The police can arrest someone who is suspected of committing a criminal offence and question him. In the Netherlands, a suspect can be held without charge for questioning as part of an investigation for up to six (6) hours. If someone is


Once the investigation has been concluded, the public prosecutor may decide to prosecute a suspect. In this case, the suspect will be issued with a notice of summons and accusation, detailing the precise charges against him as well as his rights. It


At the hearing, the court either acquits or convicts the defendant, or discharges him from prosecution on a point of law. When someone is convicted, a sentence, such as a fine, an alternative sanction, or a term of imprisonment, or a non-punitive


On appeal, a different (higher) court reviews the case. This court may convict or acquit the person previously convicted, or discharge him from prosecution on a point of law. Someone who has been convicted can only lodge an appeal once. After that

Victims and witnesses

Victims or witnesses of a crime also find themselves having to deal with the criminal justice authorities. For instance, they may need to lodge a criminal complaint, or to make a statement.

Victims of a crime

If perpetrators are to be brought to justice, it is important for the victims to go to the police as soon as possible to lodge a criminal complaint. They can do so at the police station, or in the case of minor

Witnesses of criminal offences

In some cases, the police will ask someone who has witnessed a criminal offence to make a statement. You can present yourself as a witness and give as many details as possible. Ask the police officer for his name, so that you