A court in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region has ruled that the use of the COVID Safe Ticket (CST) is illegal and ordered the government to pay a daily fine of €5,000 until they stop enforcing its use.
The ruling, which came Tuesday from the Court of First Instance in Wallonia’s capital city Namur, stated that the law requiring everyone to present CSTs to enter cafés, restaurants, gyms, and cultural venues restricts freedom in a way that’s disproportionate to the objectives persude, Belgian daily La Libre reports.
In its decision, the court mentioned that the regional government’s COVID pass decree may be in violation of European law.
The court’s ruling represents a massive victory for the non-profit organization Notre Bon Droit (Our Good Right), an alliance of healthcare workers, scientists, lawyers, and citizens who’ve come together to oppose the COVID pass in Belgium, France, and Québec in Canada.
Isabelle Duchateau, the founder of Notre Bon Droit, on Tuesday, hailed the court’s decision in a video posted to social media, saying: “The court has ruled in our favor by conceding that the CST does not respect the principle of proportionality.”
Lawyers in the non-profit also noted that “the court also criticized the discrimination established between the citizens without objective scientific justification.”
Almost immediately after the ruling, the Walloon Government appealed the judgment and announced that the COVID pass would remain in force.
“The government has taken note of the decision of the Court of First Instance in Namur. That decision cancels neither the Walloon decree nor the ‘Covid Safe Ticket’ (CST) which continues to apply in Wallonia,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.
The case could set a precedent for the legality of COVID passes across Belgium. On December 8th, a similar case will be brought before the Brussels Court of First Instance, which could bring into question the legality of COVID passes in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.