Counterterrorism legislation proceeds to the House of Representatives

The government has decided to submit to the House of Representatives four bills from the plan of action 'An Integrated Approach to Jihadism', as proposed by the Minister of Security and Justice, Ard van der Steur, and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ronald Plasterk. The objectives of the plan of action are to protect the democratic rule of law, to combat and weaken the jihadist movement in the Netherlands and to remove the conditions that give rise to radicalisation. The plan contains preventive and punitive measures, both of which are extremely important to the government.

The first of these measures involves the Counterterrorism (Interim Administrative Measures) Bill. This legislation will enable the government to impose reporting requirements, banning orders and restraining orders based on behaviour associated with terrorist activity or support of such activity, including contact with other radicalised individuals, coupled with a noticeable interest in certain items or events.

This applies to individuals who return from jihadist conflict zones and pose a threat to national security. People who have not travelled to join terrorist groups may also be highly radicalised and prepared to use violence. The measures may only be imposed if this is necessary to protect national security.

Under second bill, proposed by the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the passport and identity card of anyone who is subject to a travel ban imposed by the Minister of Security and Justice will be cancelled automatically with immediate effect. The goal is to prevent persons from travelling to jihadist areas. The option of imposing a travel ban is provided by the Counterterrorism (Interim Administrative Measures) Bill.

The government is also submitting to the House of Representatives a bill that will give the Minister of Security and Justice the option to revoke the Dutch citizenship of jihadists with dual nationality who are fighting abroad as members of a terrorist organisation without the need for prior criminal conviction. These jihadists pose an immediate danger to national security on their return to the Netherlands, so such cases require a quick response. We cannot afford to wait until the individual has returned and been convicted before revoking their Dutch citizenship.

The fourth and final bill involves stepping up efforts to crack down on cybercrime. At present there are insufficient options for obtaining passwords, deciphering encrypted data and combating the illegal activities of terrorist organisations on the internet. The Public Prosecution Service and the police force can perform remote, covert investigations on the computers of criminals or terrorists and, if necessary, record the data or render it inaccessible. Under strict conditions investigating officers are allowed to access computer systems using certain enquiry methods when investigating serious offences. These methods include recording and rendering data inaccessible, as well as observation and intercepting communications.