Dutch top court rules Netherlands partially responsible for deaths of Muslim men in Srebrenica

Dutch top court rules Netherlands partially responsible for deaths of Muslim men in Srebrenica

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The Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Netherlands is partially responsible for the July 1995 deaths of 300 Muslims in Srebrenica.

“Dutchbat (troops) acted unlawfully in the evacuation of 350 men,” the court found. “They took away the chance of the men to stay out of the hands of the Bosnian Serbs.”

Relatives of the victims first sued the Netherlands in 2007, arguing that the country is accountable for the deaths of 300 Muslim men because its troops expelled them from their UN base on July 13, 1995, knowing they would be killed.

Some 8,000 Muslims — mostly boys and men — were killed by Bosnian Serbs in the July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, in the east of what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The area had been declared a UN safe zone, prompting thousands of Muslims to seek refuge there when Bosnian Serb troops started engaging in ethnic cleansing.

But the enclave — including Dutch UN positions — was heavily shelled by Bosnian Serb troops who demanded Muslims give up their weapons and hand themselves over.

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

A 2002 report by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation found that the Dutchbat had been sent “on a mission with a very unclear mandate”, that they had not had “adequate training” and that it had been deployed “virtually without military and political intelligence work to gauge the political and military intentions of the warring parties.”

The entire Dutch cabinet resigned after the release of the report.

Dutch courts have sided with victims’ families — although a court in the Hague limited the scope of the Netherlands’ responsibilities to the 350 men in 2014 — and also ruled that the UN could not be prosecuted for failing to protect the thousands of Muslims.__EuroNews

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