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ECLI:NL:HR:2014:1571

Instantie
Hoge Raad
Datum uitspraak
01-07-2014
Datum publicatie
01-07-2014
Zaaknummer
13/04882
Formele relaties
Conclusie: ECLI:NL:PHR:2014:631, Gevolgd
Rechtsgebieden
Strafrecht
Bijzondere kenmerken
Cassatie
Inhoudsindicatie

Antilliaanse uitlevering. OM-cassatie. HR herhaalt ECLI:NL:HR:2012:BX6949. Het in de bestreden uitspraak besloten liggende oordeel dat eerste dan aan de eis van art. 9.3.b Uitleveringsverdrag tussen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden en de Verenigde Staten van Amerika is voldaan indien bij de ‘affidavit’, zijnde een ambtsedig verslag van verloop en resultaat van het in deze zaak verrichte strafrechtelijk onderzoek, is gevoegd het “bewijsmateriaal waaraan in de affidavit wordt gerefereerd” vindt geen steun in het recht.

Vindplaatsen
Rechtspraak.nl
SR-Updates.nl 2014-0286
RvdW 2014/936

Uitspraak

1 juli 2014

Strafkamer

nr. S 13/04882 UA

CeH/LBS

Hoge Raad der Nederlanden

Arrest

op het beroep in cassatie tegen een einduitspraak van het Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie van Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten en van Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba, van 11 september 2013, nummer HAR 129/13, op een verzoek van Verenigde Staten van Amerika tot uitlevering van:

[de opgeëiste persoon] alias [...], geboren in [geboorteplaats] op [geboortedatum] 1980.

1 Geding in cassatie

Het beroep is ingesteld door de Advocaat-Generaal bij het Hof. Deze heeft bij schriftuur een middel van cassatie voorgesteld. De schriftuur is aan dit arrest gehecht en maakt daarvan deel uit.

De raadsvrouwe van de opgeëiste persoon, mr. C. Reijntjes-Wendenburg, advocaat te Maastricht, heeft het beroep tegengesproken.
De Advocaat-Generaal D.J.C. Aben heeft geconcludeerd tot vernietiging van het bestreden advies en tot terugwijzing van de zaak naar het Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie teneinde op het bestaande uitleveringsverzoek opnieuw te worden afgedaan.

2 Beoordeling van het middel

2.1.

Het middel richt zich tegen het oordeel van het Hof dat het door de verzoekende Staat overgelegde bewijsmateriaal niet voldoet aan de eis van art. 9, derde lid aanhef en onder b, van het Uitleveringsverdrag tussen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden en de Verenigde Staten van Amerika (hierna: het Verdrag).

2.2.1.

Art. 9, derde lid aanhef en onder b, van het Verdrag luidt:

"Bij een verzoek tot uitlevering met betrekking tot een persoon die wordt gezocht met het oog op vervolging dienen te worden gevoegd:

(...)

het bewijsmateriaal dat, volgens het recht van de aangezochte Staat, de aanhouding en dagvaarding van die persoon zou rechtvaardigen indien het feit in die Staat zou zijn gepleegd, met inbegrip van bewijsmateriaal waaruit blijkt dat de persoon wiens uitlevering wordt verzocht degene is op wie het bevel tot aanhouding betrekking heeft."

2.2.2.

Het Hof heeft de door de verzoekende Staat gevraagde uitlevering van de opgeëiste persoon ontoelaatbaar verklaard. De bestreden uitspraak houdt dienaangaande onder het opschrift "Genoegzaamheid van stukken" het volgende in:

"Ingevolge artikel 9 lid 3, aanhef en onder b, van het Uitleveringsverdrag dient bij een verzoek tot uitlevering met betrekking tot een persoon die wordt gezocht met het oog op vervolging te worden gevoegd het bewijsmateriaal dat, volgens het recht van de aangezochte Staat, de aanhouding en dagvaarding van die persoon zou rechtvaardigen indien het feit in die Staat zou zijn gepleegd.

Aan deze verdragseis is voldaan indien uit het bijgevoegde bewijsmateriaal een zodanig redelijk vermoeden van schuld van de opgeëiste persoon voortvloeit aan het feit waarvoor de uitlevering is verzocht, dat naar het recht van de aangezochte Staat - in het onderhavige geval derhalve: het recht van Sint Maarten - zijn aanhouding dan wel enig nader onderzoek met het oog op dagvaarding gerechtvaardigd zou zijn (zie HR 9 oktober 2012, ECLI:NL:HR:2012:BX6949, NJ 2013/62).

Bij de stukken die bij het verzoek behoren en waarover het Hof beschikt (...) bevindt zich geen enkel stuk ter zake van onderzoek (bewijsmateriaal) waaraan in de 'affidavit' wordt gerefereerd en waarop de 'affidavit' klaarblijkelijk berust, en waaruit een redelijk vermoeden van schuld van de opgeëiste persoon aan de (...) feiten kan voortvloeien. Ook het door de verdediging aangehaalde proces-verbaal van onderzoek van de kustwacht (...) bevindt zich niet bij die stukken. Dit brengt naar het oordeel van het Hof mee dat niet is voldaan aan de eis van artikel 9 lid 3, aanhef en onder b, van het Uitleveringsverdrag. De stukken zijn daarom ongenoegzaam en de uitlevering wordt ontoelaatbaar geoordeeld."

2.2.3.

De in het middel genoemde 'affidavit' bevindt zich bij de aan de Hoge Raad toegezonden stukken. De 'affidavit' houdt het volgende in:

"UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF THE VIRGINS ISLANDS

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

v.

[betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2], and [de opgeëiste persoon], aka [...] Defendants

No. 2013-005

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF REQUEST FOR EXTRADITION

I, Bryan E. Foreman, being duly sworn, depose and state:

1. I am a citizen of the United States of America, currently residing in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands.

2. From 1996 to the present, I have been employed by the United States Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney.

3. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, I am responsible for the preparation and prosecution of criminal cases. In the course of my duties I have become familiar with the charges and the evidence in the case of United States

v. [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon], aka [...], case number 2013-0011.

4. The U.S. investigation began in or about October 2012. At that time, DEA's Santo Domingo Country Office ("SDCO") Sensitive Investigative Unit ("SIU"), began investigating a Drug Trafficking Organization ("DTO") based in the Dominican Republic ("DR"), responsible for coordinating the transportation of cocaine shipments from Venezuela to the DR via go-fast vessels.

The members of this DTO operate out of La Romana, more specifically Bayahibe and Isla Saona, and their leader was identified by the SDCO-SIU as a Dominican boat captain named [betrokkene 1].

On March 4, 2013, Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard/marine officials located an un-flagged go-fast vessel in the high seas approximately 400 miles from St. Maarten or 50 miles north of the island of Bonaire. Dutch officials intercepted the vessel and subsequently boarded the vessel and discovered approximately 1,400 kilograms of cocaine on board the vessel. The vessel was found to have three occupants on board, tentatively identified as [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2]and [de opgeëiste persoon], aka [...]. At the time of his arrest, [de opgeëiste persoon] presented a false Venezuelan passport. Further investigation revealed that [de opgeëiste persoon] true name is [...], with a true date of birth of [geboortedatum], 1976. All three occupants of the vessel were arrested on Dutch maritime drug trafficking violations. The suspected cocaine was field tested positive for cocaine. The suspects were also carrying cell phones and other belongings, which were seized by St. Maarten law enforcement authorities. Additional investigation revealed that the vessel was unregistered, as well as un-flagged. The boat captain has not given any indication of the previous whereabouts of the boat or its harbor.

5. On March 8, 2013, United States Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands signed three criminal complaints in the cases of United States v. [betrokkene 1], case number 2013-005; United States v. [betrokkene 2], case number 2013-006; and United States v. [de opgeëiste persoon], case number 2013-007. At the time the criminal complaint was filed against [de opgeëiste persoon], his true identity had not been established. Each of the three defendants has been charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of Title 46, United States Code, Section 70503. On that same date, March 8, 2013, Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon, Jr. issued warrants for the arrest of [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon] for these offenses. It is the practice in the U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands for the Clerk of Courts to retain the originals of all complaints, indictments, and warrants of arrest. Therefore, I have obtained true and accurate copies of the arrest warrants described above from the Clerk of Courts and have attached them to this affidavit as Exhibits A through C.

6. On April 16, 2013, a federal grand jury, sitting in the District of the Virgin Islands, issued a two-count criminal indictment charging [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon] with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of Title 46, United States Code, Sections 70503 and 70506(b), and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of Title 46, Section 70503. An indictment is a formal accusation or charging document issued by a grand jury, which is a part of the judicial branch of the U.S. government. A grand jury consists of 16 to 23 citizens impaneled to review evidence of crimes presented to it by United States law enforcement authorities. Each member of the grand jury must review the evidence presented and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that it is likely that the defendant committed the crime. The grand jury may return an indictment charging the defendant with a crime when at least 12 grand jurors determine that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the crime. After an indictment is returned, the court will normally issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. I have obtained a true and accurate copy of this indictment from the Clerk of Courts, and attached it to this affidavit as Exhibit D. The subsequent indictment supersedes the criminal complaint as the charging document for these three defendants. However, the arrest warrants signed United States Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon, Jr. on March 8, 2013 for [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon] that were issued in connection with the criminal complaints filed on that same date, March 8, 2013, remain in effect. Therefore, there was no need to obtain new arrest warrants for the conduct charged in the indictment.

7. The statute cited in the indictment and applicable to this case is Title 46, United States Code, Sections 70503 and Section 70506(b). A violation of this statute is a felony under United States law. This statute was the duly enacted law of the United States at the time that the offense was committed, at the time the indictment was filed, and is now in effect. A copy of this statute, along with the underlying statute, penalty provision and explanatory material, is attached as Exhibit E.

8. Count One of the indictment charges [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon], aka [...], with conspiracy to commit a substantive offense against the United States, specifically, to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction on the United States, in violation of Title 46, United States Code, § 70503 and 70506(b). Count Two of the indictment charges those same three defendants with the substantive offense of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of Title 46, § 70503.

9. Under United States law, a conspiracy is an agreement to commit one or more criminal offenses. The agreement on which the conspiracy is based need not be expressed in writing or in words, but may be simply a tacit understanding by two or more persons to do something illegal. Conspirators enter into a partnership for a criminal purpose in which each member or participant becomes a partner or agent of every other member. A person may become a member of a conspiracy without full knowledge of all of the details of the unlawful scheme or the identities of all the other members of the conspiracy. If a person has an understanding of the unlawful nature of a plan and knowingly and willfully agrees to it, joining in the plan, he is guilty of conspiracy even though he did not participate before and may play only a minor part. A conspirator can be held criminally responsible for all reasonably foreseeable actions undertaken by other conspirators in furtherance of the criminal partnership. Moreover, because of this partnership, statements made by a conspirator in the course of and while he is a member of the criminal conspiracy are admissible in evidence not only against that conspirator, but also against all other members of the conspiracy, because a conspirator acts as an agent or representative of the other conspirators when he is acting in furtherance of the illegal scheme. Therefore, statements of conspirators made in furtherance of the conspiracy may be deemed to be the statements of all conspirators.

10. The crime of conspiracy is an independent offense, separate and distinct from the commission of any specific "substantive crimes." Consequently, a conspirator can be found guilty of the crime of conspiracy to commit an offense even where the substantive crime that was the purpose of the conspiracy is not committed. The Congress of the United States has deemed it appropriate to make conspiracy, standing alone, a separate crime, even if the conspiracy is not successful, because collective criminal planning poses a greater threat to the public safety and welfare than individual conduct and increases the likelihood of success of a particular criminal venture.

11. To satisfy its burden of proof and convict [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon], on the charge contained in Count One of the indictment, conspiracy, the government, at trial, must establish the following elements: (1) that two or more persons entered an agreement to commit the underlying offense, (i.e., to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States); and (2) that each defendant individually, [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon], knowingly became a member of the conspiracy to commit the underlying offense.

12. To satisfy its burden of proof and convict [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon], on the charge contained in Count Two of the indictment, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the government, at trial, must establish the following elements: (1) that the defendant was on board a vessel and at that time possessed a controlled substance; (2) that the defendant did so with the specific intent to distribute the controlled substance; and that the defendant did so knowingly and intentionally. This statute further provides that jurisdiction of the United States with respect to a vessel subject to this statute is not an element of the offense. To prove possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, the government must demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance and intended to distribute the controlled substance. The term "to possess" means to exercise control or authority over something at a given time. There are several types of possession, including constructive, sole, and joint. The "possession" is considered to be actual when a person knowingly has direct physical control or authority over something. The "possession" is called constructive when a person does not have direct physical control over something, but can knowingly control it and intends to control it, sometimes through another person. The "possession" may be knowingly exercised by one person exclusively which is called sole possession, or the "possession" may be knowingly exercised jointly when it is shared by two or more persons. To distribute means to deliver or transfer possession or control from one person to another. To find that the defendant had the intent to distribute, means that the defendant had in mind or planned in some way to deliver or transfer possession of control to someone else. In determining whether the defendant had the intent to deliver, consideration is given to all the facts and circumstances including, the defendant's words and actions, the quantity and purity of the controlled substance, the manner in which the controlled substance was packaged and the presence or absence of weapons, large amounts of cash or equipment used in the processing or sale of controlled substances. To act knowingly means that the defendant was conscious and aware that he was engaged in the act charged in the indictment. Knowingly does not mean that the defendant knew that the acts charged amounted to a crime. To act intentionally means to act deliberately and not by mistake. Intentionally does not mean that the defendant intended to violate the law. In deciding whether the defendant acted knowingly and intentionally, the law allows consideration of what the defendant said, what the defendant did or failed to do, how the defendant acted and all of the other facts and circumstances shown to prove what was in the defendant's state of mind at the time. Knowing and intentional participating in drug trafficking may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Factors that can establish this knowledge include length of the voyage, close relation and proximity of the crew, size and condition of the vessel, the quantity of drugs on board, value of the contraband, absence of valid vessel registration on board the vessel, absence of supplied or equipment necessary for vessel's legitimate use, vessel profile such as color or markings and the presence of large fuel tanks.

13. The statute of limitations on prosecuting these offenses is Section 3282 of Title 18, United States Code, which states:

Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense, not capital, unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years next after such offense shall have been committed.

Since the applicable statute of limitations is five years, the indictment dated April 16, 2013, which charges criminal violations on or about March 4, 2013, was filed within the prescribed time.

14. Defendant [betrokkene 1] is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, born on [geboortedatum], 1984, in [geboorteplaats]. He is described as a male with brown hair, brown eyes and stands approximately 5 feet, 9 inches tall. Defendant [betrokkene 2] is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, born on[geboortedatum], 1978, in [geboorteplaats]. He is described as male with dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and stands approximately 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Defendant [de opgeëiste persoon] is a citizen of Venezuela, born on [geboortedatum], 1976. He provided the investigators with a false Venezuelan passport in the name of [de opgeëiste persoon] and the location of birth as Coro Falson. He is described as a male with dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and stands approximately 6 feet, 2 inches tall. Photographs and fingerprints taken at or near the time of the defendants' arrest in St. Maarten were provided by St. Maarten authorities and are attached to this affidavit as Exhibits F through K.

15. On March 4, 2013, when the Dutch Coast Guard boarded the vessel carrying approximately 1,400 kilos of cocaine, [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon] were the only occupants on board the vessel. [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2] and [de opgeëiste persoon] were provisionally arrested on March 14, 2013, in St. Maarten, and are currently detained pending extradition proceedings.

16. I have thoroughly reviewed this affidavit and the attachments to it, and attest, that this evidence indicates that [betrokkene 1], [betrokkene 2], and [de opgeëiste persoon] are guilty of the offenses charged in the indictment.

Bryan E. Foreman

Assistant United States Attorney

Signed and sworn to before me this 18 day of April 2013, at St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

GEORGE W. CANNON, JR

United States Magistrate Judge."

2.3.

Vooropgesteld wordt dat aan de eis van art. 9, derde lid aanhef en onder b, van het Verdrag is voldaan indien uit het bijgevoegde bewijsmateriaal een zodanig redelijk vermoeden van schuld van de opgeëiste persoon voortvloeit aan het feit waarvoor de uitlevering is verzocht dat naar het recht van de aangezochte Staat zijn aanhouding dan wel enig nader onderzoek met het oog op dagvaarding gerechtvaardigd zou zijn (vgl. HR 9 oktober 2012, ECLI:NL:HR:2012:BX6949, NJ 2013/62).

2.4.

In de bestreden uitspraak ligt als het oordeel van het Hof besloten dat eerst dan aan de eis van art. 9, derde lid aanhef en onder b, van het Verdrag is voldaan indien bij de 'affidavit', zijnde een ambtsedig verslag van verloop en resultaat van het in deze zaak verrichte strafrechtelijke onderzoek, is gevoegd het "bewijsmateriaal waaraan in de affidavit wordt gerefereerd". Dit oordeel vindt geen steun in het Verdrag.

2.5.

Het middel klaagt hierover terecht.

3 Slotsom

Hetgeen hiervoor is overwogen brengt mee dat de bestreden uitspraak niet in stand kan blijven en als volgt moet worden beslist.

4 Beslissing

De Hoge Raad:

vernietigt de bestreden uitspraak;

wijst de zaak terug naar het Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie teneinde de toelaatbaarheid van de verzochte uitlevering opnieuw te beoordelen.

Dit arrest is gewezen door de vice-president A.J.A. van Dorst als voorzitter, en de raadsheren N. Jörg en E.S.G.N.A.I. van de Griend, in bijzijn van de waarnemend griffier E. Schnetz, en uitgesproken ter openbare terechtzitting van 1 juli 2014.