Justice Min. considering making DNA investigation participation mandatory

Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security thinks there should be a discussion on making it mandatory to participate in DNA kinship investigations, he said on Wednesday afternoon after it was revealed that such an investigation led to the identification of a suspect 20 years after the murder of Nicky Verstappen.

"I think it is really important that we realize that we have technological developments in society that can ease the pain of relatives", Grapperhaus said, according to newspaper AD. This includes discussing whether the participation in DNA investigations should be made mandatory "under certain circumstances". Giving a DNA sample for a kinship investigation is currently voluntary.

Making it mandatory will have to be linked to important requirements, the Minister said. "You can't just do it. You have to take into account privacy and the right to physical integrity." Grapperhaus intends to discuss this with the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.

The Minister is pleased that the DNA kinship investigation in Nicky Verstappen's case led to the identification of a suspect. "I am very relieved for the family", he said. He called this result encouraging for doing more large DNA investigations in other cases in the future.

On Wednesday the police revealed that they identified 55-year-old Jos Brech as a suspect in the murder of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen in Brunssummerheide in August 1998. Brech's current whereabouts are unknown. He left for a hiking tour in France in October last year - the same month the DNA investigation was started - and hasn't been seen since. An European arrest warrant was issued for the man, and he was placed on the national wanted list. The police received over 200 tips about his possible whereabouts after revealing his name and photo.