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The IJC should be removed from the Netherlands

By TARAS KUZIO, UPI Outside View Commentator   |   March 7, 2013 at 12:07 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- In a ground-breaking resolution the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a bill to move the International Court of Justice from The Hague where it has been based since it was founded as the judicial organ of the United Nations after World War II.

The resolution was submitted by U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. who is co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

The U.S. government-funded USHC has been monitoring human rights and compliance with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe accords since 1976. But, the sponsored resolution refers to a different aspect of human rights, that of sex trafficking, which at any given time enslaves 4.5 million people.

On Oct. 4 of last year the USHC had a briefing entitled "Listening to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking" that submitted evidence on Joris Demmink, secretary-general of the ministry of Security and Justice in The Netherlands from 2002-12. In the previous decade he was Dutch director general for International Affairs and Immigration.

Everybody in a democracy, including Demmink, should have a right to be presumed innocent before proven guilty. At the same time, Dutch authorities shouldn't as Smith told the briefing, act "like an ostrich with its head in the sand."

Despite mounting evidence the Dutch authorities, the congressional resolution states, have refused to "investigate the serious allegations" against Demmink therefore "bringing into question the rule of law in the Netherlands."

The IJC is the principle institution to promote the rule of law between nations and it cannot be located, the U.S. Congress says, in a country where the rule of law isn't in place.

Refusing to investigate serious charges is important in of itself but obstruction goes much deeper.

Investigative journalist and civic activist Micha Kat is threatened with imprisoned for a range of alleged crimes, one of which is writing "danger: pedophile" on Demmink's home. Kat is well known for his website klokkenluideronline.net -- whistle blower online -- where he exposes scandals in The Netherlands.

The Dutch Association of Journalists wrote last month to the Turkish Embassy in The Netherlands complaining about "threats, intimidation and ill treatment" against Turkish journalist Burhan Kazmali, who was the first to report on allegations against Demmink.

The U.S. Congress and journalists Kat and Kazmali have faced obstruction over allegations surrounding Demmink's alleged sex tourism to Turkey, the Philippines and other countries when he had two official Dutch positions.

Demmink has been accused by three Turkish boys, now adults, of having raped them in Turkey between 1994 and 2003. One boy was delivered to him by Turkish policeman Mehmet Korkmaz while a second boy was locked in a hotel bedroom with Demmink, who allegedly raped him.

Turkish authorities allegedly possess a video of Demmink raping an under-age boy together with other incriminating evidence of Demmink's sexual tourism in Turkey in the 1990s, which he continues to deny having visited at that time. Former Chief of Police of Istanbul, Necdet Menzir, and Korkmaz, who was responsible for Demmink's security during three visits, both contradict his claim that he hasn't visited Turkey.

Three witnesses in Turkey are being intimidated into dropping their allegations against Demmink and their lives and families have been threatened. The Dutch journalists' organization protested that Kazmali has been physically assaulted for doing his job as a journalist.

These very serious allegations go beyond sex trafficking into the world of national security, providing an additional explanation as to why the allegations aren't investigated.

In March 1998, Kurdish businessman and political activist Huseyin Baybassin was detained in The Netherlands at the insistence of the Turkish authorities. Four years later, Baybassin was sentenced to prison for 20 years on charges of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and drug smuggling which was increased to a life sentence a year later.

A life sentence without the possibility of parole is unprecedented in The Netherlands - even for serial killers. But the reasons for the severe sentence have since become clearer.

Turkish and Dutch media have revealed many facets of this case and how evidence used to charge Baybassin included falsified telephone call tapes and pressuring of witnesses.

An Turkish intelligence report cited by Baybassin, known by its abbreviation EK RAPOR and prepared by intelligence officer Huseyin Celebi, revealed how Demmink's sexual tourism in Turkey under different aliases was used to blackmail the Dutch authorities to neutralize a senior Kurdish separatist leader.

The Petraeus affair -- in which CIA Director David Petraeus was forced to resign because of an extramarital affair -- showed how the United States treated a case of potential blackmail as a threat to its national security. Petraeus, who held a senior position comparable to Demmink, ran a dangerous risk of being blackmailed by foreign powers.

The Netherlands is an important U.S. ally and a thorough investigation of the allegations is important to trust in the trans-Atlantic relationship and NATO's cohesion and vitality. A continued failure to thoroughly investigate these serious charges will inevitably lead to further calls for the transfer of the IJC to another country where the rule of law exists and where elites aren't Untouchables.

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(Taras Kuzio is a non-resident fellow at the Center for Trans-Atlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Relations, Johns Hopkins University, Washington. In 2011-12 he was a visiting senior fellow at the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, Japan.)

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(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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