Overview: Belgian authorities maintained a well-coordinated and effective counterterrorism apparatus overseen by the Ministries of Interior and Justice. The primary actors in this apparatus were the Belgian Federal Police, State Security Service, Office of the Federal Prosecutor, and the inter-ministerial Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis. Belgium continued to investigate, arrest, and prosecute terrorism suspects and worked closely with U.S. authorities on counterterrorism matters.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: On October 28, Belgian police arrested Ventura Tome Queiruga, a suspected member of Basque Fatherland and Liberty, who was wanted under a European arrest warrant submitted by Spain for terrorist attacks committed in the 1980s. The warrant was based on a 2000 Spanish judgment sentencing him to a 17-year prison sentence for attempted murder. Queiruga was handed over to Spanish police on December 13.
On September 20, Belgium and the United States signed a Preventing and Combating Serious Crime agreement, which was undergoing parliamentary ratification procedures at year's end. In late November, Minister of Justice Stefaan De Clerck signed an order to extradite convicted terrorist Nizar Trabelsi to the United States. Trabelsi, a Tunisian national, is serving a 10-year sentence in Belgian prison. He was arrested in Belgium in 2001 and later was convicted for plotting an attack on the Belgian Air Force base at Kleine Brogel, where U.S. military personnel are stationed. His lawyers filed an appeal against the extradition order with the European Court of Human Rights.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Belgium is a member of the Financial Action Task Force. The Belgian Financial Intelligence Unit, CTIF, directed an efficient and comprehensive interagency effort to prevent terrorist financing. According to the CTIF, most of the criminal proceeds laundered in Belgium are derived from foreign criminal activity. In 2011, Belgian authorities responded to changes in money laundering patterns by accelerating the process of freezing suspicious transactions through more efficient cooperation between different levels of the law enforcement authorities.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Belgium participated in European Union (EU), United Nations, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe counterterrorism efforts. As an EU member state, Belgium supported EU aid to Sahel countries for counterterrorism capacity building.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In 2011, the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis undertook further steps on the Action Plan on Radicalism. The goal of the action plan was to develop measures to limit the impact of extremist messaging. In addition, the Ministry of Interior continued to coordinate Belgium's effort to develop a government-wide strategy to counter radicalization and violent extremism. In October, Belgian officials working on this strategy visited the United States to exchange views and learn about U.S. efforts in this area.