As the time for the Rutte III government to take office approaches, the names of more and more Ministers are leaking out. Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) will have three Deputy Prime Ministers, one from each of the other coalition partners. They will be Kasja Ollongren (D66), Carola Schouten (ChristenUnie) and Hugo de Jonge (CDA), newspaper AD reports.
The Dutch government was fully aware that hijackers would be killed during a military action that put an end to a hostage situation on a train near De Punt in 1977, two former soldiers who were involved in the action told the Volkskrant on Monday. According to the two soldiers, wounded hijackers were unnecessarily executed and the government gave the instructions for, and approved, the attack.
The Ministry of Defense is launching an investigation into a former soldier being sexually abused in 1982, a spokesperson confirmed to ANP. Ex-soldier Ronald Vreeburg says that he was abused by five other soldiers at the Royal Military school in Weert, Limburg when he was 17 years old.
According to Vreeburg, he reported the abuse to the peloton leadership after it happened, but he was not taken seriously. In 2015 he spoke to the Inspector General of the Armed Forces, and was told that the case was past its statute of limitations, the news wire reports.
Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) will be the Minister of Defense for the final weeks of the departing government's reign. He is taking over from Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who stepped down on Tuesday due to a mortar grenade accident in Mali that killed two Dutch soldiers last year. King Willem-Alexander swore Dijkhoff in on Wednesday morning, AD reports.
Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD) resigned on Tuesday evening, after hours of debate in the Tweede Kamer about the Dutch Safety Board's report on the deaths of two Dutch soldiers deployed to a UN mission in Mali last year. Henry Hoving and Kevin Roggeveld were killed when a mortar grenade exploded while still in the firing tube during training.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert stepped down as Minister of Defense. After hours of debate in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday evening, she took the political responsibility for negligence in the Defense organization that resulted in the death of two soldiers in Mali last year. Commander of the Armed Forces Tom Middendorp also resigned.
For the first time ever, Dutch soldiers are pressing charges against their employer. On Saturday five members of the Corps Commandos announced that they are pressing charges against the Ministry of Defense over a fatal accident in which Sander Klap was shot and killed during a training exercise in Ossendrecht last year. "If nothing changes, he died for nothing", one of the five soldiers said to newspaper AD on Tuesday.
Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the hardest parliamentary debate of her career on Tuesday afternoon. The Tweede Kamer will debate with her the conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board's investigation into a mortar grenade exploding during training in Mali last year, killing two Dutch soldiers. With parliamentarians being almost unanamously critical, the question is not only whether Hennis will survive this debate as Defense Minister, but also whether she will still have a position in the new Dutch government.
Greetje Groenbroek, the mother of one of two soldiers killed in a mortar grenade explosion in Mali last year, plans to take legal action against the Ministry of Defense. On Thursday the Dutch Safety Board concluded that the grenades used in the UN mission in Mali were unsafe and that the medical treatment available to soldiers there is not in order.
Next week Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the Tweede Kamer in a debate about a faulty grenade that cost the lives of two Dutch soldiers, and seriously injured a third, in Mali last year.
The Ministry of Defense "falls seriously short" in ensuring the safety of Dutch soldiers deployed to the UN mission in Mali, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its investigation into an accident in which two Dutch soldiers were killed and another was injured when a mortar grenade exploded during a training exercise last year. Both the safety of the grenade and the medical care were not in order, ANP reports.
A mortar grenade that killed two Dutch soldiers during a training exercise in Mali last year was one of a thousand grenades that were unsafe - something the Ministry of Defense was aware of, Jean Debie, chairman of defense union VBM said to RTL Nieuws. If Defense followed its own safety procedures, 29-year-old Henry Hoving and 24-year-old Kevin Roggeveld would still be alive, Debie said. A third soldier sustained serious injuries.
Last year there were five investigations within the Dutch Armed Forces into possible radicalization of employees, ANP reports based on documents received from Defense at the news wire's request. Three of the investigations concluded that the involved employees were not radicalized. The other two are still ongoing.
The new Dutch government is giving an extra 1.5 billion euros to Defense, sources told the Telegraaf based on the financial plans the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie sent to central planning office CPB. Two thirds of that money is for catching up on overdue maintenance, the rest for investment, according to the newspaper.
That the new government plans to push more money into Defense, comes as no surprise. During the campaigns preceding the parliamentary election in March, all parties except GroenLinks, SP and DENK said they wanted more money to go towards the Dutch armed forces.
The Ministry of Defense is implementing stricter access control procedures for non-Defense personnel who want to enter a Defense barracks. This follows the arrest of a convicted jihadist at Volkel air base earlier this year, ANP reports.
The military department of the court in Arnhem is handling a case on Thursday involving a female soldier being sexually assaulted by a male soldiers, as two of their colleagues filmed the incident. The assault happened at the Luitenant-generaal Best barracks in Vredepeel in October last year, the Telegraaf reports.
The two soldiers ended up in the same room after a night out. The young woman could not get into her own accommodations and asked her male colleague if she could spend the night in his room, according to the newspaper.
The Ministry of Defense will be "under siege" from its own staff on Friday. Soldiers will block all entrances and exits of the Ministry's building in a labor action for better working conditions, the military unions announced, ANP reports.
Defense's military and civilian workers have been without a collective bargaining agreement since 2013, according to the news wire. Negotiations for a new agreement stranded in the spring. The unions rejected a final offer by the Ministry, which included a wage increase of 2 percent and money for training.
The Dutch Ministers involved in providing aid to the islands affected by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, are meeting in the National Crisis Center in The Hague at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The main purpose of this meeting is to map what aid exactly the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius need, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations said to broadcaster NOS.
In January the Netherlands will again deploy F-16 fighter jets to fight in the coalition against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq, sources confirmed to the Telegraaf. A total of six jets will be sent, four for fighting and two as reserve, and they will be stationed at the Al-Azraq airbase in Jordan, according to the newspaper.
The Netherlands' intelligence services and Defense are not adequately prepared to map and face digital threats from abroad, Brigadier General Wilfred Rietdijk said to the Volkskrant. He specifically warns against fake news, naming Russia in particular. According to Rietdijk, the Netherlands must establish a new, specialized organization for identifying these threats and preparing for an "information war".
If go-slow actions at the airports in Eindhoven and Rotterdam this week don't push the Ministry of Defense to come up with a better collective agreement for Koninklijke Marechaussee officers, labor actions at Schiphol airport may be the next step, the Marechaussee unions announced, Het Parool reports.
Two loud bangs caused some panic in Zeeland around 10:15 p.m. on Monday night. According to the police, a large number of people called emergency line 112. The bangs were caused by two F-16 fighter jets breaking the sound barrier on their way to intercept a passenger plane that did not contact air traffic control.
Travelers departing from the airports in Eindhoven and Schiphol today may face longer lines at the passport checks due to labor actions by the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for border protection, including at airports and harbors.
The joint unions of Defense personnel are planning labor actions twice this week. Friday's action may result in longer than usual queues at the airports in Eindhoven and Rotterdam, ANP reports.
On Friday the Koninklijke Marechaussee will perform extra strict and thorough passport checks at these airports. This may cause longer queues and extra inconvenience for passengers. The Koninklijke Marechaussee is a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for border security, including at airports and harbors.