Successful consultations between the Ministers of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten on judicial cooperation

On February the 24th the semi-annual Four-Party Judicial Consultation (JVO) took place between the Ministers of Justice Yeşilgöz-Zegerius (the Netherlands), Tjon (Aruba), Pisas (Curaçao) and Richardson (Sint Maarten). Because of the coronapandemic, the consultations were again held digitally, under the chairmanship of Curaçao.

Vrouwe Justitia

The countries within the Kingdom are working together intensively to combat crime. For Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, who is also responsible for the justice chain in the Dutch Caribbean, cooperation with the countries in the Caribbean region is essential.

She spoke with her colleagues about the joint approach to organised crime. Agreements were made about collaborating in establishing legal assistance- and extradition treaties with countries where criminals may seek refuge. It was also agreed how the ministers could jointly ensure that coastguard personnel could operate in each other's coastal areas. This is important for tackling the smuggling of drugs and human beings.

To prevent young people from ending up in (organised) crime, the countries are joining forces to prevent both perpetrators and victims. This is done, among other, by applying the use of preventive behavioural interventions, such as "Only you decide who you are" and the Leerorkest. The results of these and new initiatives were presented and discussed.

Agreements were also made for prison officers to work in each other's prisons in order to share practical knowledge and experiences. Furthermore, the countries agreed to cooperate in the further development of forensic care for both adults and minors in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius has indicated that she would like to think along on how to develop this further and also offers support in this.

For the detection of transnational crime, fast and safe exchange of information between the countries is important. This cooperation in the area of information provides better insight into criminal relations between the Caribbean and the Netherlands. To optimise the exchange of information between all countries, the Netherlands has made EUR 2.5 million available (for three years). With this, information hubs in the countries and inter-insular information coordination can be strengthened, training can be provided, and ICT will become available.

In conclusion, the JVO discussed securing the intensive cooperation between the five police forces within the Kingdom. The strategic agenda agreed upon by the police forces concerns training, integrity, information coordination and operational management, but also cooperation in the training of police executives. The agenda has benefits for all countries. The Netherlands will also make structural financial resources available for this regional police cooperation.

The next JVO will take place in June on Bonaire under the Dutch chairmanship.