The battle for the future of the Joint Court of Justice for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba rages on. The power struggle, autonomy and who will play what roll is at question. One thing is for certain as outsiders look on; Aruba still do not get it. These days to reference justice and Aruba in the same sentence makes ones eyes role. Justice is supposed to be blind, not purposely bias and playing favorites.
The Natalee Holloway-case is still in the back of the Aruban government’s mind when it comes to taking a position on the future judicial system. According to a source inside the committee, the government has not yet forgotten the criticism that it received on its own judiciary at that time. If the Aruban administration of justice becomes a matter of the kingdom, the accusations that the judges are not independent will then relate to the judiciary of the entire Kingdom and no longer just to Aruba, says the source. (Amigoe)
In the back of your mind? If any of these government officials had a clue it would be forefront in your mind and something that you would wish to correct immediately. This is not past tense, the criticism that Aruba and its judicial system received is in the present. If you do not think so take a look at your last reported tourism numbers. This decline is a direct result that tourists want no part of a country where if “something bad happens” they are powerless and at the mercy of local government and judicial cronyism. That is the fact. People understand that crimes do occur, what people do not understand and will not tolerate occurs when justice is not provided to said crimes. Until Aruba figures that out and makes a conscience decision to do something about it and right the wrong their tourism will never be the same.
Amigoe, October 18, 2006: Government position still not univocal
The speakers at the symposium on the future of the Joint Court of Justice: (from left to right) Luciano Milliard, municipal law professor at the University of Aruba; Luis de Lannoy, Presiding judge of the Joint Court; Millie Schwengle, President of the Bar Association; Jan Fokkens, district attorney of the High Court; Hubert Maduro, member of the Round Table Conference Committee.
ARUBA – “That the government chooses for an Aruban Court of Justice is not absolutely said yet, but how the administration of justice is going to be, is for the Aruban government to decide, and not the Netherlands or the Joint Court”, said Huber Maduro, member of the Round Table conference Committee (RTC) at the symposium on the future of the Joint Court of Justice for the Neth.Antilles and Aruba.
In his argument, Maduro reacted on the speeches of Luis de Lannoy, presiding judge of the Joint Court, and Jan Fokkens, district attorney of the High Court that pleaded for the preservation of the current Court after the Antilles cease to exist in its current political form next year. De Lannoy said that the five Antillean islands and also the Netherlands have already made up their minds and that Aruba is the only one that still has doubts.
However, the Aruban government has not decided yet, because they are not sure yet how the administration of justice is going to be on the other islands, said Maduro. He says that all that was said up till now at the recent agreement between the Netherlands, Bonaire, Statia, and Saba, is that the Netherlands will play a part in the administration of justice of the three islands, but they didn’t say how. The negotiations on the real interpretation of the administration of justice in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom still have to start, said Maduro.
Maduro emphasizes that making sure that Aruba has a good and independent administration of justice is a business of Aruba and that it falls under the responsibility of the minister of Justice. “The impression was given in the discussions on the future of the Court that the minister has nothing to say, worse still, that he has to get out of the picture. But it is up to the Aruban government to decide what is going to happen with the judicial organization. After all, it has to do with the autonomy of the country and it has to be dealt with very carefully.”
Maduro is of the opinion that the organization of the legal system is only a matter of elaborating, whether it is a virtual court, two courts, or other variations. “Aruba has chosen for the most practical way in 1986, which was taking part in the Joint Court. The current discussions are different though.” According to him, the Joint Court emphasizes the own internal autonomy, or how the organization of the Court can operate as optimal and independent as possible. The Justice-minister argues for an own Court, the autonomy of Aruba, explains Maduro.
The government agrees that we must avoid the splitting up of the administration of justice in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, but there is no consensus yet within the Aruban government whether Aruba continues to take part in the Joint Court or wants something else. In view of the coming negotiations with the islands and the Netherlands, the government is currently busy to determine her position. The members of the preparatory-committee RTC are thinking of making the administration of justice a kingdom-matter. They are already talking about a ‘Kingdom Court’. Such court is yet a step further than what De Lannoy wants with the Joint Court and the laying down of its authorities in a state law.
The Natalee Holloway-case is still in the back of the Aruban government’s mind when it comes to taking a position on the future judicial system. According to a source inside the committee, the government has not yet forgotten the criticism that it received on its own judiciary at that time. If the Aruban administration of justice becomes a matter of the kingdom, the accusations that the judges are not independent will then relate to the judiciary of the entire Kingdom and no longer just to Aruba, says the source.