After months of preparation, the representatives of the legitimately elected coalition government of Sint Eustatius who where deposed on February 7th, 2018, filed a petition at the Court of First Instance to initiate main proceedings against the Government of the Netherlands on August 29th, 2018. The first hearing is scheduled for October 23rd, 2018.
The petition seeks to have the Court in First Instance declare any and all actions of the Government of the Netherlands which violate international law, and article 73 of the United Nations Charter, in particular, as unlawful acts and therefore null and void. The United Nations Charter has established Sint Eustatius’ right to a Full Measure of Self-Government (FMSG). This right is non-negotiable and unconditional.
In the main proceedings, the Government of the Netherlands will be required to reply to the petition, and explain to the Court in First Instance why it feels that the “Wet tijdelijke taakverwaarlozing St. Eustatius”, which it unlawfully enacted in order to depose the democratically elected government of Sint Eustatius, is not in violation of international law, and in particular of articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and articles 2 and 103 of the United Nations Charter.
In its response to the charges, the Government of the Netherlands will also have the opportunity to dispute rulings of the Dutch Supreme Court that obligations under the United Nations Charter are dominant obligations which always supersede any regional or national law. Interestingly, the Government of the Netherlands itself has used that same argument in a number of legal proceedings, in defense of decisions it took.
Furthermore, the Government of the Netherlands will have to legally substantiate its statement, as expressed by former Minister Plasterk in his letter of July 5th, 2017 to the Executive Council of Sint Eustatius, that the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (het Statuut) and the amendment to it were established in accordance with the requirements of the United Nations Charter.
As plaintiffs, we are convinced that the Government of the Netherlands will not be able to achieve any of the above. Based on jurisprudence, courts are obligated to respect Sint
Eustatius’s right to a FMSG because The Netherlands has ratified both the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and the United Nations Charter.
The main point of law, or “rechtsvraag”, in the main proceedings is the following: “can a right or obligation under the United Nations Charter, in combination with articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and article 103 of the United Nations Charter, be limited or affected by national legislation?”
Based on the number of national and European rulings against the Government of the Netherlands during the past years, and as recently as the last two months, we as plaintiffs are convinced that said point of law will have to be answered in the negative. If so, the Government of the Netherlands is also in violation of article 90 of its own Constitution (“Grondwet”), which obliges the Dutch State to promote the development of the international rule of law.
Since the beginning of 2017, the Government of Sint Eustatius has continuously sought dialogue about establishing a new relationship with the Government of the Netherlands based on its United Nations-mandated right to a FMSG. Because the Government of the Netherlands could not present any legal counter-arguments, refused to comply with international law, and was on the verge of being exposed and embarrassed internationally for its persistent and blatant violations of the United Nations Charter, it saw no other way out than to use a bogus report by two of its representatives to completely decapitate the legitimate Government of Sint Eustatius in February of 2018.
As the petition filed on August 29th, 2018 will show, the Government of the Netherlands has not learned anything from the international criticism and embarrassment it suffered in Indonesia after WWII, nor from the strong distrust and skepticism it faced in the United Nations because
of its behavior in Indonesia when attempting to convince the world community that it had fully
complied with its obligations under the United Nations Charter in 1954.
Unlike before, however, during the main proceedings, the Government of the Netherlands will not be able to dismiss the Government of Sint Eustatius with derogatory remarks and arrogant answers, or refuse to answer altogether. After more than sixty-six years of (attempts at) misleading the world community, the unlawful actions of the Government of the Netherlands will finally be challenged and scrutinized in a court of law, and they will have to give legal account for their actions and policies.