Srebrenica survivor awaiting compensation says he wants the Dutch "to determine the truth"

13 January 2015 by Joost van Egmond, Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Over a year after the highest court in the Netherlands held the Dutch state responsible for the fate of his father and brother, who were killed after the fall of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995, Hasan Nuhanovic still awaits satisfactory compensation. His case is often cited as crucial for damages claims to come, for Srebrenica and beyond.

Entrance of Dutchbat compound in Potocari near Srebrenica. Copyright Joost van Egmond
Image caption: 
Entrance of Dutchbat compound in Potocari near Srebrenica (Joost van Egmond)

Court proceedings lasted more than a decade – and it shows. Nuhanovic is clearly tired of taking on the Dutch state. “I'm losing the energy, to be honest,” he recently told IJT. “It was Nuhanovic versus the Netherlands, with all their resources. I'm just waiting for this to be over.”

The case the Bosnian genocide survivor brought forward, together with relatives of killed electrician Rizo Mustafic, is historic in many ways. The plaintiffs held the Dutch state accountable for their relatives’ death during a Dutch battalion-led UN mission to protect civilians during the 1991-1995 Bosnian War. In turn, the Dutch judiciary was forced to evaluate the division of responsibilities between the UN, which has immunity in domestic courts, and the Netherlands as the country providing the troops. A lengthy legal battle ensued.

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