Dutch peacekeeper faces jail in Karadzic case

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The first Dutch peacekeeper who testified in the war crimes trial of former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic could end up spending up to seven years behind bars.

In a letter published on Monday, the vice president of the Yugoslavia Tribunal states that Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Rutten faces prison unless he grants access to the diary that he wrote during his time as a UN peacekeeper in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. The former peacekeeper could also be fined up to 100,000 euros.

In July 1995, the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica fell to Bosnian Serb forces. Between 7,000 and 8,000 Muslim men and boys were subsequently killed in the worst massacre in Western Europe since World War II.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutten was stationed in Srebrenica from January to July 1995 as one of the battalion of Dutch UN peacekeepers and recorded his experiences in a diary. Last year he testified at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, who was President of Republika Srpska at the time of the massacre.

The soldier refused to grant access to his diaries as they contained private information. The chairman of the Yugoslavia Tribunal has ruled that while Lieutenant-Colonel Rutten is permitted to screen the more private sections of his diary, the rest must be made available to all parties in the trial. He now has two weeks in which to submit the diary excerpts to the Tribunal.

After the fall of Srebrenica, Lieutenant-Colonel Rutten saw how the Bosnian-Serb forces separated the Muslim men from the women and children. He and his colleagues later discovered and photographed the bodies of nine Muslims not far from the Dutch base.

Back in the Netherlands, the photographs were not developed due to a technical problem at the lab. This caused a scandal at the time, with some suggesting that the photographs had been deliberately destroyed to cover up evidence that the Dutch forces knew at an early stage that Muslims had been killed.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

1 Comment To This Article

  • JR Bailey posted:

    on 29th February 2012, 03:42:01 - Reply

    Of course the Dutch Forces KNEW that the Muslims were being massacred! They knew it and IGNORED it, thus becoming complicit in Mass Murder!

    However, NONE of that would 'play well' back home, so they covered it up and acted as if NOTHING could have been done to stop he mass murders.

    I'm against Islamic doctrine and believe that Islam is the greatest danger currently facing the West, but what the Dutch Military did in Srebrenica-which was to ALLOW the mass murder, cannot be overlooked or covered up anymore: those in charge MUST be held accountable.