THE PRACTICE OF EUTHANASIA UNDER THE DUTCH (NETHERLANDS) LAW AND THE SLIPERY SLOPE PRINCIPLE; A DANGER SIGNAL TO OTHER COUNTRIES

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Date

2012

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Department of Jurisprudence & International Law, Faculty of Law, Kogi State University

Abstract

Euthanasia, derived from the ancient Greek and Roman means eu easy or good and thanatos death. Thus, euthanasia from the above literally means mercy killing. In other words, persons whose illnesses, according to a team of medical personnel who have examined them, are incurable are either allowed to kill themselves (Active Euthanasia) or assisted to do so (Physician Assisted Suicide). The concept is presently legal in six countries, including the Netherland. What has however remained a great concern to stakeholders is the abuse that the concept is susceptible to as shall soon be seen under the Netherlands (Dutch) practice. The history of euthanasia and or assisted suicide will be incomplete without mentioning the Dutch (Netherlands). This is because; it is the first country in the whole world to legalize both euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is also note worthy to state that euthanasia and assisted suicide practice had been on in the country for close to twenty years before the formal legalization. Since then, it has continued to be reference point for most, if not all stake holders on the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide. This reference points are however, like the arguments for and against legalization, divided into two. For those who are in support of legalization, they argue that the concept is working well under the Dutch (Netherlands) law, while opponents of legalization made reference to the same country as one of the major basis for opposing legalization. This is because, they describe euthanasia and assisted suicide practice under the Dutch (Netherlands) law, as one that is out of control. Hence, the practice is referred to as a slippery slope. It will also not be out of place to say that the flexible nature of the Dutch law was the enabling factor that made legalization possible in the country. The reason, as shall soon be seen, is that the judiciary and the Dutch medical association did not see anything wrong in the practice. Hence, they condone virtually all acts of euthanasia and assisted suicide even in the face of non compliance with the guidelines outlined for the practice. The courts could only impose monetary or probationary sanctions on erring doctors for an offence that carries the maximum penalty of death. In the same vein, the activities of the college of procurators ensured that prosecution of doctors, that participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide practice, is subject to their approval.

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Keywords

Active Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide, DUTCH (NETHERLANDS), EUTHANASIA

Citation

Journal of Jurisprudence and International Law

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