Donner set to gain more anti-terror powers
3 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner could soon gain far-reaching powers putting him in charge of several government ministries in the event of a crisis sparked by terrorists.
3 September 2004
AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner could soon gain far-reaching powers putting him in charge of several government ministries in the event of a crisis sparked by terrorists.
Donner could take command of the Interior Ministry and other departments in a legislative proposal aimed at improving Dutch anti-terrorism measures. The proposal is expected to be discussed by the Cabinet on Friday.
Political sources have told public news broadcaster NOS that the intelligence services could also be given the green light to bug more telephone conversations between terror suspects.
Under the plan, the Justice Ministry would gain a separate anti-terrorism unit.
Presently, the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the nation's police, is responsible for managing nationwide disasters and terror threats. The Justice Ministry oversees the judiciary and the immigration service IND.
Since the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US, an intense battle has raged with the Dutch public service over the manner in which the Dutch anti-terror effort is organised. Interior Minister Johan Remkes has reportedly surrendered the battle in the new division of tasks.
There have been discussions in The Hague over the creation of a separate Security Ministry to improve the co-operation between the police, justice officials and intelligence services. No agreement has been reached.
The issue will be raised again after the next election during talks to form a new government. But according to the Cabinet, the war against terror cannot wait, prompting the expanded powers for Minister Donner.
A new anti-terror law also came into effect last month. The new law new allows for tougher sentencing of terrorists who commit criminal acts compared with sentences imposed on ordinary criminals for similar offences.
In addition, recruiting volunteers for Jihad and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts are now prosecutable offences. The Netherlands is following European guidelines regarding its sentencing policy.
Amid indications from the Dutch secret service AIVD that extremists were planning an attack in the Netherlands, the Dutch government issued a terror alert on 9 July and security was tightened at key installations. The terror alert remains in force.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news