UN immmunity in Srebrenica case

07 April 2010 by Hermione Gee

The United Nations and the Dutch state cannot be prosecuted for failing to protect Bosnian victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, a Dutch appeals court ruled today, rejecting a suit filed against both parties by a victims rights’ group.

"The Dutch judge in this case upholds the UN’s immunity," the ruling stated, adding that it accepts “the (Dutch) state as a joint party at the side of the UN.”

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995) Srebrenica was a UN safe haven in Bosnia and Herzegovina, protected by Dutch peacekeepers. But in July 1995, Serbian forces entered the area, resulting in the massacre of close to 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

'Totallly helpless'
The victims rights group the Mothers of Srebrenica filed a civil suit against the UN and The Netherlands in 2007. Marco Gerritsen, who represents the group before the Dutch court, said: "Troops were sent to protect these people, but they did not do what was in their power to protect the civilians. These people were left totally helpless against the Serbs. It was a UN mission so, primarily, the responsibility of what happened lays with the UN."

But he says the Dutch government is also to blame: "At a critical point, Dutch ministers called the UN and explicitly asked them - or forced them - to stop the air attacks on the Serbs because they were afraid that Dutch soldiers might be hurt."

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.