Hearing of witnesses


In some cases, written information raises more questions. This may be the case, for example, when it is illogical or contrary to other information. In such a case, the law provides for the opportunity to hear the witnesses about the case.

A general explanation can be found on the website of the Central Government or the Dutch Law.

Witnesses can provide evidence to the extent that their statements are relevant to facts known from their own observations. In practice, this term can be interpreted broadly.

In the event of a preliminary hearing of witnesses, there is no question of a substantive procedure. The hearing of witnesses then serves to obtain clarity in advance about certain facts. This makes it possible to make a better estimation in advance of whether it makes sense to start a certain procedure.

When can the witnesses be heard?

Pursuant to Articles 186 Rv and 166 Rv, a judge can order a (provisional) examination of witnesses as often as requested when:

  • the facts to be proved are disputed

  • the facts may be proved by the hearing of the witnesses

  • the facts to be proved may lead to a decision in the case

The testimony should be meaningful, permissible, and sufficiently important to the case.

A number of grounds for rejection apply to the request. An important ground for rejection is the consideration of whether there is no abuse of rights. This may be the case when, for example, known persons are called in, where it would suffice to call less known persons (with the same knowledge).

Testimony can only be allowed for concrete facts, not for vague conditions, traits and assumptions. Witnesses can also make a statement in writing, but they can also be heard orally. The hearing of the experts can be done remotely under certain conditions (video conferencing).

What are we looking for?

SOMI seeks your help in answering some seemingly simple questions:

  • Which person had which information at what time?

  • What conversations or meetings have been held in which no data has been recorded, and what has been discussed there?

  • According to the witnesses, which reports and documents that were drawn up could be incomplete or incorrect?

  • What knowledge is there about the written documents that were not stored correctly or that were (subsequently) lost, modified or destroyed?

As a starting point, it could be said that the witnesses to be called up and the questions that should be asked to them must have a substantive relationship with the facts and events as included in our timeline, the WOB-request or the advanced documents.

Follow up

If you have an indication of the knowledge of certain persons, you can contact us. You can add attachments that can be used to demonstrate at what time what information was available to them, and how this knowledge is related to their activities or the (legal) act of organizations in which they are involved at any time.

We compile an overview of all persons involved and their mutual relationships. We then make an estimate of which persons could be heard in court, and which progress in hearing witnesses can yield the greatest additional information.

Where possible, we supplement the questions and remove overlapping information. We also ensure that all formal requirements are met and that, if necessary, an objection is made against rejections of (preliminary) witness interviews.

All responses are published on the site. SOMI also publishes an overview of the most active and the most valuable contributions. Please indicate when you want to remain anonymous, if you want to contribute under an alias or when you have had incurred expenses because of your contribution.


For more information, see (in Dutch):