Judiciary Council calls politicians to stop blaming judges for unpleasant rulings

Scales of justice and gavel on law book
Scales of justice and gavel on law bookPhoto: tomloel/DepositPhotos

Henk Naves, the chairman of the Council of Judiciary, called on politicians to stop immediately blame the judge if they find a verdict unpleasant. That is bad for the rule of law, he said in his New Year's speech, NOS reports. 

He referred to the Urgenda case, which resulted in the court ordering the government to take more measures against climate change. After the ruling, the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, established a working group to investigate the increasing influence of judges on politics. 

That attitude is bad for the rule of law, Naves said. "Then we come to the point where the equilibrium within the trias is shaky, he said, referring to the separation of powers, the trias politica. Judges are determined to keep a cool head, despite social and political pressure, Naves said. "That should earn respect, not suspicion."

He called on politicians to look in the mirror after an unpleasant verdict. "Stop hiding behind your gowns and take responsibility for legislation and decision making that turn out to fall short."

Naves also called for more capacity at the Netherlands' high-security courts. The Bunker in Amsterdam Osdorp and the Judicial Complex at Schiphol are already overcrowded with cases, and this year will only make matters worse, he said, calling 2020 a year with "unique challenges".

There are multiple complex assassination- and undermining crime cases that require serious security measures, especially after the extra measures taken to protect lawyers, judges and prosecutors after defense attorney Derk Wiersum's murder. The trial against the first suspects in the MH17 disaster is also happening this year, a case of unprecedented proportions, Naves said.