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Alumni & Understanding Society

Tilburg University alumni carry the university motto 'Understanding in their career or extra curricular activities. From this summer onwards, we will show you a few examples.

Sibel Yildiz

'I want to contribute to reducing repeat offending'

Sibel Yildiz (29) works in the Interventions team of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague. "It is a dynamic and hectic environment, where you are challenged by new cases every day."

image sibil yildiz
  • Age: 29 year
  • Master’s program: Dutch Criminal Law, Tilburg University
  • Position: Deputy Public Prosecutor, working at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague

How did you get to work for the Public Prosecutor’s Office?

'I have always been passionate about Criminal Law. After my internship at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Breda, I knew I wanted to work as a prosecutor. My career started at the Virtual Public Prosecutor’s Office. I worked nine months as a commission clerk until I was transferred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the District Court in The Hague. Here I mainly work in the Accelerated Procedures department, a dynamic and hectic environment in which you are challenged by new cases every day. In an accelerated procedure, we can take action adequately and directly, i.e., together with partners in the chain, so that you usually see immediate result. The cases we deal with range from straightforward things like shoplifting to bizarre cases that make you frown more than usual. Never a dull moment at the Public Prosecutor’s Office.'

Why did you want to work for the Public Prosecutor’s Service?

'Since the Public Prosecutor’s Service is the only authority that can institute criminal proceedings, I knew that my future lay there. The interesting thing is that the Public Prosecutor looks at a case from both perspectives, that of the victim and that of the accused. The thought that the Public Prosecutor’s Service acts on behalf of society at large and looks at every case file with an open mind appeals to me. I try to make a difference in my work. On the one hand through prevention, but on the other also through retribution. If I know that I may have reduced the risk that somebody will reoffend, I go home with a sense of accomplishment. You learn something new every day. It is not necessarily legal information. I learn a lot from the partners in the chain. For example, the parole officers’ perspective is different from mine as a lawyer. We keep each other on our toes and you gradually develop a broader perspective.'

What are your duties?

'The nature of my activities varies. I prepare an opinion or a decision to settle a case, based on the facts and circumstances of the case and the legal and social context. I check whether the files are complete and request the police or chain partners to do certain things. In addition, I write the indictment and prepare the trial for the prosecutor on duty. I now also do sessions at the public prosecutor’s office. One particular case that stuck with me was one of a habitual offender who had not reoffended for four years in a row and who had been arrested for stealing a deodorant for women, of all things, just when it seemed he had turned a new leaf. The accused had a homeless girlfriend, who was normally allowed to wash at a police station but, at one point, that had not been possible. His girlfriend naturally felt whiffy and unfeminine and was in tears. The accused was so upset by this that he stole the deodorant to comfort her. This case was settled directly in a videoconference hearing (hearing an accused person via a video monitor at the police station) and it made me realize that even cases that seem straightforward, like shoplifting, may be more complex.'

How do you see the future?

'Currently I am a trainee deputy public prosecutor for single-judge sessions (assistant prosecutor). I want to develop and become a prosecutor who stands for the general interest in the courtroom, one who knows how to reach the accused with simple language and who can explain why a criminal act is reprehensible, but who can also speak on behalf of the victim and knows how to demand an appropriate sentence. Someone who contributes to reducing repeat offending.'

See also: Memory Magazine

Text: Memory Magazine / Anna Noorda

Pascal de Kruijff