Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Netherlands / Universal Jurisdiction

Genocides Dating Back to 1970 Can be Prosecuted in Netherlands
NIS News Bulletin, May 22, 2010
"The Netherlands can in the future prosecute and try suspects of genocides with retrospective effect from 1970. It will also become possible for suspects of genocide and war crimes in an unarmed conflict to be extradited and prosecution taken over from an international court, according to a proposed bill from Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin approved by the cabinet Friday. Under the present law, international crimes by aliens resident in the Netherlands can be prosecuted for international crimes, including genocide, which were committed after 1 October 2003. This means that in the case of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 that the Public Prosecutor (OM) cannot prosecute aliens resident in the Netherlands for genocide, but can only try to charge them for war crimes or torture. The cabinet however wants to amend the law in such a way that it makes prosecution possible for genocide committed after 24 October 1970. This is the date on which the international genocide treaty was endorsed by the Netherlands. 'In general, caution is appropriate in allowing retrospective effect, but it is unacceptable that an alien who has been guilty of genocide elsewhere should remain free from prosecution here,' according to the cabinet."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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