After ‘Hawija’: the way forward for the Dutch ministry of Defence

For the past months, we, as a consortium of civil society organisations, have engaged with the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) on its policies and practices regarding possible civilian harm – both directly and indirectly – as a result of Dutch military operations, presence, or activities. Nearing the end of this so-called ?Roadmap Process?, the MoD is expected to provide recommendations to the Minister of Defence for improvements to Dutch policy on transparency and civilian harm mitigation when engaging in military (article 100) missions.

As part of our efforts to make the Dutch government more transparent, we have entered started a dialogue with the Ministry of Defence. Transparency and improvement of information collection on civilian casualties during missions is an important first step. This means better accountability and control. Next, Defence must clean up its 2000+ ICT systems and make them ready for this era of transparency. This will not happen by itself and requires political will. We therefore call on the forming parties to work towards an Open Defence.