Fiches Belges
Measure Implementation
Measure possibility

Legal Framework
Applicable Framework

Competent authority
Request/decision
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Accepted Languages
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Execution Deadline
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Legal info
Special requirements
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Fiches Belges: Belgium

Hearing suspects/persons accused: by video conference (711)

1. MEASURE IMPLEMENTATION

Belgium

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

Yes. This measure enables a direct audio-visual link, in real time, between two separate locations i.e. where the court authority carrying out the questioning is situated and where the person being questioned is situated. These locations may be situated in different countries. This measure is limited to situations where it is not possible to hear the suspect/person accused in person and where the person concerned agrees. Alternative measure: See Hearing suspects/persons accused : standard procedure (fiche 710).

2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Belgium

International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

European Convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters of 20th April 1959; Convention of 29 May 2000 on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union (art. 10), and its Protocol of 16th octobre 2001

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 or the delegated judicial police officer. The investigating judge if the witness has to be heard under oath.

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 been respected the requesting state will be informed accordingly.

6. CONCISE LEGAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Belgium

a. Special requirements

Content of the letter of request: at least Article 14 of the 1959 Convention. It is important to indicate in the letter of request: - the technical details of the videoconference installation of the requesting state and a contact person; - if a translator will be forseen by the requesting authority; - whether the oath is needed before the hearing of the witness; - whether a defence lawyer has to be present. Threatened witnesses and witnesses, experts or suspects who stay abroad can be heard by videoconference it is not possible to hear them in person, provided that the person concerned agrees. A criminal investigation department police officer accompanies the person concerned during his or her hearing and draws up a report on the identity of the person being heard, who then signs it. The videoconference is recorded and an official record is drawn up with the most important elements of the hearing. The report mentions the reasons why the hearing takes place by videoconference.

b. Other useful information

Currently there is only one videoconference installation available at the federal prosecutor's office in Brussels. The executing local prosecutor or investigating judge will realise the hearing at the federal prosecutor's office. Threatened witnesses and witnesses, experts or suspects who stay abroad can be heard by videoconference it is not possible to hear them in person, provided that the person concerned agrees. A criminal investigation department police officer accompanies the person concerned during his or her hearing and draws up a report on the identity of the person being heard, who then signs it. The videoconference is recorded and an official record is drawn up with the most important elements of the hearing. The report mentions the reasons why the hearing takes place by videoconference. More information about videoconferencing can be obtained from the federal prosecutor's office - section of international cooperation.

Last reviewed on 3 March 2017 by EJN Secretariat

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