Direct ban on anti-democratic organisations possible
The Dutch democratic rule of law cannot be taken for granted. This is why the Dutch government is constantly working to strengthen our society's resilience to radical anti-democratic forces such as extremist organisations and criminal gangs. Today, another important instrument was added: the Senate approved Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker's legislative proposal, which will give the courts more options for quickly banning and dissolving anti-democratic and subversive organisations.
‘The democratic rule of law is the foundation of our open and tolerant society. We must cherish the freedoms in our society while also defending them against the forces threatening them. These include extremist organisations, but also motorcycle gangs, for example, that disrupt society through intimidation, drug crime and money laundering. This law will allow the courts to ban organisations that violate our public order more quickly and effectively.’
The legislative amendment tightens Section 20 of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, which already makes the prohibition of legal entities possible. The tightening makes the meaning of this article clearer, its application more effective and its operation quicker, while maintaining the necessary safeguards. This means that the Public Prosecution Service will be able to prove that an organisation should be banned more readily. Going forward, there will be a clearer definition of what is contrary to public order in the Netherlands, and the Public Prosecution Service will be able to make its case more easily. This will also give the courts more guidance in deciding on such a ban.
When an anti-democratic or subversive organisation is indeed banned, this should also be more effective. The court may order an organisation to cease its activities while proceedings are still ongoing. Members who ignore such a ban are liable to punishment. From now on, the court can allocate the organisation's funds to the state, making it impossible to use them to continue any activities in another organisation. The penalty for continuing the organisation has also been doubled. Anyone who continues it anyway after a definitive ban will receive a two-year prison sentence, which was previously one year.
The driving forces behind extremist and criminal organisations will be dealt with firmly. Until now, the focus was solely on the organisation. Anyone leading a banned organisation will now in principle be banned from taking up such a position again for three years or more. This should prevent their carrying on unimpeded with their anti-democratic or subversive activities in another organisation.