Curfew must be scrapped immediately, court rules
Last update 11:06 a.m.
The coronavirus curfew implemented on January 23 must be scrapped with immediate effect, the court in The Hague ruled on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by protest group Viruswaarheid, NOS and NU.nl report.
The government implemented the curfew based on an emergency law, which states that the cabinet can introduce rules in an emergency without consultation with parliament and the Senate. But according to the court, the curfew was not for an emergency "as is the case with a dyke break". The fact that there was no emergency situation is apparent from the fact that the introduction of the curfew was discussed before it was introduced, the court said.
The curfew was labeled a "controversial" measure. As the Rutte III government is an outgoing cabinet, after it resigned in the childcare allowance scandal, it must leave controversial matters to the next cabinet, or pass it through parliament before implementation. The curfew was therefore debated and voted on in parliament before it was introduced.
Because the measure was discussed in advance, there was no question of "super urgency", which is required for the use of the emergency law with which the curfew was implemented, a spokesperson for the court said to NU.nl. The law in question is the Extraordinary Powers of Civil Authority Act. The curfew must be scrapped immediately, though the government can still appeal against the ruling.
"The judge took into account that there is a pandemic, that there is a virus that also mutates, and the great pressure on healthcare. It is a time of great worries and difficult decisions. But measures too, and especially far-reaching ones like the curfew, must be well based on law," the spokesperson said.
In a first response, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said that he wanted to study the ruling before giving a reaction.
PVV leader Geert Wilders and DENK parliamentarian Tunahan Kuzu responded on Twitter.
"GOOD NEWS! END OF CURFEW! I've always said it, curfew is disproportionate. Quick parliamentary debate with Prime Minister Mark Rutte!" Wilders tweeted.
"Long live the rule of law," Kuzu tweeted. "Rutte and [Health Minister] Hugo de Jonge would not listen to the population. Hopefully they will listen to the judge!"
The curfew was first introduced on January 23. It was set to expire on February 10, but the government extended it - with parliament's approval - to March 3.