70 suspicious deaths go unexamined in Belgium annually, authorities invests in post-mortem forensics

Brussels: As an estimated 70 suspicious deaths go unexamined in Belgium every year, Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne is investing €2.25 million in two forensic medicine centres to increase the number of autopsies all over the nation.

The autopsies are performed in an estimated 1-2 percent of deaths in Belgium, while the European recommended target is 10 percent. Currently, Van Quickenborne is investing this percentage as more autopsies naturally lead to more determinations of suspicious deaths.

He shared the information in a press release, adding that he is allocating €2.25 million to open these expertise centres, “The Justice Department must act faster, more humanely and stricter in the case of potentially suspicious deaths. It is not acceptable that an estimated at least 70 suspicious deaths every year go unnoticed in our nation.”

After a death, it is the job of the first doctor present, often the general practitioner or a first responder, to assess whether it concerns a non-natural or suspicious death. If this is the case, the public prosecutor is notified as well as an investigation by the police officers and the law doctor takes place.

Along with this, by default, this involves an initial investigation as well as an external examination of the body. In consultation with the medical examiner as well as the body.

In consultation with the medical examiner as well as the laboratory, the public prosecutor will determine whether further investigation is warranted. In that case, it may be planned to move forward with an internal examination, which is known as an autopsy.

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