Srebrenica relatives to sue Dutch State
25 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The relatives of Muslim men and boys massacred at Srebrenica in Bosnia by Serbian troops in 1995 have confirmed they will lodge a damages claim against the Netherlands, accusing the Dutch of failing to take adequate measures to prevent Europe's worst case of genocide since World War II.
25 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The relatives of Muslim men and boys massacred at Srebrenica in Bosnia by Serbian troops in 1995 have confirmed they will lodge a damages claim against the Netherlands, accusing the Dutch of failing to take adequate measures to prevent Europe's worst case of genocide since World War II.
A member of the association of relatives of the Srebrenica victims said on Bosnian television on Thursday that the case will be lodged with a tribunal in The Hague on 1 July, Dutch public news service NOS reported.
Dutch UN troops sent to protect the UN designated safe haven at Srebrenica during the violent break up of the former Yugoslavia surrendered without firing a shot to invading Bosnian-Serbian troops in July 1995.
The Serbs then separated the Muslim men from the women and at least 7,000 men and boys were killed in a mass execution. Surviving relatives claim the Netherlands did not take adequate measures to prevent the slaughter.
The Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) concluded in 2002 that the Dutch government, military officers and the United Nations were to blame for the Srebrenica tragedy. The Dutch Cabinet — under leadership of the then Prime Minister, Wim Kok — resigned in response to the report.
In November 2003, a lawyer for families of the Srebrenica victims said they planned to lodge a multi-million damages suit against the Netherlands and the UN. About 8,000 relatives and survivors are represented in the case.
Meanwhile, the military officer in command of the Dutch troops at Srebrenica, Commander Thom Karremans, gave testimony to the UN Tribunal in The Hague on Thursday about the tasks of the Dutchbat troops and what they could have reasonably achieved in the enclave.
Karremans primarily criticised the United Nations for failing to demilitarise the region and disarm Muslim fighters. But he also said he did not know if Muslim fighters used the designated safe zone as a base to carry out bloody attacks on Serbians in the vicinity.
He also said that accused war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic gave him a vague answer when he asked him in 1995 if he would leave the enclave in peace if it was demilitarised. But in 1996, Karremans said that Mladic gave him a definite answer of "yes".
Mladic was the leader of the Bosnian-Serb troops which overran Srebrenica and is one of 14 people the UN Tribunal has indicted in relation to the massacre.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news