What does the International Crimes Team do?

International crimes are crimes of the most serious sort. Such grave crimes must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, wherever they may be and regardless of nationality. In the Netherlands, we want to ensure that victims of international crimes who seek asylum in this country will not be confronted with the criminals from whom they have fled. The International Crimes Team has the task of finding and prosecuting these criminals.

Investigating and prosecuting suspects

The Dutch Police's International Crimes Team, in partnership with the National Public Prosecutors' Office, is responsible for finding and prosecuting those guilty of genocide, war crimes, torture, or crimes against humanity. In the Netherlands, universal jurisdiction is somewhat limited. Specifically this means that the Police and Public Prosecutors' Office can investigate and prosecute cases when:

  • The alleged perpetrator has the Dutch nationality;
  • The crimes were committed against (a) Dutch national(s); or
  • The alleged perpetrator (regardless of his nationality) is present in the Netherlands. 

Past investigations, for instance, have involved Afghan, Dutch, and Rwandan nationals. The International Crimes Team is part of the Dutch National Crime Squad.

Extraditing suspects to other countries

In addition to investigating and prosecuting suspected criminals, the Netherlands also extradites suspects, which entails sending an individual suspected of a crime to another country to be tried or to serve out a sentence. In 2010, for example, the Netherlands extradited the Dutch national Senad A. to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he was sentenced in 2011 to eight years in prison for his involvement in war crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993.

Handing over suspects to international tribunals

The International Crimes Team can also detain persons in the Netherlands who are sought by international tribunals and then hand them over to the tribunal. This was the case with Simon B. and Ephrem S., for example. They were arrested in the Netherlands, then handed over to the Rwanda Tribunal. Both have now been sentenced to prison for their crimes.

Turning over criminal cases

If the International Crimes Team has carried out an investigation and the suspect turns out to be currently located in another country, we can turn over the investigation files, the information detected thus far, and the further prosecution to that country.