Yes, the Van der Sloot case is in the news here, but it's not wall to wall, as apparently it is in the USA.
The sad fact of the matter is that Aruba is a former Dutch colony, one we would very much like to get rid off, but despite their political secession in 1986 they have chosen to remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The only good that comes from that is that we can have interesting weather forecasts in winter ('Black ice in the entire country, Aruba excepted').
Aruba is probably somewhat comparable to Puerto Rico. They want the advantages of an alliance with the Netherlands (i.e. huge economic benefits), but not the obligations. Only their Supreme Court is still in The Hague. Their local judiciary is very much an Aruban affair.
I've been trying to look up some things about the Aruban way of justice, but have been woefully unsuccesful. I do want to make a few remarks about claims set forth by some 'expert' on CNN. He said that in the Dutch legal system people can be jailed without probable cause (which is bullshit) and that in your first trial you are always tried by just one judge (which is horse dung by the truck load, at least in the Netherlands). It may all be true in the Aruba situation, which I seriously doubt, but from what I remember of my criminal law lessons, in the Netherlands (under *Dutch* law, not the Aruban version!) being busted goes something like this.
The police arrest you, for which they *do* need to have a reason, both legally and practically speaking. If not, lawyers will have a field day with them afterwards. As in the USA, the amount of revenge you can exact on the police is quite dependent on the amount of money you can spend on your attorney.
Basically, the 'Miranda' rights apply in the Netherlands as well: you can't be forced to answer questions, you are not obligated to incriminate yourself, and you have the right to an attorney (courtesy of the government if you're broke).
There is a time limit as to how long you can be held without a judge having reviewed your case. They can hold you for six hours for questioning. The time in-between 0000 and 0900 (night) isn't included, so theoretically you could be held from 0000 to 1500. That's the max.
Then, police need to get permission from the assistant D.A. to hold you for an additional three days. After that, the D.A. gets involved, who can further extend this period by yet another three days, but his decision will be reviewed by a judge. This is why they will usually bypass the D.A. and go straight to the judge after those initial three days and 6 hours. This has the added advantage that the judge can give a ten day extension, rather than a second extension of three days. Further extensions can be given after those ten days, to a maximum of 106 days and 6 hours for all extensions combined. After that, you *have* to be tried.
It is noteworthy to mention that a judge in this phase can only jail you if there is probable cause that you may have committed a crime which warrants four years of jail time or more (incidentally, 'simple theft' such as shoplifting already has a maximum penalty of four years).
When it comes to a trial (if it doesn't, people tend to sue the government for renumeration for time wasted in a holding cell) you are tried by either one or three judges. This is determined by the charges against you. If you are suspected of committing a misdemeanour (not a Dutch legal term, but offences which only warrant a maximum of 6 months jail time or 240 hours community service) you are tried by the 'Enkelvoudige Kamer', or one judge. In all other cases, three judges have to come to an agreement about you being guilty (or not). They also have to provide reasons for their determination (unlike jurors, I might add).
Also, both the D.A. and the defendant can appeal the verdict, first to a circuit court, then to the Supreme Court (which, somewhat like SCOTUS, is supposed only to review the proper application of law, with the exception that the Dutch SC cannot rule on constitutionality - then again, our Head of State doesn't get to appoint SC judges). The doctrine of 'double jeopardy' is something that will probably enter Dutch law in the next few decades or so, as EU regulations tend to move in that direction.
Now, I agree it's not a perfect system, I do see some merits to a jury trial, I am not proud of the fact that it borrows quite a bit from the French legal system (since I hate everything French) -
That doesn't warrant the numerous ignorant forum postings on American websites which pretend Dutch law is something of a third world sham.
(It's old world sham, in Rummy speak ;))e