Former IMF CEO Dominque Strauss-Kahn was released on bail after paying a million dollars. Who pays the deposit, what happens to the money and Strauss-Kahn gets it back if he turns out to be innocent, Karen Wolsing-van Dartel and Miep Meijs from Nijmegen wonder.
A deposit is a sum of money that a suspect – or a third party – transfers to an account of the Public Prosecution Service. The court then releases the suspect from pre-trial detention on the basis of a number of conditions, for example, that he must surrender his passport or may not leave his place of residence. If the suspect adheres to these conditions until the hearing, he will get his money back. Including interest.
“A bail is an extra incentive for the suspect to adhere to the conditions,” says Ruben Houweling of Erasmus University Rotterdam. He obtained his PhD on the history of financial guarantees in the Netherlands. Guarantees already existed here in the 14th century, but the principle was only included in the Code of Criminal Procedure (the book of procedural rules for criminal law) in 1926 under the name ‘guarantee’.
“A suspect is innocent as long as he is not convicted, so a judge will always see if the pre-trial detention can be suspended. A bail fits in with that. ”The deposit system is established in the US, but it is not common in the Netherlands. “For fear of class justice. Strauss-Kahn can put one million dollars on the table, but that doesn’t work. Then soon comes the conclusion that the rich walk around freely and the poor are trapped. I therefore believe that deposits must be in accordance with their means. “
Can the deposit also be used for other purposes?
Houweling: “Not in the Netherlands, the money is waiting there to be paid back. But in some US states, the guarantor is used to pay compensation to the victim or the costs of investigation and prosecution. “
And if the suspect does not comply with the conditions set? Then the money goes into the state treasury, with the general means.