The Hague rules Dutch partly responsible for 300 Srebrenica deaths

The Hague Appeals Court ruled that Dutch peacekeepers could have known that the men seeking refuge would be murdered by Bosnian Serb troops if forced to leave.

Photo by: AFP Archive
Photo by: AFP Archive

This photo taken on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, shows gravestones of Bosnian Muslims killed during the fall of the Bosnian town of the Srebrenica massacre in the memorial cemetery of Potocari, near Srebrenica, 250 kms east of Sarajevo.

A Dutch appeals court on Tuesday confirmed that the Netherlands was partly liable for the deaths of some 300 Muslims who were expelled from a Dutch UN base after the surrounding area was overrun by Bosnian Serb troops.

The ruling by the Hague Appeals Court upholds a 2014 decision that Dutch peacekeepers could have known that the men seeking refuge at the base in the village of Potocari would be murdered by Bosnian Serb troops if forced to leave – as they were.

The ruling is seen as exceptional as the United Nations enjoys immunity from prosecution.

However the Dutch case is an almost unique in holding a state participating in a UN peacekeeping mission liable for its actions.

TRT World spoke to journalist Erna Mackic in Sarajevo.

Europe's worst atrocity since World War II occurred when lightly armed UN Dutch peacekeepers were overrun by Bosnian Serb troops in the supposedly UN-protected "safe haven" of Srebrenica.

The killings have been denounced as an act of genocide by the UN court set up to try those behind the abuses of the Balkans wars.

And in the Netherlands the events still stir controversy, with questions remaining over the Dutch blue helmets' role.

The Dutch troops, known as the "Dutchbat", entrenched in their base, had taken in thousands of refugees from the enclave.

But overwhelmed they first shut the gates to new arrivals, and then allowed the Bosnian Serbs to evacuate the refugees. The men and boys were separated and taken in buses to their deaths.

TRTWorld, Reuters