Netherlands govt liable over 300 Srebrenica casualties: Dutch court
A court in the Netherlands ruled on Wednesday that the Dutch state was liable for the deaths of over 300 victims of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II. Families of the victims had brought a case against the Dutch government over the 1995 killings, accusing Dutch UN peacekeepers of failing to protect the 8,000 Muslim men and boys slaughtered by ethnic Serb troops just a few months before the end of the Bosnian war.
‘The state is liable for the loss suffered by relatives of the men who were deported by the Bosnian Serbs from the Dutchbat (Dutch battalion) compound in Potocari in the afternoon of 13 July, 1995,’ the court said.
‘Dutchbat should have taken into account the possibility that these men would be the victim of genocide and that it can be said with sufficient certainty that, had the Dutch bat allowed them to stay at the compound, these men would have remained alive,’ it ruled.
Dutchbat was the name for the Dutch force under the nominal control of the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia. ‘By cooperating in the deportation of these men, Dutchbat acted unlawfully,’ it added.
The tiny Muslim enclave was under UN protection until 11 July, 1995 when it was overrun by ethnic Serb forces under the command of Ratko Mladic, who is currently on trial on genocide and war crimes charges over the war in Bosnia, including the Srebrenica slaughter.