Official guidelines Criminal Prosecution and the new directive “illegal firearms and ammunition possession” effective March 1, 2015

Soualiga Newsday reports today that it is the desire of the Attorney-General that the prosecution policy in and between the Prosecutor’s Offices of Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are, as far as possible, unambiguous.

Within each of the Prosecutor’s Offices similar punishments should be exacted for similar offenses and circumstances; this regardless the assessor, time and place it has taken place. The Attorney-General seeks ambiguity between the criminal policies of the various Prosecutor’s Offices with obviously room for the local situation and problems of each country or region.

Furthermore, the Office of the Attorney-General from today, in the context of transparency, provide insight into the principles that apply to Public Prosecutors in the formulation of the sentencing guidelines by publishing these.

New directive “illegal firearms and ammunition possession”

The illegal possession of firearms in St. Maarten, Curaçao and the BES-islands is cause for concern. This is clearly shown, for example after the actions “Ta Basta Awor” on Curaçao and “Stop, Drop & Go” in Sint Maarten where large numbers of firearms has been surrendered and were seized. During the action it was announced that more severe penalties for possession of firearms would be introduced.

To emphasize the policy of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, reducing violence and to improve the security of citizens, the directive for possession of firearms is published today.

The Primary Prosecution Offices of Sint Maarten, Curaçao and the BES-islands will use the new directive effective March 1st 2015 taking particular account of recidivism as a major aggravating circumstance.

The Public Prosecutor’s will not only look into recidivism for illegal possession of firearms, but also look into recidivism for violent offenses. The reason for this lies in the fact that a weapon in the hands of a person with a violent past yields a (still) greater danger to the community.

The Public Prosecutor’s will also be taken into account if the illegal possession of firearms has taken place on the streets, used in the nighttime or in and around entertainment or during events or public celebrations.

The number of firearms will also be an aggravating fact. The principle is that the above punishments exacted by how many firearms are found on a suspect. For example, if someone has been arrested with two firearms, the Prosecution will call for twice the punishment that is required for one firearm.

The publication and use of guidelines will promote transparency and ensure that similar cases should be assessed equally on Sint Maarten, Curaçao and the BES-islands.

For further information on the new directive please visit to the Facebook of Public Prosecutions Curaçao, the Facebook of Public Prosecutions Sint Maarten or the website http://www.openbaarministerie.org Click on the country and then publications. (Public Prosecution Service)

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