The dossiers at the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service (OM) against protesting farmers are piling up. Across the Netherlands, criminal cases are pending against farmers suspects of incitement, assault, threatening and other crimes. In several cases, quick and super quick trials are used. Joost Nan, Professor of Criminal (Procedural) Law at Erasmus School of Law, says in De Volkskrant that the government applies this type of trial to send a message, but whether this is effective remains unclear.
After the farmer protests of the last weeks, many criminal cases and investigations have been started against farmers suspected of crimes like incitement and assault. Police and justice have an immediate action policy to deal with a trial quickly. The super-quick trial processes a case within three to six days after detention, and the quick trial processes a case within seventeen days. This type of trial is only an option for simple and specific cases.
Nan understands the OM’s choice for (super) quick trials: “understandably, the OM chooses right now for a short-term arraignment of some cases. This allows the government to show an opposing force: watch out, we act against these types of crimes.” After all, politicians and society have noticeably expressed their wishes to punish the illegal actions during the farmer protests.
It is, however, hard to say whether the sent message is also correctly understood by the protesters, according to Nan: “In my mind, there is no scientific proof that people refrain from crime due to quick trials. It could even make things worse. Such a quick conviction could strengthen the ‘us versus them’-feeling of a certain group – farmers in this case – and it could increase the resistance.”