Monday 19 August 2019

Dutch state held liable for Srebrenica massacre

 

FILE PHOTO: People pray near coffins of their relatives, who are newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which are lined up for a joint burial in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People pray near coffins of their relatives, who are newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which are lined up for a joint burial in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Stephanie van den Berg

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands has upheld an earlier ruling that found the Dutch state partly liable for the deaths in 1995 of 350 Bosnian Muslim men who were expelled from a UN base and executed at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces.

The case could set an international legal precedent for states' liability when they contribute troops to peacekeeping operations.

It also paved the way for the payment of damages to the families of the victims.

Around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in all were taken away and killed in what was the worst mass slaughter on European soil since WWII, and an act of genocide.

Several hundred outgunned Dutch peacekeeping troops had been assigned to protect a UN-designated "safe area" where thousands of Muslims had sought refuge from Bosnian Serb forces.

The court found the Dutch forces could have allowed them to stay and by handing them over they had knowingly and unlawfully sent them to possible abuse or death at the hands of the Bosnian Serb troops.

The court set the liability of the Dutch state at 10pc, meaning that the survivors are likely to receive only a few thousand euro.

The court rejected a second charge - that the assistance given by Dutch forces in removing those gathered outside the base had been unlawful.

The amount of the damages was not specified, but in an earlier case the Dutch state paid tens of thousands of euro to several survivors

Irish Independent

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