Free Speech

The Nature, Purpose and function of Criminal Law and Punishment: The case of Van Anraat
Background issues:
On 23 December 2005, the District Court of The Hague delivered its judgment in the van Anraat case. During the 1980s, the Dutch vendor of chemical materials Frans van Anraat sold huge quantities thiodiglycol (TDG) to the Iraqi regime of then Saddam Hussein who in turn utilize the TDG chemical as raw material for the production of mustard gas which was deployed both in the war against Iran and his own people in the Kurdish village of Halabja, where according the court documents, approximately 5000 Kurdish citizens died from that attack. Frans van Anraat was arrested in December 2004, on criminal charges of complicity in genocide.
The District Court in 2005 found   Frans van Anraat guilty not of complicity to genocide but of complicity to war crimes and sentenced to 15-year in prison for sales of TDG,a component for the production of mustard gas that was used in the 1988 massacre of civilians. The defence appealed against the verdict on two grounds, arguing that the defendant had done nothing but engage in business transaction within which it was difficult for him to foreseen or articulate the consequences that might have resulted from the sale of those goods and that the district court could not find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, arguing that it was unlikely the judges could determine the parties selling chemicals to Iraq at the time. The Appeal court in 2007 rejected the appeal and instead, increased the prison sentence by two years on the ground that the defendant was excessively greedy and showed no remorse on the crime he indirectly but clearly participated in. This paper shall tackle the proposition that the Dutch court of Appeals decision to extend the sentence term from 15 to 17 years is unfounded in the light of the purposes of criminal law and the specific of the case.
The paper discusses on the one hand, the nature and...