Chamber wants better security for key witnesses

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The House of Representatives supports the cabinet’s plans to improve the security and surveillance of persons under threat. Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz wants to carry out a thorough review of the system, because it is not functioning properly and major and fatal mistakes are being made by the police and judiciary. The crown witnesses scheme is also being overhauled, because the deployment of crown witnesses is not going well and poses a lot of danger and risks for crown witnesses, their loved ones or officials.

Last night, the House spoke for at least eight hours about the hard conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), which investigated the run-up to the murders of crime journalist Peter R. de Vries, lawyer Derk Wiersum and Reduan, the brother of crown witness Nabil B. The trio was related to the extensive Marengo criminal trial involving main suspect Ridouan Taghi.

THE HAGUE – Debate on the report of the Dutch Safety Board on the security surrounding and the murder of the brother, lawyer and confidant of a key witness. ANP/ Hollandse Hoogte / Laurens van Putten (ANP / Laurens van Putten)

The OVV found that both the police and the Public Prosecution Service went wrong, mainly because they did not share crucial information with each other, so that appropriate security measures were not taken. To prevent the fragmentation of information from now on, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) will be the linchpin in the ‘information puzzle’. “It will be legally guaranteed that the NCTV receives the information necessary for its role of authority,” said the minister. The Chamber is particularly concerned about the Public Prosecution Service, which shows little self-reflection about its own role.

Apologies

Yeşilgöz previously apologized to the relatives for the mistakes made by government services; but she did not want to say on Thursday whether compensation will result. She is and will continue to talk to the families, was the only thing she wanted to say. Most MPs also expressed their condolences to the surviving relatives, for whom the report and the debate about it must be ‘tough as a lead’ in their eyes.

Although the minister is adopting all the OVV’s recommendations to improve the system, there were doubts about the implementation of the plans. There was fierce criticism of Yesilgöz’s lukewarm and late response when the OVV report was published, but the minister did not run into problems politically. Only DENK leader Farid Azarkan submitted a motion of no confidence, also on behalf of the Van Haga Group. It will be broadly rejected when the motions are voted on after the recess.


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