ANPDemissionary Minister Weerwind
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 13:29
In the past four years, a certificate of conduct (vog) has been granted to thirteen people who have been convicted of participation in terrorist organizations. This happened more than once for some of them, because there were a total of 22 VOGs. This allowed them to work in various sectors, including education and healthcare.
Earlier this month, Member of Parliament Omtzigt asked the cabinet questions following the news from the NOS that a convicted member of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group could do volunteer work at Refugee Council after he had been granted a VOG.
As a result, outgoing Legal Protection Minister Weerwind had it investigated whether this case is an isolated case, but that is not the case. The thirteen people involved were all convicted in the Netherlands, so that information could be found in the judicial documentation.
In the same period, 30 applications were also refused due to a conviction for terrorism, Weerwind wrote to the House of Representatives.
Weighing of interests
In the case of the Vluchtelingenwerk volunteer, the organization responsible for the screening, Justis, did act according to the rules, Weerwind concludes with regret. He cannot comment on the specific case, but it may sometimes be that an applicant’s interest in obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct outweighs the risk to society.
In principle, a look-back period of four years now also applies, except for positions that impose higher integrity requirements, such as boas. Then there is a longer look back at the judicial documentation.
Weerwind now wants to tighten the rules. From now on, Justis must look back up to 20 years for convictions for terrorism. If such a conviction is found, the applicant will in principle not receive a VOG. Together with Justis, the Public Prosecution Service and the National Coordinator for Terrorism and Security (NCTV), the minister will determine to which functions this rule should apply.
He is thinking of positions where someone can come into contact with vulnerable target groups or perform work that affects vital infrastructure, such as working with hazardous substances or sensitive information.
The minister thinks that the stricter rules for obtaining a VOG can come into effect on January 1.