- Title: Mothers of Srebrenica victims still waiting for justice, after 21 years
- Date: 6th October 2016
- Summary: POTOCARI, BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA (FILE – OCTOBER, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TOMBSTONES AND NAMES AT CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL CENTRE FOR VICTIMS OF THE GENOCIDE
- Embargoed: 21st October 2016 10:09
- Keywords: Dutch soldiers Balkan war massacre justice Mothers of Srebrenica
- Location: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS/ POTOCARI, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
- City: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS/ POTOCARI, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
- Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00352VA2X3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:PLEASE NOTE THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Relatives of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre told an appeals court on Thursday (October 6) that the Dutch government should be held responsible for failing to protect more of the thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys killed there.
They are seeking to expand a 2014 ruling by a lower court that found the Netherlands culpable for the deaths of 300 of the 8,000 men and boys who were killed after leaving a United Nations compound that was run by Dutch peacekeeping troops.
"For twenty one years we have been waiting for justice, but the worst injustice is to wait for justice. Netherlands is presenting itself as a country of democracy, the city of The Hague has been named the city of justice, so if everyone has the right to get justice, we are hoping that 'Mothers of Srebrenica' also have the right to get justice," President of Association 'Mothers Of Srebrenica' Munira Subasic said.
Lawyer Marco Gerritsen who represents the association said the state should be held liable for a larger group of men.
"The district court ruled two years ago that the state is liable for the death of approximately 300 men who were sent off the compound in July 13th, 1995, but we think that the State should be held liable for a much larger group of men, because there were more possibilities also to save the other men and children, so we hope that we even get a better result than the last time," he said.
The earlier court decision found that the Dutch peacekeepers could have known that the men seeking refuge at the base in the village of Potocari would be murdered if forced to leave.
Lawyer for the Dutch state, Bert-Jan Houtzagers, said the lower court had been wrong to find that the Dutch battalion had "effective control" over the compound when it was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces.
The Dutch forces did not foresee the later genocide and had been focused on "helping the refugees and guiding the evacuation," he said.
The failure of Dutch soldiers to protect the Muslim men and boys of Srebrenica has left a deep scar in Dutch politics, contributing to the resignation of the Dutch government in 2002.
The 1992-95 Bosnian war, in which at least 100,000 people were killed, was the bloodiest of a series of conflicts that accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
On July 11, 1995, the enclave was overrun by the Bosnian Serb forces lead by commander Ratko Mladic, who is on trial for war crimes at an international court in The Hague.
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