Dutroux, Nihoul and X-Dossier investigators
updated if deemed necessary

(Yes, it's that obvious)

 

The good guys

Michel Bourlet

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.

Jean-Marc Connerotte

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."

Philippe Hupez

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.
Rudy Hoskens

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.
Raymond Drisket

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.

The bad guys

Jacques Langlois

PSC supporter, whose aunt had been a long time PSC mayor of the village Saint-Vincent. Joseph Michel, once a minister of the PSC under Paul Vanden Boeynants, introduced Jacques Langlois to politics in 1988 and made him a magistrate in 1993. Michel had been a founding member of the fascist CEPIC think tank within the PSC, which was largely coordinated by Paul Vanden Boeynants and Baron de Bonvoisin. Joseph Michel had been contacted by Jean-Michel Nihoul from prison in 1978, and became responsible for his early release. Langlois lived in Etalle where his neighbor was the son of Joseph Michel. On Friday, August 9, 1996 the 14-year-old Laetitia Delhez disappeared in Bertrix, a town located in the district of Neufchateau, near the border of France and Luxemburg. Michel Bourlet, prosecutor of the king in Neufchateau, was tasked with the case and appointed investigating judge Jacques Langlois to coordinate the investigation. When Langlois left for vacation the following Monday, Bourlet replaced him with his close colleague Jean-Marc Connerotte. Appointed 2nd examining magistrate in the Dutroux case, next to Connerotte, on August 20, 1996. Did not share Connerotte's conviction that Dutroux was part of a much larger network in which many prominent individuals were to be found. This also put him at odds with Bourlet, the King's prosecuter at Neufchateau, and Patriek De Baets, chief investigator of the X1 case. Took over the whole Dutroux case from Connerotte in October 1996. According to André Rossignon, a former high level PSC official, Langlois' old CEPIC-PSC protege Joseph Michel was largely responsible for the removal Connerotte and would also have been influential in preventing Langlois from searching the PSC headquarters. Langlois became largely responsible for the acquittal of Michel Nihoul from charges of being involved in kidnapping children. Continually stonewalled inspector Raymond Drisket, one of the most dedicated investigators into Nihoul. Largely responsible for the disastrous Jumet digs, which had been inspired by the claims of Jean-Paul Raemaekers (in which Connerotte had not been interested). In early 1997, Langlois agreed with the BOB that the X1 testimonies should be "re-read" (manipulated). Only communicated with the direct superior of De Baets, Commandant Duterme. In early April 1997, Duterme began to worry about "X-witness" Nathalie W. telling everything she knew to family, friends and reporters. Within two weeks, however, the media began a full scale attack on Nathalie instead. Theo Vandyck, the early interviewer who she had trusted, had recovered enough from his stroke to find out what was happening at Neufchateau. It turned out that Pourbaix and his colleagues had contacted the media in an effort to discredit Nathalie. When Vandyck pointed out to Pourbaix that he risked being prosecuted for violating official secrets, he was told that Duterme and Col. Brabant of the BOB had given their full support for the media campaign. Vandyck's inquiries were answered with a brief letter from Langlois telling him to leave the Nathalie W. case alone. Laurent Arnauts, councilor to Nathalie W., had earlier asked Langlois for an explanation for the abuse of Nathalie's interviewers, but never received a reply. 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, Michel Bourlet, Benoit Dejemeppe, Jean Soenen, Nicole De Rouck, Paule Somers, Jean-Claude Van Espen, a number of gendarme officers, leaders of investigating teams, judicial police officers and criminal analysts. X1 largely dominated the agenda of these meetings. 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. A month later this decision became a permanent. November 30, 2002, De Morgen, 'De grote zwendel in feiten' ('The great swindle in facts'): "In the past five years, the RTBF-program Au Nom de la Loi dedicated four tv programs and a book to Michel Nihoul. The first program, on September 17, 1997, ended with a close-up of the Audi 80 which Nihoul had entrusted to Dutroux's buddy Michel Lelievre in August 1996. And see, according to the RTBF, the evidence: the telephone contacts between Dutroux and Nihoul only dealt with cars, not children. A second program, on June 3, 1998, was accompanied by the publication of a book of one of the employees of Au Nom de la Loi, who explained at a press conference that morning: "The paedophile network does not exist. Michel Nihoul is innocent." For those who still didn't get it, a third program of Au Nom de la Loi followed on March 22, 2000: "On the basis of documents and testimonies we show that Nihoul could not have been involved in the kidnapping of Laetitia." For those who even then still did not get it, a fourth broadcast about and with Nihoul followed. Never before could a suspect in a criminal case count on such a supportive band of followers as Nihoul with the la Loi. Even in September 1997 journalists whispered to each other that the real producer of Au Nom de la Loi was nobody else than examining magistrate Jacques Langlois. The RTBF journalists paraded all too eagerly with the announcement that the examining magistrate had called them on the morning of September 18, 1997: "It was great." Since last week we know that producer Gerard Rogge with two colleagues, participated in a meeting with Langlois. That rumor circulated in late '97, but was believed by few. The law very specifically states that an examining magistrate under no circumstances can speak with journalists. And certainly not in the Dutroux dossier, in which the Court of Cassation had rigorously defined the lines after the spaghetti arrest. [Connerotte]... Even though the letter of Bourlet speaks for itself, nobody has contested the facts as he laid them out, and Gerard Rogge (RTBF) himself admitted that Langlois "accepted to meet us", the majority of the Belgian media radically turned the facts around. Was that note real? Shouldn't this incident be presented as a struggle between believers and disbelievers? Why did the note of Bourlet turned up only now? (answer: because Journal du Mardi could only get its hands on it two weeks ago). In the mean time, the way in which a number of media have presented the story has given the lawyer of Nihoul, Frédérique Clément de Cléty, enough confidence to file a complaint against Bourlet at the District Attorney's office in Liege. He is being accused of "information poisoning", with the unavoidable result that the prosecuter (at least temporarily) has to step down. This action could only work because Nihoul felt himself supported by a great number of journalists, that generously offered to "testify against Bourlet"." Criticized by Paul Marchal, the father of An, on November 25, 1997. Marchal held Langlois responsible for the fact that a number of important files had disappeared from the Dutroux dossier and that important leads to possibly higher ups in the Dutroux network were not pursued. Also criticized by Gino Russo, the father of Melissa, when Langlois concluded that it was possible for Julie and Melissa to have survived for 104 days in the home of Dutroux when this person was in jail. The report Langlois quoted from contained an endless list of reasons why it basically was impossible that Julie and Melissa would have survived. However, Langlois decided to only remember the first part of one of the last sentences: "It is possible... [but extremely unlikely]."

Lt.-Gen. Willy Deridder

Born in 1941. Studied law at the Free University of Brussels and became a doctor of law. Joined the Gendarmerie. Liaison officer to the Cabinet of the Minister of the Interior. Chief of staff to the commandant of the Gendarmerie. Commandant of the Gendarmerie until May 1998, and therefore ultimately responsible for the cover up of the Dutroux investigation, which was headed by Commandant Duterme. Made the decision to resign when Marc Dutroux briefly escaped on April 23, 1998, coincidentally during the same hours that X1's pimp acknowledged a large part of her story (which the Gendarmerie tried to discredit at all costs). Always refused to work with Comite P., the "police of the police", even questioning the reasons for its existence. Member of the General Secretariat of Interpol May 1999 - October 2001. Executive director (no. 2 position) of Interpol since October 2001. Cheerleader of the War on Terror at Interpol.

Lt.-Gen. Herman Fransen

Long time chief of staff to Lt.-Gen. Willy Deridder, commandant (head) of the Gendarmerie until May 1998. Commandant of the Gendarmerie since May 1998. His brother was appointed head of the inquiry that desperately tried to find a link between De Baets and X1 before the Dutroux investigation (and failed).

Col. Hubert Fransen

Younger brother of Lt.-Gen. Herman Fransen, commandant of the Gendarmerie since May 1998. Senior officer in the Inspection Department (including Internal Affairs) of the Gendarmerie. Appointed head of investigation of the Pignolet inquiry in early 1999, after his predecessor, adjutant Etienne Goossens, was unable to find any evidence of a conspiracy between De Baets and X1. Goossens had told Goffinon numerous times that he was chasing ghosts, but kept being sent out to check the most ridiculous facts to find any kind of tie between De Baets and X1 before the Dutroux Affair. There was absolutely nothing to be found. Under Fransen the "investigation" intensified. The home of Tania V., the good friend of X1, was searched, possible ties between X1 and Gang of Nijvel victims were searched, and helicopters were used to shoot aerial pictures of a villa which might have played a central role in the "De Baets-X1 conspiracy". This bogus investigation became almost as expensive as the original X1 investigation itself. Again, absolutely nothing was found.

Lt.-Col. Jean-Marie Brabant

Head of the BOB in Brussels and the immediate superior of Jean Luc Duterme there. Met with Connerotte in late August 1996 to convince the examining magistrate to cancel his planned house searches at the BOB. Connerotte had been planning to do that after A) he found out that Nihoul was an informant of the BOB and was allowed to continue his dirty business in exchange for information on other criminals, and B) he found out that the BOB had lied to him when they denied having dossiers about Michel Nihoul or Annie Bouty. Connerotte called off the searches, but in exchange Col. Brabant temporarily had to hand over control of some top investigators at the financial section of the BOB. 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." Interview with Patrick De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "He [Col. Brabant] began lying to the magistrates from day one. On August 12, 1996, Dutroux was arrested, on August 16 Michel Nihoul; that same day the District Attorney's office of Neufchateau, which headed the investigation, asked to several police services if they knew Nihoul. Brabant stated that Nihoul was not known by the BOB of Brussels. That was peculiar, very peculiar, because it wasn't true. We had already been after Nihoul a couple of times: in the swindle dossier SOS Sahel and in the investigation into the suspicious bankruptcy of the business office Annie Bouty et associes, the company of the suspended lawyer Annie Bouty, the ex of Nihoul. Brabant normally has a good memory; he knew that. He must have known, because in that period he already was the second commandant of the BOB..." Brabant sanctioned the BOB in April 1997 to leak information to the press in an effort to discredit Nathalie W. Au Nom de la Loi was one of the primary media outlets that this information was leaked to.

Lt.-Col. Guido Torrez

Head of the Neufchateau district of the gendarmerie. On October 6, 1986, Torrez personally called the gendarmerie in Schaarbeek to tell a gendarme officer to leave his suspect, a Portuguese named Juan Borges, alone. The officer in question wanted to arrest Borges for having written a bad check of about $35,000. In the military-structured gendarmerie it is highly unusual for senior officers to directly contact field investigators. On October 8, Torrez explained to the gendarme officer that he had ordered Borges to left alone after he had received a phone call from the office of the secretary of defense. The gendarme officer apparently didn't agree as he was soon fired. The truth came out three years later when the company of Annie Bouty, Cadreco, went bankrupt and all the company's financial records were sieged. It turned out that Bouty's friend Michel Nihoul had been the one who personally called up and convinced Col. Torrez to leave Borges alone. Borges was a business partner of Nihoul in the underworld, and was involved in the illegal trade of gold, drugs, fake dollars, art and apparently also humans. He had high level connections to the Italian mafia and fascist members of the Jonathan Club like Frederic Godfroi (inspector of the BOB in Brussels who became a gang leader; friend of Jean Bultot and acquainted with Nihoul). In 1985-1986, Borges owned the firm Candy Medical, which was a front for illegal weapons trafficking. This firm was located in a building owned by the Security Bureau of the European Union/Commission, headed by fascist Pierre Eveillard, whose brother was a police commissioner who protected the Dolo. Brigitte Jenart, Borges' girlfriend since 1983 who only found out about the criminal circuit he was involved with after a while, claimed that it took only one call from Bouty at the time for the gendarmerie to leave Borges alone. Jenart also claimed that Bouty once in a while had it checked if Borges had not appeared on an internal watchlist of the gendarmerie. Jenart committed suicide in April 1998. The year before Col. Torrez had been heared about this affair by Comite P. and ultimately the conclusion of the Verwilghen Commission became that Torrez, as newly-appointed local Gendarme chief at the time, had just been naive when he believed that the person on the other side of the line represented the office of the secretary of defense. Responsible for appointing commandant Jean-Luc Duterme head of the Dutroux investigation on December 1, 1996. Within a month, Duterme had begun to torpedo the X investigations. Torrez also is a good friend of Georges Marnette, a controversial police commissioner who played a key role in covering up the Dutroux-Nihoul investigation (while at the same time accused of being one of the rapists in the network). Both Marnette and Torrez are fans of the soccer club Anderlecht and often go to matches together.

Cmd. Jean Luc Duterme

Officer in the BOB. From 1984 to about 1988, right hand man of Nijvel/Nivelles prosecuter of the king Jean Depretre in the Gang of Nijvel investigation. In this investigation, Depretre exercised a large amount of influence on examining magistrate Jean-Marie Schlicker. Depretre rejected all evidence that indicated political motives of the Gang of Nijvel and the involvement of the extreme-right. He requested to gendarme general Robert "Bob" Bernaert (Duterme's boss), a good friend of general Fernand Beaurir, that BOB officer Gerard Bihay and his colleagues, who had written a report that made a strong case for high level involvement in the Gang of Nijvel, were demoted to the traffic section of the BOB. After kicking Bihay and his colleagues out the door, Duterme brought in a number of other BOB officers to investigate the ties of the Gang of Nijvel. One of these officers was Didier Mievis, who several years earlier had appeared in a report about Group G, a fascist-nazi group involved in an elaborate plan to overthrow the Belgian state. Mievis belonged to Group G and was known to have provided Francis Dossogne with classified internal documents of the gendarmerie. At the time that he was brought over to Duterme's investigating cell, Mievis was still in contact with Dossogne (paid "advisor" to Baron de Bonvoisin; took his orders from Army Intelligence major Jean Bougerol, head of PIO and personally picked by Vanden Boeynants and Baron de Bonvoisin; another "private detective"; director of CIDEP, publisher of the fascist NEM magazine; good friend Jean Bultot, who is closely tied to the Gang of Nijvel; gave permission to Paul Latinus in '78-'79 to reorganize the Brussels department of Front de la Jeunesse; according to Martial Lekeu, Dossogne, Latinus and DEA agent Frank Eaton were leaders of Group G, a Nazi-inspired NATO-sanctioned parallel organization within the Gendarmerie). Duterme publicly accused examining magistrate Jean-Marie Schlicker of only being interested in the fascist links to the Gang of Nijvel because of his Jewish background. When Schlicker pushed through in 1985, not only did Depretre everything he could to stop him, Schlicker's wife and kids were also threatened. In late 1985, Depretre became determined to prove that the Borains, a reasonably insignificant gang of criminals, were behind the Gang of Nijvel terror campaign. The Borains were acquitted from all charges in 1988, after a ballistics report turned up that proved their innocence. This report had been hidden away by Depretre. Around the same time, the Court of Cassation removed Depretre from the Gang of Nijvel investigation, because he was considered not objective enough. However, Depretre, with the help of Duterme, had slowed down the investigation enough in the first few crucial years that in the period after that it turned out to be impossible to find the real perpetrators of the Gang of Nijvel terror campaign. No. 2 of the BOB in Brussels at the time the Dutroux affair began, under Lt.-Col. Jean-Marie Brabant. Commandant in the Gendarmerie. Sent to Neufchateau on December 1, 1996 to coordinate the investigation of the network that Dutroux was involved with, as claimed by a number of victim-witnesses. Besides Lt.-Col. Brabant, Lt.-Col. Guido Torrez, head of the Neufchateau district of the gendarmerie, was responsible for Duterme's appointment to this position. Already in 1989-1990, it had been found out that Torrez had taken orders from Annie Bouty and Michel Nihoul to leave an important criminal alone. Torrez was a close friend of police commissioner Georges Marnette, who also came to Neufchateau to manipulate the whole investigation. Prosecutor of the king Michel Bourlet preferred to speak directly to the inspectors and not via their superior Commandant Duterme. Duterme, as a man who attached great importance to formality, could not appreciate this, nor the informal way the whole team of De Baets and other personnel worked with each other. Duterme even fired Aime Bille, 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. Within two weeks, Duterme began filing official complaints to his superiors about the informal ways of the Neufchateau investigators. In late December, at his own initiative, 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. Interestingly, Duterme 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 individuals spoke Dutch very fluently. Some of them were already involved in the campaign to discredit X-witness Nathalie W. Duterme's re-reading efforts continued throughout the first half of 1997. 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." In mid-February 1997, Patriek De Baets (interviewer of X1; originally worked in cooperation with Connerotte and Bourlet) had put together a list of 43 targets at which he wanted to do a house search, this in order to confirm (more) 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). 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 explained earlier, 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'. 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. That same 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 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 (Duterme's superior), 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 June 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. Interview with Patrick De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "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." Several years after the Dutroux and X affair broke out, Marie-Jeanne Van Heeswyck, together with another journalist, was sued by Commandant Duterme for writing that Duterme was sabotaging the X investigation. The journalists were forced to pay 12,500 euros in compensations. Van Heeswyck was a journalist with Le Journal Le Mardi, co-founded with the lawyer of the parents of Loubna Benaïssa, the girl that was murdered by a paedophile (seemingly part of a network). Van Heeswyck also was a co-author of the 1999 book 'The X-Dossiers'.

Georges Marnette

Source(s): X2 (apparently indirect accusation); Nathalie W. (accused of raping her); anonymous witness (about coke orgies with Nihoul); see the accused list for details.

Brussels police commissioner who played a crucial role in protecting Nihoul and destroying the credibility of the X-witnesses. You can find his biography in the accused list.

Philippe Beneux

Dutch-speaking right-hand of Brussels police commissioner Georges Marnette. Judicial police contact of family V., which testified to have seen Nihoul in Bertrix where Laetitia had been kidnapped. Beneux told the family that their testimony wasn't really necessary, because investigators already had enough evidence against Nihoul (a lie). He also did nothing when the family told him that they were being severely intimidated by strangers. Bourlet ultimately was responsible for finding more than a dozen other witnesses who had also seen Nihoul in Bertrix on August 8, some of them in the company of Dutroux.

Jean-Claude Van Espen

Appointed examining magistrate in the late 1970s or early 1980s, at the recommendation of the right wing of the PSC (Vanden Boeynants, de Bonvoisin, etc.). Van Espen became one of the most successful and respected examining magistrates who investigated many prominent cases of fraud and corruption. However, he has also been accused of not touching Belgium's aristocratic financial establishment surrounding Societe Generale and the business empire of Albert Frere. In the late 1970s, Jean-Michel Nihoul convinced Annie Bouty to set up her own attorney's office, specialized in seeking asylum for refugees from Africa. Nihoul took care of public relations and brought in customers. Philippe Deleuze, a friend of Bouty from college, became a partner in the law firm of Bouty and Nihoul in 1980. Deleuze was married to Francoise Van Espen, the sister of Jean-Claude Van Espen, acted as the godmother of Nihoul's son. Van Espen himself acted as an occasional partner in the firm. Deleuze was a member of CEPIC and a board member of the Tentoonstellingspark (exposition park) foundation, of which Paul Vanden Boeynants was chairman. According to Nihoul, Vanden Boeynants and Deleuze were responsible for the appointment of Jean-Claude Van Espen to examining magistrate. Nihoul soon came into contact with Vanden Boeynants. Deleuze resigned after 10 months in 1980 after stating that Nihoul was giving too much business to Bouty and too little to him. His wife, Francoise, also complained that the company received too many complaints from clients who did not receive answers to their letters. Nihoul was responsible for that. PV 10.543, October 8, 1996, summary of an interrogation of Michel Nihoul: "He knew Van Espen when this person was an occasional collaborator in the office of Annie Bouty and Philippe Deleuze. The sister of Jean Claude Van Espen is the wife of Philippe Deleuze and is the godmother of the son of Jean Michel Nihoul. Jean Claude Van Espen would have been appointed a magistrate after Paul Vanden Boeynants, Philippe Deleuze intervened in his favor. Nihoul declares to have learned from lawyer Vidick that Van Espen would have been involved in a child molestation network." Interestingly, also a person named John M. Verswyver, who had become a cell mate of the paedophile Jean-Paul Raemaekers, began to claim in early 1997 that Van Espen protected a network of paedophiles. Interestingly, by this time Raemaekers had become one of the most important disinformation assets of Jean-Paul Dumont and police commissioner Georges Marnette, both accused of child abuse themselves. Jean-Claude Van Espen is known to have been the lawyer of Annie Bouty in mid 1984. Initially, in late 1997, when the first rumors about Van Espen having defended Bouty started, Van Espen stated: "That is pertinently untrue. I have never, ever, represented Annie Bouty." Confronted with the specific documents his statement changed to: "Maybe I represented her once, to replace another lawyer. Yes, that could be." When Nihoul's business J.M. Nihoul et Associes, founded in 1987 with the help of Annie Bouty, got itself into legal trouble in 1989, Nihoul contacted Philippe Deleuze. Deleuze then contacted his brother-in-law Jean-Claude Van Espen to arrange a meeting to discuss their legal strategy (Nihoul in PV 10.554, October 18, 1996). After the Dutroux affair, on December 30, 1996, Nihoul would be sentenced to 3,5 years for his frauds in SOS Sahel and J.M. Nihoul et Associes. Interview with Patrick De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "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." In November 1997, X1 stated to her therapist that she had seen Van Espen a couple of times in the early 1980s in the presence of Nihoul and Bouty. The therapist called De Baets, who had already been taken off the investigation of X1, who wrote an official report. The therapist mistakenly assumed that Van Espen was present at the abuse and murders, which was later corrected by X1. The former peace judge Bernard Devisscher was a close acquaintance of Van Espen who could be found almost every evening at the Dolo, Nihoul's favorite hang out since 1986. Nihoul also dated Devisscher's sister. On August 5, 1992, the nine year old Loubna Benaissa disappeared. Thirteen days after her disappearance, a classmate of Loubna, Aziza, reported seeing Loubna sitting in the back of a black Volkswagen Golf that drove by. She was so convinced that it was Loubna that she quickly wrote down the license plate of the car on her arm: FKE080. The Brussels judicial police checked this license plate in 1992, but couldn't link it with a black Volkswagen. In September 1996, the parents of Loubna filed an official complaint about the earlier investigation, which led to another one. The new investigators checked if Aziza might have written a letter or a number of the license plate wrong. Soon license plate FHE080 turned out to belong to the law clerk of Jean-Claude Van Espen, who owned two Volkswagen Golfs, albeit not a black one. This law clerk of Van Espen was married into the Derochette family. One of these family members, Patrick Derochette, was a known child abuser, while the brother of Patrick owned a black Volkswagen Golf. The investigators assumed it was perfectly possible that license plates were swapped within the family and soon Derochette became one of their leading suspects. On March 5, 1997, during a house search, Loubna was found buried in the basement of Patrick Derochette. Interestingly, Aime Bille of the research team of De Baets found out that a full cousin of Patrick Derochette made Fabienne Kirby, a friend of Christine Van Hees back in the early 1980s, pregnant. In late 1996, Kirby began confirming X1's story, but was not re-interviewed before De Baets and team were removed, in part because of Van Espen. It is known that a woman named Nathalie Perignon phoned up Kirby during the Dutroux investigation. Perignon had been suspiciously present with three men (Radio Activite employees who knew Nihoul) in a black car observing the champignoniere where Christine had been murdered a week before. Additionally, the Loubna Benaissa case was also tied to a paedophile named Roland Corvillain, who lived at an address that was tied to the Nihoul-Bouty network (searched). He was said to have acted suspiciously around the time of the Loubna abduction. Corvillain was a business partner of Serge Frantsevitch, the owner of Logitel in which Nihoul, Lelievre and Martin were involved; Corvillain's ex-wife suspected in human trafficking. Headed the investigation into the PEFL affair. When the violent paedophile Jean-Paul Raemaekers was arrested in 1993, detectives found approximately 4000 videotapes in his apartment in Rotterdam (a very underreported fact). Only 2000 of these tapes were sent to the BOB. Allegedly because of a lack of storage space, these were ordered destroyed in February 1995 (finally done in June 1996), one day after Raemaekers had lost his chance to appeal against his sentence. The other 2000 or so videos were stashed in a warehouse in Anderlecht of judicial expert Andre Fourneau, something which most investigators were not aware of. Allegedly because of a lack of storage space, Fourneau wanted to get rid of these videos and sent the collection to the curator of the PEFL auction in Molenbeek (Brussels). On December 7, 1995, PEFL auctioned 779 videos of Raemaekers' collection. Someone bought them all up (in three parts) for 750 euros, a price which some were a bit surprised about. It's not known what was on these tapes, but some investigators suspect there was child pornography on many of them. On October 1, 1985, Van Espen was appointed examining magistrate of the investigation into the murder on Christine Van Hees, which had occurred on February 13, 1984. Van Espen had virtually no previous experience in murder and child abuse cases. Against standard regulations, two heads of investigation were appointed to the Van Hees case, instead of one: Guy Collignon [went to Les Atrebats sex club] and Georges Ceupens. In the 1,5 years before Van Espen's appointment, a group of punks had been making completely incoherent statements that they had murdered Christine Van Hees. They also here and there talked about black masses, druidism and satanism. The chief suspect of the murder became Serge Clooth, a drug addicted punk who almost daily completely changed his previous testimony. He did, however, seem to know a few details about the murder. In November 1984, his grandmother testified that a young Brussels attorney had informed her son (Serge's father) that Serge had been drugged and liquored up by the judicial police in return for a scripted testimony. In January 1985, investigating judge Michel Eloy (also tasked with the CCC bombings; would never meet the parents of Van Hees) was struck by a heart attack, followed by a nervous breakdown. In June 1985, Eloy quit his job and decided to move to the Seychellen. Van Espen, a rookie who had no experience with murder cases, became the new investigating magistrate. Van Espen did not contact the parents of Christine and never visited the crime scene. On November 25, 1985, Van Espen first met Serge who again stated that his earlier statements were repeats of what the police officers read out to him. He was released on November 17, 1987. Around this time Serge came into contact with Didier de Queve (lawyer of Alexis Alewaeters and soon Dutroux) and Jean-Paul Dumont (CEPIC lawyer; accused by different sources of being part of the Nihoul abuse network), who represented him at the European Court of Human Rights. In 1991, Belgium was condemned for having detained Clooth too long without any good reason. Queve talked about the police rewarding suspects with drugs in exchange for testimonies. One of the punks, Marc Duriau, had died on August 1, 1986 from an overdose of heroin in the presence of his lawyer and two other once suspected junks. Clooth and another punk would later claim that Duriau knew too much and therefore was killed. The lawyer was later arrested for involvement in drug business with the punks. At some point, Guy Collignon, one of two chief investigators of the Christine Van Hees case, picked up Michel, Christine's younger brother, from school. According to Michel, Collignon told him: "While I was eating, Collignon explained to me that the investigation was evolving towards important, high level people. He said it would be better to leave those people alone, that he would soon be promoted and that he would probably not be involved anymore in the investigation." (PV 100.450, January 19, 1997). In 1996, X1 was shown pictures of the punks, but didn't recognize any of them. In 1997, according to colleagues, Baudouin Dernicourt, interviewer and debunker of X-witness Nathalie W., was obsessed at the time with the murder on Christine Van Hees (in February 1984; and as later described by X1). All he could do was talk about the murder and how it was bigger than most people thought. In the summer of 1984, Dernicourt had become afraid that someone was trying to assassinate him for looking into this affair. Then, some days later, he claimed to know everything about the murder, what actually had happened, and that he would never speak about it again. And indeed he didn't, until 1997 when he became the chief "re-reader" of the X testimonies under Commandant Duterme. The Christine Van Hees case was officially closed in June 1996. The parents of Van Hees were informed through the mail by Van Espen that the killers of "Claudine" (Christine) had not been found and that the investigation was closed. Unfortunately, after heading the investigation for 11 years, Van Espen still didn't know the victim's name. In January 1997, after claims from X1 in late 1996, the Christine Van Hees case was reopened again with Van Espen once again the examining magistrate. This is what brought Van Espen into the X1 case. As soon as X1 began to speak about the murder on her Christine, BOB officer Aime Bille, of the team of Patriek De Baets, went through the old dossier of the murder on Christine Van Hees, at the time headed by examining magistrate Jean-Claude Van Espen. 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. Another example from 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 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, Michel Bourlet, 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. At the Obelix meeting of March 7, 1997, Van Espen reported about the Christine Van Hees case. It was decided that the District Attorney offices in Gent and Antwerp would temporarily cease their investigations until Van Espen could reach some kind of a conclusion on the Van Hees case. Van Espen worked on what many considered the most "easy" dossier, as no prominent businessmen, magistrates or politicians were mentioned. Like Langlois, Van Espen supported the re-reading efforts headed by Commandant Duterme. Searched hard for evidence of undesired leaks and used flimsy evidence for that to delay certain investigations, with the hope of ultimately canceling them. Complained to everyone who wanted to hear it that the many inspectors assigned to the Dutroux case took away resources from other important cases. 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." Bille testified that Van Espen skipped important meetings dealing with the X1 case, was not interested in reading the X1 dossier and asked investigators to mail him a summary with a recommendation on what to decide. Ironically, in the past Van Espen had always worked in harmony with Patriek De Baets and Aime Bille, and respected their expertise. De Baets: "Van Espen has been fooled, tricked and lied to. 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. They knew Van Espen had little interest in the case and presented the facts to him entirely different." 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." After Commandant Duterme cancelled all of De Baets recommended house searches to verify parts of X1's testimonies, Van Espen was the one who actually gave the order to search the home of X1 instead, which happened on March 20, 1997. It was quite a traumatizing event for X1. 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. A month later this decision became permanent and together with Duterme and Langlois, Van Espen goes down in history as one of the primary individuals behind the closing of the X-investigations.

Jean Soenen

Prosecutor of the king in Gent from 1993 to 2007. Soenen never appointed an examining magistrate to investigate the murder on X1's friend Clo (Carine Dellaert), whom X1 knew when she lived in Gent in the early to mid 1980s. Refused to allow the BOB in Gent to work with their colleagues in Neufchateau (De Baets, et al) during his investigation of Carine Dellaert case. X1 saw the BOB officers in Gent as the most intimidating she had encountered. Soenen's conclusion from the start: "These things don't happen, and certainly not in my district." Soenen continually manipulated the investigation into the disappearance of Carine Dellaert. Soenen at a 1998 press conference, rebroadcasted in Zembla (Dutch TV), 'De X-dossiers - Part II', 24:30 (Soenen read up a paper in very bad Dutch): "... the testimonies of Regina Louf, alias X1, have been closed definitively. As an overall conclusion it can be stated that all her testimonies have been totally unbelievable and the [inaudible] of pure fantasy. Her testimonies pertaining to the death of Carine Dellaert are completely wrong. During the investigation it clearly turned out that the girl Clo, if this person even existed, absolutely does not identify herself with Carine Dellaert." Soenen was often sided by substitute magistrate Nicole De Rouck, who apparently had to ask permission for every step she took. On January 28, 1998, under the supervision of substitute magistrate Nicole De Rouck and prosecuter Jean Soenen at the BOB in Gent, Regina was confronted with her father against her will. Before her father was allowed in, De Rouck had an interesting conversation with Regina, which was caught on tape. While Regina was severely distressed by her parents' statements on TV, De Rouck began to tell her how her parents still loved her and other things along that line. This went on for quite some time, and because De Rouck also forgot to mention that the camera was running (and a number of other things), some investigators think that De Rouck tried to get Regina to a point where she would withdraw her charges. Again, this didn't happen and her father, who would deny everything, was eventually allowed in. De Rouck would later state publicly that nothing Regina said checked out and that she herself pursued the relationship with Tony (an interesting contradiction all by itself).

Danny De Pauw

Assistant of Patriek De Baets in interviewing X-witnesses. Only one of the team of De Baets not to be sacked in mid-July 1997 by commandant Duterme and his superiors. According to one of the former team members of De Baets, "[Danny] was the Judas in our team. He apparently saw that his career was about to go to hell. So he diligently worked from that day on to put us in a bad daylight in all kinds of notes, and so to contribute to a climate of suspicion against De Baets." Even though De Pauw cooperated in the campaign to discredit X1 he was far less abusive than Eddy Verhaeghen, De Baets' follow up. X1 had never been very comfortable with De Pauw, even before he converted, as he had a tendency to be very nervous.

Eddy Verhaeghen

BOB officer who was in contact with Nihoul -one of his informants- until the day Nihoul was arrested in the Dutroux affair. Interview with Patriek De Baets, Humo, September 28, 1999 and October 5, 1999, 'Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul: the sabotage of an investigation': "Nihoul was a non-registered informant who had been brought in by a gendarme officer from Dinant, the late Gerard Vanesse. Two gendarme officers of the financial section of the BOB Brussels maintained contact with Nihoul: Eddy Verhaegen and Bernard Meurant. They used him as a potential informant in investigations into fraud with telephone cards and mobile phones... 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." Like Patriek De Baets, assigned to the Neufchateau cell under Commandant Duterme. Involved in the Dutroux and X-dossier investigation. Replaced Patriek De Baets, who, in mid 1997, had been fired along with all of his team members as the chief interviewer of X1. The only person of the team of De Baets that was not dismissed, Danny De Pauw, became his assistant (and the only person X1 never really trusted). Eddy also worked a lot with Wïlly Vandeput, another zealous "re-reader". Together, Eddy and Danny radically changed the way in which X1 was handled: A) They organized an informal talk outside the bureau and without any notes or video being taken (a report was written after they got back at the bureau); B) They indirectly told X1 that they weren't interested in the truth: "we just want our pay check at the end of the month"; C) They stopped doing any kind of field work to check out the claims of X1. She somehow had to revisit all these places herself and subpoena the suspects, in order to provide some "evidence"; D) They insinuated that X1 also must have had some fun with Tony, because, they asked, "weren’t you in love with him?"; E) They told X1 that her experiences couldn't have been that bad, because she had a family now, a nice house, kids, and is laughing again; F) They began to interrogate - instead of interview - her friend Tania who had nothing to do with the case besides having made the initial call to Connerotte and De Baets. After Tania was asked to come to the bureau, it turned out that the interrogation took place in a readily accessible room with the files of X1 littered all over the place. The investigators insinuated that she must have known De Baets a lot longer, that she probably was involved in the same network as Regina, and that she was a prostitute. Tania felt very much intimidated at the end of the conversation. Eddy and Danny also grilled Corry, the friend of X4 who knew Tania. But even after their intimidating interrogation sessions, Eddy and Danny had no evidence at all of a tiny conspiracy among these women against the state, nor had they any evidence that these women somehow unintentionally hyped up each other's experiences. Nevertheless, in an official report was given to examining magistrate Van Espen, the interrogators concluded that: "Multiple elements in the investigation confirm that there exists a connection between these people." Whatever these elements (besides 1) were that connected X1, X4 and their friends with each other has never been clarified.

Baudouin Dernicourt

Implicated in the theft of 1800 pounds or 816 kg of dynamite in the stone quarry of Ecaussines in the night of June 2-3, 1984. This theft in turn is suspected to be linked to the CCC bombings of 1984 and 1985. The Cellules Communistes Combattantes, or CCC, officially was an extremist leftist group. However, many people generally assume this was just another chapter in the Gladio history. In 1985, after hitting a car on the road, arrested for illegal target practice with his gun. Besides a two-day suspension, he was not prosecuted at all. Many people assumed the career of this officer was over after this second incident. The opposite was true, however. Dernicourt was promoted and soon ended up with the BOB. Rumors existed that he had been a member of the neo-Nazi Westland New Post, but did take legal steps to crush these rumors. According to colleagues, Dernicourt was obsessed at the time with the murder on Christine Van Hees (in February 1984; and as later described by X1). All he could do was talk about the murder and how it was bigger than most people thought. In the summer of 1984 he was afraid that someone was trying to assassinate him for looking into this affair. Then, some days later, he claimed to know everything about the murder, what actually had happened, and that he would never speak about it again. And indeed he didn't, until 1997 when he became the chief "re-reader" of the X testimonies under Commandant Duterme. In all the official reports he wrote for the Neufchateau cell he never indicated he had more in depth knowledge about this case. Dernicourt did everything he could to ridicule X1, with Danny De Pauw and especially Eddy Verhaeghen. Involved with Cerefino Alvarez and the abusive Eddy Verhaeghen in writing down and researching the claims made about Chateau des Amerois. Took over the interviewing of Nathalie W. in early February 1997, after Theo Vandyck had suffered a stroke, and together with Pourbaix turned it into interrogations. Nathalie W. trusted Theo Vandyck, but not long after these two new investigators literally began intimidating and destabilizing (not very hard) her, she ceased cooperating with the BOB.

Philippe Pourbaix Took over the interviewing of Nathalie W. in early February 1997, after Theo Vandyck had suffered a stroke, and together with Dernicourt turned it into interrogations. Nathalie W. trusted Theo Vandyck, but not long after these two new investigators literally began intimidating and destabilizing (not very hard) her, she ceased cooperating with the BOB. In March, after Nathalie had withdrawn from the investigation, Pourbaix contacted the neighbor of Nathalie and Cecile, warning her that she shouldn't leave her children around Nathalie. The neighbor recorded a phone call with Pourbaix and gave it to Nathalie, who in turn confronted Pourbaix with it. The result was that Nathalie's house was searched, the tape confiscated and the neighbor threatened with possible legal steps for having violated secrecy agreements. Cecile Z., a police officer who lived together with Nathalie W., wrote: "Pourbaix just kept repeating that everything Nathalie said had been investigated and that nothing checked out... He suggested to me that I go through the stuff of Nathalie and do my own investigation that way... [I know hard evidence is necessary], but claiming, like Pourbaix did, that Nathalie is fantasist, a psychopath, a mythomaniac and the biggest manipulator in the world, that is way out of line. Believe me, these are not interpretations, these are words I literally heard." Ludmilla, a psychologist at Botte's foundation (who had helped Nathalie W.), concurred: "I think this was a set up and that we were dealing with disinformation, which not only was meant to destabilize the victim, but also to discredit her in her own environment." In early April 1997, Duterme began to worry about Nathalie telling everything she knew to family, friends and reporters. Within two weeks, however, the media began a full scale attack on Nathalie instead. Theo Vandyck, the early interviewer who she trusted, had recovered enough from his stroke to find out what was happening at Neufchateau. It turned out that Pourbaix and his colleagues had contacted the media in an effort to discredit Nathalie. When Vandyck pointed out to Pourbaix that he risked being prosecuted for violating official secrets, he was told that Duterme and Col. Brabant of the BOB had given their full support for the media-campaign. According to Vandyck, Pourbaix called Nathalie a "whore" who was manipulating the whole Dutroux investigation. Pourbaix for some reason had become so upset with Nathalie that he began to use her picture at the shooting range for target practice. Nathalie had finally found a job in mid-1998, a year after her dossier had been closed. Within days the gendarmerie stopped by informing her superiors that she needed to be interrogated for something pertaining to the Dutroux-case. In the past she had always been contacted personally in a very discrete manner, either by mail, by phone or a pager she always carried with her. This unnecessary move on behalf of the gendarmerie resulted in the loss of her job.
Serge Winkel

Together with Danny Lesciauskas, Winkel was the interviewer of the paedophile Jean-Paul Raemaekers during the time that this person began talking about Guy Focant and Jumet (in October 1996). Raemaekers' statements, in which Winkel and Lesciauskas should have detected many contradictions, were used by Marnette and others to start the pointless digs in Jumet. Winkel was appointed to interview victim-witness X3 in November 1996. X3 would give 4 long talks about her history of child abuse, before her interviewers wrote down the first report (on December 10). Even after this 5th interview her interviewers were under orders to write down as little as possible, because she mentioned members of the royal family. It is an unwritten rule in Belgium to terminate any investigation in which the royal family becomes a suspect. The summary of her interview of May 26, 1997 (PV 151.688) ends with the interesting sentence: "Identical interview as 151.829, but she doesn't mention royal personalities." In PV 151.829, dated June 2, 1997 (at least, the summary), she mentioned Prince Charles of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, King Baudouin and "King Albert" (whether she meant Albert I or Albert II is not known).

Jacques Pignolet On August 20, 1997, Commandant Duterme decided to sack De Baets and his team from the X-dossiers all together. That same day Duterme filed the complaint against De Baets and his colleagues that they have been manipulating the X-witnesses during the interviews, allegedly leading to "rumors" of high level child abuse networks. Jacques Pignolet was appointed as the magistrate to investigate these complaints. Starting at the same time, De Baets was attacked by Baron de Bonvoisin and some of his associates, and made up claims that subsequently also had to be investigated by Pignolet. In June 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, not to mention Col. Hubert Fransen, younger brother of Lt.-Gen. Herman Fransen, head of the Gendarmerie, had found absolutely nothing after almost three years of research. The X-dossiers were not reopened as a result of that.
Marc Toussaint

Wrote the 2010 book 'Tous manipulés?', which is critical of X1, De Baets, Connerotte and Bourlet, while protecting Michel Nihoul and the establishment that killed the investigation and-or was implicated in the abuse. This indicates Toussaint may have played a role in leaking VM1's story and also that he acted as a mole when he provided documents to reporters of De Morgen newspaper.

Young gendarme officer who was the runner of victim-witness VM1. In the presence of Michel Bourlet, Marc Toussaint and Yves Zimmer (head of the sexual abuse department of the Brussels police from 1982 to 1987; linked to the abuse network), VM1 emotionally testified on February 16, 1997 how he had been a child prostitute for Phillipe Cryns in and around Le Mirano and how he had witnessed child murders and assassinations. Somehow, within two days of this meeting word got out that VM1 was talking to police. VM1 was threatened to shut up and to hand over any evidence he had if he wanted to live longer than a week. Cryns used to be a member of Cercle des Nations, together with Paul Vanden Boeynants, Baron de Bonvoisin and Pinay Circle founder Jean Violet.

Rene Michaux

Most incompetent officer in the Gendarmerie ever. Head of Operation Othello, a cell of detectives that monitored all of Dutroux's movements after suspicions had been raised against Dutroux that he was the kidnapper of Julie and Melissa. The operation ran from August 10, 1995 and was shut down in January 1996 while Dutroux was temporarily in jail. An and Eefje were kidnapped by Dutroux on August 22, 1995, and locked on the first floor of his home. Michaux's Othello observers didn't notice anything. On August 25, 1995, the 19-year-old Eefje managed to grab her clothes, crawl out of the bathroom window and shout for help, several seconds before Dutroux pulled her back in. The observers of Operation Othello, who had pointed a camera towards Dutroux's house, never noticed anything. On September 4, 1995, Dutroux's mother, who advised against the 1992 release of her son, anonymously informed Michaux that the neighbors of Dutroux were very suspicious about his activities. Windows were blackened out, he was always making noise in the basement, the garden was filled with used car tires, and two girls "of 16 or 18 years old" were recently been seen in his garden. The girls had never been seen during daylight. This information somehow didn't make it to the investigating team that was working on the case of An and Eefje, who were 17 and 19 years old.

Michaux headed a September 28, 1995 meeting of different BOB brigades which dealt with the recent phenomenon of occupants of white Mercedesses following and photographing schoolgirls. At that time, reports had come in from Bergen, La Louviere and Charleroi, and soon 15 other reports would come in from Couvin, Thuin, Chimay and Beaumont. In the afternoon of December 13, after a disastrous search in Dutroux's Marcinelle home, Michaux 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 his handler, 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 in Schaarbeek or Sint-Gillis. According to the informant, the occupants of the white Mercedesses were putting together catalogs of 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 File 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) 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. 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 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.

Michaux headed the two searches of Dutroux's houses in December 1995 and failed to find Julie and Melissa (An and Eefje had already been killed by then) during these two searches. During the first search, when Michaux and locksmith Alain Lejeune (this person did not know anything about Dutroux being a suspect in the kidnapping of girls) were in Dutroux's basement, they heard a few interesting sounds. Michaux testified he did not hear children's voices, but only a faint murmur (in other cases he clearly said he heard children's voices). On the other hand, Lejeune testified: "I remember almost nothing of the house search, except one thing: when I went down with Rene Michaux and handed him a searchlight, we both clearly heard two children's voices. Of two little girls. One said three or four words, the other briefly answered; one word of one syllable. It lasted a few seconds. At that moment, a colleague of Michaux came running down the stairs making a lot of noise. Michaux shouted: "Tais-toi - Silence!" We heard nothing after that anymore." According to Lejeune, the voices were very close by, but they could not find anything in the basement. Michaux identified the location where Julie and Melissa apparently were hidden as a water tank and didn't feel like investigating it. Michaux claimed he just assumed it must have been the neighbor's children who were watching the investigators as they entered the house of Dutroux. Unfortunately for Michaux, Lejeune, the locksmith who was working on the lock of the front door for quite some time after the investigators had entered the house, hadn't seen any children: "It was December 13, a weekday, and it wasn't during a vacation." (quotes from 2004, Nieuwsblad, 'Locksmith: "I heard two little girls' - Locksmith contradicts theory of Gendarme officer Michaux). Michaux somehow didn't think that Dutroux's strange basement was worth exploring even though it was known that he had been working on his basement, which was L-shaped instead of the usual square design. The plaster- and woodwork in the corner responsible for the L-shape was much newer than the rest of the basement, and behind them the cells for the children had been hidden. A knock on this part of the wall would have produced a hollow sound. On top of that, normal communication was possible with someone locked up in one of the cells, as the parents of Julie Lejeune had demonstrated. Besides hearing children's voices, Michaux found a number of videotapes. On one was written "Perdu de Vue, Marc", a reference to the tv program 'Lost From Sight' which dealt with missing children, and on which Julie and Melissa had also featured. On two other videotapes Dutroux could be seen rebuilding his basement and raping a 14-year-old Slovakian or Czech girl (facts that came out only 3 years later). The tapes weren't watched by Michaux and were given back to Dutroux's wife, Michele Martin. In the basement Michaux also found vaginal cream, chloroform, a speculum (medical instrument used to dilate bodily orifices) and chains, which also didn't seem cause for alarm. Eight months later, on August 13, 1996, Michaux searched Dutroux's Marcinelle home again from 14.20 to 17.20, right after Dutroux had been arrested. In this case he failed to find Sabine and Laetitia, and couldn't even find the letters Sabine had left under Dutroux's carpet. In May 2004, Michel Bourlet 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 went on to call Bourlet a liar and soon was contemplating to sue him for libel. He also vaguely insinuated a conspiracy by the gendarmerie and top politicians to "get him". In reaction to his complete failure to find any of the girls or notice any of the evidence, the parents of Melissa Russo filed a complaint against Michaux. The parents of Julie Lejeune inspected the basement of Dutroux and also openly criticized Michaux and his team. Met the controversial Georges Zicot in a cafeteria in December 1996. Zicot said to him: "Don't worry. When you were standing in that basement the children were already dead." Dutroux was arrested 7 days before Michaux did the first house search during which the voices were heard. It is unknown how much food Dutroux left them, so Zicot's statement is speculative at the very least. Michaux later became a police commissioner. Jan Hasaers for Parti du Travail de Belgique, 'The gendarmerie controls the new police, but who controls the gendarmerie?': "In her annual report of 1999 the Comite P admits that her control over the gendarmerie is virtually non-existent and that the gendarmerie does what it pleases in judicial investigations, even forging evidence if necessary. Comite P had to investigate what had happened to five of the 92 videos of Dutroux. These were confiscated during a house search on December 13, 1995, 6 months after Julie and Melissa had been kidnapped. In early 1996 the audio-video center of the Gendarmerie had been given orders to copy the tapes. In early 1999, two gendarme officers, at the orders of the examining magistrate in Neufchateau, for the first time watched three of the videos and the copies thereof. What turned out: "The original amateur videos were not on the copied tapes. Different scenes -most notably those of Marc Dutroux working in his house in Marcinelle or of a naked girl with her legs spread- were not on the copies. [Comité P, Bijzonder verslag 1999, punt 5.9.]"