Category: ‘criminal law’

Michigan doctors charged in first federal genital mutilation case in US

23 April 2017 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

“In the first federal case involving female genital mutilation filed in the United States, two Michigan doctors and the wife of one of the doctors have been charged with performing the banned procedure on two 7-year-old girls.”

How come fgm/c is said to happen quite often, even among migrants in the US and in Europe, while prosecution hardly ever happens? Are these cases so difficult to detect? Is evidence unreliable? Doesn’t the police pay attantion to it?

In this case, CNN reports: “The Detroit Free Press reported from the hearing that Smith said her client removed membrane from the girls’ genital area using a “scraper” as part of a religious practice. The girls’ parents would then bury the membrane in the ground in accordance with their religious custom, Smith said, according to the Free Press account.” 

‘Removing membrane’ – if this is an accurate description of the practice – is maybe hard to classify as fgm/c?

For an article on the approach toward fgm/c in the Netherlands, see Renée Kool ‘The Dutch approach to female genital mutilation in view of the ECHR’ in the Utrecht Law Review, 2010.

Kijken in de ziel van rechters: over de interpretatie van het gedrag van de verdachte

12 August 2015 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Interessant om een uitzending te zien waarin Coen Verbraak aan rechters uitspraken weet te ontlokken die alle vermoedens bevestigen die ik in 1998 al in mijn proefschrift verwoordde: onbevooroordeeld de rechtszaal ingaan is een fictie en stereotypen doen ertoe. Zie de uitzending Kijken in de ziel van 27 juli 2015.

The Ferguson Cop

11 August 2015 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Interesting and very good ‘background story’ of the cop Wilson who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014.

See the New Yorker.

Revealing quote: “McCarthy wasn’t surprised that Wilson had difficulty interacting with residents. Police officers are rigorously trained in firing weapons and apprehending suspects but not in establishing common ground with people who have had different experiences. “If you go to an academy, how much is on that?” he asked me. “Basically, nothing.” A recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum revealed that cadets usually receive fifty-eight hours of training in firearms, forty-nine in defensive tactics, ten in communication skills, and eight in de-escalation tactics.”

Doctors ignoring the rules on euthanasia

14 December 2013 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

A survey among 866 doctors who do ‘first contact medical care’ (huisartsen) in the Netherlands shows how they fill in the discretionary left to them by supposedly strict rules. Cases of terminal care of patients, requirements of speedy actions etcetera ask doctors to be lenient with the rules. With palliative sedation (terminally ill patients), 10% of the doctors says they sometimes give a higher dose of medication than is strictly required, 7% says they started before acting was strictly necessary etcetera.

The survey was held because of a doctor who committed suicide a few months ago, when he was profiled in the media as someone who did not live up to the rules of euthanasia. Now turns out he is not the only one. Two reactions possible: 1. Doctors ignore the rules (and act criminally), or 2. Doctors act professionally, since in practice discretionary room for manoeuvre is necessary for decisions on a case by case basis. The first reaction is based on (legal) ethics, the second on knowledge of medical practice.

See here for more info and the results of the survey (in Dutch).

Finally: Research on stereotypes in police practice

16 October 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Independent researcher Sinan Çankaya did participant observation among street worker policemen in Amsterdam and had interviews and talks with them while smoking and drinking coffee. He wanted to find out if the Dutch police is the same as police elsewhere, picking out the black guys walking hooded on the streets to ask for their ID’s, stopping the Surinam men who drive in fancy cars etcetera. And yes, Çankaya found they are exactly the same. Reassuring on the one hand (Dutch policemen act like police in other countries), painful on the other (Dutch policemen act like police in other countries!).

Police so far reacted okay. “This is painful, but we need the discussion. We have to learn to select criminals based on what they do, on their deviant behaviour, not on what they look like.”

Hmm. Gee.

The research will be published later this year. Unfortunately only in Dutch. But just check the foreign books on the topic and you will know how Dutch policemen act .. 😉

NL in a state …

28 September 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Project X is all around and the Netherlands is in a state of shock. Last weekend there should have been a party in the small town of Haren in the province of Groningen. A small private party at first, posted on Facebook. Then because of publicity, the party was hijacked by project x. It then became large.

Last Friday, thousands of youth gathered in Haren to party. But there was no party … So then better start a riot, that is to say: start to destroy whatever it is you can get your hands on. Result is more than a million in € damages.











Foto ANP / Catrinus van der Veen

Soon the ‘explanation and understanding machine’ started running. ‘Bored youth’; ‘the continuation of violence like at fairs in the old days’; ‘criminals’; ‘unconnected mayor and police that did not know how to handle this facebook event’; ‘just like the Arab spring, but here the violence was just for fun’; ‘an effect of media attention’; ‘the youth knew what was expected from them, so they lived up to the image’; one small flock of snow that thanks to social media turned into an avalanche.

Social media: Alle Menschen werden Brüder. Let’s riot together.

Rumble in a mosque

7 July 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The Hague has a ‘famous’ Salafi ultra-orthodox mosque, called As Sunnah. The imam of the mosque Fawaz Jneid has been concluding nikah marriages since he came to work there. Recently, he was told to stop it, or otherwise he would be prosecuted. Apparently he did not stop. The prosecutor is now investigating ‘illegal sharia practices’ of the imam (in NL it is illegal to conclude a religious marriage before a civil one).

In the meantime, the mosque also has an internal fight. The board of the mosque has sacked the imam. Both sides now scold the other one with being ‘rotte vis’ (a famous but rather old fashioned Dutch offense) and ‘extremist’. Insiders say it is just a sign of power struggles.

Tax culture

19 June 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Paying tax is not something that people like to do, generally. The State is usually seen as an anonymous agency that is out for your money only to spend it on things that you don’t want to contribute to. Paying tax, collecting tax, and enforcing tax laws interestingly differs per legal culture. Last weekend newspaper De Volkskrant had two large stories on tax culture. One on Greece, in which the main message was that ‘the Greek perceive it as a dishonour to follow the rules’ (citation of a prof), and that it is always a good thing to cheat on the state.

The other story was on the Netherlands. The tendency of tax law enforcement, partly due to budget cuts, is to ‘trust the companies’ in the figures they provide. In recent years the assignment from politics and from people up in the ministerial hierarchy is that ‘vertical’ controls and checks on companies should be reduced to the minimum, and that ‘horizontal’ controls should be encouraged. Insiders who are frustrated by the tax evasions they witness right under their nose, ring the bell because the state is wrong to ‘trust’ the companies. Simple legal-economical calculations of course would have predicted long ago that a lower level of law enforcement leads to an increase in the evasion of rules. This is something the Dutch state does not seem to realize.

ant fucker – mierenneuker

18 May 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands on 8 May 2012 gave verdict on a case in which a homeless man called a police man a ‘mierenneuker’ – an ‘ant fucker’. The homeless man was prosecuted and convicted for insulting a police officer by the court of first instance and on appeal. The Supreme Court found differently. The police officer had taken away a beer can from the homeless man and thrown it in the trash can. Calling that police man an ant fucker is not always an insult, the Supreme Court found. An ant fucker in common sense usage in the Netherlands is someone who is very strict, actually too strict on rules – focused too much on the small things in life and on the millimeters, and not on things that really matter.
According to the Supreme Court, the context of the utterance – was it heard by other people, was there an intention to insult – is decisive for the assessment of there being a criminal act. Because calling someone an ant fucker is generally not enough for a criminal insult …

Youth café’s in Urk

13 May 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Urk, the small town – once island – traditionally focused on sea fishing

Grotere kaart weergeven

was in the news today with so-called ‘jeugdhonken’ – places for the youth to meet and gather and have fun, but that more and more seem to function as café’s. Illegal café’s that is, because they operate without a license for selling beer and other alcoholics.

The national news showed an industrial area, where the young rent garage boxes for about € 400 a month and restyle them into ‘fancy places’ that probably look like the bars their parents visit.

Their arguments are ‘it is cheap and ‘gezellig’ and there is no fighting like in town’. There are regular visits from police and fire brigade, to check if safety is in order, not to close them down (!). Interestingly, mayor Jaap Kroon (Christian Democrats) is behind the youth. Only if it becomes too large and not a ‘friends meeting’ anymore, he would intervene, he said. And by the way, this is traditional Urk legal culture, as he referred to ‘the kotters [fishing boats] which in the past had always a double function of fishing boat and meeting and drinking place.’

  • Archives

  • Categories