Belgium / Tribunal of First Instance of Gent




Belgium / Tribunal of First Instance of Gent

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Decision/ruling/judgment date

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Crime type(s) concerned/related

Physical violence
Incitement to violence or hatred

Related hate bias motivation


Groups affected

Third country nationals

Court/Body type

National Court


Tribunal of First Instance of Gent(Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg te Gent),

Key facts of the case

In 2016, the Tribunal of Gent convicted a person for incitement to hatred. After fighting with a Somalian man, the accused shouted various racist insults such as "dirty black" and "go back to your country" while the Somalian man was describing his account of the event to a policeman. The tribunal considered that the accused clearly had the intent to incite bystanders to violence and hatred towards the victim.

Main reasoning/argumentation

The Tribunal found a violation of the law of 30 July 1981 on racism and xenophobia and held that the conditions of incitement to hatred or violence in Article 444 of the Criminal Code were met in this case when the accused shouted at the victim in public - in the presence of a police officer and bystanders - with the intention to harm the victim. Also, the accused did not dispute the facts and the incitement to hatred against the victim based on the latter's origin or skin colour was clearly established in the police findings.

Is the case related to the application of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive?

Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case

Results (sanctions, outcome) and key consequences or implications of the case

The accused was condemned to four months of prison plus an additional fine and contributions to the Fund for assistance to the Victims of intentional acts of violence.

Key quotation in original language and translated into English with reference details

"Article 444 of the Criminal Code set the conditions for incitement to hatred or violence against a person, in this case H.K, based on one of protected criteria here being the race, the colour of the skin and the origin, and even beyond the domain of Article 5 (Article 20-2), in this case in public, in the presence of the verbalising police officer and various passers-by, shouting 'dirty black - return to your country - it's those blacks again', with the clear intention to set the passers-by against the victim."

'In een van de in art 444 van het strafwetboek bedoelde omstandigheden te hebben aangezet tot haat of geweld jegens een persoon, namelijk jegens H. K., wegens een van de beschermde criteria zijnde een zogenaamd ras, huidskleur en afkomst, en dit zelfs buiten de in artikel 5 bedoelde domeinen (artikel 20-2"), Namelijk door in het openbaar, in aanwezigheid van de verbalisanten en verschillende omstaanders 'vuile zwarte - ga terug naar uw land - 't is weer diene zwarten' te roepen, duidelijk met de bedoeling om de omstaanders op te jutten tegen het slachtoffer.'

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