Complaints procedure

The following procedure applies if you lodge a complaint with the CTIVD Complaints Handling Department.

Is the CTIVD authorized to handle your complaint?

When your complaint is first received, the CTIVD will assess whether it is authorized to handle it. The Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act (WIV 2017) stipulates when the CTIVD cannot handle a complaint. You will be notified within two weeks in writing whether or not the CTIVD can handle your complaint. If the CTIVD is unable to handle your complaint, it will provide substantiation and refer you to a body who will be able help you.

How will the CTIVD handle your complaint?

When the CTIVD takes up your complaint, it will inform the Minister in question. The CTIVD will request information from the relevant service about the handling of your complaint. On the basis of your complaint and the information provided by you and the service, the CTIVD will decide how the complaint will be settled. The different means of settlement are discussed below:

Intervention

The CTIVD may opt to settle a complaint by an intervention. Complaints qualifying for an intervention are those that are suitable for speedy settlement, e.g. complaints about the failure to decide on an application for access to data. In the case of an intervention, the CTIVD will consult with the relevant service to see whether a speedy resolution is possible. If the intervention leads to an outcome that you are satisfied with, the CTIVD will consider the case to be settled.

Mediation

Some complaints are more suited to a mediation session between you and the relevant service. This may be the case if your complaint relates to the way you have been treated. If both parties agree, mediation will be initiated and a CTIVD mediator will lead the session. The aim of the session is to restore the rift between you and the service.

Investigation concluded with a report

The CTIVD may opt to settle the complaint with a report. In this case, the complaints procedure consists of conducting more detailed investigations and drawing up a report. The law provides the CTIVD with far-reaching powers to investigate your complaint. For example, the CTIVD has direct access to the systems of both the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD). The CTIVD may also call staff and former staff of the services as well as experts to hearings. The findings of the investigation will be compiled in a report of findings. The report will be presented to you and the Minister in question. Both you and the Minister will be given the opportunity to respond to the report. The CTIVD will subsequently draw up a report consisting of its findings and its decision. The CTIVD will then send this report to the Minister in question and will also send it to you, albeit after removing any state secret information.

State secret information

The law stipulates that the CTIVD may not disclose state secrets. That means that the report presented to you will not contain any state secret information. A situation might therefore arise in which the CTIVD is unable to report all its findings to you. It should be remarked here that not only powers actually deployed against a person constitute a state secret, but also with the fact that powers were not deployed against a person. In such cases the CTIVD will only give its verdict on the legitimacy of the complaint but not on the possible deployment of powers by the General Intelligence and Security Service or Military Intelligence and Security Service.

Decision

The CTIVD decides if your complaint is well-founded. If the CTIVD decides that the AIVD or the MIVD has engaged in illegal or improper conduct, the CTIVD may determine that: (i) an ongoing investigation must be terminated, (ii) the exercise of a power must be ceased, (iii) the data processed by the services must be removed and destroyed. The Minister must follow up on these instructions. The CTIVD may also make recommendations to the Minister. The CTIVD will inform you if it has given the Minister instructions and/or made recommendations.

The Minister must implement the CTIVD’s decision. Within two weeks of receiving the written decision by the CTIVD, the Minister will inform you and the CTIVD about the way in which the Minister [KBM1] [TC-VU2] intends to implement the CTIVD’s decision and within what time frame.

Publication

If the CTIVD concludes your complaint with a report, it will publish the report - in anonymous form and with any state secrets removed - on its website.

More information on this procedure can be found in our complaints protocol.