Court: Dutch Partly to Blame in Srebrenica Massacre

Netherlands accountable for 300 deaths in Bosnia slaughter

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2014 7:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Netherlands is partially responsible for Europe's worst massacre since World War II, according to a Dutch court. Amid ethnic cleansing in 1995, thousands of Bosnian Muslims sought refuge at a UN base under Dutch guard near Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But the Dutch passed men and boys from the refugees to Bosnian Serbs. Ultimately, almost 8,000 were killed in the Srebrenica massacre, Reuters notes. The Dutch must compensate the families of 300 of those victims for failing to protect them from the genocide, the court ruled, per the BBC.

"At the moment that the men were sent away, Dutchbat (peacekeeping troops) knew or should have known that the genocide was taking place and therefore there was a serious risk that those men would be killed," the court said. "Had Dutchbat allowed them to stay at the compound, these men would have remained alive." The court, however, didn't see the Netherlands as responsible for most of the deaths; it pointed out that many victims "fled to the woods in the vicinity of Srebrenica" rather than to the UN site itself. That didn't sit well with a rep for victims: "How is it possible to divide victims and tell one mother that the Dutch state is responsible for the death of her son on one side of the wire and not for the son on the other side?'' she asks.

Marco Gerritsen, lawyer for a group of women from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, answers questions from a journalist in the Hague, April 7, 2014.
Marco Gerritsen, lawyer for a group of women from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, answers questions from a journalist in the Hague, April 7, 2014.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Women from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica wait for judges to enter a court in The Hague, April 7, 2014.
Women from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica wait for judges to enter a court in The Hague, April 7, 2014.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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