Wider net for genocide prosecutions

Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin is to amend laws covering people suspected of involvement in genocide to cover more older cases and those which did not involve armed conflict, Trouw reports on Wednesday.

The new rules mean people can be prosecuted in the Netherlands for their role in genocide cases dating back to 1966. The current cut-off is 2003, when Dutch legislation on international crime came into effect.
The Netherlands will also be able to extradite wanted genocide and war crimes suspects to other countries or international courts.
‘It is unacceptable that foreigners who are guilty of genocide can live freely in the Netherlands because the Netherlands did not have legislation at the time of the crime,’ the minister said in a letter to MPs. ‘That sends out the wrong signal to victims and their families.’
At the moment, people can only be tried for genocide in the Netherlands if they are Dutch or a Dutch national was a victim. This is unacceptable because the Netherlands is home to various international courts and tribunals, Hirsch Ballin said.
Examples of recent genocides include the mass murder in Rwanda in 1994, gas attacks on Kurds in Iraq and the killing of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica.
Some 400 people in the Netherlands, mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan, have not been given refugee status because of their possible involvement in war crimes, Trouw says.

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