Srebenica relatives distrust military court

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Relatives of three men killed in Srebenica in 1995 do not want a military judge to preside over the case they initiated against former defense Ministry officials.

The relatives of murdered father and brother Nuhanović and of murdered Muslim electrician Rizo Mustafić have initiated an article 12 procedure. They want the court in Arnhem to ordet the Prosecutor’s Office there to prosecute former Dutchbat commander Thom Karremans, his former deputy Major Rob Franken and Human Resources manager Berend Oosterveen, for involvement in genocide, murder and war crimes.

Karremans, a retired colonel, had been assigned to defend the Bosniak enclave as a safe area during the Bosnian War but failed to prevent the Serbs from rounding up and killing 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in 1995. The relatives of the three murdered men argue that the security forces were aware that the men were in danger.

According to NOS, the court will table the latest request from the relatives in the autumn of this year but the relatives demand that it is not handled by the military court, because there are concerns about impartiality.

Attorney Liesbeth Zegveld who represents the relatives said that the Ministry of Defense has been too deeply involved in the case. She said that there are indications that the Ministry influenced the previous decision by the court not to prosecute the retired colonel.

She also said that the Ministry “frustrated” attempts to unearth the truth. “It goes beyond making evidence disappear. The Military Judge works for the Ministry of Defense. Involvement of a soldier in the decision about this request is highly problematic,” said Zegveld.