Nearly 23,000 court cases delayed over capacity problems
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) expects to have to postpone at least 22,700 lawsuits this year due to capacity problems and "more complex lawsuits". Years of budget cuts has left the service with not enough manpower, and the "more complex society" results in lawsuits taking up more time, a spokesperson for the OM confirmed to NU.nl after reports in the Telegraaf.
The police courts expects to delay 14 thousand lawsuits this year. The sub-district courts expects delays in 6,500 cases. The other 2,200 delayed lawsuits are with the multiple criminal court, where more complex and serious cases are dealt with.
According to Public Prosecutor Gerrit van der Brug, the delays can be attributed to years of budget cuts and complex cases. Cases like the upcoming MH17 trial, the Marengo Trial around multiple assassinations allegedly committed by Ridouan Taghi and his criminal organization, and the case around outlaw motorcycle gang Caloh Wagoh and the murders its members allegedly committed, demand a great deal of time from prosecutors and other personnel, he said.
Another problem is the "more complex society". Last year, police officers responded to 32,250 reports having to do with people with mental health issues, who demand more time and attention from the system, Van der Brug said. That is an increase of 35 percent compared to five years ago. In 65 percent of all criminal cases, the suspect had "underlying problems", according to the prosecutor.
Van der Brug is not pleased with the state of affairs, he said according to NU.nl. "This can hardly be explained to victims and suspects and it sends a bad signal to society." Due to these delays, victims now have to wait an average of 14 months before their criminal case is handled.
Victim Support Netherlands is also unhappy with the situation, chairman Rosa Jansen said to the Telegraaf. "The handling of criminal proceedings helps the suffering of the victims. It is terrible for them to have to wait."