Revolutionizing Justice: the penal code reform

Tue. March 26, 6:30PM

Revolutionizing Justice: the penal code reform

Join us for a debate over the new penal code with Damien Vandermeersch, Manuela Cadelli, Delphine Paci and Khalil Aouasti. A state of play of the legal situation in Belgium.

On February 22, the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium officially adopted the long-awaited reform of the penal code, marking the end of an eight-year process aimed at modernizing the outdated version dating back to 1867. This pivotal vote signifies a significant step forward in shaping the legal landscape of the country.

What are the primary changes introduced, and which specific new articles are generating controversy? How will citizens be directly impacted by the reforms? What aspects are conspicuously absent from the new code?

Join us for an informed panel discussion featuring prominent voices in the Belgian landscape. Damien Vandermeersch, Professor of Penal Law at UCLouvain and a key figure in the reform process, Manuela Cadelli, Judge at the Court of First Instance of Namur, Delphine Paci, lawyer and member of L’Observatoire des Prisons, and Khalil Aouasti, Federal Deputy for the Socialist Party, will lead an engaging debate moderated by Maryam Benayad.


Damien Vandermeersch

Damien Vandermeersch is Advocate General at the Court of Cassation and a law expert involved in drafting the new penal code. He has been a judge at the Brussels Court of First Instance, was a member of the “Assize Court Reform” Commission as well as chairman of the Interministerial Commission on Humanitarian Law. He also teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at the University of Louvain and at the University of Saint-Louis in Brussels.


Manuela Cadelli

Manuela Cadelli begun her career as a lawyer in 1987. Since 1999, Manuela Cadelli has served as a judge handling civil, correctional economic and financial case. She has been President of the Probation Commission of the Namur-Dinant district since 2021. From 2013 to 2019, Manuela Cadelli was President of the ASM (Association Syndicale des Magistrats). She is the author of "La légitimité des élus et l'honneur des juges" (Samsa 2022) and "Nuremberg 1947: Le poignard de l'assassin sous la toge du magistrat" (Anthemis 2023). Currently, she is preparing a new book "AI et justice : les limites à ne pas franchir ».


Delphine Paci

Delphine Paci is a Lawyer at the firm Legalia. She is specialised in criminal law, financial criminal law, prison law and juvenile law. She is a member of the criminal law committee and the criminal law and prison law committees of the Brussels Bar. She is also a member of the Belgian section of the International Prison Observatory since 2002. Over the past two years, Delphine Paci has acted as defence counsel in the trials of the Paris and Brussels attacks. Aside from her activities as a lawyer, Delphine Paci is an assistant in criminal law and procedure at the Université Saint-Louis since 2018 and teach the bar admission course (CAPA) in criminal procedure and in-depth criminal procedure.


Khalil Aouasti

Khalil Aouasti (PS) is a Member of the House of Representatives and 1st Alderman for the town of Koekelberg. His fight for dignity and social justice is part of a long-standing battle, first as a lawyer specialising in the rights of foreigners, then as an elected representative


Maryam Benayad

Maryam Benayad, is a journalist for the Belgium service of La Libre Belgique, trained at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in journalism and communication. Also a criminologist, Maryam works mainly on Justice/Police issues, she is also a radio and TV columnist and a debate moderator.
Tue. March 26, 6:30PM
Tue. March 26, 9:00PM
TheMerode Talks
Guest allowed?
Yes, 1 per member


Place Poelaert, 6
1000 Brussels
Parking Poelaert, Place Poelaert 1000 Brussels

Detailed program

Tue. March 26, 6:30PM
Conference and Q&A
Tue. March 26, 7:00PM
Tue. March 26, 8:15PM