Soldiers not prosecuted for racist texts
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) will not conduct a criminal investigation into six marine soldiers who shared "hurtful and insulting images" in a service-related WhatsApp group. These included "images that are extremely hurtful to people with dark skin", according to the OM. Because the statements were not made in public, prosecution is not in order, according to the judiciary.
The Ministry of Defense is now looking at possible measures itself, because the OM is not conducting an investigation. The department "underlines that there is no place for hurtful or discriminatory statements, whether made in public or not".
At the end of June, the Ministry of Defense received a report about the shared material in the WhatsApp group of fifteen marines. At that time they were participating in an exercise in Denmark. After the report, the six marines who shared the offending images were sent back to the Netherlands by the commander. At the request of the Ministry, the OM assessed the material for criminality. Since the report, the marines have been suspended and at home.
Three messages can be regarded as punishable, according to the OM on Thursday. "But for prosecution it is necessary that the statements were made in public," said the judiciary. "That is not the case, now that the statements were made in a limited, closed WhatsApp group of 15 people. It cannot be demonstrated that the soldiers had the intention that the messages should also be made public, or that they consciously took the risk that the images would become public."
Reporting by ANP