Published On: Thu, Mar 29th, 2018

Countries disagree on results of evaluation of kingdom laws

Ferdinand-grapperhausTHE HAGUE - Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten disagree with the Netherlands on a number of essential recommendations to adjust agreements on law enforcement. The positions are 'far apart', according to a letter sent by the Durch Minister of Security and Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus to parliament today.

These recommendations stem from the evaluation of the four consensus Kingdom laws that came into force on October 10, 2010. They relate to the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, the public ministries, the police and the Kingdom Law Council for Law Enforcement.

A mixed evaluation committee has, among other things, assessed the kingdom laws on their effectiveness. The final report was delivered in September 2015, after which the governments of the four countries discussed a joint response to the list of 20 recommendations. After 2.5 years of negotiations, the countries have failed to agree on the most important recommendations, according to the joint response that Grapperhaus attached to his letter.

The most crucial controversy concerns the fact that the countries do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the Kingdom laws. Curaçao and Sint Maarten have a unilateral right of cancellation because the laws affect matters of the autonomy of the countries. “For the Netherlands there is no doubt that these laws can only be terminated by mutual agreement. After all, the kingdom laws have come about through consensus. This implies that any termination of the laws will have to be done by consensus.”

It has been agreed that Curaçao and Sint Maarten will bring up the subject in the Kingdom Council of Ministers. Furthermore, they will make their views on the unilateral right of termination known to their respective parliaments. They can then put the issue on the agenda for the Interparliamentary Kingdom Council.

The Netherlands and the Caribbean countries are also diametrically opposed to the expansion of the tasks and the direction of the Criminal Investigation Team (RST). “The Curaçao position is primarily based on the autonomous nature of the judiciary as policy area, for which the local Minister of Justice has responsibility towards the Parliament of Curaçao. That is why Curaçao wishes to invest the entire final responsibility with the local police leadership that is accountable to the local Minister of Justice,” according to the document.

Moreover, the countries have not been able to formulate a joint position on the enforcement of a joint Prosecutor General (PG) for Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands. Curaçao and Sint Maarten strive as autonomous countries within the Kingdom for their own PG - as Aruba also has - and see this as a matter of principle: an autonomous country with an autonomous judicial policy also has its own PG that is only accountable to the local minister of justice of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Source Rene Zwart for ABC online media

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