Back Belgium: the Committee of Ministers ends its supervision of a case concerning a refusal to authorise the return of bodies for funeral abroad

The Committee of Ministers just ended its supervision of the execution of the Aygün v. Belgium judgment.

This case concerns an infringement of the applicants' right to privacy (Article 8) and freedom of religion (Article 9), as a result of a Belgian investigating judge's refusal in September 2010 to allow them to transport the bodies of their deceased sons to Türkiye, for the duration of a criminal investigation which ended in April 2013.

Following the Court’s judgment, to complete the Belgian legal framework, the authorities amended article 44 of the Code of Criminal Investigation in July 2023. Henceforth, one month after the autopsy of a deceased person, his or her next of kin can request the return of the body from the King's Prosecutor, who must give a written ruling within 15 days. There is no right of appeal, but the decision can be revoked at any time by the King’s Prosecutor, and the deceased's next of kin can reintroduce the same request after three months from the last decision. They can therefore support their request with new evidence, and the public prosecutor must issue a new ruling in writing. By putting in place a clear and well-defined procedure for contesting this type of investigative measure, a violation similar to that found in the Aygün judgment can no longer occur.

 Final Resolution 

 Country factsheet for Belgium

19 December 2023
  • Diminuer la taille du texte
  • Augmenter la taille du texte
  • Imprimer la page