Romanians convicted in Belgian courts will be able to return to their home country to serve their sentences, following the introduction of a new scheme for the legal systems of the two countries to cooperate. Training for Romanian and Belgian magistrates will begin next week, according to reports in the Belgian media.
Next week, 18 Romanian magistrates will go to the Palais de Justice in Mons, Belgium, and later the Belgian officials will come to Romania. Belgium is intending to implement the EU’s mutual recognition of sanctions directives and the initiative will lay the groundwork for adoption into Belgian law.
“When I see the proportion of foreigners in our prisons, I think it is too much,” said the Director General of Belgium’s Houses of Justice Annie Devos, quoted by Belgian news service La Province, according to which, 45 percent of prisoners in the country are not Belgian. It is hoped that the measure will help reduce Belgium’s prison population and tackle overcrowding. The scheme will also allow Belgians convicted abroad to return home to serve their sentences.
Around 295 Romanians (2011 figures) are held in Belgian prisons while 131 cases involving Romanians have been opened since January 2012, according to La Province. Meanwhile, Romania has its own over 31,000 jail prisoners, a number which has been slowly increasing over the last couple of years.