Monday, July 17, 2006

No ban on the PNVD

The court in Den Haag decided today that the recently established PNVD party is permitted. Sometime ago I wrote about the commotion surrounding the party’s establishment. Among other things, the party wants to lower the age of consent to 12 and permit teens from the age of 16 to be involved in pornography. Soelaas, an organisation that conducts research into paedophilia, began the court action. Together with the group Basis Recht op Veilig Onderwijs (Basic Right to Safe Education), they want to ban the party up to the 2011 elections and to disallow the establishment of the party.

In a court session According to a member of Soelaas (Solace): “Everyone in the Netherlands can establish a political party, but we believe that the [political] programme of the PNVD consists of criminal elements.” Further, the organisation believes that the party is a “danger for social values and virtues which make a democratic society endurable.”

They appeal to the International Treaty for the Rights of the Child, which is ratified by the Netherlands to grant them standing in the case. They argue that from Art3 of the treaty if the general interest of the child is threatened, the legislator, judge and authorities must take an active role in preventing that threat.

The case was dismissed on procedural grounds because the applicants did not have a “ very pressing and urgent own interest” [zeer klemmend en spoedeisend eigen belang] in the ban of the party, according to the judge. It only wanted to express their moral concern and according to the court that was not enough to ban the party.

4.1 of the Judgement:

“The freedom of expression, freedom of association and the freedom of union (under which the freedom to establish a political party) are to be seen as the foundations of a democratic state according to the rule of law [rechtsstaat]. These freedoms give citizens the room, through the means of political parties—for example—to plead for the change of the Constitution, the law or policy, or for the annulment of international treaties.”

It is up to the electorate to give judgement about the pledges of political parties. […] The applicants when asked during the sitting declared that nothing is known to them by which it appears that the PNVD commits a punishable offence or calls for the committing of felonies that according to the applicable legislation is punishable.”

To ban a political party, it has to be proven that the PNVD is a danger to social order and public life.


“[…] The judge can only come to the judgement that there is a conflict with the public order if the fundamentals of our legal system actually threaten to be eroded on a scale that would appear to be paralysing for society.


Expressions that are in conflict with public order are mentioned in parliamentarian history [as] ‘the incitement of hatred and expressions that amounts to prohibited discrimination or a mortifying attempt, as the example given in the literature, to plea for making the killing of a certain group of the population impunable'.”

The organisation Soelaas do not have standing in the case, because it is merely an organisation made up of victims of paedophiles (who have gone beyond loving children to actually committing sexual offences).


“They want to express their indignation. This does not actually mean that there is ground for such action in their name based on this indignation against the defendants.


The action group Basis Recht op Veilig Onderwijs, in which these individual claimants have united themselves, is not a foundation or association with complete legal competence. […]”

Of course many are abhorred by the decision, but personally I stand by it. The judge was fair to not allow his personal judgements about such a (politically and socially) sensitive issue, and concerned himself with the facts alone. And on the basis of the facts, the PNVD does not, or at least has not, pose/-d a threat to society.

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