The largest trial in Belgian history kicked off on Monday with 10 men accused of involvement in Islamist suicide bombings in Brussels in 2016 that killed 32 people and injured over 300.
Set to last seven months, the trial revived painful memories for those who lost loved ones, were injured or witnessed the twin bombings at the airport and a third bomb on the metro on March 22, 2016.
Around 1,000 people have registered to be represented in the hearings.
“I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night,” Christelle Giovannetti, who now wears hearing aids due to injuries in the metro bombing, told reporters before the trial began.
Sylvie Ingels, who was near the first airport bomb, said she had had repeated nightmares in recent days.
“If I come today it’s to make this step and go beyond my fears. It’s important to be here. It’s their trial but also ours. We are waiting for some answers,” she said.
Nine of the accused are charged with multiple murders and attempted murders in a terrorist context, and face potential life sentences. All 10 are accused of participating in the activities of a terrorist group.
One of the group will be tried in absentia, but is presumed to have been killed in Syria.
Presiding judge Laurence Massart confirmed the identity of the defendants. All except Osama Krayem, a Swedish national accused of planning to be a second bomber at the metro, responded to her questions.