The procedure

The procedure

The long arm of IND

All over Europe courts are busy with the extradition of Rwandese accused of genocide. Some countries say 'no', like Belgium, others like France and Sweden have changed their policy and are more likely to say 'yes'. In the Netherlands people accused of genocide are almost without rights, because the procedure falls for the bigger part under civil law instead of criminal law. It means they are guilty until proven otherwise, which is exactly the opposite of criminal law: not guilty until proven otherwise. To prove you have done nothing wrong is not easy, to do this after almost twenty years is very difficult, to this from another country with almost no money makes it practically a 'mission impossible'.

It's the IND (Immigration and Nationalization Service) who starts the research. They have a special branch for genocide and war crimes, 1F. They call themselves 1F after the section 1F in the Geneva Convention of 1951.That section states that a refugee has no right to protection in a country if he or she has committed genocide or warcrimes. If somebody is proven guilty he has no right to stay in that country.

The big problem in Holland is that the IND accuses someone and at the same time judges the arguments of the defense. You can't expect a service who has worked hard to prove an accusation, to accept lightly the arguments from the other party. It's the same service who demands the accused to give up his passport or residence permit. It's the same IND who decides a person is a genocidair, therefore has no right to protection, is therefore illegal and has to give up his passport or residence permit. It's the same IND who decides this illegal person has to leave the country within 24 hours. Never mind his work, family, friends. One can imagine what it means for a family. It's only at a very late stage, a judge looks into the case.

The procedure is as follows:

1. The IND sends a letter with the accusations and the arguments why. That could be a huge file with lots of pages, internet links, documents and reports. The accused has six weeks for a reaction.

2. After the reaction has been send, there is a hearing at the office of IND.

3. Based on the hearing the IND gives a reaction: the accused is found guilty or not. The ones found guilty have to return their passports and permits and have to leave the country within 24 hours. They cannot await their trial in Holland. They have to leave the country immediately because IND considers de guilty people very dangerous for the Dutch society.

4. The accused can ask a judge -within 24 hours after the decision of IND- to postpone the decision of the IND to leave the country within 24 hours. As far as I know, the judge up until now, always said 'yes' to the postponement.

5. De accused files an appeal. Not in court, but again at the IND. Yes, that same service who has already declared that person guilty. 

6. If IND still finds the accused guilty, the accused can go to court. For the first time a judge can have a proper look at his file. 

It is because of this procedure, and the way IND has a monopoly in this procedure, a lot of the accused Rwandese are now thinking of going to court immediately, in stead of going through the motions with IND. If they go to court they have a chance of a fair trial. They don't believe in the independency of IND. They think IND has too many ties wiith the Rwandan government and is easily influenced. 

But, our prosecutors specialized in 1F, are also biassed as we will see for example in the case of Jean Claude I, tomorrow.