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Artikel

Access_open De staat als ‘neutral organiser of religions’?

Een analyse van de rechtspraak van het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens (I)

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid, Aflevering 1 2013
Trefwoorden religie, godsdienstvrijheid, EVRM, secularisme, neutraliteit, Europees Hof voor de rechten van de mens
Auteurs Sophie van Bijsterveld
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Since 2001 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regularly applies the normative characterization of the state as a ‘neutral and impartial organiser of religions’ in its cases. This qualification has no explicit basis in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Where does it come from, how does the ECtHR understand this, in which type of cases does the ECtHR use it and with which result? This essay analyses the use of this qualification by the ECtHR and aims to provide an answer to these questions. It asserts that the qualification of the state as ‘neutral and impartial organiser of religions’ is an inadequate standard and examines wether it may harbor other normative dimensions that are important in the relation between state and religion. After introducing the first case in which the ECtHR used this qualification, the first part deals with cases concerning conflicts within and between churches, equal treatment of religious groups in multi-tiered church and state systems, and pupils in public schools wearing religious garb. The second part will appear in the next issue of this Journal and continues with an analysis of cases concerning the place of religion in education, and various alleged interferences of religious liberty. It concludes with a reflection on the use by the ECtHR of the qualification of the state as ‘neutral and impartial organizer of religious’.


Sophie van Bijsterveld
Prof. dr. S.C. van Bijsterveld is bijzonder hoogleraar Religie, rechtsstaat en samenleving aan de Universiteit van Tilburg. Zij is redactielid van het Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid. s.c.vbijsterveld@uvt.nl.

    As a result of reported cases of child abuse by Roman Catholic priests and brothers in The Netherlands, a Dutch solicitor has formally accused the archdiocese of Utrecht and the diocese of Rotterdam of conspiracy. The charges being ill-founded were rejected by the public prosecutor. The present article points out that the charge of conspiracy was ill-considered and legally untenable under Dutch criminal law, because it could not be maintained that the archdiocese of Utrecht or the diocese of Rotterdam were parties to an agreement to commit the offences in question. Unfortunately child abuse and the tendency to keep it silent are a common problem in Dutch society, not only within the Roman Catholic Church, so it should be addressed accordingly. The Dutch Bishops’ Conference and representatives of congregations established in The Netherlands have set up a fact-finding committee under the expert guidance of the elder states-man Mr. Deetman to make an independent investigation into the facts and circumstances of sexual abuse of children within the ecclesiastical province of The Netherlands and to make recommendations for redress and compensation. The committee has submitted its report in December 2011. Like this the Dutch bishops and congregations have set an example how the problem of prescribed cases of child abuse within a complex social organization can be revealed and dealt with. For that purpose criminal law is a less appropriate instrument. It is satisfying to see that other organizations, religious and secular, have taken similar initiatives.


René Guldenmund
Mr. R.M.A. Guldenmund studeerde burgerlijk recht en internationaal recht, en was van 1984-1993 onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Sindsdien werkte hij als jurist aan verschillende ministeries. Hij publiceerde o.a. over de strafrechtelijke handhaving van het EU-gemeenschapsrecht. Thans werkt hij aan het proefschrift God in de publieke ruimte. rene@guldenmund.eu.
Artikel

Access_open Religie, criminaliteit en geweld: ambivalente bevindingen

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid, Aflevering 2 2011
Trefwoorden religious commitment, fundamentalism, muslim-radicalism, crime, violence, prevention
Auteurs Bas van Stokkom
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this contribution the author discusses the broad question whether religious commitment does – or does not – stimulate violent types of criminal behaviour. Based on a review of relevant literature (criminology and religious studies), it is first specified that religious commitment in many respects functions as a protective factor to prevent people from criminal behaviour. By contrast, many orthodox and fundamentalist groups consider defensive violence (self-defense) and punitive violence (retaliation) to be legitimate options. In the final section the author discusses some of the assumed relationships between crime, violence and muslim-radicalism in the Netherlands.


Bas van Stokkom
Dr. Bas van Stokkom is werkzaam aan de sectie Strafrecht en criminologie van de Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, en is tevens verbonden aan de afdeling Bestuurswetenschappen van de Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Artikel

Access_open Shariarechtbanken en religieuze familierechtspraak in Nederland

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid, Aflevering 2 2010
Trefwoorden shariarechtbank, religieus familierecht
Auteurs Prof. dr. mr. Maurits Berger
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Pursuant to discussions on the application of Islamic family law in the Netherlands, for example by means of so-called sharia courts, this article will discuss the situation of religious family law and family courts in the Netherlands. Such ‘parallel’ legal systems have existed in the Dutch legal system for a long time, and have been accepted both legally and socially. The Islamic version of such a system – which apparently does not exist – would not be much different. Comparisons with England and Canada in this respect do not hold. However, the objections against the possible application of an Islamic legal system within the Netherlands are not only based on legal arguments, but are mostly of a social nature, such as integration of Muslims and the position of Muslim women.


Prof. dr. mr. Maurits Berger
Prof. dr. mr. M.S. Berger is hoogleraar Islam in het hedendaagse Westen aan de Universiteit Leiden en is hoofdredacteur van Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid.
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