Published: Fri, June 30, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Court rules Dutch troops partly responsible for Srebrenica deaths

Court rules Dutch troops partly responsible for Srebrenica deaths

Letting the men leave the base meant they "were deprived of a chance of survival".

A separate procedure will establish the amount of damages, unless a settlement can be reached between the victims and the state. It was then that they headed to the nearby Dutch base, only to be subsequently handed over to their murderers.

A district court in The Hague ordered the Netherlands in 2014 to compensate the families of the more than 300 victims who were expelled from the base, while also clearing the Dutch of responsibility in the deaths of the rest.

While finding the Dutch government partly liable, the court found that "the deaths of the men was the direct outcome of the actions of the Bosnian Serbs and that without the actions of the Bosnian Serbs the men would certainly not have been executed".

The verdict is the first time a country has been held liable for its military force's actions while acting under a United Nations mandate.

Nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the 1995 genocide, Europe's worst atrocity since the Second World War.

More than 7,000 men and boys were killed in the massacre, which the U.N.'s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled was genocide.

The UN, whose Security Council ruled Srebrenica to be safe, has accepted a portion of the blame for the atrocities. The UN and the Dutch government have largely accepted the judgment of several studies, which faulted them for sending peacekeepers into a bad situation with ill-defined goals, a weak mandate, little intelligence about the paramilitary forces surrounding them and no clear strategy for concluding their mission.

On July 13, 1995, Dutch peacekeepers bowed to pressure from Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic and forced thousands of Muslims out of their fenced-off compound, where they had sought refuge.

"Our position has been, and will remain, that the Bosnian Serbs are responsible for this tragedy", spokesman Klaas Meijer said. However, in July 1995 they were not able to prevent the Bosnian Serb forces from entering the enclave. The evacuation continued even when the Serbs started separating women and children from elder boys and men.

The Srebrenica bodies were plowed into hastily made mass graves, which were later bulldozed and scattered among other burial sites in an attempt to hide the evidence.

A verdict is expected in Mladic's genocide trial later this year.

Like this: