Srebrenica associations to demand damage compensation from The Netherlands

NEWS 28.08.2019 19:25
Source: N1

Srebrenica associations of victims announced they might appeal before the European Court of Human Rights in the case on the Holland's responsibility for the death of several hundreds of Srebrenica genocide victims if they fail to agree with the Dutch authorities on damage compensation.

The Supreme Court of the Kingdom of The Netherlands ruled in July this year that this country was partly responsible for the deaths of 300 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, confirming the 2017 verdict in this case.

The victims’ families had sued The Netherlands in 2007 but seven years later the Hague District Court ruled that the Dutch battalion stationed in the eastern Bosnian town knew that the hundreds of men they expelled from the UN base would be killed.

Both The Netherlands and the families appealed the ruling but the competent court upheld it in 2017.

The battalion should have let the 350 men stay in the base, the Supreme Court said. By not doing so, it deprived the men of the possibility to escape the Bosnian Serb army, it said.

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The chance of the victims escaping death by hiding in the base was 10 percent, the court determined. The state is, therefore, responsible for ten percent of the damage which the victims suffered, it said, adding that family members of the victims can ask for compensation from The Netherlands.

Now, the associations are making steps towards that goal.

The ‘Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves’ association presented on Wednesday a team of lawyers from Bosnia and The Netherlands who have been working on the case for the past years.

The justice has been served after 19 years, said one of the lawyers, Semir Guzin.

“Nobody has ever in the history of European and the world judiciary managed to win a judgement by which one country would be responsible for the omissions of its soldiers who were part of a United Nations mission,” he stressed.

UN had declared Srebrenica region a safe area in 1993 but the Dutch battalion within the UN peacekeeping forces failed to prevent the massacre which killed over 8,000 Bosniak Muslims in July 1995.

Two international courts declared that the mass killing in the Srebrenica region was an act of genocide.