Lelystad recommended as alternative for replacing ‘the Bunker’ law courts
An advisory committee set up by the Council for the Judiciary has advised the Central Government Real Estate Agency (RVB: Rijksvastgoedbedrijf) to further investigate building high-security law courts (HBZ: hoog beveiligde zittingslocatie) north of the major Dutch rivers at a location in Lelystad as an alternative to ‘the Bunker’ in Osdorp, which is scheduled to be closed in future.
Secure court location
For everyone involved in a trial, whether the judges, prosecutors, lawyers, victims, relatives, journalists, support staff or others, a safe courtroom is indispensable for all parties to be able to properly play their roles during legal proceedings.
The committee unanimously recommended that the RVB be commissioned to further investigate the construction of new high-security law courts north of the major Dutch rivers at a location in Lelystad.
Deciding factors were the possibilities for making the security risks manageable in combination with the options for allocating cells in the Lelystad penitentiary for detainees’ temporary overnight stays. Another factor is that the land required for constructing an HBZ is already owned by the RVB.
In addition to addressing their immediate assignment, the consultation that took place also led the committee to recommend that the existing process for allocating, coordinating and planning high-risk court sessions in an HBZ should be improved.
The committee comprised members with broad experience within the criminal justice chain, including ones from criminal defence law practice. The committee consulted with representatives of parties and organisations involved in high-risk criminal hearings, such as the judiciary, the Public Prosecution Service, the legal profession, representatives of victims and next of kin, and members of the press.