part of the Kingdom)[14
1. This second report submitted by the Netherlands under the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment (the Convention) contains few references to new legislation
or new policy because there has been little change in this respect
since the initial report (see CAT/C/SR.46 and 47). Such developments
as have occurred are described in the first part of the report.
These new developments are then compared with or viewed in the context
of the former or current situation. The second part of the report,
which is more extensive, provides a more detailed explanation of
how the Convention is implemented in respect of those matters on
which the information contained in the initial report was incomplete
or unclear. It deals in particular with the articles of the Convention
which occasioned additional questions by the members of the Committee
against Torture during the consideration of the first report.
I. INFORMATION ON NEW MEASURES AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION
as the result of an incident, a committee was established early
in 1993 "to advise on the policy to be pursued with regard
to aliens who are refused entry to the Netherlands or must be expelled
from the Netherlands and to their actual treatment, in particular
the use of compulsion and force during the actual expulsion".
The committee was named after its chairman Mr. Van den Haak (president
of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal). The committee's report, entitled
"Humane expulsion: a paradox?" was presented to the State
Secretary for Justice on 6 May 1993.
3. In preparing
its report the Committee interviewed numerous members of all the
services connected with implementing the policy, including people
in positions of authority. This resulted in a thorough analysis
of how deportation works in practice. The manner in which the Royal
Netherlands Military Constabulary carries out its duties was described
as "very satisfactory" or "good". The Committee
recommended ways of improving the policy. Almost all of these recommendations
were accepted by the State Secretary for Justice. The main changes
made as a result of the recommendations are:
institution where aliens are kept before expulsion will give careful
consideration to the problems they face and the tensions caused
as a result. The personnel responsible for dealing with aliens should
be adequately equipped for this purpose. This is why special "return
officials" have been appointed. Such officials have also been
appointed in the aliens departments of the larger police forces.
One of the duties of these return officials is to ensure that conduct
and medical reports about the alien concerned are made available
in good time to the services to which the alien will later be entrusted
(in particular the department responsible for transport and the
detachment of the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary at Schiphol
Airport). The official also ensures that the alien is informed of
the actual deportation well in advance;
Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary will be provided as quickly
as possible with more facilities for the reception of people who
have been refused entry to the Netherlands and are to be deported;
use of adhesive gagging tape over the mouth to prevent screaming
and biting used until mid-1992 will be definitely discontinued;
and immobilizing stretchers will be permitted only in exceptional
cases as a means of controlling aggression. It is not necessary
to proceed with a deportation at any cost. Where appropriate, a
fresh attempt may be made later. In addition, the Netherlands Organization
for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has been asked to study the
feasibility of using or developing a restraining helmet of the kind
advocated by the Van den Haak Committee. Such a helmet would be
used for deporting aliens who try to resist expulsion by spitting,
biting and screaming;
restraints (sedatives) will be provided only where this is indicated
on medical grounds.
Van den Haak Committee also considered the establishment of a scheme
to confer extraterritorial powers on the officials charged with
expulsion (a subject which becomes relevant where aliens who are
expelled by boat or aircraft are accompanied by a guard). Clearly,
the powers could never go beyond the limit permitted by the country
in which they would have to be exercised.
the consideration of the first report a member of the Committee
inquired whether there had been any allegations of police brutality
and, if so, what action had been taken. The heads of the regional
police forces and the procurators general have been asked to provide
information that is as up-to-date as possible. The information gathered
in this way will be forwarded as quickly as possible.
Articles 10 and 11
to the reorganization of the Dutch police and the consequent replacement
of the municipal police forces and national police by regional police
forces and the National Police Services Force, Parliament has passed
a new Police Act which will take effect on 1 April 1994. The Act
lays down new rules governing police operations, replacing among
other things the existing piecemeal legislation governing the accommodation,
treatment and care of people kept in custody in police cells. A
new Code of Police Conduct will also come into effect. The use of
force by the police is strictly regulated in both the existing Code
(annex 1) and the new code (annex 2). The new Code also applies
to the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary when they are engaged
in carrying out police duties. The Code regulates not only the use
of force but also searches of the person and the provision of assistance
and medical care.
basic and refresher training courses for the police and the Royal
Netherlands Military Constabulary pay close attention to the way
in which suspects should be treated, particularly during examination.
Reference is made not only to the rules of the Code of Criminal
Procedure but also to international treaty obligations and general
8. It is,
for example "standard procedure" when people are held
in custody to inform their relatives or other members of their household
where they are being held, unless this would hamper the investigation.
This procedure will also be recorded in writing in the new Code
of Conduct for the police, the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary
and special investigating officials.
likelihood that powers will be abused is greatly reduced by the
supervision of the way in which police officers carry out their
duties. The European Committee against Torture and Other Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment stated in a report about the Netherlands
published in June 1993 that "any person in the Netherlands
who may wish to complain about ill-treatment whilst detained by
the police benefits from access to an extensive range of complaints
procedures" (CPT (93) 20, 11 June 1993). Under section 61 of
the new Police Act clear rules will be drawn up governing the procedure
for complaining about police action.
of custodial institutions also have many different ways in which
they can lodge complaints about bad treatment or ill-treatment by
the staff of the institution. They may for example lodge a complaint
with the Supervisory Committee or the complaints committee of the
relevant institution formed from among its members, or write to
the medical inspectorate or other officials of the criminal justice
system. People in custody make full use of the opportunities for
lodging complaints and appeals.
decisions in these procedures are, where relevant, sent by the Ministry
of Justice to the institutions concerned in order to ensure a uniform
policy on the execution of sentences. These decisions are also published
periodically in the journals entitled "Sancties" and "Delikt
month a member of the Supervisory Committee holds a "surgery"
which can be attended by the prisoners. In this way the Supervisory
Committee is able to keep abreast of the wishes and views of the
prisoners. The institutions are also periodically visited by the
Central Council for the Application of the Criminal Law. The code
of conduct relating to the use of force by people employed in custodial
institutions is enclosed (annex 3).
counsel can also play an important role in supervising the treatment
of persons who have been deprived of their liberty. A suspect is
entitled to legal assistance from the moment that he or she is suspected
of a criminal offence (art. 28, para. 1, of the Code of Criminal
addition to the above-mentioned forms of supervision, a major contribution
to the care of inmates (and supervision of this care) is made by
doctors. If a person is kept in a police cell, a request by that
person to consult a doctor of his or her own choosing will be granted
wherever this is reasonably possible. This is now regulated in the
"Guidelines for the treatment of people in police custody"
(Government Gazette 1987, 213). In the future similar arrangements
will be incorporated in the new Code of Police Conduct.
of custodial institutions may consult the prison doctor. This is
generally a family doctor with a practice in the local area who
has a part-time contract with the institution. In practising their
profession and carrying out their duties doctors have an inalienable
professional autonomy, irrespective of whether they are in the employ
of the institution or called in as outside professionals.
security officers may not question or guard suspects or prisoners.
As soon as they catch someone committing a criminal offence, they
hand them over to the police.
a case of torture were to occur the State could be ordered to pay
both compensation for both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage. Moreover,
the public servant who committed the offence could be held liable
under civil law. As far as is known, no complaint in respect of
torture has ever been lodged, nor therefore has any claim in connection
with such a complaint ever been submitted.
legislation which came into force on 1 April 1993 provides a general
compensation scheme for the victims of crime. When passing judgement
in criminal proceedings the courts can oblige a person convicted
of an offence to pay an amount to the State (in so far as the offender
is liable for the damage caused) which is then used for the victim.
The measure can be combined with other sanctions. If the victim
does not wish to receive compensation, the offender can be obliged
to deposit a sum in a fund for the victims of crime.
terms of procedural law, the new Act greatly strengthens the legal
position of victims in their capacity as injured parties. The possibility
of joining the victim as a party to criminal proceedings has been
extended by the new legislation. Whereas the victim could formerly
obtain compensation not exceeding f.1,500, there is no limit on
the amount of compensation that can be recovered under the new rules.
However, there must be a possibility of easily determining whether
the compensation claimed is directly linked to the offence. In addition,
the damage must be pecuniary. Any part of the damage which cannot
easily be shown to have been caused by the offence (i.e. the rest
of the pecuniary damage plus any non-pecuniary damage) can still
be recovered by the victim by means of civil proceedings.
victim need no longer appear at the trial and it is now sufficient
for a statement of the claim to be submitted to the Public Prosecutions
Department. It is also possible for the victim to appeal independently
against a rejection of the claim if no appeal has been instituted
in the principal proceedings by the Public Prosecutions Department
or the suspect.
II. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
the consideration of the initial report submitted by the Netherlands,
the delegation was asked to explain how the Netherlands proposed
to regulate by law the obligations under the Convention. As some
points may still be unclear, a further explanation is given below.
Convention has been introduced into Dutch law by means of the Act
of 29 September 1988 (Bulletin of Acts and Decrees 478) implementing
the Convention on Torture. The first section of the Act defines
the offences constituting torture as referred to in article 1 of
the Convention. Since the date on which the Act came into effect,
there has been no prosecution or conviction for offences as defined
in the Act.
indicated in the initial report, the Netherlands Government considered
that the Convention should not be implemented by means of an alteration
to the ordinary criminal law. It was felt preferable to have a separate
Act, first of all because of the highly individual character of
this special form of assault, and second because the Convention
gives rise to a number of special obligations whose character is
such that they would not fit in with the other provisions of the
Dutch Criminal Code. Besides universal jurisdiction in respect of
torture, these obligations involve exclusion of the possibility
of relying on a statutory provision (article 42 of the Criminal
Code) or on an official order whether given by an authority competent
to do so or otherwise (article 43 of the Criminal Code).
already mentioned, the Act implementing the Convention contains
definitions of the acts that constitute torture as referred to in
article 1 of the Convention. The literal text of the definition
of the offence differs from that used in the Convention. Although
it does not use the word torture explicitly, the Act implementing
the Convention means by torture "assault for the purpose of
obtaining information or a confession, punishing a person, intimidating
him or another person, or forcing him or another person to perform
certain acts or to allow them to be performed or out of contempt
for that person's right to be treated as an equal human being".
Under this definition of the offence there are two possible motives
for these acts. Assault is a criminal offence under the Act implementing
the Convention if it is for a particular purpose, or the assault
takes place "out of contempt for that person's right to be
treated as an equal human being".
the former case it is necessary for the assault to serve a particular
purpose. The text of the Convention uses the words "for such
purposes as". In this respect, therefore, the Act implementing
the Convention uses the same words as the Convention. The existence
of a purpose is required in the definitions of a number of offences
in the Criminal Code (see articles 225, 310, 326, 326a and 328 of
the Criminal Code). The term "purpose" relates to the
intention of the offender. The actions of the offender are intended
to serve a more remote object. The existence of a particular purpose
can be inferred by the courts entirely from objective circumstances,
even without any express statements by the suspect.
the latter case, the wording "out of contempt for that person's
right to be treated as an equal human being" is intended to
reproduce the part of article 1 of the Convention which reads "or
for any reason based on discrimination of any kind". This is
applicable if the torture is occasioned not by what a person has
done (or alleged to have done) but by certain personal aspects or
characteristics of the victim.
text of the Convention specifies two forms of intent. The first
involves the act which is made punishable, i.e. the infliction of
severe pain. And the second is introduced by the expression "for
such purposes", which relates to the result to be achieved
by the act. The former is not repeated in section 1 of the Act implementing
the Convention, which defines the offence.
use of the term assault presupposes intent to cause injury. The
provisions in the Criminal Code designated as indictable (i.e. serious)
offences, including the offence of assault (mishandeling),
must have been committed with intent if they are to be punishable.
(Offences that may be committed negligently are an exception to
this rule, but are few in number. The requirement of intent also
does not apply to a small number of indictable offences included
in special Acts containing criminal provisions).
should also be noted that the definition of the offence in section
1 of the Act implementing the Convention was originally based on
the concept of serious assault (zware mishandeling). The
Government later changed its mind about this because under paragraph
2 of article 82 of the Criminal Code serious assault occasioning
mental suffering occurs only if the act causing the suffering results
in derangement of the mental faculties for longer than four weeks.
This would have produced an unduly narrow definition of the offence
and was therefore not considered desirable.
element of the definition of the offence in section 1 of the Act
implementing the Convention is the phrase "deprived of his
liberty". The Committee has raised the question of whether
torture occurs only when the person concerned has been deprived
of his liberty. In answer to this, reference may be made in part
to the initial report of the Netherlands (CAT/C/9/Add.1), in particular
to the remarks in respect of article 1 in paragraph 18. It may be
added in this connection that the concept of torture does not relate
to what occurs between individuals. Such acts are already sufficiently
covered by the offences defined in the Criminal Code (in particular
the offence of assault in its various aggravated forms and with
circumstances giving rise to heavier sentences). The Convention,
on the other hand, relates to assault by the authorities. It follows
from the scope of article 1 of the Convention that it involves people
who are in the physical control of the offender or in any event
of the government body to which the offender belongs. This is why
subsection 1 of section 1 of the Act implementing the Convention
clearly indicates in the definition of the offence that it concerns
a person who has been deprived of his liberty. It is therefore immaterial
whether the deprivation of liberty has been ordered legally or illegally.
definition of torture in the Act implementing the Convention is
wide but certainly not unlimited. An unlimited definition would
in fact be contrary to Dutch criminal law and the nulla poena
principle as contained in article 1, paragraph 1, of the Dutch Criminal
Code and article 7 of the European Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention).
The legal certainty intended by the nulla poena principle
means that the legislature is under an obligation to ensure that
acts made criminal are formulated clearly and unambiguously (the
requirement of specificity in the definition of an offence) and
that the courts applying the criminal law must interpret these definitions
definition of the offence must be properly accessible and sufficiently
accurate. Legal certainty requires clear definitions. The reason
for these obligations is that it is thus possible to prevent prosecutions
for conduct which the person concerned could not reasonably be expected
to have known beforehand constituted an offence. It is also clear
from article 7 of the European Convention and the relevant (established)
case law of the European Court of Human Rights that a given criminal
law norm may not be applied by analogy to acts which it is not directly
intended to cover, unless such an application would work to the
advantage of the individual concerned.
following may help to clarify the information already possessed
by the Committee. Paragraph 3 of article 2 of the Convention contains
the rule that an order from a superior officer or a public authority
may not be invoked as a justification of torture. This provision
gave rise to section 3 of the Act implementing the Convention. Section
3 provides that articles 42 and 43 of the Criminal Code do not apply
to the offences referred to in sections 1 and 2 of the Act. Articles
42 and 43 provide that acts which would otherwise be punishable
are not criminal. The acts cease to be criminal if performed pursuant
to a statutory regulation (including an international obligation)
or an official order. As a result of the exclusion of these provisions
in section 3 of the Act implementing the Convention, a statutory
regulation or order from a public official is therefore not regarded
as a ground for exclusion of criminal liability for torture. This
means that an assault as defined in section 1 of the Act implementing
the Convention which is performed by a public official does not
cease to be criminal merely because it has been ordered by a superior
of the relevant official.
exclusion of articles 42 and 43 of the Criminal Code does not, however,
exclude the possibility of raising the defence of force majeure.
Force majeure may be defined in abstract terms as every force,
coercion or compulsion which a person cannot reasonably be expected
to resist. Force majeure exists where a person is forced
to commit an offence by means of severe (mental) pressure and he
could not be expected to have acted differently at the time of such
to what was said in the initial Dutch report, the Netherlands Government
wishes to inform the Committee how the authorities ensure that no
one is returned or expelled to a country where he or she will be
subjected to torture and/or other inhuman or degrading treatment.
asylum-seeker is interviewed by a reception official of the Ministry
of Justice about his or her reasons for seeking asylum. On the basis
of the report of the interview a decision is taken by other officials
of the Ministry of Justice on whether there has been persecution
and whether the person concerned can be recognized and admitted
as a refugee. The assessment is made in accordance with the Convention
of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol of 1967.
If the request for asylum is refused, the authorities ascertain
in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights (inter
alia, arts. 3 and 8) and the case law of the European Court
of Human Rights whether the person concerned is eligible for a residence
permit on humanitarian grounds. Article 3 of the European Convention
on Human Rights provides that "No one shall be subjected to
torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The
Netherlands does not expel people to a country where they run a
real risk of becoming the victims of treatment as referred to in
article 3 of the European Convention.
request for asylum is considered individually. The individual account
of an asylum-seeker is viewed against the background of the situation
in the country of origin. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs uses official
bulletins to report to the Ministry of Justice on the situation
in the countries of origin of asylum-seekers in so far as this is
relevant to an assessment of the requests for asylum. The findings
of international organizations and authoritative human rights organizations
are also used to check the motives of asylum-seekers. It is possible
that the Medical Inspector of the Ministry of Justice may institute
an examination to determine the mental and physical condition of
an asylum-seeker. There may also be an examination to assess allegations
of assault or torture.
the oral proceedings to consider the initial report of the Netherlands
the Committee also expressed interest in receiving information about
the possible use of force in expelling aliens. The following information
is provided for this purpose.
officials of the various bodies which may have to deal with people
trying to resist expulsion in the various stages of the expulsion
procedure (in particular the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary,
the police and staff of the Border Hostel or remand centres) may
be obliged to use force in order to implement the duties with which
they are charged. The rules governing the use of force - which is
deemed to include application of coercive force and threatening
the use of force - correspond, inter alia, with the provision
contained in article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979)
and apply to all employees of the relevant authorities to an equal
extent. The main points are as follows:
involving an infringement of fundamental rights should have a basis
in law. Article 15, paragraph 4, of the Constitution and - in so
far as applicable - section 33a of the Police Act provide such a
official who uses force must do so in the course of his lawful duties;
object which the official wishes to achieve must not be capable
of being achieved in any other way and must, taking into account
any dangers attendant on the use of force, be such as to justify
force used must not exceed that which is strictly necessary to achieve
the proposed object;
much warning as possible should be given before the use of force;
use of force should be reported by the official concerned to his
superior. The use of handcuffs is justified only if it is reasonable
to believe that this is warranted in the light of the security risks,
taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case.
complaints procedures are available against the alleged unjust use
of force. An alien may also request the public prosecutor to institute
Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary keeps a record of each incident
that occurs during an expulsion. Examination of these records produces
the following information:
aliens were expelled from Schiphol Airport in 1991. Force was used
in 54 of these cases:
in 3 cases light
physical force was used;
in 38 cases handcuffs
in 13 cases handcuffs
and gagging tape were used.
aliens were expelled from Schiphol Airport in 1992. Force was used
in 46 of these cases:
in 3 cases
light physical force was used;
cases handcuffs were used;
in 4 cases
handcuffs and gagging tape were used.
the oral proceedings to consider the initial report, it appeared
that there was a misunderstanding about the statement of the Netherlands
Government in paragraph 39 that "it is contrary to Dutch legal
tradition to establish criminal jurisdiction on the basis of the
nationality of the victim. The provisions of article 5, paragraph
1 (c), of the Convention have therefore not been implemented".
43. A few
members of the Committee were under the impression that the Netherlands
had limited the exercise of jurisdiction. This is not the case.
Its recognition of the principle of universal jurisdiction covers
de facto all possible connecting factors for jurisdiction, i.e.
including the nationality of the victim. Incorporation of the provision
in article 5, paragraph 1 (c), was therefore superfluous since Dutch
criminal law is also applicable -pursuant to the Act implementing
the Convention - to any person who commits torture or procures
the commission of torture outside the Netherlands.
Articles 10 and 11
Netherlands also wishes to provide some information about pre-trial
detention and solitary confinement - subjects which were inquired
about during the oral proceedings to consider the first report.
may be deprived of their liberty on various grounds:
after being arrested (for an offence for which pre-trial detention
is permitted or where caught in the commission of an offence) a
suspect may be detained for police questioning for not more than
six hours, not including the hours between midnight and 9 a.m. (art.
61, para. 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure);
the public prosecutor or assistant public prosecutor may remand
a suspect in police custody for offences for which pre-trial detention
is allowed if such remand is in the interests of the investigation
(art. 57, para. 1, of the Code of Criminal Procedure). Defence counsel
may be present at the examination. In keeping with a guideline issued
by the procurators general following the judgement of the European
Court of Human Rights (in the Brogan case), remand in police custody
generally does not exceed three days. This practice will also become
law in a bill which has now almost completed its passage through
suspect should be brought before the court not later than in the
course of the third day. The court then decides whether the deprivation
of liberty is permissible. The suspect is assisted by counsel during
the court hearing (art. 63, para. 4, of the Criminal Code);
a period of remand in custody by order of the examining magistrate
(not exceeding 10 days) the district court sitting in chambers may,
after hearing the suspect, order a further period of remand of 30
days, which may be extended twice. The suspect is also heard before
the period is extended. Legal aid is provided on each occasion.
following points should be made about solitary confinement during
custody in a police station. Suspects may sometimes be placed in
observation cells, but this is done only for their own safety.
may be necessary for example in the case of people with suicidal
tendencies who have mutilated themselves or exhibited highly aggressive
behaviour. Suspects may also be placed in an observation cell on
medical grounds. In such cases checks are made and/or assistance
provided in the following ways:
check by a doctor or psychiatrist;
check by the person responsible for the care of those under arrest;
these checks are recorded on computer;
surveillance by means of a closed-circuit TV system.
number of people placed in observation cells is small, and those
that are placed in them are kept there for only a short time. In
Amsterdam, for example, the number usually varies between three
and five a year. As a doctor is immediately consulted in such cases,
the period spent in an observation cell can generally be kept to
confinement also occurs in custodial institutions. In such cases
a person may be placed in solitary confinement as a punishment or
as a measure to maintain order. For whatever reason a person is
placed in an isolation cell, the governor must notify the prisoner
in writing of his decision within 24 hours. In doing so he must
give reasons for the decision. The governor also informs the prisoner
of his or her right to lodge an objection with the Supervisory Committee.
a prisoner is to be punished by solitary confinement, he must be
visited by someone from the medical service before he is put into
the cell or, if the governor considers that the punishment must
start immediately, as soon as possible thereafter. The visits are
then repeated at regular intervals.
51. A prisoner
who is to be placed in solitary confinement for the purpose of maintaining
order will almost always be put in the isolation cell immediately
because of his or her state of mind. The medical service will offer
the prisoner medical assistance as quickly as possible (in any event
within 24 hours). As long as the prisoner remains in the isolation
cell, he or she is visited daily by a doctor or nurse. Hearing a
prisoner held in these circumstances will often give rise to problems
in practice because of the prisoner's state of mind. A provision
for the hearing of such prisoners will be included in the Penal
System Act and the Hospital Orders Nursing Care Act (both of which
have already been presented to Parliament) and in the Youth Custody
Institutions Act (now being prepared). There is already an obligation
to hear a prisoner placed in solitary confinement as a punishment
(section 45 of the Prisons Act).
the consideration of the initial Dutch report much interest was
shown in the institution of the National Ombudsman. The information
already given is therefore amplified below.
a person believes that a representative of the central Government
or the police has behaved wrongly, he or she may complain to the
National Ombudsman. The National Ombudsman has the authority to
institute an independent investigation, unless an administrative
law remedy is available to the person concerned. Like members of
the judiciary, the national Ombudsman is independent of the Government.
He is appointed by Parliament.
National Ombudsman investigates whether government bodies have acted
with due care. In practice this means investigating whether the
actions of a particular government body were in keeping with both
the statutory rules and with legal norms (some of which may be unwritten).
Unwritten norms include such principles as reasonableness and proportionality,
the balance between means and ends, the principle of legal certainty
or trust, etc. In principle, the National Ombudsman publishes a
report of his findings which is communicated in any event to the
applicant, to the administrative body which is the subject of the
complaint and to Parliament. The report may include a recommendation.
may be instituted by the National Ombudsman not only in response
to a request but also on his own initiative. As mentioned in the
previous report, an investigation of this kind was carried out by
the Ombudsman in relation to police cells in the Netherlands. The
National Ombudsman also publishes an annual report which is discussed
are some examples of investigations conducted by the National Ombudsman:
investigation on his own initiative into the registration of information
on the treatment/care of people in custody. On 9 December 1991 the
National Ombudsman published a report on this and formulated certain
key items of information which must be recorded, for example particulars
of the physical condition of the prisoner, use of medicines, visits
by a doctor or nurse, etc. The Ombudsman recommended to the competent
authorities that they consider taking measures to ensure that key
information of this kind is properly recorded in accordance with
the principles outlined by him. In his 1992 annual report the National
Ombudsman observed in this connection that he had received reactions
from the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs in which they undertook
to include implementation of the recommendation in the reorganization
of the police and, pending this reorganization, urgently to request
the district commanders of the national police and heads of the
municipal police forces to act as far as possible in accordance
with the letter and spirit of the recommendations;
a request from the Coornhert League (Association for Criminal Law
Reform) the National Ombudsman instituted an investigation into
the registration of deaths in police cells. In his report of 8 April
1993 the Ombudsman recommended to the Minister for Home Affairs
and the Minister of Justice that they consider introducing a national
system for the registration of suicides and attempted suicides in
following information on article 15 of the Convention is intended
to amplify that which was provided in the initial report. Article
29 of the Code of Civil Procedure not only regulates the right of
a suspect not to answer questions but also lays down rules to be
observed by the official conducting the examination. Under article
29 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the official must "refrain
from any action whose purpose is to induce the suspect to make a
statement which cannot be described as being made of the suspect's
own free will". This means that methods of examination in which
any form of pain is inflicted, threats, promises or false promises
are made, trick questions are asked or any other form of pressure
is brought to bear are proscribed. Article 29 starts with the words
"in all cases", which indicate that this principle is
applicable at all stages of criminal proceedings. It is therefore
applicable, inter alia, to examination by the investigating
official and examination by the examining magistrate during the
preliminary judicial investigation, and at the examination during
it is worth noting that the Netherlands Government has found that
many refugees and asylum-seekers in the Netherlands are victims
of war and/or torture (including sexual violence). The authorities
try to provide the best possible assistance for the victims. The
basic principle underlying their reception is that care should be
provided by the normal institutions. However, since these institutions
often lack the knowledge of how to treat refugees and asylum-seekers,
it has proved necessary to make special provision for these people.
The assistance of institutions which are familiar with and specialized
in looking after people traumatized by war and violence will be
obtained. For example, the capacity of the Centrum '45 Foundation
in Oegstgeest to admit victims of violence will be expanded early
in 1994. This Foundation has long experience of treating the victims
of war and therefore has adequate expertise in this area. Also,
the Wolfsheze Mental Hospital in Wolfsheze has a wing which specializes
in transcultural psychiatry. A good many of the patients treated
here are victims of violence. Ambulatory care is also evolving.
the last two years a number of Regional Institutes for Ambulatory
Mental Health Care (RIAGGs) have acquired knowledge and experience
of assisting and treating victims of war and violence. Another organization
which should be mentioned in this connection is the Pharos Steunpunt
Foundation in Utrecht. The aim of this foundation is to help develop
expertise in the provision of health care services for refugees.
If necessary, the Foundation can also provide direct assistance