Netherlands Found Liable for More Than 300 Deaths in Srebrenica
by Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina
[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina.]
July 18, 2014 - Washington, D.C. - Two days ago, The District Court in The Hague ruled that the Netherlands is liable for more than 300 men who were deported by the Bosnian Serbs from the Dutchbat compound in Potocari on the afternoon of July 13, 1995 - the majority of which was then killed. This historic court decision will enable the relatives of the victims to claim compensation from the Dutch state.
The final ruling comes after a long legal battle against the Dutch state whose peacekeeping force (Dutchbat) was stationed in Srebrenica in 1995 during the Srebrenica Genocide. The fall of the United Nations "safe area" of Srebrenica in July of 1995 to Bosnian Serb and Serbian forces stands out as the international community's most egregious failure to intervene during the Bosnian war. It led to genocide, forced displacement, and a legacy of loss. After the fall of Srebrenica, thousands of Bosniaks sought refuge in the area around the Dutchbat base, however, the Dutch peacekeepers handed the Bosniak men and boys that were seeking shelter within the Dutchbat compound over to the Bosnian Serb forces. The ruling of the District Court in The Hague stated that "the force should have taken into account the possibility that these men would be the victim of genocide. Had the Dutchbat allowed them to stay at the compound, these men would have remained alive."
The decision by the District Court builds upon a previous one made in September of 2013 by the Dutch Supreme Court where the Netherlands was found responsible for the deaths of three Bosniak men who were wrongfully ordered to leave the Srebrenica compound by Dutch peacekeepers as the genocide ensued. The 2013 decision was the first of its kind where a government was held liable for the actions of peacekeepers operating on a mandate of the United Nations.
"ACBH has long fought for the people of Srebrenica in Washington, D.C. and today and always, we stand with the Mothers of Srebrenica and all survivors who have bravely fought for justice," stated ACBH President, Mirzeta Hadžikadić.
While the court ruled that the Netherlands is responsible for over 300 deaths, it did not hold the country liable for the lives of over 8,000 additional men and boys that were killed in Srebrenica, stating that many of the male refugees "fled to the woods in the vicinity of Srebrenica" and not the UN compound. For the mothers, sisters, grandmothers and surviving relatives of those victims, there will be no compensation.
To read the text of the judgement in English please click here.
ACBH is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of Bosnian Americans and works to improve relations between the United States and BiH. ACBH advocates for a united, democratic, multiethnic, and indivisible BiH with a primary goal of advancing the integration of BiH into the EU and NATO.
Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH)
1510 H Street, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20005
E:mail: [email protected]