Court rules Dutch responsible for 3 Srebrenica deaths

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An appeals court in the Netherlands has ruled the Dutch state responsible for the deaths of three Muslims during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in a case brought by their families.

"The State of the Netherlands is responsible for the death of three Muslim men after the fall of Srebrenica" in eastern Bosnia, which was then under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeepers, the court said in a statement.

Bosnian Serb forces brushed aside the lightly-armed Dutch in the UN-protected enclave where thousands of Muslims from surrounding villages had gathered for protection, before perpetrating the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

In the following days they executed around 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The events were termed genocide by two international courts.

The Dutch batallion "should not have turned these men over to the Serbs," the court said in its ruling.

A court in The Hague dismissed a bid by the same group in September 2008 to hold the Dutch state responsible for its troops' alleged failure.

The Bosnian Serb commander, General Ratko Mladic, is currently on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

© 2011 AFP

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