Prohibition of anti-democratic organisations made easier
It is necessary to take a robust approach to radical or extremist organisations with goals or activities that are in conflict with public order. Effective instruments for intervention are required from the moment that such organisations start presenting a serious threat to society or aiming to overthrow the legal order. Threats emanating from such organisations have increased in recent years. In response, Minister of Legal Protection Dekker is presenting a bill that results from the coalition agreement and which increases the possibilities for intervention.
Minister Dekker comments:
‘Our society deserves to be protected. When freedoms are abused with the aim of corroding our constitutional state and democratic values, we need to draw a clear line. We can’t afford to be tolerant of intolerance.’
The bill lowers the bar for presentation of evidence by the Public Prosecution Service (OM). This makes it easier to prohibit and to dissolve legal entities that disrupt our society. The bill specifies in more concrete terms what is, or may be, in conflict with public order in the Netherlands. Public prosecutors can prove more easily that an organisation is, for instance, promoting hate and violence or that it presents a threat to national security. And the courts are given a stronger footing if they need to decide on a request by the Public Prosecution Service to prohibit a legal entity.
In addition, the bill ensures that this prohibition is more extensive. Leaders in the organisation can expect a directorship disqualification of three years or more. This prevents them continuing their culpable activities unhindered in another organisation. Courts can also order the activities of an organisation to be halted during the legal proceedings. Non-observance of such a court order will become a criminal offence.
Finally, Minister Dekker proposes a doubling of the level of sanctions. Those who continue their activities after receiving a definitive prohibition will soon be subject to a prison sentence of two years. Currently this is just one year.