Public Prosecutor's Office amends rules for criminal investigations during military missions

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Amsterdam, 1 June 2015 - The Dutch Board of Prosecutors General has drafted new instructions for criminal investigations during military missions abroad. This is the result of the judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case Jaloud vs the Netherlands. The case was brought by lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Wil Eikelboom on behalf of the surviving relatives of Mr. Azhar Jaloud, who was shot dead by a Dutch soldier at a checkpoint in Iraq in 2004.

In November last year, the ECtHR held that the investigation into the death of Azhar Jaloud, which was conducted by the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office, was no good.  The ECtHR ruled that there was a violation of article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). 

According to Liesbeth Zegveld, the tightening of the rules is a good thing.  By letter of 26 May 2015 however, the Public Prosecutor's Office stated that it saw no grounds in the ECtHR-judgment to prosecute the soldier involved.  Zegveld finds that last position incomprehensible: during an interview with Dutch media outlet NOS, she announced that she is considering filing a new criminal complaint against the soldier in question and, if the Public Prosecutor's Office decides not to prosecute, if necessary another formal complaint against that decision with the Appeals Court in Arnhem.

On 2 October 2007, Liesbeth Zegveld and lawyer Michiel Pestman had filed such a complaint against the decision not to prosecute on behalf of the surviving relatives of Azhar Jaloud.  The Appeals Court dismissed that complaint by decision of 7 April 2008.  At that time however, it was not known that witness statements by Iraqi soldiers existed that are contrary to the statement made by the Dutch soldier involved.  These statements had been kept out of the case file by the Public Prosecutor's Office and only surfaced in 2014, right before the hearing before the ECtHR.

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