CHAIRMAN: Mr. Francisco Jose Aguilar
Urbina (Costa Rica)
VICE-CHAIRMEN: Mr. Prafullachandra Natwarlal Baghwati (India), Mr.
Tamas Ban (Hungary), Mr. Omran El Shafei (Egypt)
RAPPORTEUR: Mrs. Christine Chanet (France)
MEMBERS: Mr. Nisuke Ando (Japan); Mr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli
(Venezuela); Mr. Thomas Buergenthal (United States); Lord Colville
(United Kingdom); Mrs. Elizabeth Evatt (Australia); Mr. Laurel
Francis (Jamaica); Mr. Eckart Klein (Germany); Mr. David Kretzmer
(Israel); Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah (Mauritius); Mr. Andreas Mavrommatis
(Cyprus); Mrs. Cecilia Medina Quiroga (Chile); Mr. Fausto Pocar
(Italy); Mr. Julio Prado Vallejo (Ecuador)
All the members of the Committee participated in the fifty-fifth
||Van der Ent v. Neth., Comm.
657/1995, U.N. Doc. A/51/40, Vol. II, at 276 (HRC 1995)
||Report of the Human Rights
Committee, U.N. GAOR, 51st Sess., Supp. No. 40, U.N. Doc. A/51/40,
Vol. II, Annex IX, sect. I, at 276 (Apr.13, 1997)
1. The author of the
communication is Gerrit van der Ent, a Dutch citizen, domiciled in
Wageningen. He claims to be a victim of a violation by the Netherlands of
articles 6, 7, and 18 of the Covenant. He is represented by counsel.
THE FACTS AS SUBMITTED BY THE AUTHOR:
2.1 On 19, 20, 21 and 22 February 1990, the author repeatedly damaged the
wire fences around military barracks in The Hague, in protest against the
sale of war planes to Turkey. By decision of 13 March 1990, the district
court in The Hague found him guilty of wilfully damaging public property and
sentenced him to three weeks' imprisonment. On appeal, the Court of Appeal,
by judgment of 27 December 1990, confirmed the author's conviction, but
lowered the sentence to two weeks' imprisonment. The author's cassation
appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court on 28 April 1992.
2.2 On 28 December 1990, the author participated in a protest against the
alleged continuing militarization of the Netherlands and the involvement of
the Netherlands economy, actively supported by the State, in the production
and sale of weapons, resulting in wars elsewhere in the world. In the course
of the protest the author, together with others, damaged the fence around
the air base Volkel. By judgment of 25 September 1991, the district court of
's Hertogenbosch found him guilty of public violence, in contravention of
article 141 of the Dutch Penal Code, and sentenced him to a fine of Fl.
100,-. On appeal, the Court of Appeal of 's Hertogenbosch, by judgment of 28
December 1992, confirmed the conviction and raised the fine to Fl. 250,-.
The author's appeal in cassation to the Supreme Court was rejected on 9
3. The author claims that his convictions by the Courts in the Netherlands
constitute a violation of articles 6, 7 and 18 of the Covenant. In this
context, he points out that he has already tried every legal means in order
to draw attention to the fact that the Dutch Government is violating
international law by its military policy. He therefore argues that he can
denounce the indirect participation of the Netherlands in war crimes, such
as the Turkish bombardments against the Kurdish population, only by breaking
the law and that the Dutch courts should have recognised his conscientious
objections by not convicting him.
ISSUES AND PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE:
4.1 Before considering any claim contained in a communication, the Human
Rights Committee must, in accordance with rule 87 of its rules of procedure,
decide whether or not it is admissible under the Optional Protocol to the
4.2 The Committee notes that the author claims that, because the Dutch
policy with regard to the sale of weapons and warplanes allegedly is in
violation of international law, he should not have been convicted for public
violence and damaging public property. In this context, the Committee refers
to its jurisprudence in communication No. 429/1990 E.W. et al. v. the
Netherlands, declared inadmissible on 8 April 1993., where it observed that
the procedure laid down in the Optional Protocol was not designed for
conducting public debate over matters of public policy, such as support for
disarmament and issues concerning nuclear and other weapons of mass
destruction, or, as in the instant case, issues concerning arms sales.
4.3 Before the Committee can examine a communication, the author must
substantiate, for purposes of admissibility, his claims that his rights
under the Covenant have been violated. In the instant case, the Committee
notes that the author merely refers to his conviction for public violence
and wilfully damaging public property, but fails to substantiate, for
purposes of admissibility, how this would entail a violation of his rights
under articles 6, 7 and 18 of the Covenant. The communication is therefore
inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.
5. The Human Rights Committee therefore decides:
(a) that the communication is inadmissible;
(b) that this decision shall be communicated to the author and, for
information, to the State party.