Courts, not Dutch government, can ban IS, says justice minister

The Netherlands is not in a position to follow Germany and work towards banning the militant Islamic organisation IS, Dutch justice minister Ivo Opstelten told reporters on Friday.

German home affairs minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Friday Germany has banned all activity relating to the group. ‘The move is necessary because the biggest threat to internal security stems from returning IS fighters,’ German parliamentarian Wolfgang Bosbach told the Wall Street Journal.

The ban covers showing IS symbols and flags, and may also involve the confiscation of IS assets in Germany and lead to the possible prosecution of supporters, the WSJ says.

Legal instruments

However, the Dutch government does not have the legal instruments to follow Germany’s lead, Opstelten said. ‘It can be done, but the public prosecution department would have to ask the courts to impose a ban,’ he said.

The Netherlands is currently debating a string of measures to discourage support for IS and to stop people travelling to Syria and Iraq to join its militias.

These include sweeping powers to strip dual nationals of their Dutch nationality, without the intervention of the courts, a measure which has been criticised by a number of MPs.

Around 140 Dutch Muslims are thought to have gone to Syria to fight in militias, according to the latest estimates. Some 15 have been killed and several dozen have returned home.

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