EU criticizes Netherlands for not helping Dutch citizens arrested abroad
The Dutch government falls seriously short in helping Dutch people convicted abroad who want to serve their sentence in the Netherlands, the European Union concluded in an evaluation requested by the Volkskrant.
The Dutch authorities do not involve the convicted person in the procedure for deciding whether to transfer them to the Netherlands, for example. In other EU countries, there are special hearings for this procedure, which has significant consequences for the convicted person involved as it also determines what sentence they must serve if they get transferred.
While in other EU countries, courts decide whether or not someone can serve their sentence there, the Netherlands places that responsibility with the Minister of Justice and Security. The Arnhem-Leeuwarden court only has an advisory role. That makes the procedure in the Netherlands mainly an “administrative” one, the EU said, calling it very undesirable. The EU wants a judge to decide whether a Dutch national can serve their foreign sentence in the Netherlands.
The researchers also noted that many authorities are involved in sentence transfer procedures in the Netherlands, making those procedures take longer than necessary. It also entails the risk that different authorities could interpret the law in different ways. That is “neither efficient nor desirable,” the EU said.
There is a “clear lack of agreement” with the European rules in the Netherlands, the EU said, urging the Netherlands to amend its law for sentence transferring.
The Ministry of Justice and Security would not respond to the Volkskrant, saying it awaits the “general” report from the EU. “Both reports will be a reason to see whether there are possible improvements to the current procedure,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.