Dutch Judge Commissioner Closes the Investigation of Prof. Sison
International Committee DEFEND
21 November 2007
Utrecht, The Netherlands – The International Committee DEFEND and all its members
and supporters applaud the decision of C. M. Derijks, the Judge Commissioner of the
Court of The Hague, to formally close the criminal preliminary investigation case of
inciting murder against Prof. Jose Maria Sison filed by the Office of the Prosecution
in The Netherlands. The Judge Commissioner earlier ordered the investigation of
Prof. Sison based on initial evidence presented by the prosecutor.
According to the Judge Commissioner, upon further examination of the evidence
and other dossier already presented, “there is a lack of reason, grave presumption
and incriminating evidence” for the prosecutor to continue any criminal investigation
against Prof. Sison. The Judge Commissioner took into account the decisions of the
District Court of The Hague and the Court of Appeals (CA) in favor of Prof. Sison and
pointed the failure of the prosecutor J. S. de Vries to show cause for the continuance
of the preliminary investigation.
The District Court of The Hague had ruled against the arguments of the prosecutor
for the preventive detention of Prof. Sison and went to the extent of attacking the
insufficiency of evidence. Thus, it ordered his release from detention last September 13.
Upon appeal by the prosecutor, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the
District Court of The Hague on October 3. It declared the lack of any prima facie
evidence to link Prof. Sison to the charge of inciting or ordering the murders of
two government military agents.
The Court of Appeals went so far as to state that the charge should be viewed
in their political context, that the statements of the witnesses cannot be accepted
as reliable and that there is great doubt whether Prof. Sison can exercise his right
to fully cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution in view of the grave human
rights situation in the Philippines and the danger to his lawyers.
The Judge Commissioner J. M. Derijks called to task the prosecutor J. S. de Vries
for not taking into account the decisions of the two courts and for its maneuvering
for further postponement of the decision to close the investigation, despite the
two extensions of the deadline previously granted by the Judge Commissioner to
the prosecutor for providing substantive reasons for the continuation of the
According to the Judge Commissioner, she found that the prosecutor had in no
way provided reasons and information on whether the continuation of the preliminary
investigation would be able to lead to another judgment on this point. Therefore,
the Judge Commissioner concluded that further investigation would not lead to
another conclusion and decided to close the investigation.
Theoretically, the prosecutor can still appeal the decision of the Judge Commissioner
to a higher court for the continuation of the investigation or file a formal indictment
of Prof. Sison. But she faces overwhelming odds from the decisions already taken
by the District Court of The Hague, the Court of Appeals and the Judge Commissioner
against the lack of direct and sufficient evidence. It is foolhardy and futile for the
prosecutor to appeal to a higher court.
The prosecutor would thus be seen as maliciously continuing the harassment
and persecution of Prof. Sison and impeding the resumption of the formal
talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Meanwhile, Prof. Sison, his
lawyers and supporters are prepared to counter any further maneuvers of
the prosecutor and higher officials of the Dutch justice ministry who
have collaborated with the US and Philippine authorities in bringing the
false and politically motivated charge against Prof. Sison.
For more information:
Ruth de Leon
Telephone Nos.: 00-31-30-8895306