Moroccan victims of Dutch politician Geert Wilders' statements about 'fewer Moroccans' in period around the elections in March 2014 are both satisfied and disappointed about the judgment of the Appeals Court of The Hague, rendered on 4 September 2020. Lawyers Barbara van Straaten and Göran Sluiter represent various Moroccan victims as injured parties in this long criminal trial. Sluiter:
"Our clients are satisfied that the Court has held that the Public Prosecutor's Office's case was not inadmissible and that Wilders was guilty of the crime of group-defamation when he made his statements about 'fewer Moroccans'. This part of the verdict is an important and powerful signal in the fight against racism and discrimination. However, our clients are disappointed with and amazed about three other parts of the verdict.
First, the Appeals Court wrongly acquitted Wilders of incitement to discrimination and/or hatred. This acquittal is barely motivated and ignores the law, in particular the jurisprudence of the Dutch Supreme Court, on this point.
Second, the Appeals Court did not impose a penalty on Wilders, which is something that cannot be reconciled with the grave nature of the facts at issue.
Thirdly, and contrary to case law of the Dutch Supreme Court on this point, the Appeals Court held that out clients’ claims for damages would impose a disproportionate burden on the criminal proceedings, and declared them inadmissible on those grounds.
Our clients are hopeful that these errors will be remedied in the event of a cassation appeal lodged by the Public Prosecutor's Office or the accused."