What kind of witnesses are there and why do some remain anonymous?

Witnesses in this investigation face a genuine security risk. In order to minimise that risk, the examining magistrate decided that the identity of dozens of witnesses should be protected. The use of anonymous witnesses is subject to strict safeguards in Dutch criminal procedural law.

Dutch law offers the possibility for anonymous witnesses on the basis of Articles 149b and 187d part 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. They have a witness code that starts with the letter S. These witnesses were questioned by the police, after which the examining magistrate decided that they should remain anonymous for security reasons. The Public Prosecution Service and the defense can ask them additional questions.

In addition, a smaller number of witnesses were heard as threatened witnesses, as laid down in the law in Article 226a. If witnesses are in real danger, the examining magistrate may decide to conduct additional investigations himself and to question the witnes(ses) after their police interrogation. The Public Prosecution Service and the defense were not present during the interrogation, but can still ask for additional questions. The examining magistrate checks whether the role of the Public Prosecution Service and the defense in the criminal case proceeds according to the rules. The threatened witnesses appear anonymously in the courtfile with witness code V.

Finally, there is the possibility to take protective measures for witnesses. For example, the file contains statements by witness M58. This witness eventually put their name to a statement. In view of the content of M58's statement and their personal situation, specific measures have been taken to protect them.

For security reasons, a conscious decision has been made not to number witnesses consecutively. The numbers therefore say nothing about the total amount of witnesses or when they were questioned. How many witnesses there are and what they state will become clear during the substantive hearing of the case.