Capital punishment in the Netherlands
Capital punishment ("doodstraf" in Dutch) in the Netherlands was first abolished in 1870, though only in criminal law, by the Dutch justice minister Franciscus Gerardus Reinierdus Hubertus van Lilaar. Following the abolition of the death penalty, life imprisonment was made an official punishment in 1878.
Between 1945 and 1952 several war criminals from World War II were sentenced to death by the Bijzonder Gerechtshof. The last persons to be executed were Andries Jan Pieters and Artur Albrecht in March 1952.
In military law, however, capital punishment remained a legal option until 1983, when it was explicitly forbidden in the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1991, all references to the death penalty were removed from Dutch law.
Today the Netherlands operates a clear policy against capital punishment, such as not participating in extradition if the suspect has even the slightest chance of receiving the death penalty.
- Article 114 of the Constitution (Dutch: Grondwet) prohibits sentencing someone to death. This means that as a result, the death penalty does not exist in the Netherlands. It also means that the death penalty cannot be added to future or existing law articles. That would conflict with the Dutch Constitution Law.
Death Penalty in the Netherlands today
|Executed person||Date of execution||Crime(s)||By||Where||Method|
|Ans van Dijk||January 14, 1948||Treason of 700 hiding Jews during World War II. She collaborated with the Sicherheitsdienst||Bijzonder Gerechtshof||Fort Bijlmer||Firing squad|
|Anton Mussert||May 7, 1946||High treason during World War II.||Bijzonder Gerechtshof||Waalsdorpervlakte||Firing squad|
General note: All sources are in Dutch.
- Nationaal Archief, the largest public archive in the Netherlands.
- Archief Ministerie van Justitie, the archive of the Dutch Ministry of Justice.
- "wetten.nl - Wet- en regelgeving - Grondwet - BWBR0001840". overheid.nl.
- This court was established shortly after World War II, for crimes committed in WW II. 145 were sentenced to death, but only 42 were executed. Some of those executions were done by firing squad.
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