Intramural Conflict Among Amsterdam’s Judges

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Geert Wilders’ successful challenge of the “hate speech” case against him has sent shock waves through the Dutch judicial system. The blatant bias against Mr. Wilders, exacerbated by the exposure by Prof. Hans Jansen of the attempt by a judge in the case to influence a defense witness — which would have been grounds for professional misconduct and removal from the bench if the system were not totally corrupt — has caused a falling-out amongst members of the Amsterdam judiciary.

Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated an article from NRC about the situation. He includes this note:

“You see it repeatedly: in the final stage of the collapse of old institutions, the ‘members’ are smashing each other’s heads. You see it in the MSM, but also within the judiciary.” [quote Micha Kat]

The translated article:

Judges divided after challenge by Wilders

by Marcel Haenen

[November 6, 2010] Within the Amsterdam court a deep division has emerged due to the decision by Amsterdam judges to challenge their colleagues because they gave the appearance of bias in the trial against Geert Wilders last month.

Some seventy judges last Tuesday held a meeting where they discussed their dissatisfactions. “It is an awfully sensitive issue among judges when one magistrate says of the other that he is biased. We’re all on the same corridor [in the building],” said an Amsterdam judge.

The Amsterdam court will now consider whether the challenge procedure can be adapted in such a way that in the future colleagues from Haarlem or Alkmaar will judge on the partiality of the Amsterdam judges. Amsterdam Court spokesman Grootscholten confirmed that at a court meeting this week, it was discussed “what lessons can be learned from the case against Wilders.”

Because of the challenging of the criminal chamber [in the Wilders trial] and other recent incidents involving judges, more and more magistrates are ashamed of their profession. “There are colleagues who don’t sleep well, ‘there goes our job’ they fear,” said one of them. “Other judges prefer to conceal their profession at parties.”

The Amsterdam judges also believe that their president Carla Eradus[1] should come forth more emphatically to represent the magistrates. “Her predecessors were iconic figures, who portrayed the views of judges very well,” said an experienced judge in Amsterdam. “Eradus is an anonymous president. She also never does summary procedures.”

Within the Amsterdam court the composition of the criminal chamber in the case against Wilders has also been criticized. “Such a major criminal case should be handled by older, wise men. Judges who, when a suspect invokes his right to silence, say: ‘as you wish sir’, and then proceed. You should not begin to discuss it.

President Eradus was not available for comment.


[1] Carla Eradus, the president of the court in Amsterdam, is very controversial. She is one of the very few judges who was corrected by the Supreme Court for having “acted negligently” as a judge in a child custody case. With a series of controversial verdicts, Eradus had separated foster parents from their foster child, and had the child placed in a children’s home. When, after years of legal battle, the foster parents were proven right, she performed a juridical trick to undo that decision so that the child and foster parents could not be united. Eradus became even further controversial when it emerged that she, as president of the court in Leeuwarden, was responsible for a series of nepotistic and family appointments. [source: investigative journalist Micha Kat] Even so she was appointed president of the Amsterdam Court, a very prestigious position. [Micha Kat has uncovered many more dark sides of the Dutch judiciary, even including pedophile networks (website in Dutch)].
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