Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marc Dutroux, A Pedophile and Child-Killer

On and On and On

On March 20, 2000, BBC Online reported that Mark Dutroux, clad in handcuffs, a bullet-proof vest and escorted by ten police officers, was transported to a courtroom in the Belgian town of Neufchateau on charges relating to his brief escape from custody two years ago.

Marc Dutroux in his bullet-proof vest
Marc Dutroux in his
bullet-proof vest

His appearance lasted for an hour with Dutroux admitting that he had escaped but claimed that he had only done so to tell the media his version of the story. Judges and lawyers on the case decided to put back the trial until May 2000.

Since Dutroux's escape, two government ministers have resigned and a prosecutor in charge of the case has committed suicide. Dutroux may face up to ten years in prison if convicted of theft and assault during his escape.

Two months later, on June 19, 2000, Marc Dutroux was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of theft and assault in connection with his escape from custody, which is not a crime under Belgian law. BBC Online also reported that the families of Dutroux's young victims continue to wait as the investigations into the murders drag on.

A further BBC report the following August detailed how Belgium authorities were taking steps to prevent the circulation of a list of convicted or suspected pedophiles living in Belgium after a small French-language magazine in Luxembourg called The Investigator decided to print a list of fifty names. Although a Belgian court issued an emergency injunction against the paper, copies of the magazine containing the list had already been posted to subscribers in Belgium.

Editor of The Investigator, Jean Nicolas, claimed the decision was intended to warn the public and that no photos of the alleged pedophiles or their victims had been published. He told the Belga news agency that the list had been obtained from the files of Jacques Langlois, the investigating magistrate in the Dutroux case. However, a Belgian court termed the decision an abuse of human rights and passed an injunction indicating that Nicolas would face a fine of $20,000 for each copy that contained the list.

In February 2001, BBC reported that Marc Dutroux had appeared in court in southern Belgium alleging that the Belgian State is violating his human rights. He is demanding that he be released from solitary confinement, undergo fewer body searches, and be allowed to sleep uninterrupted.

Dutroux's lawyer has requested that a fine be imposed on the state if it failed to improve the conditions in which it holds him and that the judge inspect Dutroux's specially constructed cell.

The state claims that Dutroux is given special attention for his own protection. Thousands of spectators surrounded the court to express their grief and disillusionment with Belgian authorities' failure to save the girls he is accused of viciously raping and murdering.

The trial is postponed again and again which enrages the victims' families and ignites anger and disgust among the Belgian people.