Saturday 18 September 2021

Judges pull out of cases focusing on former justice ministry boss

Two court cases relating to the former secretary-general of the justice ministry are running into trouble because of a shortage of judges willing to take them, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.

Joris Demmink retired last year and several judges have turned down the cases because they knew him personally, the Volkskrant said.

One case centres on claims made in the AD newspaper that Demmink abused several children in the 1980s. Demmink is taking legal action against the newspaper.

Impartiality

The judge in that case has said he wants to withdraw to ensure impartiality. He used to work for the justice ministry but has never met Demmink.

In the second case, lawyer Adele van der Plas is taking legal action against Demmink on behalf of several alleged victims. In this case, too, the judges have asked to be relieved of their duties because of the impartiality issue.

Powerful

‘Demmink is not just anyone,’ lawyer Matthijs Kaaks told the Volkskrant. ‘He was the most powerful man in the justice ministry for 10 years. No one wants to burn their fingers on this. Many people know him or worked with him. That makes it difficult, perhaps impossible, to take action against him.’

Last year the security service, justice ministry and police said they saw no reason to carry out a new investigation into allegations of child abuse made against the secretary-general.

The statement came after the Helsinki Commission, a US agency created to monitor compliance with treaties on security and cooperation in Europe, urged the Netherlands to carry out a proper investigation into claims Demmink raped two under-age Turkish boys in the 1990s.

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