Contrary to information published in the press about the detention situation on the Island, the public prosecutor office (OM) released a statement Monday denying the interpretation of the European Court of Human Rights verdict as it relates to St. Maarten as incorrect.
The Public Prosecutor’s office statement reads: Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) again ordered an interim measure for a suspect being held in pre-trial detention in the Philipsburg cells. This is being wrongly interpreted, (according to the Prosecutor’s Office), by various media outlets, implying that the ECHR has established that human rights have been violated. The Public Prosecutor’s Office would like to emphasize that this is not the case.
Instead it is an interim measure designed to prevent human rights from being violated. So there is no violation of human rights established as yet. In the case initiated by F. Corallo, the ECHR had ruled that his human rights were violated based on the circumstances in the cells in the Philipsburg police station at that time in (2018). In the meantime, a number of improvements have been made. These improvements are not yet at the level where all involved would like to see them. But, there have been improvements since the time of Corallo’s detention.
As a result, the verdict by the European Court of Human Rights, cannot be interpreted as a ruling on a violation of human rights. The ECHR’s interim measure does not concern the detention conditions in the Pointe Blanche prison. The suggestion that the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Sint Maarten would provoke the interim injunction of the European Court is untrue.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office further states, that it weighs the options in all cases in which a suspect should remain in pre-trial detention in the Philipsburg cells for more than 10 days. This is whether the suspect can be released (whether or not by suspending pretrial detention), or whether space can be created in Pointe Blanche prison by terminating or suspending the pre-trial detention of a suspect who has been detained in Pointe Blanche prison or by recommending a convict for early release. Early release of convicted persons, are the exclusive decision of the Minister of Justice. If both options are not possible, then the Chief Public Prosecutor of Sint Maarten will consider whether the detention in the Philipsburg cells can continue. The Minister of Justice and the Procurer General will be informed and in cases of which such an assessment takes place, it will also be published on the website of the Public Prosecutor’s Office Sint Maarten.
So far in 2020 there are two separate cases where two suspects will have to remain for more than 10 days in the Philipsburg cells; concludes the statement from the Prosecutor’s Office.