Watch out for the ‘systems thinker’ Otte, the new top man of the Public Prosecution Service (COLUMN)

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Watch out for the 'systems thinker' Otte, the new top man of the Public Prosecution Service (COLUMN)

The cabinet has appointed Rinus Otte as the new top man of the Public Prosecution Service, succeeding Gerrit van der Burg. Otte will become chairman of the Board of Prosecutors General on 1 June. Otte has been a member of the Board of Prosecutors General since 2016. He can stay on for up to six years. As a counselor, Otte was involved in two possible miscarriages of justice, and did not impose a TBS order on Anne Faber’s later murderer.

By means of @Wim van de Pol

Rinus Otte was a counselor at the Arnhem Court of Appeal that sentenced the suspects of the 1998 “Arnhem Villa Murder”. That court ignored indications that numerous errors and omissions had been committed by the detectives, and that there were likely false confessions. The case led to a revealing documentary series. According to the Advisory Committee on Closed Criminal Cases, the Supreme Court rejected a first request for review due to ‘legal fine-tuning’. A second request for review of the case is now pending.

Pump Murder

Otte was also a counselor at the court that sentenced the suspects in the case of the “Warnsveldse Pompmoord”. In that case, four men were possibly wrongly convicted in 2004 for the murder of a gas station attendant in Warnsveld. Experts argue that a false confession was made in the case. A revealing reconstruction has also been made about this case on the basis of the interrogation tapes, the file and those directly involved. The sentencing court where Otte sat ignored the indications of sloppy police work and the prominent suggestion that detectives might have coerced false confessions, although these confessions were really the only evidence.

In a book by professor Peter van Koppen and the documentary series life-sized, the suggestion arises that there was also a miscarriage of justice here.

Anna Faber

As a councilor, Rinus Otte was also involved in not imposing TBS on the later murderer of Anne Faber, Michael P.. There were plenty of indications that P. could no longer control himself mentally when he stood trial for a series of robberies and acts of violence . The court imposed the maximum sentence of sixteen years. The court of which Otte was a member deducted five years from this, and omitted the imposition of TBS. This led to bitter criticism from the father of Anne Faber, who was raped and murdered in 2017. He thought that Otte would therefore not be able to join the Board of Prosecutors General in 2016.

The president of the Arnhem/Leeuwarden Court of Appeal explained the TBS decision to the father in a conversation in 2018, as it followed from the law.


Otte is proud to execute the hard line of the law as a magistrate. For example, he urged the prosecution of a doctor who made the difficult decision to end the hopeless life of a patient. The doctor was tried for murder, and was eventually acquitted. Otte calls himself a ‘systems thinker’, and ‘without compromise’ too, which is complimentary as far as he is concerned.

Anyone who has experience with the unprecedented – and still growing – power and coercive means of the police and the Public Prosecution Service, as well as with the mistakes that this ‘system’ of Otte regularly makes, knows that you have to be extra careful with a Public Prosecution Service with Otte at the helm. .

The systems thinker Otte stands for ‘a precise interpretation of the law’, he says. And what if the system makes mistakes, mistakes for which people are responsible, mistakes by magistrates that lead to miscarriages of justice like the Villa Murder? Then Otte and the system are silent.

Attorney General

The magistrates of the Public Prosecution Service who go wrong are usually promoted obliquely. Like the officer responsible for the blunders in the error of the Schiedammer Park murder. Or public prosecutor Lucas van Delft, who staged a death threat against himself: he has now risen to advocate general after a non-active period.

Unfortunately, Otte’s promotion is appropriate, not at all necessary.

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