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The Exit Internationalist

January 15, 2023

Dutch Court Rejects Autonomous Route Recognition

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Dutch Court Rejects Autonomous Route Recognition

In the outcome of the CLW lawsuit against the Dutch State, the Court ruled on 14 December 2022 against the activist group, Cooperative Last Will (CLW). This is disappointing for anyone wishing to die humanely and with dignity at a time of their own choosing.

CLW laments that the Court failed to use the opportunity to consider the relevance of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to the situation of older people in the Netherlands.

As a result, the Netherlands will not follow in the footsteps of Germany and Austria where a humane and self-directed death with voluntary help from loved ones is made possible.

The legal statement below is, as a summary of ECHR jurisprudence, extremely apt:

“The court first of all states that from the above-mentioned jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that it follows from the aforementioned case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that under Article 8 ECHR – everyone has the right to decide in what manner and at what time his life is to be terminated, on the condition that that person is able to freely determine his will and act accordingly.”

The Court did not elaborate on this statement.

Dutch Court Rejects Autonomous Route Recognition

CLW state that the Court deliberately chose to interpret the ECHR jurisprudence as minimally as possible, offering no further protection as has been done in Germany and Austria.

However, the Court did recognize that the Termination of Life Review Act (WTL) is not open to everyone.

This means that people are “left out of the loop”.

Though following Article 8 ECHR and recognizing the right to self-determination until one’s own life ends, but then not wanting to do anything about it is cowardly, cruel and inhumane say CLW.

This means that next of kin who are present at a self-determined death can still be treated as criminals and incarcerated.

Former board chairman Jos van Wijk says:

“We are disappointed but combative. The CLW with 50,000 members and sympathizers will continue to grow and eventually we will start to open the way. I have faith in the mission of the CLW, a dying in one’s own control surrounded by loved ones. The question is no longer whether we will get recognition and space for this but when”.

The new President of CLW, Frits Spangenberg, notes, “The Court missed an important opportunity to reconnect with today’s reality. The ban on assisted suicide, an 1886 law, remains the norm.”

Dutch Court Rejects Autonomous Route Recognition

CLW Attorney, Tim Vis, stresses the importance of the lawsuit; it is a first step. He states:

“Although the Court in The Hague has not yet reached that point, the highest courts in Germany and Austria have confirmed that the right to self-determination over one’s own end of life follows from the European Convention on Human Rights.

The hearing revealed that a large group of people are left out in the cold by the current laws and regulations as they are deprived of that self-determination.

The conservative ruling is disappointing, as the Dutch Court does not dare to do what its German and Austrian counterparts have dared to do.

After careful consideration of the ruling, it will be decided whether to appeal.

The CLW and the 29 co-plaintiffs will continue to fight for laws and regulations that fit contemporary views: own control over life, but also over one’s own death.”

CLW maintain that the Court is doing little to restore public confidence in institutions. People must continue to experiment with painful, cruel and inhumane modes of suicide.

Quitting is not an option.

CLW say they will actively push for a continuation of action after this ruling as Members and Donors ask us to to do.

The goal is the introduction of an autonomous route, a humane end of life in one’s own direction with the support of loved ones without being prosecuted for it.

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