• The Netherlands must lift its COVID-19 curfew immediately, the Dutch Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.
  • The use of a law to impose a curfew during emergencies was illegitimate in this case, the Rechtbank said.
  • The curfew violated people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, it added.

by Grace Dean

Dutch Court of Justice in the Hague ruled Tuesday.

During the curfew, people must stay indoors between 9:00 p.m. and 4.30 a.m. unless they have a valid reason, and those who leave their houses without the correct paperwork could be fined.

The curfew lacked any proper legal basis, the court ruled.

It had been introduced through an act that allows the cabinet to impose a curfew in exceptional circumstances, without first having to go through the normal legislative process. Because Dutch authorities had previously discussed introducing a curfew, it didn’t meet the necessary urgency requirements, and was therefore not legitimate, the court ruled.

The curfew was not an emergency situation in the same way that, for example, a dyke breach would be, the court added.

The government had failed to make it clear why the curfew was necessary given that infection rates were falling, the court said. The curfew violated peoples’ rights, the court said in a statement.

The case was brought forward by a group known as the Virus Truth Foundation.

The curfew was introduced on January 23 and last week was extended until March 2. Dutch authorities were set to meet on February 23 to review the curfew and other lockdown measures.


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