Srebrenica massacre commemorated
12 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM − About 120 people gathered in The Hague on Sunday to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre in which at least 7,000 Muslims were killed after Dutch UN troops surrendered to Serb forces in July 1995.
12 July 2004
AMSTERDAM − About 120 people gathered in The Hague on Sunday to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre in which at least 7,000 Muslims were killed after Dutch UN troops surrendered to Serb forces in July 1995.
A silent march was held around a mobile monument that is set up every year on 11 July. It was organised by the Stari Most Political Committee and an interdenominational peace organisation IKV.
The deliberate destruction on 9 November 1993 of the Stari Most bridge came as a profound shock to a population which saw the bridge as a symbol of peace and reconciliation between the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNESCO said.
Meanwhile, during the ninth annual Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague, white balloons were also released in memory of the victims, BBC reported.
The motto for this year's event was: "We stood there and failed. And again we don't want to protect". The last part was referring to the asylum seeker policy of Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, news agency ANP reported.
Victims of the war in Bosnia are among the vast numbers of asylum seekers eyed for deportation under the minister's immigration crackdown and the motto implies that the Dutch are again failing to protect Bosnian civilians.
The organising committee claims former Dutch prime minister Wim Kok admitted the Dutch were partly responsible for the massacre, current Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has admitted the nation "fell short", while Minister Verdonk is washing the nation's hands of the affair.
Meanwhile, thousands of people also gathered near Srebrenica in Bosnia as the bodies of more than 300 victims of the massacre were laid to rest. Widows, mothers, daughters, relatives and friends of the victims attended the ceremony.
The Dutch government was entrusted with the protection of the Srebrenica Muslim enclave during the violent break-up of Yugoslavia, but Dutchbat troops surrendered on 11 July 1995 to invading Serbian forces.
The Serbians later killed at least 7,000 Muslim men and boys, Europe's worst massacre since World War II. Bosnian Serb authorities recently admitted for the first time that their forces had carried out the murders.
Relatives of the victims are suing the Dutch State and the commander of the Dutch troops at Srebrenica gave testimony last month to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
Commander Thom Karremans criticised the United Nations for failing to demilitarise the region and disarm Muslim fighters. It has been alleged that Muslim fighters in Srebrenica carried out deadly attacks on Serbs in the area prior to the massacre.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news