Dutch soldiers pull lawsuit vs. Netherlands on Srebrenica

Source: Reuters

More than 200 members of the Dutch peacekeeping force in charge of protecting the Srebrenica civilians in 1995, where some 8,000 people were killed during the war in Bosnia, gave up the prosecution of the Dutch state, their lawyer said.

Around 230 Dutch ‘blue helmets,’ as the UN peacekeeping force was called, demanded that the state of the Netherlands pays them at least EUR 22,000 in damages for each of them, in 2017.

They stated that they continue to suffer trauma and are marginalized in the society after the genocide in 1995. The decision on the withdrawal of the lawsuit came after the statement of the Dutch Defence Minister Anka Bijleveld, early this year, on the opening of an investigation into the trauma that was suffered by members of the Dutch peacekeepers.

“We are sufficiently convinced that our appeal has yielded some good results, and therefore we are suspending further prosecution,” said lawyer Mikael Ruperti, according to the Dutch ‘De Telegraaf’ daily.

Ruperti said that when his clients filed the lawsuit last year, they said they were suffering “various consequences in their life activities,” believing that the Defence Ministry was responsible for this.

The Ministry has not announced the results of the said investigation just yet, but the Minister said “it was an important investigation which will contribute to finding a solution.”

In 2017, the Dutch judiciary declared the Dutch state partially responsible of the deaths of 350 Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Srebrenica genocide.

Srebrenica was proclaimed a protected zone during the war in Bosnia (1992-1995) and was protected by a Dutch army unit within the UN's international forces deployed in Bosnia.

Lightly armed, the Dutch soldiers, who had no air support and who were under fire, were forced to leave the enclave, allowing the Bosnian Serb forces to capture and kill close to 8,000 Bosniak men and boys.