Government naive about murders around key witness, lawyers say
The Ministry of Justice and Security is naive in its fight against serious crime and in how it protects key witnesses, Peter Schouten and Onno de Jong, the lawyers representing key witness Nabil B. in the Marengo assassinations trial, said in a press conference on Thursday. According to them, the government has been lax in protecting those involved in the Marengo trial, NU.nl reports.
The government and national coordinator for counter terrorism and security NCTV were "condescending" about key witness Nabil B. and the role of the people representing him, the two lawyers said. "The NCTV has been lax on a large number of points with regard to the security of everyone involved," Schouten said. "People now realize that mistakes have been made that are difficult to explain. The hope is now that a veil can be put over it by not doing [the investigation] independently."
The lawyers' anger was sparked by the murder of crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who acted and Nabil B.'s confidant, in Amsterdam last month. B.'s brother Reduan and previous lawyer Derk Wiersum were also murdered. The lawyers were flabbergasted when the Justice Ministry appointed Tjibbe Joustra, the former national coordinator for counter terrorism, to head the committee investigating De Vries' murder and security. According to them, Joustra and all his ties to the government can absolutely not be unbiased.
"We want the committee to conduct an investigation without regard to persons. If there is a failure, those involved must be held accountable," De Jong said.
Before the press conference, the two lawyers met with Dick Schoof, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice and Security, to discuss this point. Apparently, the meeting did not go well.
The lawyers want an independent chairperson on the investigative committee, and for the committee to jointly investigate all three murders around Nabil B., who is providing key testimony against Ridouan Taghi and the alleged drug-centered gang around him regarding their involvement in multiple assassinations. De Jong and Schouten suggested a professor to chair the committee.
But according to the lawyers, the Ministry refused to replace Joustra with the professor, only agreeing to let the professor join the committee. The Ministry also refused to have the committee investigate the murders of De Vries, Wiersum, and Reduan B. at the same time.
The Ministry of Justice and Security released a statement saying that it has faith in Joustra's independence and critical attitude. "Mr. Joustra has extensive experience in conducting independent investigations and has the right knowledge and expertise," the Ministry said.