa Russo and Julie Lejeune,
were found buried at properties belonging to him. Mr Dutroux, on trial with
three others, has denied killing the girls, but admitted to kidnapping and
24 June 1995: Eight-year-olds Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo disappear near their home in Grace-Hollogne, east Belgium.
23 August 1995: An Marchal, 17, and Eefje Lambrecks, 19, go missing during a holiday at the seaside town of Ostend.
6 December 1995: Mr Dutroux is arrested on car theft and other charges. He is convicted and spends nearly four months in prison.
28 May 1996: Sabine Dardenne, 12, disappears while riding her bike to school in the town of Kain, south-west Belgium.
9 August 1996: Laetitia Delhez, 14, disappears after leaving a swimming pool in her home town of Bertrix, south-east Belgium.
13 August 1996: Mr Dutroux, his ex-wife Michelle Martin and Michel Lelievre are detained in Sars-la-Buissiere, south Belgium.
15 August 1996: Mr Dutroux leads police to makeshift cell in house in Charleroi suburb of Marcinelle where Sabine Dardenne and Laetitia Delhez are found alive. Both have been drugged and sexually abused.
16 August 1996: Mr Dutroux admits kidnapping An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks. Fourth suspect Michel Nihoul is detained.
17 August 1996: Mr Dutroux admits killing suspected accomplice Bernard Weinstein and takes police to the bodies of Julie Lejeune, Melissa Russo and Weinstein buried in the backyard of a Sars-la-Buissiere house.
3 September 1996: Police find remains of An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks under a garden shed at Weinstein's house in Charleroi suburb of Jumet.
20 October 1996: Some 300,000 people march on Brussels in support of victims' families and to protest against the authorities for the bungled investigation into missing girls.
9 April 1997: Parliamentary interim report into the Dutroux case finds police "inhumane, inept, inefficient and ill-equipped" and lists blunders and rivalry during probe.
23 April 1998: Mr Dutroux escapes custody during a court visit but is swiftly recaptured. Belgium's police chief, justice minister and interior minister resign.
1 March 2004: Trial begins in town of Arlon.
Trial: Key moments
4 March 2004: Jean-Marc Connerotte, who led the initial investigation, testifies.
18 March 2004: A key to a pair of handcuffs is found near Mr Dutroux's prison cell, hidden in a bag of salt in a kitchen. The keys fit Mr Dutroux's cuffs.
19 April 2004: Sabine Dardenne appears in court and gives dramatic testimony against her abuser - asking him why he did not kill her.
20 April 2004: Laetitia Delhez takes the stand, describing how she was chained to a bed and raped after being abducted.
27 April 2004: The court and the two surviving victims, Sabine Dardenne and Laetitia Delhez, visit the cell where the girls were imprisoned.
24 May 2004: The lawyers for both sides begin making their final arguments.
10 June 2004: Mr Dutroux makes a final appeal to the court in which he says he is not a murderer.
14 June 2004: The jury retires to consider its verdict.
17 June 2004: Dutroux convicted of murder and leading a child kidnap
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|Perfidy, thy name is Belgium. The same goes for treachery, deceit,
ungratefulness, betrayal, and shameful behavior. There are many countries
whose governments are horrible and in need of change (see "Onward American
Soldiers," Indy 11/7/02) but there are few nations whose society, people and
government are so horrifying as to be nearly irredeemable. This fact was
brought to my mind by the recent move by Belgium to leave Turkey defenseless
in the face of Iraqi aggression. But Belgium has been perfidious throughout
its 173-year history.
Belgium is a nation of 10 million miserable people sandwiched in between Germany, Holland, France, the North Sea and mighty Luxembourg. Here is what the CIA World Factbook has to say: "Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy."
Belgium no sooner became independent than it hurried to catch up with the other European powers in acquiring an empire. Leopold II sent a shifty character named Henry Stanley to secure what was then called the "Kongo" for Belgium. Stanley's method, in the words of one historian, "when meeting a new chief, was to attach a buzzer to his hand which was linked to a battery. When the chief shook hands with Stanley he got a mild electric shock. This device convinced the chiefs that Stanley had superhuman powers. The agreements allowed the Belgians into the Congo to take its rich natural resources."
The Belgian regime in the Congo was unsurpassed in its brutality. Leopold and his henchman extracted the diamonds of the Congo at extraordinary cost. Adam Hochschild, whose family profited from the Congo diamond trade, showed in King Leopold's Ghost that 10 million Congolese were killed or worked to death by King Leopold's army, that women were systematically raped, that the chopping off of hands was a regular practice and that the local populace endured kidnapping, looting and village burnings. Not only do the Belgians not discuss (or apologize for) this, but they still run a public museum celebrating the civilization they brought to the Congo.
Despite the total depravity and brutality they showed in Africa, the Belgians proved themselves to be the worst sort of bullies--those who cannot stick up for themselves. When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914, it took them two weeks to reach Brussels and only another month to rule the rest of the country. It was this invasion which caused Britain to enter the war and sacrifice the flower of its youth, almost 1,000,000 men and boys, to free Belgium.
This sacrifice was pretty much in vain, for it took Belgium only 18 days to surrender to the Nazis in 1940. While the SS occupied in Belgium, it faced a decidedly lax resistance, and achieved one of the highest Jewish death tolls in Western Europe, higher than that of Vichy France. Upon liberation, 57% of Belgians voted to reinstate monarchy, despite the fact that their King had been a personal guest of Hitler at Bertchesgarden. What's a little friendliness with Hitler between compatriots?
Sex and Politics
Belgium is considered
Jewry's European headquarters for
Dutroux also claimed two policemen took part in the August, 1995 kidnapping of the two teens, An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks.
He said their abduction was carried out by himself, a drug-addict friend who is also on trial, and two other men.
"I later found out they were members of the police force," he told the court, without identifying them.
He said one of the officers and his heroin-addict accomplice, Michel Lelievre, had raped one of the young women after they were kidnapped while on holiday near the Belgian coastal town of Ostende.
Belgian found guilty in sex crimes case
Marc Dutroux, Belgium's most reviled man, was found guilty Thursday of kidnapping and raping six girls, killing two of them and causing the death of two others, after a trial that gripped the country for months.
After three days of deliberations, the jury found the man described by experts as a self-absorbed psychopath guilty on all counts for crimes that shocked the country in 1996.
Belgian child rapist Marc Dutroux, his ex-wife Michelle Martin, Michel Lelievre and Michel Nihoul sit in the dock in a courthouse in the eastern Belgian town of Arlon June 17, 2004. Their trial, in which they face charges of kidnapping, raping and murdering young girls ends on Thursday as the jury finished the deliberations on a verdict. A Belgian jury on Thursday found Dutroux, the country's most reviled man, guilty of murder in a case of the kidnap and rape of six girls and the death of four of them. [Reuters]
Dutroux, 47, faces life in prison.
The crimes, which included the death by starvation of two girls in a basement dungeon in Dutroux's house near the southern city of Charleroi, have haunted the country for years.
Not only did they make Belgium synonymous with pedophilia in the world's eyes, they also raised questions in people's minds about the possible complicity of police and politicians.
The bungled investigation into the missing girls, who were between the ages of eight and 19, led many Belgians to believe Dutroux worked under the protection of a child sex ring whose members included influential people.
In his testimony, Dutroux played on this, describing himself as a reluctant accomplice who supplied girls to a mysterious ring to save his own life.
Despite allusions to police helping kidnap girls and suggestions the ring had ties to a Satanic cult, Dutroux and his lawyers failed to produce evidence to support their claims.
RELIEF AND TEARS
During a brief recess in Thursday's proceedings, members of the victims' families came out of the courtroom expressing relief at the verdicts on Dutroux and the two co-defendants.
"I am happy," a smiling Paul Marchal told local television. "They are guilty for everything that they have done."
His daughter, An, and her friend Eefje Lambrecks were kidnapped while on vacation on the coast in 1995. Their bodies were dug up in the backyard of a house near Charleroi after Dutroux's 1996 arrest.
The grandmother of Julie -- kidnapped when she was eight and found dead in the basement of Dutroux's house with her friend Melissa -- wept for joy on the steps of the courthouse.
"I vowed on my little girl's coffin that I would seek revenge," said Jeanine Lejeune. "My revenge has come. I hadn't realized that I would be so relieved."
The jury found two co-defendants, Dutroux's ex-wife Michelle Martin and Michel Lelievre, guilty of similar charges.
But the 12 jury members were divided on the guilt of a third co-defendant, businessman Michel Nihoul, and the judges sided with the minority, leading to his acquittal on charges of conspiracy and kidnapping.
The jury also found Nihoul -- accused by Dutroux of being the mastermind behind the crimes -- not guilty on charges of being an accomplice, but guilty of masterminding a gang involved in drugs and human trafficking.
"I was especially relieved that Nihoul was found guilty of leading a gang, and also on human trafficking," Marchal said.
Georges-Henri Beauthier, a lawyer for Laetitia Delhez, one of two victims who survived, was only partly satisfied.
"It's ... not totally satisfying because Nihoul was an important element, but he will have 20 years which is satisfying because Dutroux was clearly not acting alone," he said.
Nihoul has always denied any wrongdoing.
The co-defendants could each get more than 20 years.
Dutroux stared resolutely at the table, scribbling on a piece of paper, whenever his crimes were mentioned when the jury's verdict was read in public.
The debate on the sentencing will start Monday with the prosecutor, defense lawyers and defendants reacting to the verdict in this southeast Belgian town near Luxembourg.
Dutroux had admitted kidnapping and raping some of the girls but denied killing any of them, blaming other defendants for their deaths.
Sabine Dardenne with Marie-Therese Cuny
What you see here on the book cover is eminently what you get: Sabine Dardenne is photographed holding a photograph of herself at 12 - the age when she was dragged from her bike as she was cycling to school, bundled into a van, imprisoned in a hidden concrete cell, drugged, starved and continually, relentlessly raped, for nearly three months.
The two faces make you think: about innocence, childhood, vulnerability. The little girl in the photo-within-a-photo is smiling broadly, her white teeth all childishly uneven: she is a very young 12. The little face is cheeky, sparky; the eyes bright and open, head slightly cocked to one side.
The young woman holding the framed picture gazes steadily out at the reader. The eyes and mouth that seemed too large in the child's face have moved into proportion. The hands that cradle the picture frame are long, beautifully manicured and confidently wearing chunky silver rings.She holds the picture of the child-Sabine protectively close to her chest. It is a photograph of rare power: dignified and poignant beyond telling. For this is a book that makes you consider experiences that defy language.
Her account is a steely challenge to her
Ma1993: Police did search one of Dutroux's homes on no less than three separate occasions over the course of the investigation. On at least two of those occasions, two of the missing girls were being held in heinous conditions imprisoned in a custom-built dungeon in the basement. Nevertheless, the police searches came up empty, despite the fact that the investigating officers reported “hearing children's voices on one occasion,” according to the Guardian.
rofile: Marc Dutroux http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3522367.stm
Marc Dutroux is one of the most notorious criminals in Belgium. He was arrested in 1996, and charged with abduction of six girls (Julie Lejeune (8), Mélissa Russo (8), An Marchal (19), Eefje Lambrecks (17), Sabine Dardenne (12) and Laetitia Delhez (14)), in 1995 and 1996, sexually abusing them and causing death to four of them.
Sabine and Laetitia were found alive in his home in Marcinelle near Charleroi (Hainaut) shortly after his arrest; they had been kept imprisoned three months and one week, respectively.
Julie and Mélissa were found dead in the garden of another house of Dutroux, in Sars-la-Buissière (Hainaut). Their death was caused by neglect, they were locked up while Dutroux was in prison earlier, during 4 months from December 1995, and his accomplices failed to feed them.
An and Eefje were found dead in Jumet (Hainaut).
His trial will start in March 2004; in the meantime he serves sentences for lesser crimes. Among them was an escape from custody in 1998; he was caught a few hours later.
Authorities have been criticized for various errors related to his case, for example:
The house in which Julie and Mélissa were kept in a specially constructed secret basement was searched by the police while they were still alive, but the police did not find them. This was due to the fact that the search was on the pretext of being related to theft; therefore no dogs or special equipment for finding the girls could be used.
It was considered a blunder that one of the most notorious criminals in Belgium could escape during a transfer; it was felt that he should have been better guarded.
In 2003 Sabine Dardenne gave her first interview to the press (at age 19). She stated that, based on her observations, she thinks that Dutroux acted alone, as opposed to certain speculations that he was part of a criminal network in which even high officials might be involved.
rofile: Marc Dutroux http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3522367.stm
Mr Dutroux was sentenced in 1989 to 13 years for abduction and rape
Marc Dutroux, who stands accused of child killings in Belgium, has a criminal record going back 25 years.
In 1979, Mr Dutroux received the first of a series of convictions for theft, violent muggings, drug-dealing and trading in stolen cars.
Sexual crimes came later - in 1986, Mr Dutroux and his then-wife Michelle Martin were arrested for the abductions and rape of five girls, for which they were both imprisoned.
His own mother wrote to the prison director to warn about her son.
Evidence emerging over the past weeks suggests that Dutroux and his associates'
activities spread across Europe. Michelle Martin, Dutroux's wife, is known to have spent a lot of time out of the country. Michel Bourlet, the prosecutor leading the investigation into the pedophile ring, has confirmed that he is contacting police forces across Europe. Michelle Hirsch, a lawyer stated that:
"Child pornography and prostitution is an international business.
Traffickers buy children from poor families in Asia and with the co-operation of police and corrupt officials they arrange for their transport across international borders."
"A key reason for the increasing demand is that larger numbers of sex tourists specifically request children." Girls and boys as young as 6 hang out at gas stations, bus stops, and supermarkets on the Czech side of the border, says the report, written by a German social worker who says she has identified around 500 children prostituting themselves.
Russian Jews Italy
Jewish officials in a major Italian news agency tried to cover the story up, but were circumvented by Italian news reporters, who broadcasts scenes from the films live at prime time on Italian television to more than 11 million Italian viewers. Jewish officials then fired the executives responsible, claiming they were spreading "blood libel."
Throughout history, various groups have accused sects of Jews of ritually murdering small children. One such account, that of Hugh of Lincoln, led to the expulsion of all Jews from Britain in the 13th Century. Such accounts have generally been discounted, but are so wide spread that Jewish organizations have developed a name for them -- "blood libel".
The American group the ADL was founded to defend a Jew, Leo Frank, accused of raping and murdering a twelve year old girl, Mary Phagan, in his Atlanta pencil factory in 1913. The ADL claims he was innocent. A mob lynched him after the governor commuted his death sentence to life in prison.
Though AP and Reuters both ran stories on the episode, US media conglomerates refused to carry the story on television news, again saying the story would prejudice Americans against Jews.
Jewish gangsters in Russia have become increasingly linked to traffic in "white slaves" and prostitutes through Israel, according to a recent report in the Jerusalem Post. Israel turns an official blind eye to forced prostitution, and does not punish Israeli citizens who choose to own "sex slaves", as long as the slaves are foreign and non-Jews.
Friday, May 19 2000 (14 Iyar 5760)
Amnesty: Israel failing to deal with white-slave trade
By Dan Izenberg and Heidi J. Gleit
JERUSALEM (May 19) - Israel has failed to take adequate measures against human rights abuses of women who have been brought here and forced to provide sexual services, Amnesty International charged.
"This is so," a special Amnesty report on the trafficking of women from the former Soviet Union said, "even though many of them have been subjected to human rights abuses such as enslavement or torture, including rape and other forms of sexual abuse, by traffickers, pimps, or others involved in Israel's sex industry."
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin told Amnesty International representatives yesterday that Deputy Attorney-General Yehudit Karp is preparing an amendment to the Penal Law which would address the trafficking phenomenon and provide immunity for trafficked women. He predicted that the legislation would be presented to the Knesset at its winter session.
According to Amnesty International, hundreds of women are brought to Israel from the former Soviet Union every year.
According to Amnesty International, Israel is bound by international law and by international covenants that it has signed to stamp out the sex trafficking.
Police are arresting suspects on related charges such as kidnapping, pimping, raping, and assaulting the women, Sedbon said.
The other major problem is that the women are scared to file police complaints and testify against the pimps, he said. Since most of them are in the country illegally, they are scared to approach police. Fear of reprisal by the pimps further paralyzes them. Police try to get around this both by promising to protect complainants and by initiating operations to collect evidence against and raid brothels, he said.
An additional complication is that prosecutors need the women who complain to testify in the court cases against the pimps, which can be months after the initial complaint is filed. Since the women are here illegally and there is a chance that the pimps will harm them if they are left to their own devices here, they have often ended up sitting in jail until the trial is completed.
Sedbon said that they now try to send the women home and bring them back here for the trial.
Sedbon declined to comment on the complaints filed against Afula police chief Ch.-Supt. Shlomo Marmelstein and Tel Aviv police chief Cmdr. Shlomo Aharonishky for not acting against the problem, saying he could not comment on specific cases.
Sedbon emphasized that the issue is a priority for police and that each police district's serious crimes division is dealing with the problem.
Statistics police released earlier this year show an increase in the number of cases opened against pimps: 279 in 1997; 370 in 1998; and 506 in 1999.
Sedbon also said that only a minority of the foreign women working here as prostitutes are kidnapped and forced into prostitution.
Dutroux Anti Semitism
In countries such as Belgium, with its inglorious colonial past and its present incessant criminal scandals (the Killers of Brabant,20 the Cools21 and the Dutroux Affairs,22 to name but a few), Israel or Zionism can play a significant role. They can expiate once and for all Europe’s crimes and its colonial and imperialistic past
ANTISEMISM WORLD REPORT
In February, Bert Anciaux, the president of Volksunie, condemned what he perceived as government apathy towards far-right groupings such as Excalibur, Wehrwolf-Verbond, Pure Impact and the NJSV and called for more repressive measures against them. Anciaux stated that these groups and their publications, which often express nostalgia for Hitler and deny or trivialize the Holocaust, defy the 1981 and 1995 anti-racist laws.
In 1996, the country was shaken by the revelations surrounding the "Dutroux affair"-the kidnapping and murder of children by paedophiles-and the ensuing negligence and complicity by officials in the police and judiciary. The investigations into the affair continue to plague Belgium's judicial and political class, and have led to large-scale demonstrations in Brussels
The monthly Le Cri du citoyen (Cry of the Citizen), which re-emerged in 1995 after several years of non-production, led a crusade in 1996 against "international finance". Managed by an Italian, Francesco Catania, this periodical republishes articles that have appeared in French antisemitic journals such as Rivarol and Jeune Nation. It has also publicized the Swiss-based Nouvel Ordre Européen network (see Switzerland) and is influenced by the ideology of Charles Maurras.
Ket, the pro-VB francophone periodical produced by BIS, following the "Dutroux affair" wrote of the "horrors perpetrated by Bernard Weinstein and Dutroux". Weinstein, suspected of being an accessory in the Dutroux case, was found murdered. Dutroux is the prime suspect, as he believed Weinstein to be a police informer. Ket higlights Weinstein's involvement in the case on the grounds that he is Jewish. The affair is still under investigation and Dutroux is in custody.
The monthly Europe nouvelles, run by Rolf van den Haute (a VB councillor), was only printed four times in 1996. Since then this neo-Nazi paper has ceased to appear-principally due to financial problems with its Parisian partners l'Æncre (see France
DUTROUX AND THE TRAIL OF DECEPTION
WHO IS SPINNING THE WEB OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION?
[some links are in French]
On June 17, 2004 Marc Dutroux, a well known paedophile, long-standing criminal and low-level police informant, received a life sentence for supposedly leading a gang that kidnapped and raped six girls in the mid-1990s, leading to the deaths of four of them. His links to a sex and crime ring led to other arrests including his wife Michelle Martin, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and rape. Co-accused Michel Lelièvre who got 25 years for kidnapping and drug-dealing. Jean Michel Nihoul however, known for his penchant for organizing orgies at a local chateau, where several government officials, police officers, and a former European Commissioner frequently attended; a man with high society links and a long history of assorted criminality, was jailed for only five years for drug-dealing and counts of fraud. His lover, Marleen De Cockere was also arrested and charged with conspiracy.
Belgium's Prime Minister Dehaene finally began to make the right noises after an enormous public out-cry. All of a sudden, the government professed its dedication to the cause of reform in the justice and police systems,particularly regarding parole criteria for those convicted of child sex offences. The Royalty, most notably King Albert (who was also fighting a rear guard action against rumours that he too was directly involved in sex abuse) also conveniently jumped on the bandwagon and called for further reforms. However, at this late stage it was a case of far too little, far too late, especially when the rumours of institutionalized sexual abuse and a wider network of paedophilia had still not been satisfactorily investigated.
All this was perhaps no surprise after the conclusion of Dutroux's seven year trial, which was subject to numerous postponements, delays and highly suspicious manoeuvrings. There was also evidence of extraordinary negligence from the police and government officials involved in the investigation, where several police officers were detained and questioned. Resignations and dismissals followed, as well as one of the largest peacetime demonstrations ever seen by the Belgian public furious at what they considered to be at best, ineptitude and at worst a cover-up which extended right to the heart of Belgian royalty and beyond.
True to our relentless drive to consume new variations on a voyeuristic theme, a cottage industry of movies, books and sensationalist documentaries on the "monster" Marc Dutroux are beginning to multiply serving to paint over the serious flaws in the investigation via the varnish of "entertainment" and the lessons of a recent history. Time to move on, as the real perpetrators of these crime are only too pleased that we do. Nevertheless, if this particular psychopath was only a "paid worker" in a network of "handlers" as he has always claimed, then investigations should have continued though the chance now for the case to be re-opened is slight indeed. The evidence appears to show that Dutroux and his associates' discovery may have been a "glitch" in a global operation. This was to be repaired by a very public "trial" and the sentences of lesser "nodes" of the network, while the more powerful and well known suspects were allowed to go free. Are we to believe that Dutroux and his kind are merely human aberrations consuming the antithesis of their own evil before being preserved in the aspic of notoriety that humanity slavishly insists in honouring? Or do they simply gravitate towards hidden structures already set in place within society due to the fundamental psychopathology of our most cherished ideals?
Persons such as Dutroux may be acting out impulses which are intrinsically his own. Yet our world operates on a similar set of rules, where secrecy, manipulation, coercion, murder and the total disregard of basic human rights are the everyday reality. Our so called civilised world is literally designed to let the psychopath do exactly as he pleases if he can get away with it and if he has a little help from on high as the majority of the population suffering under abject poverty and hardship will tell you.
We have the wholesale slaughter of over 100,000 Iraqis from an invasion force, most of whom are children; the torture and sexual abuse of prisoners and children in the Abu Ghraib jails with another sentencing of a "renegade gang" of abusers who were clearly following orders. We have Dutroux raping and murdering girls in a dungeon in the Belgian countryside with obvious connections to a wider paedophile ring where murder and sado-masochism is the norm. The line is a little more than blurred than we may think. For they both have an individual and collective dynamic in common: A systematic foundation of control based on lies, a refusal to face their conscience, should there be one and the relentless drive to satisfy a need whatever the consequences. These are the actions of the Human Predator - a killing machine existing to satisfy its desire to consume, whether it be a corporation, or a lone individual - the latter is often subsumed into the former - they are of the same nature.
If we follow this hypothesis through to its logical conclusion, we must then address the more difficult reappraisal of the concepts of what we consider "democracy" to be. As we follow the web of connections in this article we may have a choice to entertain the probability that our western societies operate on very different principles than we had formerly chosen to believe.
Before the knee-jerk reflex of conspiracy theory begins to yet again take hold of the reader it is worth pointing out that we live in a world where the corporate, political and institutional world is conspiratorial by nature. History, not least Machiavelli, attests to this. When, as in the present case, the veil momentarily falls we are offered a glimpse of an underworld we would rather not contemplate. This underworld is rapidly gaining ascendance due to an old Faustian pact with politics and intelligence agencies. Richard Dolan puts it very nicely:
Anyone who has lived in a repressive society knows that official manipulation of the truth occurs daily. But societies have their many and their few. In all times and all places, it is the few who rule, and the few who exert dominant influence over what we may call official culture. - All elites take care to manipulate public information to maintain existing structures of power. It's an old game. [...] Its fundamental traits are secrecy, wealth, independence, power, and duplicity. [...]
Deception is the key element of warfare, and when winning is all that matters,
the conventional morality held by ordinary people becomes an impediment. When
taken together, the examples of official duplicity form a nearly single
The secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world, that those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the status quo. [...]
Marc Dutroux had settled in the Belgian province of Charleroi but was unable to obtain work. He did however, provide for his family by trading stolen cars in Poland and Slovakia, and eventually selling young girls into prostitution throughout Europe beginning in the late eighties and early nineties.
While he began to exercise his criminal muscles and psychopathic tendencies Dutroux was arrested in 1989 for for the rape and abuse of five young girls. Nevertheless, his luck was in and as a product of Belgium's curious laws which were more than flexible regarding paedophiles at the time, he and many other convicted paedophiles were able to walk free by 1992. The law only tightened up when the full scale of the death and abuse came to light upon his arrest in 1996. By then many girls had gone missing in the vicinity of Dutroux's homes. The magnitude of the incompetence of the police investigation into the crimes slowly became known over the seven year period from his arrest to his sentence. These included warnings to the police from Dutroux's own mother regarding possible kidnapping of girls in one of her son's houses he owned all over Belgium to overlooking basic police investigative protocol by ignoring informants' information which proved accurate and the subsequent loss of vital clues. Finally, an eyewitness managed to record the number plate of a suspicious car in the area where the girls went missing and Marc Dutroux was arrested on August 15 1996.
Two girls, Laetitia Delhez, aged 12, and Sabine Dardenne, aged 14 were found alive but others were not so lucky. Tales of torture, rape, pornogrpahic filming and a general litany of sexual abuse took place in a secret dungeon. Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, were two other eight year old victims who were plucked off the street, in June of 1995 drugged, repeatedly raped and who were later allowed to starve to death. Dutroux maintained his accomplice in the kidnappings one Bernard Weinstein forgot to feed them while Dutroux was incarcerated for another crime for car theft. He later confessed to killing Weinstein in a fit of rage by drugging and burying him alive next to the bodies of Russo and Lejeune.
Further known victims were An Marchal, aged 19, and Eefje Lambreks, aged 17, who were found at another house owned by Dutroux, several weeks after the discovery of Russo and Lejeune. Dutroux and accomplice Michel Lelievre admitted kidnapping two other girls who had gone missing at a Belgian resort in Ostend one year earlier.
The above is horrific, yet what is perhaps more disturbing is the general resistance and clear manouvering of the authorities for several years. This was clearly a can of worms which was in danger of spilling out in all directions and revealing what lay at the bottom if the lid wasn't placed back on pretty firmly. It seems as if a few worms were squashed in the process primarily in order to protect the ring leaders. The Belgian public were convinced that a massive protection operation had been in place to protect politicians, officials in high places, and the child sexual abuse ring. They also believed that the government, police and courts were currently involved in a cover-up.
Dutroux was dubbed a "perfect psychopath" showing no remorse and revelling in the media circus and the audience attention in court. He frequently displayed self-pity and almost comical delusions of grandeur so typical of the psychopath, and stated he was not a paedophile as commonly believed. Interestingly, experts agreed with him:
"The age of the victims did not seem to arouse in him any given effect or to play a particular role, beyond allowing him to kidnap them, to manipulate them, to confine them," said the report. What Dutroux relished was total power over people. [...]
Dutroux himself cited the injustice of being denied ice creams at the beach as evidence of emotional privation.[...]
This gave support to his insistence that he was not in it for reasons of paedophilia but rather he was an opportunist, seeking power over others and the gratification and criminal behaviour that went with it. Rape and the murder of his partner he admitted to, but was Dutroux telling the truth regarding the murders of the other victims? A psychopathic personality with blood on his hands no doubt but was he guilty of the specific accusations?
Dutroux had claimed to a Flemish t.v. station in a secret interview in his cell that that he "...was in regular contact with people belonging to that network. But the justice system doesn't want to investigate this lead." And further: "People want to believe that I am at the centre of everything. They are mistaken," he said, according to comments reported by Flemish-language television station VTM. "I did things of which I was not the driving force. I was used as an instrument by others, who were themselves used as instruments by others."
The official position in most of the Belgian press, police and Government regarding the inordinate length of time to bring Dutroux to trial was due to the conspiracy theories which forced investigators to search for paedophile networks, which didn't exist. But parents of the victims and the much of the Belgian public who were watching very closely indeed know this did not happen. In fact, a proper investigation was obstructed at every turn. After the trial revealed unforgivable incompetence from police and the criminal Justice system in general, it begs the question was this "bungling" purposeful? Was it designed to delay and give time to papering over the cracks in the alleged network beyond Charleroi and Belgium? Dutroux had even claimed that two police officers had helped Lelievre and himself to kidnap Marchal, and Lambreks who were later raped and murdered. The common knowledge that police officers and high ranking officals also attended Nihouls orgies at the chateau must give further fuel to the fire that the accused was not acting alone.
Dutroux and the network
She claimed she had gone to the house, while Dutroux was in jail on car-theft charges, to feed their dogs. She said she was too frightened to go to the cellar and feed the two girls, even though she knew they were there without food or water.
In 1996, Dutroux lead police to the emaciated bodies of Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, buried in the garden of another of Dutroux's homes.
The two 8-year-old girls had been missing in Belgium since their kidnap more than a year before.
A third accomplice, Michel Lelievre, a drug addict and petty thief, told police soon after his arrest that the girls were kidnapped to order, for someone else.
The investigating judge suspected Jean Michel Nihoul, a Brussels businessman and nightclub owner, was the brains behind the operation. Nihoul was arrested.
But Lelievre suddenly stopped co-operating. He was with Dutroux and Nihoul, in prison where they all mixed freely in the exercise yard.
He told police he'd been threatened and couldn't risk saying any more.
The monster of Belgium
"I am the monster of Belgium" Nihoul says, and he expects never to come to court - as the information he claims he has about important people in Belgium would bring the Government and the entire state down.
A life of crime
Dutroux, as well as being known to be a paedophile was also a petty criminal. He and his associates became steeped in stolen car trafficking in and around Charleroi, the crime capital of Belgium.
Evidence shows that, for Dutroux, car crime and the child abductions were linked. The car in which Julie and Melissa were abducted has never been found.
Investigators believe Dutroux and Nihoul were planning a long distance prostitution trafficking network involving cars and the import of girls from Slovakia.
Despite the connections, Anne Thilly, the Prosecutor General, decided it was all too much for a jury to take in, so the car crime was separated from the kidnappings and considered quite independently by different police authorities in different parts of the country.
In this way, links between the car crimes and the kidnappings would be lost or obscured.
Bruno Tagliaferro, a Charleroi scrap metal merchant who knew Dutroux, claimed to know something about the car in which Julie and Melissa were kidnapped.
But he was soon found dead, apparently of a heart attack.
His wife Fabienne Jaupart, refused to accept the verdict and arranged for his body to be exhumed. Samples sent to the USA for analysis showed he'd been poisoned.
Soon after, her teenage son found her dead at home in her bed, her mattress smouldering.
Publicly it was declared suicide, or an accident. There have been 20 such unexplained deaths connected with Dutroux.