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The use of pre-trial detention has been criticized and debated frequently in Europe, and especially in the Netherlands. Questions are raised whether pre-trial detention is used too often and whether the practice of pre-trial detention is in line with standards set by the ECtHR.
This research on pre-trial detention in the Netherlands is part of a broader EU wide research project on the application of pre-trial detention in a selected number of EU member states. Goal of the research project is collecting information on the legal framework on pre-trial detention and its application in practice in a selection of member states. This in order to inform the debate on the European level on the necessity of EU-legislation in this field. The research findings are based on questionnaires filled in by defence lawyers, observing pre-trial detention hearings, reviewing case files of closed cases and inter views with judges and prosecutors.
The main conclusion of the Dutch research is that the Dutch legislation on pre-trial detention generally is in conformity with European standards. However, the practice of applying pre-trial detention falls somewhat short of these standards; especially the high percentage of pre-trial detention being ordered, the limited reasoning of decisions and the infrequent use of alternatives to pre-trial detention are noteworthy.