Murder trial expiry date to be abolished
19 February 2004 , AMSTERDAM — To ensure that murderers or kidnappers never get away with their actions, the Netherlands is poised to scrap legislation that puts a statute of limitations on crimes that carry a life sentence.
19 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — To ensure that murderers or kidnappers never get away with their actions, the Netherlands is poised to scrap legislation that puts a statute of limitations on crimes that carry a life sentence.
The Democrat D66 and Christian Democrat CDA government parties have reached a deal with Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner to scrap the current legislation. Coalition member the Liberal VVD is backing the plan, giving it a parliamentary majority.
D66 leader Boris Dittrich said a bill will be submitted to the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, next week. He
said if everything proceeds smoothly, the new law could be implemented at the start of 2005.
The compromise legislative proposal between the D66, CDA and Minister Donner took about six months in preparatory negotiations. The bill will is designed to better link up Dutch laws with those of other European nations.
Once enacted, the legislation will scrap the statute of limitations on crimes such as murder or kidnapping. But it will also drastically extend the statute of limitations imposed on major crimes such as murder and manslaughter committed by underage youths.
The statute on manslaughter will be raised from 15 to 20 years and in the youth sentencing system, the statute on manslaughter will rise from 10 to 20 years, news agency ANP reported.
While still in government with the Labour PvdA, Liberal VVD and D66 coalition Cabinet, Dittrich sparked discussion over the statute of limitations three years ago, pointing out that modern investigation techniques such as DNA sampling meant that a murder could also be solved after dozens of years.
Moreover, he had said that sentencing laws in the Netherlands regarding the statue of limitations greatly differed from other European nations such as Britain, Germany, Denmark and Austria.
The then VVD Justice Minister Benk Korthals was opposed to the D66 proposal, claiming that at some point a crime must be left behind, but his successor immediately pursued the matter.
The current statute of limitations on crimes that carry a life sentence is 18 years. Such a law existed because after so many years, evidence or witness statements could not be considered 100 percent reliable.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news