Family takes Belgium to Europe rights court over Paris attacks

Belgian special forces police officers patrol a street during a police raid in central Brussels, Belgium in December in connection with the deadly Paris attacks.
Belgian special forces police officers patrol a street during a police raid in central Brussels, Belgium in December in connection with the deadly Paris attacks.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - The parents of a man killed in the November attacks in Paris have asked the European Court of Human Rights to rule whether "serious dysfunctions" by Belgian authorities violated his "right to life", their lawyer said on Monday.

Valentin Ribet, a 26-year-old lawyer, was among the 90 people massacred at the Bataclan concert hall in the terrorist attacks of Nov 13.

His parents believe that "serious dysfunctions arose in the Belgian protection and surveillance system that facilitated the terrorists' infiltration into French territory and the commission of these crimes," the Ribets' lawyer Samia Maktouf said in a statement.

The Bataclan dead were among 130 people who were killed at several locations in the French capital that night.

The downtrodden Brussels district of Molenbeek was home to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the organiser of the Paris killings who recruited old friends and other small-time delinquents to help him carry out the attacks.

It was also home to Salah Abdeslam, the Paris attacks suspect who is still on the run and who some think may have found refuge in Molenbeek for a time after the killings.

Maktouf said the assailants were "radicalised, trained in jihad and prepared for armed acts in France" in Molenbeek.

Abaaoud and Abdeslam had been able to go back and forth between the two countries before the attacks "despite surveillance by the Belgian authorities," said Maktouf, who represents several victims' families.

She says the case rests on the "right to life" guaranteed by the European Human Rights Convention.

In normal circumstances, the court that enforces the convention is a last recourse after other avenues are exhausted.