Op 20 oktober jl stelde het EHRM vragen aan de Nederlandse regering over de wijze van tenuitvoerlegging van de levenslange gevangenisstraf op de voormalige Nederlandse Antillen.

Deze vragen demonstreren dat het EHRM kritisch kijkt naar de VI-regelingen die daar sinds enkele jaren van kracht zijn (art. 1:30 Sr Curaçao, Aruba en Sint Maarten; de VI-toets vindt volgens die regelingen na 20 jaar (Aruba en Curaçao) en na 25 jaar (Sint Maarten) plaats. Ook geven de vragen inzicht in de eisen aan de gratieprocedure en in wat er van de Nederlandse overheid wordt verwacht op het punt van de inhoudelijke invulling van de straf.

Het betreft R.R. Canword tegen Nederland, appl no. 21464/15 (gedetineerd sinds 1999) en A.H. Lake tegen Nederland, appl.nr. 2445/17 (gedetineerd sinds 1984),

Advocaat in deze zaken is  Claudia Reijntjes-Wendenburg, die ook de advocaat was van Murray.

De vragen in beide zaken zijn bijna gelijk en daarom hieronder in elkaar geschoven. Een groot verschil tussen beide zaken is de detentieduur.

  • 1. Is the applicant’s life sentence compatible with Article 3 of the Convention, in particular does the applicant have available to him a prospect of release and a possibility of review?
  • 2a. What is the current situation regarding the applicant’s request for a pardon?
  • 2b. Will the applicant’s request for a pardon be granted if it is concluded that legitimate penological grounds for the continuation of his detention no longer exist?
  • 2c. By what procedural guarantees is the pardon procedure surrounded (see Matiošaitis and Others v. Lithuania, nos. 22662/13 and 7 others, §§ 170‑171 and 181, 23 May 2017)?
  • 3a. (Canword). If the applicant is not granted a pardon, will his life sentence be subject to the periodic review of Article 1:30 of the Criminal Code of Sint Maarten or of Article 1:30 of the Criminal Code of Curaçao?
  • 3a. (Lake) Is the applicant’s life sentence subject to the periodic review of Article 1:30 of the Criminal Code of Sint Maarten or of Article 1:30 of the Criminal Code of Curaçao?
  • 3b. (Canword) Is the applicant, or has he been made, aware which review procedure will apply to him?
  • 3b. (Lake) Has such a periodic review been carried out yet? If so, what was the outcome? If not, why not, and when will such a review be carried out? Is there any action which the applicant can take in order to ensure that the periodic review is carried out?
  • 3c. Does the fact that periodic review mechanisms have been introduced in Sint Maarten and Curaçao relatively recently impact on the relevance to be given to the principle that a whole life prisoner should be entitled to know, at the outset of his or her sentence, when and under what conditions a review of his or her sentence will take place or might be sought (see Čačko v. Slovakia, no. 49905/08, §§ 79-80, 22 July 2014, and Koky v. Slovakia (dec.), no. 27683/13, 16 May 2017)?
  • 4. Has the applicant been provided with an opportunity to rehabilitate himself? If so, in what way? If not, why not?
  • 5. Has an assessment been made, at the time of the criminal proceedings against him and/or subsequently, of the applicant’s needs as regards treatment with a view to facilitating his rehabilitation and reducing the risk of his reoffending? If yes, what was the outcome? If not, why not?