Dutch State less responsible for Srebrenica in Supreme Court ruling

Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial Center Photo by Laila Zulkaphil, 2010 Peace Fellow/ The Advocacy Project/flickr

On Friday the Supreme Court held the Dutch State liable for the events that followed the fall of Bosnian enclave Srebrenica in 2015, but to a lesser extent than the court in The Hague did in a previous ruling. The court previously ruled that the surviving relatives could claim 30 percent of damages suffered from the State. The Supreme Court reduced that to 10 percent, NU.nl reports.

This case revolves around the execution of 350 Muslim boys and men. They were the last to remain in Srebrenica when the enclave was taken by the Bosnian-Serb General Ratko Mladic on 11 July 1995. Thousands of other Muslims tried to flee through the forests, but the majority of them were caught. All of them were killed. 

The Dutch soldiers sent to protect the enclave, Dutchbat 3, are accused of surrendering the last 350 boys and men, because they did not do everything in their power to hide them. Dutchbat helped in separating the men and boys from the women and girls and ensured that the"evacuation" of these men happened smoothly and without chaos. 

When this case was first tried, the court ruled that the Dutchbat soldiers should have known what would happen to these last remaining men and boys. But at the same time, it could not be said with certainty that they would not have been killed if they had been discovered at the UN base at a later date .The court therefore ruled that the surviving relatives of these men and boys could claim damage from the Dutch State, but not the full amount - only 30 percent.

On Friday the Supreme Court largely agreed with the previous ruling. But the Supreme Court estimated the 350 men and boys' chance of survival at 10 percent. Their surviving relatives can therefore claim 10 percent of damages suffered from the Dutch State. The Netherlands' highest judge added that it is almost impossible to "do justice to everyone's suffering".

The relatives, united under 'Mothers of Srebrenica' can still take their case to the European Court of Human Rights. 


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