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Verhagen calls for committee of experts on tackling terrorism
Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen has called for a committee of independent experts to draw up plans for a better legal approach to ending impunity for terrorists. This ‘Committee of Wise Persons’ would make recommendations on ways of strengthening international law.
The Minister of Justice and State Secretary for Justice joined Mr Verhagen today in sending a letter on the subject to the House of Representatives. The letter declares, ‘We cannot accept that there are parts of the world where terrorists operate freely. Trying and punishing terrorists are among the international measures needed to eliminate such crimes.’
‘The Netherlands favours modernising international law to combat terrorism more effectively while respecting human rights,’ the minister said. ‘We don’t want any more Guantánamos, but terrorists certainly shouldn’t go scot-free. International law must therefore be adapted to the reality of today’s international terrorism.’
An initiative by Mr Verhagen and others led to the launch of discussions among international experts that began in 2007 with a conference in Oud Poelgeest Castle in the Netherlands. These experts are exploring ways of strengthening international legal cooperation on the issues of pursuing and prosecuting terrorists, states’ right to defend themselves against terrorism, and the relationship between human rights and the law of war.