A little over three weeks after the first curfew since World War II was instituted in the Netherlands, a court in The Hague ruled on Tuesday (February 16th) that the Dutch government must end the current curfew, a measure to combat Covid-19 which had led to violent riots in the country.
“The curfew must be lifted immediately”, the court said in a statement, saying the government has abused available emergency powers. “The curfew is a deep violation of the right to freedom of movement and to privacy”, therefore requiring “A very careful decision-making process”, he added.
The case had been brought to justice by a group protesting against the introduction of this measure. The Dutch government announced in early February that the national curfew, in effect from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. since January 23, would be extended until March 2. This curfew led soon after its inception to the worst riots in the country in decades.
“Very urgent and exceptional circumstances”
The special law on which the government relied to impose a curfew is intended for “Very urgent and exceptional circumstances”, the court noted on Tuesday. However, a trial judge ruled that “The introduction of the curfew did not imply the particular urgency required” to be able to use this law, in particular because the possibility of such a measure was discussed many times before its entry into force, according to the court.
The government had not yet reacted, Tuesday in the middle of the day, to this judgment. According to the ANP news agency, citing a spokesperson for the court, a possible appeal will not suspend the decision taken at first instance.