Fiches Belges
Measure Implementation
Measure possibility

Legal Framework
Applicable Framework

Competent authority
Request/decision
Execute/recognise measure

Accepted Languages
Languages

Execution Deadline
Deadlines

Legal info
Special requirements
Other information

Fiches Belges: Belgium

Visit to and search of homes (601)

1. MEASURE IMPLEMENTATION

Belgium

Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

The search is a means of coercion by which a competent authority enters a home or outbuilding, under the conditions and forms laid down by law, in order to establish the facts of a crime there, assemble the evidence relating to an offence or to arrest the perpetrators of the offence or their accomplices. The search can be executed both in the home of the suspect as well as in a home of a third party in case there are reasons to believe that evidence can be assembled relating to the offence.

2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Belgium

International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

1959 Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters; 2000 Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union

3. COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO:

Belgium

* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

The letter of request has to be sent to the local public prosecutor's office of the geographical area where the investigating measure has to be executed. if this area is not known, the letter of request has to be sent to the federal prosecutor's office - section of international cooperation.

* execute/recognise the measure (if other than the receiving authority)

The public prosecutor, where the occupant agrees or where the offender is apprehended in the act of committing a crime and if the nature of the crime is such that the proof can in all likelihood be obtained through papers or other items and effects in the possession of the accused. In other cases the investigating judge. The public prosecutor will always send the letter of request requesting a house search to the investigating judge.

4. ACCEPTED LANGUAGES

Belgium

Accepted languages for the request/decision

Dutch, French and German Important remarks: before the execution, the letter of request will be translated by the Belgian prosecutor if the language is not the language of the judicial area where the letter of request has to be executed. It is recommended, when possible, to obtain previously the information about the correct language.

5. EXECUTION DEADLINE

Belgium

Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

There is no specific deadline foreseen by the Belgian law for the execution of letters of request. If the requested deadline cannot be respected the requesting state will be informed accordingly.

6. CONCISE LEGAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Belgium

a. Special requirements

Content of the international letters rogatory: at least Article 14 of the 1959 Convention The investigating judge has the obligation to motivate his order to proceed to the house search. It is required that the letter of request contains sufficient information about the investigation in order for the investigating judge to be able to motivate his order. In principle searches cannot start between 9 pm and 5 am. In the following cases the measure can be executed 24 hours on 24: special legislation which permits this; in case of flagrante delicto; in case of request or permission of the occupant of the premises; in case of fire or flooding; in case of terrorism offences and offences against the public safety. With exception to requests coming from The Netherlands and Luxembourg ( Benelux Convention), the investigating chamber of the court of the place where the hous search is to take place has to give prior authorisation for the execution. After the execution of the house search the investigating chamber of the court of the place where the house search took place has to give the authorisation to transfer the seized evidence to the requesting authority: the suspect, his defence lawyer, the investigating judge and the public prosecutor will be heard during the audience.

b. Other useful information

The presence of the requesting judicial authority and/or investigators can be allowed; this has to be requested explicitely.

Last reviewed on 3 March 2017 by EJN Secretariat

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