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New ideas, new identities? The constitutional foundations and the development of the political offence in Belgium (1831-2010).
Even though the 1831 Belgian constitution states that political offences must be trialed by jury, the post-war period does not provide any examples of such trials. Therefore, this project questions the historical backgrounds and the development of the modern political offence. On one hand, it seems that the political offence was a key element in post-Napoleonic Restoration thought, indicating that it was far more than a mere judicial expression of popular sovereignty. Scrutinizing the press of the late 1820s and the intellectual influences of the members of the Southern opposition, can give a better insight in the particular conception of this felony as a cornerstone of institutional thought. On the other hand, a profound analysis of the (un)published case-law reveal how this conception has changed. This is probably essentially related to the way institutional ideas and practice have changed, marking a profound shift in political identity. Therefore, the insights brought up by this research might even contribute to discussions about other actual issues, such as the role of the jury, freedom of speech, and the approach of racism and exnophobia or terrorism.
Date:1 Oct 2010 → 30 Sep 2013
Keywords:Freedom of speech, Parliamentary democracy, Political offence, Modern constitutionalism, Jury trial