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Netherlands/United States: MoU on Strengthening Criminal Justice in Caribbean

(June 17, 2016) On June 2, 2016, the Attorney General of the United States, Loretta E. Lynch, and the Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands, Ard van der Steur, along with the Ministers of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on enhancing cooperation and strengthening law enforcement in the Caribbean areas of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The participants will focus on joining together to combat “organized and serious crime and terrorism” and at the same time to promote the rule of law in the region.  (US, the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten Sign MoU (June 2, 2016), Ministry of Security and Justice website.)

The aim of the MoU is “to stimulate joint activities and enhance sharing of information in the area of criminal investigation and upholding public order and security and to strengthen mutual cooperation in the areas of forensics and the organization of the criminal justice system.” (Id.)  The areas covered by the agreement include, in addition to the above listed autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, which are still part of the Netherlands with the status of “public bodies.”  Participation in the new MoU does not preclude a party from entering into bilateral agreements with any of the other parties.  (Id.)

Other Joint Criminal Justice-Related Actions

In announcing on June 1, 2016, that the MoU would be signed the following day, Attorney General Lynch took note that the United States would also sign on June 2 the Umbrella Data Protection Agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, which is currently under a Dutch presidency. The Agreement had been five years in the making.  (Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Leiden University Student Forum, The United States Department of Justice website (June 1, 2016); EU, US Sign ‘Umbrella Agreement’ on Data Protection, EURACTIV(updated June 3, 2016).)

Moreover, on June 1 U.S. and Dutch criminal authorities had launched simultaneous law enforcement actions against international mail fraud schemes targeting the elderly. The U.S. filed a civil suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against an individual and two Dutch companies that have allegedly engaged in such schemes, while Dutch agents executed search warrants on the companies’ business address and the individual’s home address and took control of the post office boxes the defendants used to receive the victims’ funds, an amount said to be more than $18 million a year.  (Press Release, Justice Department and Dutch Authorities Announce Simultaneous Enforcement Actions Against International Mass-Mailing Fraud Schemes Targeting the Elderly, The United States Department of Justice website (June 2, 2016).)