Expatica news

Suspect Dutch marine ‘given licence to kill’

15 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — Investigations into Dutch marine Erik O. — who was accused of murdering an Iraqi looter in December — have revealed he was previously involved in top secret “licence to kill” missions, it was reported on Tuesday.

As a member of the Special Support Unit (BBE) of the Royal Marines, O. was involved in anti-terrorism operations which carried government approval to use violence that might result in fatalities.

The military past of O. has been uncovered during investigations the military police has conducted into the death of an Iraqi looter on 27 December last year.

The victim was killed after O. allegedly fired a warning shot while serving on peacekeeping duties in southern Iraq. He was arrested and flown home to the Netherlands to face murder or manslaughter charges, but was later released and provisionally cleared of any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, sources close to the investigation have confirmed to news agency ANP that O., a sergeant-major, was in the past involved in State-secret operations.

Dutch public news service NOS revealed on Monday the military past of O. after the Defence Ministry failed to obtain an injunction preventing the broadcast on TV news NOS-Journaal. A court in The Hague gave approval to the broadcast.

The ministry has refused to comment on the “licence to kill” operations of the military’s special forces and a spokesman has also refused to provide details about BBE missions. But the Defence Ministry did confirm it applied for an injunction against NOS.

The military past of O. also indicates he was reasonably “approachable” in the use of violence. But Defence Ministry sources have said that the military police’s use of the word “approachable” could also be described as “professionalism”.

The conclusions about O.’s military past are noteworthy because dossiers over secret missions are normally destroyed within six months.

Radio 1 speculated about the source of the revelations on Tuesday morning, raising the idea that one of O.’s colleagues has spoken to the media about the missions. O. has reportedly requested Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner to investigate the source of the revelations.

Defence State Secretary Cees van der Knaap has since said that the Netherlands does not deploy special forces in foreign countries with permission to kill. Instead, the junior minister said there is a greater risk that violence will be used in special missions in comparison with normal operations.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news