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Khadija Arib takes legal action to stop inquiry

During her time as Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives, Arib was, among other things, accused of creating an 'unsafe working environment'. To prevent disclosure of the case, she is taking legal action to demand access to all documents and their subsequent destruction. In addition, she is demanding compensation from the House of Representatives.

Further delay inevitable

This became apparent following a letter (in Dutch) Vera Bergkamp wrote to parliament on behalf of the Presidium (the executive committee of the House of Representatives). The letter was in response to a request from a group of MPs seeking clarification, among other things, on the long duration of the investigation. An expeditous conclusion to the matter would have been desirable for all concerned. With Arib going to court, further delays are inevitable.

Three representatives tasked with overseeing a careful and independent investigation approached Arib in March for further information and clarification, with the aim of achieving a balanced report to which Arib would also contribute. However, Arib decided not to make use of this opportunity.

Constitutional vacuum

According to Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law Wim Voermans, Arib ‘does have a point when it comes to the lack of power of the Presidium and the clerk to order an investigation into a member of parliament. The clerk, the highest official, is responsible for their officials but can’t order an inquiry into an elected politician. The Presidium, consisting of elected MPs, in turn has no authority to order an inquiry into another elected MP.'

'So that's the crux of the problem. There's a gap, a vacuum, in constitutional law here. The Presidium - and certainly the State Advocate, who nota bene advised an external investigation - should have been aware of this. That legal gap should, in my opinion, have been closed first,' Voermans said in Dutch newspaper NRC.

You can read the full article (in Dutch) in NRC here.

Photo by Marjoline Delahaye via Unsplash

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