With pleasure I give you my answers to the parliamentary questions by the members of parliament Teeven and van Baalen in connection with the ir. Jules Odekerken murder case. These questions were sent on 12 October 2007 (marked 2070802310.)
The secretary of state for foreign affairs,
Drs. M.J.M. Verhagen
.Are you familiar with the murder of the Dutchman Ir. Jules Odekerken on 17 November 2003 in Pattaya (Thailand), and with the fact that the criminal court of Pattaya will pronounce sentence in connection with this case on 7 November 2007? If not, I refer to the website www.julesodekerken.nl with comments by the relatives of the deceased.
Yes, I am familiar with this case. Since the beginning of 2006 there has been a close collaboration with the Odekerken family. The Odekerken family has visited my office several times to discuss the trial. Apart from this, we have also discussed matters on the telephone and through written correspondence. The embassy has regular contact with the lawyer of the family.
Have Dutch diplomatic representatives informed you of the fact that there are strong indications that persons who are (possibly) responsible for this murder, are trying to affect the independent course of justice in Thailand so that people can escape from punishment?
Yes, I am acquainted with these rumours. The Dutch Embassy in Bangkok has for this reason contacted a confidential lawyer, who closely follows this case and who attends court sessions. So far, however, we have had no indications that justice does not take its proper course.
Are you willing to ask the Thai government that they see to it that justice will take its independent course, without any form of pressure on those whose task it is to pronounce sentence?
At this moment I have no cause to put any form of pressure on the Thai authorities also in view of my answer to question 2. The ambassador, however, has brought up the subject of this case in a general way several times.
Are you familiar with the fact that, about a year ago, the relatives of Jules Odekerken were confronted with a dangerous situation, because the suspected initiators of this crime were released on bail? Are you willing to ask the Thai authorities to offer protection to the relatives of the deceased so that they can attend the court session of 7 November unhampered?
The Dutch embassy in Bangkok currently makes investigations as to possible consequences of this release for the safety and security of the relatives of the deceased. If necessary, we will urge upon appropriate measures taken by the Thai authorities.
Is it the intention of representatives of the Dutch Embassy to attend the court session of 7 November 2007? If not, for what reason?
For some time, the case has been closely followed by a confidential lawyer appointed by the embassy. Apart from this, representatives of the embassy have attended the trial and will also do so on 7 November.
Is the secretary of state of Foreign Affairs willing to ask the Thai Ambassador in The Hague for clarification in connection with these attempts to affect the independent course of justice? If not, for what reason?
I do not rule out the possibility of such a step, but I consider this premature for the moment. I think it is important to wait and see what the course of events will be in connection with this case.
Is it your opinion that Dutch diplomatic representatives should first of all show concern for and pay attention to victims and their relatives rather than convicted perpetrators of crime?
I agree with you that Dutch representatives should make an effort to help Dutch victims and their relatives. My office has been active for this matter and has started a close collaboration with “Slachtofferhulp Nederland (Helping victims The Netherlands)”. Dutch criminal suspects and perpetrators also get the ministry’s attention, so that they will be treated in the same way as local prisoners.