The relatives of Peter R. de Vries, lawyer Derk Wiersum and key witness Nabil B. can hold the state liable for immaterial and material damage on the basis of the hard conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board, says top lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops against this site. The leaked draft report would show that the police and judiciary have made many mistakes in the field of security. “This can certainly serve as a basis for further legal action.”
The police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) have been repeatedly warned over a longer period of revenge by the gang around Ridouan Taghi, but due to ‘system errors’ this did not lead to better protection of Peter R. de Vries, lawyer Derk Wiersum and the brother of the key witness Nabil B.
That is according to RTL News in a draft report of the Dutch Safety Board (OVV). ‘Relevant signals have not always found their way’, the channel quotes from the preliminary investigation report. In it, the OVV describes in detail what contacts there were between security officers from various government services and the three targets in the run-up to their deaths: ‘This shows various system errors.’
Top lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops is shocked by the preliminary findings and does not rule out that this case will get a legal tail. “Of course that depends on what the next of kin want, but from what I’m reading now there is a strong legal basis for holding the state liable for negligence,” says Knoops. The lawyer bases this on Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that everyone’s right to life is protected by law. In other words: by the state.
“And according to the report, the state seems to have failed in this,” says Knoops. He refers to recent statements by Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz. “She indicates that the authorities have been struggling for years with structural challenges and all kinds of bottlenecks in the field of monitoring and security. That is of course extremely painful, that after all this time nothing has been done to eliminate those system errors.”
Parking security guard
This wait-and-see attitude is ‘characteristic of politics in The Hague’, says Knoops. “It is of course going too far to say that these terrible murders could have been prevented, but the fact remains that action was not taken in time.” For example, crucial instructions from police departments were not seen in time by the officers responsible for the Surveillance & Security system.
Knoops finds the case of the security guard particularly alarming. He warned of a man with ‘striking tattoos’ who followed De Vries from the parking garage in the Amsterdam city center near the spot where he was shot. Police viewed the footage, but did not see the man. After the death of De Vries, it turned out that this suspicious man was visible on those images. “This must be an extremely painful detail for the family,” says Knoops.
The difficult relationship between De Vries and the Public Prosecution Service also raises questions for Knoops. “If it is true that the troubled relationship between De Vries and the Public Prosecution Service stood in the way of good protection, then that is of course very serious. That should never be a reason to let go of something so essential. I find it all very shocking to read.”
‘I’m very scared’
The coalition parties do not want to comment on the report for the time being, because it is a draft version. The opposition is already making itself known. ‘I was shocked by the findings. Surely protection for those who dare to stand up against and who are threatened by organized crime must be properly arranged?’ PvdA member Songul Mutluer wonders. “If there are indeed system errors, then they must be dealt with like the bugger. Every mistake can lead to serious consequences, as it turns out.”
The police also take the findings seriously. “It is not good how things turned out,” admits Xander Simonis, chairman of the ANPV police union. “This should never have happened. Due to the fragmentation in the field of surveillance and security, innocent people have become victims. It is to be hoped that such incidents will not occur again in the future.”
Jan Struijs, chairman of the Dutch Police Association, has been questioned by the Dutch Safety Board, he says. “Our police officers cooperated in this very painful report. Before the attacks, there were already many reports of structural defects within the Surveillance & Security department. Too little has been done with that. Let this report finally hold up a mirror to us. It is ridiculous that something really bad has to happen before change takes place. We really need to put things right. A lot of money is needed for that!”
Crown witness lawyers
The lawyers of Nabil B., Peter Schouten and Onno de Jong, refrain from comment for the time being. They previously stated that ‘partly due to the totally deteriorating relations between the Public Prosecution Service and Nabil B’, the murders could not be prevented’. After concluding a deal between the judiciary and B., the key witness was no longer listened to, they said in their plea last week. B. was ‘ignored by the Public Prosecution Service when it came to the safety of the people around him’.
Schouten and De Jong argued extensively how the Public Prosecution Service has failed to take adequate security measures for its loved ones. They became the target of the organization around Taghi, according to the counselors, ‘to be able to hit him and to silence him as a witness’. “Because Nabil did not give up putting his finger on the sore spot and fighting for the safety of his family and relatives, this led to bullying behavior from the Public Prosecution Service towards him and his lawyers,” argued B.’s lawyers in the court bunker in Amsterdam Osdorp.
Watch our videos about Ridouan Taghi and the Marengo process below:
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