Minister denies prosecution crisis
23 April 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has denied there is a crisis of confidence within the Public Prosecution Office (OM), rejecting claims that prosecution departments no longer support chief Joan de Wijkerslooth.
23 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has denied there is a crisis of confidence within the Public Prosecution Office (OM), rejecting claims that prosecution departments no longer support chief Joan de Wijkerslooth.
"There are tensions now and again, but that is normal considering the pressure that exists within the OM," public news service NOS quoted Donner saying.
The Christian Democrat CDA minister said he based his stance after telephoning various prosecution chiefs. He said reports about a lack of confidence in De Wijkerslooth are untrue.
De Wijkerslooth is the chief of the College van Procureurs-Generaal (translated as the Attorneys-General Council). The council is responsible for public prosecution policy.
He said the impression that De Wijkerslooth was out of favour was in part down to Parliament following a series of incidents.
These incidents include the arrest and eventual release of a Dutch marine accused of shooting and killing a suspected Iraqi looter. MPs had loudly condemned the man's arrest.
The transfer of Amsterdam prosecutor Koos Plooy away from cases of organised crime is also one of the incidents which have caused concern. Plooy is being threatened with death by a criminal allegedly known to police.
De Wijkerslooth has refused permission for a deal to be made with another criminal that could lead to a possible arrest of the person behind the murder plot. Prosecutors have sharply criticised the decision. The OM boss has rejected the criticism, however, saying authorities should not do deals with criminals.
But the impression of discontent was strengthened recently by a leaked internal memo from Amsterdam chief public prosecutor Leo de Wit, who claimed that prosecution staff felt that De Wijkerslooth was not giving them adequate support.
But Minister Donner said in the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, on Thursday that the memo referred to a meeting in February which was quickly resolved after a discussion about the issue.
Donner is now accusing the Parliament of contributing to the unrest by continually publicly reacting above the prosecution's head. He said the matter will only be clouded in confusion and the prosecution will become too focused on itself, he said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news