Netherlands court finds government responsible for 300 deaths in Srebrenica massacre

[JURIST] The District Court of The Hague [official website] ruled Wednesday that the Netherlands is liable [judgment] for the deaths of 300 of the men and boys killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC timeline; JURIST news archive]. The lawsuit was brought against the Dutch government [JURIST report] in April by Mothers of Srebrenica, a group representing mothers and widows of men killed during the massacre. The court found that the UN-backed Dutch troops failed to adequately protect the Bosniaks at the UN compound in Potocari, which was overrun by Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. The court did not hold the Netherlands liable for the deaths of the majority of the men killed in Srebrenica, as most had fled the UN compound [BBC report] and were apprehended in the surrounding woods.

Survivors have filed similar suits against the Dutch government relating to the massacre. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands in September ruled [JURIST report] that the state was responsible for the deaths of three Bosnian Muslims who were murdered shortly after being forced to leave a UN designated "safe area" controlled by the Dutch Battalion (Dutchbat) during the massacre. Relatives of the victims filed the complaint [JURIST report] with the Dutch prosecutor's office in July 2010 alleging that three Dutch soldiers, operating as UN peacekeepers, were complicit in the commission of war crimes and genocide during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The complaint argued that the soldiers knew the victims would be killed if they were handed over to Serbian troops.

 

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