No recognition for pilot Poch, attorney starts ground proceedings against state

The Netherlands is definitely not satisfying Julio Poch. He is the former Argentinean-Dutch pilot, who was part of the Netherlands in a South American cell for many years before he was acquitted.

The now retired pilot was told by a letter from the national lawyer at the end of last month that he cannot count on any gesture from demissionary minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice and Security).

Last spring Poch had a personal meeting with Minister Grapperhaus on the issue that has been ongoing for years in the hope of recognition. In vain, it turns out now.

Geert-Jan Knoops, Pochs lawyer, therefore begins a ground proceedings against the state. He wants the court to find that the Netherlands is indeed partly responsible for the damage suffered by Poch, and that the Netherlands is therefore also liable for that.

Dead Flights
At the

beginning of this century, Julio Poch was suspected of being involved in the โ€œdead flightโ€ during the Videla dictatorship in Argentina. In addition, political opponents were thrown into the water from planes or helicopters to make them disappear. Poch was now a Dutch citizen and had been flying for Transavia for years. Thanks to Dutch information, he was arrested and extradited to Argentina during the last flight before retirement in Spain in 2009.

Poch was stuck in custody for eight years, but in November 2017 he was acquitted by Argentine judges. The Netherlands then dismissed the Dutch criminal investigation that has been running for more than ten years. Yet there was always the question: is the Netherlands responsible for the suffering suffered by Poch?

Room is still waiting

Theres a Chamber debate tonight with Grapperhaus. For many years, the Chamber and the Minister have been upsetting about the matter; both about the question of the responsibility of successive Dutch cabinets and the lack of information provided by the Cabinet to the Chamber.

For years, the House of Representatives demanded information on the case in vain to answer that question. Instead of giving the documents, Minister Grapperhaus set up a committee of inquiry. It did have access to the pieces. The committee concluded at the beginning of this year that the Dutch state is not to blame.

But the Chamber did not resign itself to that. Especially because the minister did not comply with his constitutional duty to give the source documents to the Chamber himself. And so MPs are still waiting for the pieces they have been asking for years and what the committee based its research on, and there is another parliamentary debate today.

Supplementary Letter

The Committee of Inquiry has since been lifted. The minister wrote to the Chamber last week that he needs until the end of this year โ€œto determine which documents may be provided to your Chamber under Article 68 of the Constitution.โ€ In addition, he insists that he cant be faster: โ€œMy starting point is that this provision will take place as soon as possible.โ€

The minister wrote an additional letter to the Chamber on Monday. It states that the Chamber wants to have a number of documents on the legal aid requests and any interference from the Royal House for Tuesday evening. But the only commitment Minister makes is to use โ€œextra capacityโ€ to have selected the pieces earlier than the end of this year.