Dutch curfew remains in force after court rules in favour of government

Dutch curfew remains in force after court rules in favour of government
Credit: Belga

The curfew put in place to fight the coronavirus in the Netherlands will remain in force after the Court of Appeal in The Hague ruled in favour of the Dutch government in its appeal, ten days after another judge said it should be lifted.

The government immediately lodged an appeal against the decision made last Tuesday, and has now been vindicated as the court ruled there was sufficient legal basis for the curfew in the case brought forward by protest group Viruswaarheid.

“The Court of Appeal is of the opinion that imposing the curfew is proportional and that other means are not reasonably available,” the court wrote, adding that the government had a right to rely on the advice of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).

The measure, which states that anyone in the Netherlands who has no valid reason to be on the streets must stay inside from 9:00 PM to 4:30 AM, has been in force since 23 January, and was recently extended until 2 March.

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This verdict contradicts that of another judge last Tuesday, which stated that the curfew was a “far-reaching infringement of the right to freedom of movement and privacy” and restricted the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration, among other things.

A special law for emergencies dating back to 1996 was used for the introduction of the curfew, and the judge in preliminary relief proceedings found that the coronavirus crisis is not a situation for which the law is intended.

However, the Court of Appeal has now said that this measure could be introduced on the basis of this law, as the crisis created “extraordinary circumstances,” and added that the temporary violating of these fundamental rights was justified.

Organisers of the case, Viruswaarheid, had previously organised several protests against the Dutch coronavirus measures since they have been in force.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

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