Monday, 16 December, 2019

Dutch state partly liable for Srebrenica deaths

Dutch state partly liable for Srebrenica deaths Dutch state partly liable for Srebrenica deaths
Deanna Wagner | 19 July, 2019, 18:28

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld on Friday 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 United Nations base and executed at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces, Reuters reported.

The Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government has only "very limited liability" for the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 during the Bosnian War.

During the Bosnian conflict in 1995, several hundred outgunned Dutch peacekeeping troops had been assigned to protect a United Nations -designated "safe area" where thousands of Muslims had sought refuge from Bosnian Serb forces - among them 350 men who made it into the Dutch base.

The 350 men were among 5,000 terrified Muslim residents of the Srebrenica area who took shelter in the Dutch peacekeepers' base when the region was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was convicted of genocide by a United Nations war crimes tribunal in 2017 for masterminding the massacre that left some 8,000 Muslim men and boys dead.

"The Dutch government is responsible for genocide", said relative Kada Hotic.

She added: "We don't care about money, we wanted justice".

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Outnumbered and too lightly equipped to deal with the onslaught, the Dutch UN peacekeeping force, known as the Dutch battalion or Dutchbat, requested air support but was denied.

"I can understand their reaction because I don't think it's fair", De Bruijne told Associated Press outside the court.

The supreme court had, however, slashed the Dutch state's liability from 30 to just 10 percent and said the Dutch UN mission receiving effective support from the global community had a "slim" chance of preventing the killings.

Judges reduced to 10 percent from 30 percent the Dutch state's responsibility for compensation to the families of 350 victims killed by Bosnian Serb forces who overran the safe haven.

Asim Salihovic, who had 40 relatives killed at Srebrenica, says "they would have protected us if they wanted to". But in a break with an earlier ruling, the court lowered the Dutch liability for the massacre to 10%, from 30%. "The state's liability is thus limited to 10 percent of the damages suffered by the surviving relatives of approximately 350 victims".

In 2017, the appeals court upheld that decision before it was referred to the Supreme Court. However, on July 11, 1995, they were not able to prevent the Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic from entering the enclave.