Naval Commander in the Caribbean


The Ministry of Defense receives rapports that they have sent a marine –who was drunk and caused a car accident- back to the Netherlands without any prosecution. This message is incorrect. With this statement the Ministry of Defense would like to explain the situation with regards the prosecution of military personnel in general and the marine in this specific case.

Let us make one thing clear: in no way we set out to protect military personnel from being prosecuted for acts they wrongfully committed. It is up to the Public Ministry where the individual military person will be tried, either in one of the islands of the Kingdom or before the military Chamber of the Court in the Netherlands. The public prosecution in all of these countries are autonomous and repatriation of military personnel to the Netherlands will always take place in coordination with the local authorities. In any case, they will be tried and held responsible for their acts. All military personnel of the Netherlands’ armed forces adhere to strict standards under common criminal law, but in addition to that also under military penal law. In general, prosecution of military personnel will take place in the special military Chamber in Arnhem, the Netherlands where the public prosecution is specialized in military penal law. Irrespective of the outcome of the penal law procedure, the Defense organization often undertake additional measures in order to hold an individual responsible. Some examples of this are suspension, repatriation and/or possibly even forced resignation.

In general, a military member of the armed forces thus suffers severe consequences of their actions committed overseas in either one of the autonomous islands, and will undergo trial in either part of the Kingdom under the same laws and circumstances.
So happens to also be the case with the case referred to above where a marine was involved in an accident and was under influence of alcohol. The defense organization highly disapproves of such behavior. Therefore the ministry of Defense has undertaken to suspend and repatriate this specific marine to the Netherlands, where he is currently awaiting prosecution.

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