Contract killings in the Netherlands

Police and law enforcement / Witness protection

Contract killings in the Netherlands

(full text only available in Dutch)


In recent years several contract killings in the Netherlands have caused major concern and indignation because of the extreme use of heave fire arms and the fact that these killings occurred in plain daylight and in public space,  putting at risk the lives of innocent bystanders. This issue of Justitiële verkenningen focuses on the victims of contract killings. Who are they and what is the background of these murders? Also the approach of the police and criminal justice authorities towards contract killing is dealt with in this issue. It turns out that new technological developments have led to a process of professionalization in the phase of preparing a contract killing. The actual hitmen however are young, homegrown and inexperienced and resort to extremely course methods using far too much bullets. In one of the articles the importance of facilitators like spy shops providing these new technologies is stressed. A historical article describes the succession of various (nationality/ethnic) groups in organized crime in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general. These were often newcomers to Dutch society striving to establish a position in for instance drugs trade or production and thereby using contract killings as a mean to an end. The victims of recent contact killings are the subject of an other article. Most victims are criminals themselves and can be divided in three categories: the assassins (the hitmen), the middle men in criminal organizations and the high profile targets. A tragical fourth category consists of innocent victims, due to mistaken identity. An ethnographic inside perspective can be found in another article describing how the killing of a leading gang member was experienced by the other members of the gang. How the police and prosecution (should) deal with contract killings is the subject of the final two contributions. One of these focuses on witness protection programs for (former) criminals. The other contribution is an interview with a prosecutor and a lawyer on the (legal) dilemma’s that occur when prosecuting the preparation of contract killings. When the police prevents a contract killing, it is often difficult to prove that the suspects were indeed planning a murder. In that case they receive much lower punishments than the prosecution thinks necessary.

Publication data

Place of publication:
The Hague
Boom juridisch
Year of publication:
Justitiële verkenningen 2017/05