Victims Reject Dutroux′s Apology | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 21.04.2004
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Victims Reject Dutroux's Apology

The two surviving girls from alleged Belgian child killer Marc Dutroux's reign of terror in the mid-1990s, refused to accept an apology from the rapist on Tuesday.


Sabine Dardenne repeatedly challenged Dutroux and asked the judge to silence him.

A harrowing day at the Arlon courtroom where Marc Dutroux is being tried ended on Tuesday with the convicted pedophile apologizing to the two victims who were rescued from his basement cell eight years ago.

Marc Dutroux, Pädophilie Prozess

Marc Dutroux

"I realize the wrong that I have done, I offer my apologies," Dutroux (photo) said after listening to his victims' testimony. Dutroux appeared contrite after both victims gave testimony detailing how Dutroux had kidnapped, drugged and raped them during their imprisonment in his home in southern Belgium.

Both Sabine Dardenne and Laetitia Delhez, aged 12 and 14 at the time, refused to accept Dutroux's apologies.

"His regrets, he can keep them," Delhez said. "The evil is done. It is too late," she said.

Victim's testimony points to pedophilia network

Delhez, the second survivor of Dutroux's dungeon, took the stand on Tuesday, describing how Dutroux abused her during her six-day captivity at his house.

Laetitia Delhez, Opfer von Marc Dutroux, mit Anwalt

Laetitia Delhez arrives with her lawyer to give support to Sabine Dardenne.

Delhez (photo) confirmed that she was forced into a white camper van on the evening of August 9, 1996 in her hometown of Bertrix as she was on her way home from swimming. Delhez said she was immediately drugged by Dutroux and when she awoke, she lay in a bed in Dutroux's home, her knees bound.

She told the courtroom that Dutroux repeatedly raped her during the first few days and later asked her, "Did that hurt?" The now 22-year-old Delhez said Dutroux assured her, "The only evil I can do to you, is to sleep with you."

In contrast to Dardenne's testimony, which began on Monday, Delhez pointed towards a pedophilia network behind the events and said she heard Dutroux telephoning with someone named "Jean Michel." Jean is a nickname for the co-accused Michel Nihoul. Dutroux has repeatedly stated that Nihoul was the middle man for a pedophilia network and that he kidnapped the girls on Nihoul's orders.

Victim asks why she was not killed

Earlier Sabine Dardenne, who was kidnapped near the southern town of Tournai on May 28, 1996 and sexually abused for 80 days before being rescued, overcame an emotional start on Monday to deliver the harrowing details of her incarceration and abuse at the hands of her captors before asking Dutroux why he had not killed her.

"I would like to know from him -- who complained about my bad character -- why he did not liquidate me," she told the court in the southeast Belgian town in a steady voice.

Dardenne, now 20, was released from the secret cell in Dutroux's basement two days after he was arrested along with his former wife Michelle Martin in August 1996. Martin is also facing trial.

Staring at Dardenne from behind the dock's bulletproof glass, Dutroux said he never intended to kill her. "It was never an issue," he said. "I recognize having abused her and I take responsibility."

On returning to face her tormentor on Tuesday morning, Dardenne objected to Dutroux's implications that he had kidnapped Laetitia Delhez in 1996 to find her a friend. Dutroux told the court that Dardenne had "bugged me for two and a half months," but said he had "never given in."

"She was lonely, that's true, I was aware of that." But he also said that Dardenne had nothing to do with Delhez's abduction. "Sabine is not responsible for the abduction of Laetitia."

Dutroux claims to have 'saved' Dardenne

Dardenne was also angered when Dutroux claimed he had protected her from a pedophile network which had killed other girls. "I did not give her because I knew that she was going to be killed," he said. "When I stay with someone for a time, I end up becoming attached to them."

"So, if I understand you, I should be thankful?" Dardenne angrily asked Dutroux. She then turned to presiding judge Stephane Goux to "make him be quiet."

Charges of rape, kidnap and murder

Michelle Martin, die Ehefrau von Marc Dutroux, auf einem Archivbild vom 19. Aug. 1996

Michelle Martin

The case against Dutroux, his ex-wife Michelle Martin (photo) and two accomplices, also involves the kidnapping, sexual abuse and killing of four other girls aged between 8 and 19. Two 8-year-old victims -- Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo -- are thought to have starved to death in Dutroux's basement in 1996 while he was in jail for car theft. Two others -- Eefje Lambrecks, 19, and An Marchal, 17 -- were also killed in 1996. Their bodies were unearthed from Dutroux's backyard.

Dutroux, a convicted pedophile on parole at the time of the abductions in 1995 and 1996, has admitted kidnapping and abusing the girls, but claims he was working for a wider criminal network of pedophiles which also recruited prostitutes across Europe, a claim that has been rejected by the court.

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