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Netherlands: Explosives Precursors Legislation

(Apr. 9, 2015) The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) of the Netherlands has approved draft legislation to adopt into Dutch law a European Union regulation limiting marketing and use of explosives precursors. (Limits on the Sale of Substances for Explosives, Ministry of Security and Justice website (Apr. 2, 2015); Regulation (EU) No. 98/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2013 on the Marketing and Use of Explosives Precursors (Text with EEA relevance), OJ L 39/1 (Feb. 9, 2013).) The draft law is a part of the Dutch Action Program for an Integrated Approach to Jihadism. (See Wendy Zeldin, Netherlands: Integrated Approach to Combatting Jihadism, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Nov. 7, 2014).)

Under the proposal, private individuals will no longer be permitted to purchase chemicals that can be used to make explosives without a license or to import, possess, or use such substances without the required documentation. Sellers of those chemicals and other private persons would also be required “to report suspect transactions, disappearances, and thefts of such chemicals to the authorities.” (Limits on the Sale of Substances for Explosives, supra.)

The aim of the legislation is prevent terrorists and other criminals from obtaining chemicals used to create self-made explosives. The expectation is that with the entry into force of the draft act “the availability of these substances will decline considerably” and the act will thereby “make a considerable contribution to national security.” (Id.) According to the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, EU Member States currently apply a variety of different rules to raw materials for explosives, with the result that the sale of such substances may be strictly regulated in one country but freely available in another; implementation of the EU Regulation by the Member States is designed to end this situation. (Id.)

Reportedly, many companies have already taken action in anticipation of the legislation’s enactment. In addition, they have been notifying the Suspect Chemicals Transactions Hotline (Meldpunt Verdachte Transacties Chemicaliën) of suspicious transactions involving their goods. The hotline is a joint undertaking of the Dutch National Police and the FIOD (Fiscale Inlichtingen- en Opsporingsdients, Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service). (Id.; Meld verdachte transacties [Report Suspicious Transactions], VAKCENTRUM (Feb. 9, 2015); NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM AND SECURITY, UW WAAKZAAMHEID MAAKT HET VERSCHIL! VERKOOP CHEMISCHE PRODUCTEN OP EEN VERANTWOORDE WIJZE [YOUR VIGILANCE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE! SELLING CHEMICAL PRODUCTS IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER] (Aug. 2014).)

The Council of Ministers will forward the draft law to the Council of State for advice. The draft text and the Council of State’s advice will be published upon being submitted to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament. (Limits on the Sale of Substances for Explosives, supra.)