After a day of confusion, outbursts, and long-winded legal arguments, a curfew is still likely to be in effect until March
by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the NOS, the Dutch government is bringing forward a so-called ‘speed law’ to keep a legal basis for the 21:00-04:30 Coronavirus curfew. Yesterday the Hague’s district court ruled that the original use of emergency legislation to enact the curfew was unlawful, though the Dutch government naturally immediately appealed the case.
This led to a legal to-and-fro that stretched until about 20:30 last night, with the appeals judge finally declaring “it’s nearly time to go home, because the curfew is still valid”. The original curfew had been brought in by Mark Rutte’s outgoing cabinet using emergency legislation that allowed the bypassing of the Dutch parliament (though a majority had expressed support for the curfew). As the judge in the Hague argued, this was improper use of emergency legislation that is more intended for, amongst other things, an “emergency dyke break”.
The original case was brought forward by the pressure group Viruswaarheid (‘Virus Truth’), which according to its website does not deny that the Coronavirus is real, but does think that it is as deadly as the seasonal flu, and criticises the Dutch government for seemingly every preventative move it has taken so far. It hardly needs repeating, but according to all reputable medical sources, including the WHO, RIVM, Robert Koch Institute; CDC, NCDC India, and the China CDC, COVID-19 is significantly more deadly than the seasonal flu.
In any case, once several appeals and counter-appeals had been considered, the Appeals Court yesterday evening ruled that the curfew should remain in effect until at least Friday (when a further case relating to its legality will be heard). This is to prevent a ‘yo-yo’ effect with the curfew in effect for a few days, and then not again, or vice-versa. It would now seem that even if the curfew were to be ruled illegal on its current grounds, the Dutch government would immediately bring in a different law with the same effects. The so-called ‘speed law’ received the royal nod yesterday evening.