This oversight is an appendix to the main article Beyond the Dutroux Affair.
Yes, it's that obvious
Prosecutor of the king in the small district of Neufchateau since 1984. After Laetitia Delhez disappeared in Bertrix, Neufchateau, on August 9, 1996, Bourlet received information about a suspicious white van, a Renault, that had been driving around Bertrix at the time of the girl's disappearance. One of the witnesses also remembered part of the license plate of the van, which was subsequently traced to Marc Dutroux. Bourlet put examining magistrate Jean-Marc Connerotte on the case who, on August 15, ordered the gendarmerie to arrest Dutroux, his girlfriend Michele Martin and Michel Lelievre. On August 24, after being asked if he's going to prosecute all those who appeared on the hundreds of videos found in the possession of Dutroux, Bourlet answered: "I will go down to the bone... if I will be allowed." Bourlet and Connerotte had to be permanently guarded by the Special Intervention Squadron (Diana Group), because of all the death threats they received. After Connerotte was removed from the investigation in October for having attended a fund raising for parents of missing children (together with Bourlet), at which Laetitia Delhez was present (he didn't meet her face to face), Bourlet was forced to work with newly-promoted examining magistrate Jacques Langlois, who didn't want to hear anything about larger networks. This would lead to severe friction between the two men, which only increased after the attorney of Michel Nihoul began accusing Bourlet of manipulating the press. Bourlet remained a top official in the Dutroux investigation, but without cooperation from Langlois, the judicial police and the BOB he could not "go down to the bone" as he had wanted. Present at meetings of the Obelix Cell, the coordinating meetings of the Dutroux affair in the first half of 1997, together with Andre Vandoren, Patrick Duinslaeger, Jean-Claude Van Espen, Benoit Dejemeppe, Jean Soenen, Nicole De Rouck, Paule Somers, Jacques Langlois, a number of gendarme officers, leaders of investigating teams, judicial police officers and criminal analysts. X1 largely dominated the agenda of these meetings. Bourlet's phone was tapped from late 1997 until somewhere in late 1999 / early 2000, officially because he was a suspect in leaking information about the Dutroux affair. However, phone taps continued for almost two years after it had already been established that Bourlet was not responsible for that. The same thing happened to Raymond Drisket, head of the cell-Nihoul, who had been forced to hand over his investigations of Nihoul, including all the files of the Dolo, to the District Attorney's office in Brussels, exactly where Drisket suspected Nihoul's protectors could be found. Bourlet was questioned at the Dutroux-Nihoul trial in the first half of 2004. Here he created a bit of a row when criticizing the role of gendarme officer Rene Michaux, who headed the surveillance and house searches of Dutroux in 1995 and 1996. In May 2004, he said: "Sabine and Laetitia have spent 48 hours too long in the cage in Marcinelle. Their suffering could have been two days shorter. Why? That's what I've been asking myself in the past eight years." Bourlet went on to criticize Michaux's integrity and one of the things he asked was: "Why didn't Michaux find the letters of Sabine which she had hidden under the carpet?" Michaux reacted by saying: "I was searching for Laetitia, not for some letters. I sure wouldn't have found Laetitia under the carpet." Michaux called Bourlet a liar and soon was contemplating to sue him for libel.
Appointed examining magistrate of the Neufchateau district in 1986, and had not accepted political support to be appointed to this position. Even though Neufchateau is a very small district, Bourlet and Connerotte became well known in Belgium in 1994 for not being allowed to solve the murder on socialist leader Andre Cools. On August 9, 1996, Laetitia Delhez was kidnapped in Connerotte's district and is his colleague Bourlet put him on the case as the examining magistrate. Connerotte ordered the Gendarmerie to arrest Dutroux, his girlfriend Michele Martin and Michel Lelievre on August 12, which was soon followed by him finding the missing girls Sabine and Laetitia, making him a national hero. Nihoul was arrested on August 16, initially for his connection to Michel Lelievre, but later also turned out to be a close associate of Dutroux. Like many other investigators, Connerotte became convinced that Nihoul was the key player in the "Dutroux gang". Regina Louf (X1), a woman who said she was abused in a pedophile network which also included Nihoul and Dutroux, contacted Connerotte on September 4, 1996. Connerotte appointed his close colleague Patriek De Baets as the chief interviewer and investigator of X1. Together with Michel Bourlet and a notary, Connerotte attended a September 21, 1996 meeting organized to celebrate the liberation of Sabine and Laetitia and honor other victims of child abuse (made sure to pay for the spaghetti he was given; did not to meet with the girls or their parents; refused to accept flowers from Laetitia and Sabine; and the fountain pen the guests had been given was sealed in a brown envelope by Connerotte and handed over to a judicial registrar). As a result the lawyers of Dutroux and Nihoul filed a complaint that Connerotte was not objective enough and that he should be removed as examining magistrate. This is what happened on October 14, sparking massive protests all around the country. October 15, 1996, The Guardian, 'Belgian fury at pedophile case sacking': "Belgium's justice system was under renewed public assault last night after a much-praised local magistrate investigating the paedophile scandal was removed from the case for accepting a plate of spaghetti paid for by campaigners against child abuse... The ruling occurred despite intense pressure, including an appeal from the prime minister, Jean-Luc Dehaene, for the judges to be 'creative' and tolerant, and a petition signed by more than 300,000 Belgians... Thousands attended weekend demonstrations, and the Belgian railway network has promised to subsidise the fares of those attending mass demonstrations next weekend... There was widespread outrage that Mr Connerotte, who has become a national hero, should be dropped at the behest of lawyers acting for the reviled Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul... The parents of the four young girls allegedly abducted and murdered by Mr Dutroux and his associates demonstrated with a crowd of 700 people outside the court. There were chants of 'Assassins, assassins,' as lawyers entered the building... Paul Marchal, the father of a teenage girl kidnapped and killed by the gang, said: 'It is the beginning of the end. Justice is dead in Belgium.' Gino Russo, the father of an eight-year-old girl who starved to death in a cell in Mr Dutroux's basement, said: 'This decision spits on our daughters' graves.' ... This is the second prominent case from which Mr Connerotte has been removed. Three years ago he was taken off an investigation into the murder of the former deputy prime minister Andre Cools, just as he seemed about to crack the case... " Connerotte was replaced by Jacques Langlois, a newly-promoted examining magistrate whose first assignment became "the case of the century". Langlois, clearly under pressure from the BOB and individuals from Belgium's establishment, soon became responsible for sabotaging and closing all leads pointing towards a larger network and the key involvement of Nihoul in it. Connerotte had not been interested in pursuing Raemaekers' claims about Focant, which started on October 9, to any extent. This immediately changed after Langlois took over from him on October 14, leading to the Jumet disaster. In 1997, Langlois agreed with the BOB that the X1 testimonies should be "re-read" (manipulated). December 3, 2002, Annemie Bulte for Humo, 'War in Neufchateau: examining magistrate Connerotte speaks about the Dutroux dossier for the first time' (Connerotte): "I regularly and much earlier complained about those terrible circumstances in which I had to work in the Dutroux case... How could one, single, understaffed examining judge work through such heaps of information and separate the important things from the unimportant?... I experienced those circumstances as a form of pressure... I definitely did not consider it impossible that I was being manipulated. We continually received information about all kinds of bizarre leads. Those then received a lot of media attention, but to us meant nothing but time loss... Just think about the Abrasax case and the digs in Jumet. If I remember correctly, the first leads in those two cases were already put under my nose in the very beginning of the investigation. Afterwards precisely Abrasax and Jumet were used by the media as an argument to say that the whole investigation was manipulated and pointed towards false leads [by low level paedophiles as Raemaekers and "believing" investigators]. I experienced the same thing in the Cools case, in which the police began to manipulate and was wholeheartedly supported by the media." Connerotte's career did not end, and in 2001, he arrested several men in his district who abused several young boys and girls. The arrests included the family's physician and the father of two of the girls who acted as their pimp. December 3, 2002, Annemie Bulte for Humo, 'War in Neufchateau: examining magistrate Connerotte speaks about the Dutroux dossier for the first time' (Connerotte): ""The media that cooperated in tarring the investigators or magistrates, just as the investigators who tipped this media, turn out to be protected, while other [honest] investigators and magistrates are suspected of violating their oaths of confidentiality. Cost nor effort is being spared in the investigations against them. Worse, these are often accompanied by a lynching party in the media..." [reprint of a December 8, 2000 letter of Connerotte:] "I wrote my letter in response to two judicial investigations that appear to have begun by the district attorney general in Liege: the investigation into the leaks in the Dutroux dossier and a second investigation that has been aimed directly at me, and in which I would be suspected of forgery and fraud."" Connerotte was called in to testify at the Dutroux-Nihoul process in early 2004, and for some reason looked incredibly worn out. March 5, 2004, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph, 'Judge tells of murder plots to block Dutroux investigation': "The Belgian judge who saved two young girls from Marc Dutroux's paedophile dungeon broke down in the witness box yesterday, alleging high-level murder plots to stop his investigation into a child-sex mafia. Jean-Marc Connerotte choked in tears on the fourth day of the trial, describing the bullet-proof vehicles and armed guards needed to protect him against shadowy figures determined to stop the full truth coming out. "Never before in Belgium has an examining magistrate at the service of the king been subjected to such pressure," he said. "We were told by police that [murder] contracts had been taken out against the magistrates. As the danger mounted, emergency measures were taken." He then froze in silence and the court was adjourned until he recovered. He alleged that "organised crime methods" were used to discredit his work and ensure that his investigation ended in "judicial failure". A hero to millions of Belgians, Judge Connerotte was stripped of the Dutroux case after he had dinner with families of the victims in October 1996, which was deemed a conflict of interest. The move resulted in workers going on strike and 300,000 people marching silently through Brussels in mass protest. Seven years later, some of the families are boycotting the trial, describing it as a "circus" and saying that the inquiry effectively shut down the moment Judge Connerotte departed. Addressing the jury of 12 at the Arlon Palais de Justice yesterday, Judge Connerotte relived the moment in August 1996 when his team rescued the two girls, Sabine Dardenne, 12, and Laetitia Delhez, 14, from the cage beneath Dutroux's house in the slums of Charleroi. He said the girls recoiled back into the cell when the 450lb hidden door was pulled open, fearing that the paedophile "band" had come to get them. As Dutroux coaxed them out, saying there was nothing to fear, they clutched on to him as their protector. "They thanked and embraced him, which is truly disgusting," Judge Connerotte said. "That shows how far they had been conditioned. It was Machiavellian." Sabine had been seized as she cycled to school, then smuggled to Charleroi in the boot of a car and held for 79 days, much of the time chained by the neck. Dutroux admitted this week that he had raped her 20 times but he denies that he is a paedophile. He said the plan was to hand her over as a "consignment" to the criminal network but he kept her because he was "depressed" and wanted to "expand his family". Judge Connerotte said Dutroux had displayed a "frightening professionalism" in designing the secret cells: "Clearly they were built so they couldn't be found," he said. "He had installed a ventilation system so that the odours were extracted from above. The dogs couldn't smell the presence of the young girls." Even so, he castigated the Charleroi authorities for failing to take action much earlier. Dutroux had been named in police files in July 1995 as a suspect in the abduction of two eight-year-old girls - Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo - more than a year before their bodies were found on Dutroux's land. "The file talks of seizure of children, foreign trafficking, and perhaps even of cells, if I remember well," Judge Connerotte said. "The sum of 150,000 francs [£2,500] was mentioned as the price for girls. I was struck by the richness of these documents. Any magistrate should have acted the way I did later." While Dutroux's house was searched five months after the tip-off, it appears to have been a perfunctory visit. Nothing was found. The girls apparently starved to death in the dungeon while Dutroux was in prison for 106 days. "A medical expert told me an adult can last a maximum of 60 days," the judge said. "Until we find out how Julie and Melissa actually died, we are not going to solve this case." Dutroux testified this week that the girls were already dead when he returned from prison, contradicting his earlier statements. He said matter-of-factly that he put the bodies in the freezer for a week to get them out of the way. His wife insisted that they were still alive when he came back. In January 1996 Judge Connerotte wrote to King Albert alleging that his investigations into crime networks were being blocked because suspects "apparently enjoyed serious protection". He went on to say that the "dysfunctional judiciary" was breaking down as mafia groups took secret control of the "key institutions of the country". His enemies fought back after he was pulled off the case. He was formally accused, along with two key detectives, of manipulating testimony, forgery, and illegal leaks. The inquiries took up three years, drawing off police energy while the main Dutroux case languished. In the end, the three were cleared of all charges. "You would have thought that the Dutroux dossier was so serious that investigators would do everything in their power to discover the truth," Judge Connerotte said. "But exactly the opposite happened. Rarely has so much energy been spent opposing an inquiry.""
|Patriek De Baets||
Officer in the Special Brigade of Investigation (BOB; Belgian FBI and a division within the gendarmerie), tasked by Jean-Marc Connerotte to investigate the claims of Regina Louf (X1). X1 had first contacted Connerotte on September 4, 1996 and interviews with her started on September 20. Interview with Patriek De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "[Col.] Brabant made prosecuter Bourlet believe that we still had a lot of other work to do in Brussels. That was nonsense, not a single dossier was waiting there for us that was as important as the Dutroux case. But befriended journalists of La Derniere Heure and Le Soir were also served these lies and used them in their first attacks against Neufchateau and the investigation into Dutroux and Nihoul: "What a disgrace, Bourlet gets 350 inspectors, and dossiers involving billions of franks, like KB-Lux, are neglected! Especially the Brussels examining magistrate Jean-Claude Van Espen immediately supported Brabant. His financial dossiers supposedly didn't make any progress anymore, because all the inspectors worked for Neufchateau. Not true! At that moment absolutely no one from the KB-Lux dossier worked for the magistrates of Neufchateau. And my section also, the 3rd KOS, didn't work on an urgent case at the time. I still wonder which 'urgent dossiers' Van Espen was really talking about. It seemed as if even back then he already anticipated that we would bump into dossiers on which he used to work. Van Espen knew very well who Annie Bouty was. He had been her lawyer. And his former brother-in-law, the lawyer Philippe Deleuze, used to be a partner in Bouty's law firm. Van Espen was part of a network of friends in politics, magistracy and police services which Nihoul and Bouty had woven to cover up their criminal activities." In November 1996, soon after examining magistrate Jean-Marc Connerotte had been replaced by Jacques Langlois, Louf began to notice that Patriek De Baets was under increasing pressure from a number of very sceptical colleagues. To appease this group, since December 1 headed by Commandant Jean-Luc Duterme, De Baets allowed some of the officers in the videoroom and made sure to keep the camera running during breaks. This way De Baets tried to make sure that nobody could accuse him, or his colleagues, of manipulating the witness during breaks. This effort failed, as in late December the newly-appointed coordinator of the whole Dutroux and X-investigation, Commandant Duterme, began to re-read (i.e. manipulate) the existing statements of X1. This is a highly unusual procedure, and in this case virtually unique because under normal circumstances a magistrate would have to give the order to re-read, not a mid-, or even a higher level, BOB officer. In November 1996, De Baets became a victim of a complex disinformation scheme ran by Brussels police commissioner Georges Marnette, an alleged client of Belgium's paedophile network. On November 16, the press reported the accusations of Oliver Trusgnach, who claimed that he, as a minor, had sex with Elio Di Rupo and Jean-Pierre Grafe. Several hours before the press decided to report on this leak, De Baets had been called back from vacation to do a house search directly related to the Trusgnach case. De Baets had no idea what the whole Trusgnach case was about, because it had been the work of Marnette's judicial police all along, and under normal circumstances there would be no good reason to bring in the BOB, and especially not De Baets, who was working on the X1 case. Although not entirely successful, the media did try to spin the story insinuating that De Baets had been behind the whole Di Rupo affair. Trusgnach has been used extensively to promote the idea that the X witnesses are just as unreliable. Interview with Patriek De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "And why were we brought into that ludicrous Di Rupo investigation? Because we were working on the well-known X-witnesses. By discrediting me and my team through the Di Rupo case, one actually wanted to discredit the testimonies of the Xs..." In mid-February 1997, De Baets (originally in cooperation with Connerotte) had put together a list of 43 targets at which he wanted to do a house search, this in order to confirm aspects of the testimony of X1. At that point Duterme inquired about these targets, and ordered that 5 or 6 would be more than enough. Ultimately they were all scrapped. Instead, on March 20, 1997, the home of X1 herself was raided, officially in an effort to find evidence that she had gotten her information from newspapers and books (in reality it was just an effort to intimidate X1). Duterme's re-reading efforts continued in early 1997. Interestingly, he did not speak Dutch very well, the language in which the interviews had been conducted. Partly as a result of that, he began to make rather ridiculous notes next to certain passages. He asked the help of three other colleagues, and again none of these people spoke Dutch very fluently. Some of them were already involved in the campaign to discredit X-witness Nathalie W. De Baets: "It comes down to the fact that some resolutely chose for their careers. To be liked by Duterme it was enough to joke around a bit with isolated passages from the X1 hearings. For them it was a kind of amusement." June 3, 1997 note written by Duterme to the BOB commandant in Brussels: "At times I had the impression that sensational arrests and a mediatized dossier were his [De Baets'] primary concerns. Based on my observations, and supported herein by other investigators, I have put together a team to re-read and analyze the past interviews of adjutant De Baets... I was confronted with a manipulating investigator..., a dangerously subjective investigator who never wanted to admit that his own presupposed hypotheses might just be wrong..., I was confronted with an investigator who used the sensitive and emotional climate after the Dutroux case to ignore his hierarchy, with as only aim to caress his own vanity... The position of the person involved within the investigation is, like I earlier explained, very important and a possible measure to remove him, at the moment would look very bad. Some could possibly believe or make believe that one is trying to derail the investigation." On July 3, the "final" (more would follow) re-read was finished, which repeated these accusations. On July 10, Van Espen, Langlois, Duterme and the three other re-readers secretly came together and decided to temporarily relieve De Baets and his team from the X-dossier case. This group never contacted De Baets with these re-reads during the time they were writing them, never watched any of the videos of X1, and only re-read three of the seven reports in which Christine van Hees was mentioned. These were parts 1, 2, and 7. They ignored parts 3, 4, 5, and 6, even though Van Hees had also been described in these parts. Not that it mattered, because the re-reads that had been done were based on deceptive argumentation, as shown point for point in the 1999 book 'The X-Dossiers'. De Baets: "During that time secret meetings took place between a small group of BOB officers who wanted to dismantle the X1 investigations at all costs. There, behind our backs, crucial decisions have been made. Together with substitute magistrate Paule Somers -a girl to whom they could make up anything- these BOB officers plotted the murder on the investigation." In a later stage, the re-read reports were given to the media, without the whole testimony being made available. On August 20, 1997, Duterme decided to sack De Baets and his team from the X-dossier case all together. The only member of De Baets' team that was allowed to stay was Danny De Pauw, who had joined the camp of Duterme and Langlois. One of his colleagues later said that Danny had done this for the simple reason of saving his career. Anonymous BOB inspector: "What happened in that period between De Baets and Van Espen is not normal. Suppose that De Baets and his men indeed overreached themselves. Suppose that they lost all sense of reality and indeed gave the Xs far more credit than they deserved, even then the attitude of Van Espen cannot be explained. In the past Van Espen has covered up many mistakes of the financial section, and vice versa probably many more. There was a bond of mutual trust. Now friends became arch enemies over night. Nothing has been discussed, it has not even been attempted to settle this as grown men." Also on August 20, Duterme filed an official complaint against De Baets and his colleagues that they were manipulating X1 during the interviews, allegedly leading to "rumors" of high level child abuse networks. The main accusation against De Baets was that he had not made an official report of the fact that X1, from a list of pictures, misidentified Christine Van Hees. This turned out to be lie, as this report, PV 117.487 - December 6, 1997, had been written and properly filed by his assistant Philippe Hupez. Hupez wrote many other official reports together with De Baets. The weekly magazine Pan, headed by Paul Vanden Boeynants (accused by X1 and others), joyously reported on August 21 that De Baets and his team had been removed from Neufchateau. Interestingly, the investigators themselves were only told about their removal on August 25, by Col. Brabant, who had recently sanctioned a media campaign against Nathalie W. by the same re-readers. Jacques Pignolet was appointed as the examining magistrate to investigate the complaints of Duterme and Van Espen. Starting around this time, De Baets was attacked by Baron de Bonvoisin (accused by X1 and others) and some of his associates. They made up claims that subsequently also had to be investigated by Pignolet. In 2000, however, De Baets and his team members were fully acquitted of any charges that they had been manipulating X1 during interviews. They also were acquitted of all the accusations made by Baron de Bonvoisin & Co. Pignolet's team of investigators had found absolutely nothing after almost three years of research on the team of De Baets. However, the X-dossiers were not reopened as a result of that. De Baets always had the idea to interview X1 for 2 or 3 years while in between checking out the claims she made. He never got the chance. Important note from Patriek De Baets about X1: "About those four childbirths, followed by murders, I never believed that... That she lost at least one child, to me that seems to be certain. What bothers her the most, is that that child has faded from history. You noticed during interviews that she had a strong urge to give her lost child - or children - a place in her narrative. That was the most important to her. I did not see this as intentionally lying. It was clear that she had great trouble finding her way in her memories. We became angry about that at some point. She kept mixing up facts with each other of which you could see that they weren't right. And still we had to listen, I thought. We were only at the beginning. I estimated that we, if we could have proceeded, would only have had a clear picture of her past after a year or two. In between we had to verify. And that's what we did, how much we were accused afterwards for not having done that.' It could be a coincidence, but the first verifications of the testimony of X1 were direct hits." Interview with Patriek De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "I think that there was a higher plan. The population had to get the message: "There's a witch hunt going on in this country, the investigation is derailing, they've gone crazy in Neufchateau. Let's stop going after Nihoul." And even more important was the finger pointing to the politicians: "You again were probably responsible! Chasing politicians, bringing down bigwigs, that's the hobby of men such as De Baets. So now close the ranks as soon possible."... And why were we brought into that ludicrous Di Rupo investigation? Because we were working on the well-known X-witnesses. By discrediting me and my team through the Di Rupo case, one actually wanted to discredit the testimonies of the Xs... Again, take examining magistrate Van Espen: he walked in very tight shoes, because Nihoul had fingered him to members the 23th brigade of the judicial police as the person who always stood ready to protect him and his friends as legal trouble was around the corner... And all of a sudden Regina Louf pointed to individuals who Van Espen knew only all too well. This could severely compromise him. So Van Espen also benefited from us being discredited in the Di Ripo case... I think that he [Duterme] followed the orders from his hierarchical superiors: Jean-Marie Brabant, commandant of the BOB-Brussels, and Guido Torrez, commandant of the Brussels district. Torrez had a good reason to stop me: he had earlier in his career intervened in favor of Annie Bouty, the ex of Nihoul. If that were to come out, if he would be linked to that couple at that moment, he would be branded for the rest of his career. And Brabant absolutely did not want to he held accountable for Nihoul being a non-registered informant of the BOB. Those men had to protect themselves. They pulled the strings, they instructed Duterme. I think that the investigation has been sabotaged from a lower echelon, by people who have been in contact with Nihoul and who have contacts and friends with the police services and the magistracy. And who have good contacts in the press, because the press had to infuse the "this-cannot-be-true" atmosphere with the public." These days, De Baets works at a police school and puts together an education program for future inspectors. De Baets: "Magistrates like nothing better than summaries. If it could be done, they would appreciate it if you summarize an investigation of three years on two A4 papers. Well, I am principally against that, and I'm not alone. Precisely because a judicial investigation has to be carried out as objectively as possible, several years ago the college of prosecuter-generals banned the use of summaries as a judicial workbase. In part because of that the X1 investigation was the best and most correct investigation that has ever been carried out in this country. It had to be an example of how things would be done in the future. I still am and will always be proud of that."
Assistant of Patriek De Baets in interviewing X1. Hupez was more patient at times with X1 than De Baets. Withdrew from the X1 investigation in late November 1996, after 8th sessions with X1, to work on another (less controversial) aspect of the Dutroux investigation. Hupez first asked permission from X1, who thought it was shame, but respected his decision, knowing the case could break his career. Danny De Pauw, who would later stab De Baets and his colleagues in the back to save his career, became his follow-up. Even before Danny converted, X1 was never very comfortable with him as he had a tendency to be very nervous.
|Aime Bille||BOB officer. Assistant of Patriek De Baets in interviewing X1 and verifying her story. Known as a workhorse who regularly produced ten to fifteen official reports a day. Fired by Commandant Duterme in the early stages of the investigation, literally for working too hard (and on a Saturday, which formally wasn't allowed). He was only allowed to return after De Baets spoke with Duterme. Bille: "I can give a simple example of something that I found bewildering. On April 5, 1997, I had to receive the parents [of the late Christine Van Hees] at my office. The examining magistrate [Van Espen] was present. I had to show them several objects. I had to ask the mother of Christine, 13 years after the event, if a bra and panty had belonged to her daughter. And the father said to the judge: 'The name of our daughter was not Claudine, it was Christine.' That says a lot." Van Espen was brought into the X1 case by statements from X1 that resulted in the reopening of the Christine Van Hees case, Van Espen's old dossier for more then 10 years. As soon as X1 began to speak about the murder on her Christine, Aime Bille, of the team of Patriek De Baets, went through the old dossier of the murder on Christine Van Hees. Bille concluded that many, many mistakes had been made. One of them was official report (PV) 33797 from April 27, 1987, written by the Etterbeek police. The PV was described as a tip from an anonymous informant about the cafe Chez Dolores. However, when Bille listened to the original tape, he found out that the informant spoke about the Dolo, not Chez Dolores: "If you want to keep a little bit informed, then go to the Philippe Baucq street no. 140, to the Dolo. You might learn something about the champignoniere... On the corner of the Philippe Baucq street, the Dolo. If you go there sometimes you might learn something about the champignoniere. [informant hangs up]." The Dolo was the favorite hang out of Nihoul, not only once a business relationship of Van Espen, but also one of the persons implicated by X1 about the Christine Van Hees murder at the champignoniere. X1, X2 and Nathalie W. all knew about the Dolo, to which their abusers had taken them. Other witnesses also spoke about child abusers and alleged child abusers visiting the Dolo. In 2000, together with De Baets, Bille was acquitted of all charges pertaining to the alleged manipulation of the X-witnesses.|
Assistant of Patriek De Baets in interviewing X1 and verifying her story. March 18, 2003, Zembla (Dutch TV), 'De X-dossiers - Part II' (Rudy Hoskens): "You were frustrated, certain assignments you were prevented from carrying out. For example, that particular observation you cannot carry out. If you wanted to place a phone tap that was too much money. And thing like that. All of them small hints you were sent. And you also couldn't know anymore what the re-readers were doing, what their conclusions were... X1 or Regina Louf was just an ordinary girl who had been abused. Why can't that be investigated? There are persons who say that this woman is completely nuts. That's something I definitely would not say. Certain experts have been called upon who proved the opposite, that this is a reasonably stable person, keeping in mind everything she would have, possibly, experienced. Then you verify: her story is 80% accurate, or 70%, or, I don't know; even if only 10 or 20 percent is accurate, as a detective you have to investigate that 20 percent. That is your duty."
|Luc Delmartino||BOB officer who was the chief interviewer of X2. He and colleague Eric Eloir have stated that they suspect that police commissioner Georges Marnette worked together with his allegedly good friend Gilbert Dupont, a journalist of La Derniere Heure, in leaking certain information aimed at discrediting the whole Dutroux and X-witnesses investigation.|
Police commissioner. Head of the cell-Nihoul, who had been forced to hand over his investigations of Nihoul, including all the files of the Dolo, to the District Attorney's office in Brussels, exactly where Drisket suspected Nihoul's protectors could be found. His phone was tapped from late 1997 until somewhere in late 1999 / early 2000, officially because he was a suspect in leaking information about the Dutroux affair. However, phone taps continued for almost two years after it had already been established that Drisket was not responsible for that. Michel Bourlet underwent the same fate. Drisket described Nihoul as "an unreliable businessman, a profiteer and opportunist, who is involved in bribery and blackmail... [someone] who is game as soon as a job, whatever it involves, can result in connections and protection." (partially quoted, partially paraphrased)
|Christian Dubois||Police officer from La Louvière. In September 1995 a new phenomenon occurred in which occupants of white Mercedesses were following and photographing schoolgirls. Reports first came in from Bergen, La Louviere and Charleroi, and soon another 15 reports came in from Couvin, Thuin, Chimay and Beaumont. In the afternoon of December 13, 1995, after a disastrous search in Dutroux's Marcinelle home, Rene Michaux (head of spy operation on Dutroux) met with police officer Christian Dubois in La Louviere. This officer informed him about even more cases of white Mercedesses following schoolgirls. Dubois also turned out to have an informant, separate from Claude Thirault or gendarme officer Christophe Pettens -who were known to Michaux-, who had informed Dubois that the white Mercedesses belonged to a paedophile network centered around a company called ASCO (not the company of the Boas family which was mentioned by X1) in Schaarbeek or Sint-Gillis. According to the informant, the occupants of the white Mercedesses were putting together catalogs with pictures of children. Their clients could pick one of these kids, which would then be kidnapped, locked up in Belgium for a while, and then exported to eastern Europe or Thailand. The price for each child would be 300,000 franks or about 7500 euros. During their conversation Michaux told Dubois about Dutroux. Dubois recalled: "I remember that Michaux told me that Dutroux went to countries in eastern Europe... The sums he mentioned for the kidnappings were similar to those given to me by my informant... Even today this still keeps me awake at night. I feel responsible. Afterwards, in 1996, I looked into Dutroux... You just felt it. This was the man we were looking for! I should have bought a crowbar and a gun and, against all regulations, entered that house in Marcinelle; and tear down everything until I had found those kids... It would have been worth the risk [of losing my job]." Dubois strongly felt that he and Michaux had independently stumbled on the same network and was sure that his colleague was going to take action. This wasn't the case, however, which later also greatly surprised the Verwilghen Commission. Michaux made a note of Dubois' information and simply left it there. In the mean time, Dubois was ridiculed by his boss, commissioner Monique Devodder. In January she even went public in a tv broadcast on Au Nom de la Loi (famous for their later campaign against the X-witnesses) to denounce the reports about the white Mercedesses as unsubstantiated rumors. Dubois was then transferred from field work to a support division, but this didn't keep him from doing investigative work on Dutroux and ASCO. On June 18, 1996, Dubois sent a fax to police commissioner Daniel Lamoque informing him about the connections between ASCO, Dutroux and the disappearance of Julie and Melissa. No reply was given by Lamoque and he would later give a rather bizarre testimony in which he explained that Dubois had written that the men in the white Mercedesses were interested in "mineurs", which he interpreted as "only boys" and therefore couldn't have had a connection with the case of Julie and Melissa. ASCO (Achats Services Commerces; again, not the company of the Boas family which was mentioned by X1) later turned out to be a very interesting company. It was incorporated on July 2, 1991, primarily by Jean-Louis Delamotte, a friend and regular business partner of Michel Nihoul who also went to the Dolo. Nihoul, Bernard Weinstein, Michel Lelievre and Michele Martin (not Dutroux) had all been spotted on a regular basis in the immediate surroundings of the company. People in the neighborhood had also noted that Nihoul was often surrounded by young negro girls and had the impression that these girls were on transit. Five mattresses and some baby milk were found inside the company's headquarters after the it had gone bankrupt in 1994. Delamotte's company Soparauto, registered at the same address, owned 5 white mercedesses, all with French license plates, as had been reported.|
|Eddy Suys||Certainly when Eddy Suys of the judicial police (GP), initial head of the Obelix cell, who looked in depth at Nihoul, had found out that Nihoul was in contact with Brussels gendarmerie officers Verhaegen and Meurant, and that he regularly called to the BOB Brussels. Suys found out about that last fact when he checked Nihoul's phone calls made in the months before his arrest. Suys was planning on doing searches at the BOB and interrogate Verhaegen and Meurant about their contacts with Nihoul. Lieutenant-Colonel Brabant absolutely wanted to prevent that.|