Acquittal in many murder-for-hire plots unnerves Amsterdam prosecutor

Crime scene (Photo: Politie). (Crime scene (Photo: Politie))

The Amsterdam Public Prosecutor is calling for a change of law to make preparing for an assassination punishable, even if it can't yet be conclusively proven who the intended target was, the Volkskrant reports.

This follows the sentencing of eight Utrecht suspects, the so-called "assassination squad". End November the eight suspects were sentenced to prison terms of between 3 and 8 years, but they were acquitted of preparing for assassinations, because the Prosecutor could not prove who the intended targets were. Based on this ruling, the Public Prosecutor is now calling that Article 46 of the Criminal Code be changed. The Prosecutor is also appealing against the partial conviction of the gang.

According to the Prosecutor, changing this law will increase the effectiveness of solving murders. At this stage the police and Prosecutor are facing a recurring dilemma in when to act once they know an assassination is on the cards. If they wait too long, someone gets shot. But if they intervene before knowing exactly what is going on and who is being targeted, the would-be assassins are acquitted. The Prosecutor believes that early intervention must be possible, and wants this to be specified in the law.