Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Search for grounds for recusal

Quite unexpectedly, the Wilders case has reached the Supreme Court for the first time before the Court of First Instance has even ruled. Diederik Aben, one of the Advocates-General before the Supreme Court, made the supreme error of writing a note - not in his official capacity of course - about the correctness of the recusal decision taken by the recusal chamber on 22 October 2010. As one might expect, he does not think the decision was correct. In his 3-page note, he identifies a number of alleged errors, most importantly the fact that the Court of Appeals decision mandating prosecution is not open to review, least of all by the Court of First Instance. It follows, Aben argues, that the witness testimony that caused all that ruckus, prof. Jansen's testimony about his conversations with Appellate Judge Schalken, was irrelevant to the case at bar. It is difficult to see, Aben continues, how the decision not to hear Jansen would cause the defense to have "reasonable doubts" about the impartiality of the court. (Which, in any event, may not be the correct criterion.)

More interesting than the AG's opinion about this recusal decision, which is no more reviewable than the earlier CoA decision, is the fact that he apparently had the illusion that his note on the matter would not circulate beyond the limited group of acquaintances for which it was intended. How naive can you get?

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