Dutch state held responsible for failure to protect 300 in Srebrenica
In a landmark verdict, a Dutch court ruled this week that The Netherlands is responsible for 300 of the more than 8,000 deaths in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, because its peacekeeping force – Dutchbat – failed to protect them.
A district court in The Hague said the soldiers could have known that the 300 men who had sought refuge in their base in the village of Potocari would be murdered if deported from the Dutch compound.
“At the moment that the men were sent away, Dutchbat knew or should have known that the genocide was taking place and therefore there was a serious risk that those men would be killed,” said Judge Peter Blok, according to Reuters news agency.
The court ordered The Netherlands to pay compensation to hundreds of victims. But it stopped short of holding The Netherlands liable for the fate of the majority of men killed in Srebrenica, saying that many of the male refugees at the time had not fled to the UN compound but “fled to the woods in the vicinity of Srebrenica”.
Relatives of those who died, who had brought the lawsuit, welcomed the verdict but said that the judges should have ruled that The Netherlands was responsible for all the Srebrenica deaths. Their lawyers said they would appeal on behalf of those left out of the judgement. And the Dutch authorities are also expected to appeal.
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