Top Dutch official faces Demmink evidence…but still walks free

A long last, the Dutch government has brought somebody involved in a paedophile case to Court. The Dutch nation eagerly awaits the result of the man’s second trial that begins today, December 12th 2012.

There’s just one problem. The man they’re putting on trial is investigating the alleged perpetrator. But surprise surprise, the man he’s been investigating was until recently the highest Law officer in the Land.

Dutch journalist Micha Kat has been on the trail of the former head of the Dutch Ministry of Safety and Justice Joris Demmink for a long time now. But he has been far from alone in accusing his prey.

First named by inference by the Netherlands press in 1994 in the context of ‘the involvement of a top official from the Hague in the abuse of minors’, in 1996 Turkish police alleged they had evidence proving that Demmink organized sex parties in Turkey during which minors were abused. They  stated that the sex parties were organized in collaboration with drug offenders who had contacts with the Turkish government.

In 1998, a Dutch TV documentary revealed that young boys were smuggled from Poland to the Netherlands with the assistance of “a top official of the Dutch government”. It added that a top official named “Joris” had been sentenced to 240 hours of community service and six months of conditional imprisonment. Claims then appeared in the Dutch media that this was not Demmink, although information was at zero on who it actually was.

But shortly afterwards, the Amsterdam authorities investigated a paedophile network. It was found to include a former lawyer of the Dutch queen, two main prosecutors, a former minister and a professor. Documents were leaked suggesting that Demmink had tried to sabotage the investigation.

In 2002, Kurdish PKK sympathiser Hüseyin Baybasin – arrested in the Netherlands for “criminal activities” related to “drug trafficking, extortion and murder” – was sentenced to life imprisonment.  Ever since his arrest in 1998, Baybasin had claimed that, because of his Kurdish activism, Ankara had put pressure on the Netherlands to arrest him by threatening to disclose information on Demmink’s abuse of minors in Turkey.

But despite all these clouds, Demmink was appointed to be the highest-ranking Justice officer in the Netherlands. Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has since revealed that it investigated “circa 40 rumours about the lifestyle of Demmink”, and that intelligence officers tried strenuously to block the appointment because of Demmink’s “sexual lifestyle”.

The magazines Panorama and GayKrant decided the following year to cooperate on an independent investigation of Demmink. They published articles revealing that Demmink had abused children in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and while visiting a sex bar in Prague. A man named Frank Leenders comes forward to claim that Demmink had been present during the filming of a porn movie in the Czech Republic where a child died as a result of penetration with a dildo. Dutch NOS News then named Joris Demmink as a child abuser.

But the then Minister of Justice Piet Hein Donner placed a gagging order on the press, threatening to prosecute any media mentioning the name of the “suspected official”. Subsequently, the Dutch Public Prosecutor declared, “the complaint against Joris Demmink is false”….but without presenting any evidence, as such.

The case remains very high-profile in the Netherlands. Two months ago, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad revealed Piet Hein Donnerhad indeed been warned by two of his own senior government officials about Joris Demmink’s murky track record. Yet he did nothing.

Also this Autumn, Demmink was accused of raping two teenage boys, now men, during a visit to Turkey in 1990s. One of them recently shared his story on US television and testified to a Senate Committee. Demmink has in turn been accused by publications like Die Welt in Germany, and several well-evidenced books throughout Europe. But he sat tight.

Prominent Dutch barrister Adele Van der Plas continues to call for justice against Demmink, but concludes ruefully, “I think  it could be that more people are maybe involved.”

She is very probably right. Connected paedophile rings are known to pass both information and victims across borders to and from Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Holland….and Britain. A middle-ranking Conservative MP confided to me two years ago his belief that “at least one” senior Minister had used the Diplomatic Bag to facilitate this trade.

And yet today, it is the investigative journalist Micha Kat who is on trial. The 49-year-old faces a Court in the Hague on charges of insulting the Dutch royal family,  two bomb threats, death threats against a journalist of Dutch mainstream newspaper Telegraaf. Two months ago he was put on probabtion for scrawling “danger: paedophile” on the house of Joris Demmink.

The charges (except the scrawl, which he admitted) feel both odd (insulting royals?) and trumped up. However, Kat himself is no stranger to controversy about his eccentric beliefs, which include Holocaust denial – although he is himself Jewish. He does also have a long history of facing slander and libel suits, as well as various suspensions from legal and journalistic institutions.

Were this affair entirely down to the trigger-happy Misha Kat, I wouldn’t be blogging about it. But I sense that in this case, Joris Demmink has been extremely lucky in his choice of main enemy.