On the usefulness of Akoma Ntoso

There's been very few laws that I followed closely, but all of them had a direct impact on my life, so I took this seriously. I didn't actually follow laws, but rather legislative processes because I either wanted a change or I was averse to it. In both cases, the object of interest was not a law itself, but its evolution.

You should already know that most laws are hand-crafted patches applied to previous laws. There are virtually no laws that are written from scratch, one notable exception is the constitution. Other laws refer to past laws.

For example, today's law that extends the powers of the Belgian intelligence service is a patch applied to the law that created the service in 1996, and it says literally this:

  • Go the the article 3 of the past law and append this extra paragraph
  • commit your changes in the legislative branch
  • push to the executive branch

If you go and search for the original law, you won't find it that easily, because laws were digitized back to 1998, while the original law dates from 1996. If you are lucky, you'll have free online access to the so-called 'consolidated' version of the law. That is, a version with all the patches applied. However:

Software industry has tools and processes to help transparency in law and policymaking

Software that we now use constantly in our daily life wouldn't be possible if people creating these systems did not follow the practice of recording even the smallest change to the software in version control systems. Now, political activists all around the world convert legal texts to version control systems in an attempt to open up the lawmaking processes.

Use version control software for lawmaking processes

Originally published in

As usual, the US is ahead of the rest of the world with the initiative that formalizes and makes available in a useful way all existing information pertaining to the country's legal system. It is important to change the lawmaking processes so that they create data in ways that are immediately useful by services like

The pilot project may combine ⅓ of software development and configuration activities with ⅔ of training, support and follow up.

The money is made in long-term projects maintenance and support projects that will be a joy to run once the shift is made.

Target customers: Ministry of Justice, DG Justice, standards bodies, big companies with evolved internal standards and ever failing formal verification and validation procedures run over tens if not hunderds of Microsoft Word documents stores on SharePoint servers.

How to prosecute for posession of paedophilic images and video?

In light of the recent accusation of Richard Biefnot (PS), echevin of Housing and Urbanism in Mons, I was trying to figure out what kinds of images he actually possessed and on the basis of what laws he is being prosecuted.

Seems like this simple question is being deliberately obscured by media.

That is, there shall be a difference between possession of e.g. Hentai and of videos of children making sex because the whole point of prosecuting the buyers is to keep the children out of the danger of being abused by reducing the demand. Obviously, no child has been abused in the production of Hentai, or other purely fictional artwork, so this argument does not apply for Hentai.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to find the relevant legislation in order to check whether this distinction is maintained in the legislation, but I would not be surprised if it is not.

Update: Thanks to a fellow lawyer friend, I got a pointer to the relevant legislation, and, I as expected, there is no such distinction, indeed:

Code penal Chapitre VII. Des outrages publics aux bonnes mœurs

Art. 383bis

§ 1er.