Damage caused by riots remains largely unpaid
The damage caused in the course of riots against the curfew measures must be compensated to the last cent, Ministers stated shortly after the riots in January. Yet, at the moment, this is far from the case, the Trouw reports.
Minister of Justice, Ferd Grapperhaus, strongly condemned the riots and said that the rioters would soon have to pay a hefty price for their actions.
Little has come of the promise that the perpetrators have to compensate the owners of the property they destroyed. Only 13 out of the 77 convicted rioters have to pay compensation.
The majority of people ordered to pay by the court took part in the Eindhoven riots. Yet even there, far from the entire amount has been recovered. In total, the court imposed fines of around 62 thousand euros. While business owners have filed for damages worth up to 670 thousand euros. The Dutch Insurer Association estimates the amount of insured damage to reach up to one million euros nation-wide with the actual damage likely being even higher.
Not all suspects have already had their day in court. However, it is not given that rioters must pay compensation. While the court in Rotterdam did order a 20-year-old man to pay 20 thousand euros for the destruction of a police station, in The Hague none of the eleven convicted rioters had to pay for any damage.
There are multiple explanations as to why rioters do not always have to reach into their pockets. First, many people present at the riot were not charged with rioting, but instead inciting violence through social media platforms, such as Whatsapp and Snapchat. In one case in Noord-Holland, a 17-year-old juvenile was sentenced to pay 150 euros after explicitly calling for the kidnapping of a police officer.
A second explanation is that rioters did not cause the same amount of destruction in all cities. For example, in Oost Brabant, more property was destroyed than in Apeldoorn, Zwolle and Enschede.
“Recovering damage is easier said than done”, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Office in Limburg says. “To be able to do that, you have to prove exactly who did what. The quality of the images of the riots in Stein, Venlo and Roermond are preventing us from prosecuting the perpetrators. Checking the suspects’ identities is proving to be difficult.”
Some rioters may still have to pay later. The Dutch Association for Insurers is looking into whether or not it is possible to start civil proceedings against the perpetrators. The complicated process, however, could take a long time.