Ex-Dutch peacekeeper moves to Srebrenica

18th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Rob Zomer hopes he will now be able to help people in Srebrenica after failing to stop the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims, reports a newspaper.

Banja Luka – A former Dutch peacekeeper with the United Nations, who witnessed the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Srebrenica Muslims, has decided to move to the ill-fated Bosnian town, the local SRNA news agency reported on Thursday.

"I came here for the first time (after the massacre) last year and I was afraid how people would react," said Rob Zomer in Srebrenica where, according to SRNA, he had arrived on Wednesday.

"Most people I met did not look down upon me. Many Srebrenica inhabitants realised that the Dutch soldiers were not to be blamed for everything that has happened" in the eastern town, Zomer said.

He plans to move to Srebrenica with his wife and two children and start a business there.

Zomer served as a peacekeeper in Srebrenica twice during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, including at the time of the massacre.

He did not elaborate to SRNA about his decision, just saying that the life in Srebrenica "suits him better".

However, Zomer recently told a Croatian weekly that he had made the decision after a visit to Srebrenica last year on the occasion of the massacre's 13th anniversary.

"I'm moving with my family to Srebrenica to help these people in peace since I could not help them during the war," the Globus weekly quoted Zomer as saying.

On 11 July 1995, until then a UN-protected Muslim enclave, Srebrenica was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces who later executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Bosnian Muslims who lost family members in the massacre are seeking justice in The Hague for the alleged failure of Dutch troops to protect their beloved ones.

The Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst atrocity since WWII, has been termed genocide by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), both based in The Hague.

In 2002, the Dutch government resigned over an official report that stated its peacekeepers had been sent on an "impossible" mission.

The UN has also admitted it failed to protect Srebrenica Muslims from mass murder, but none of its officials were held responsible.

AFP / Expatica

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