Court declares Netherlands liable for 300 Bosnian Muslim deaths

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Netherlands liable for 300 Muslim deaths
The Hague, July 17: A court in The Hague has found the Netherlands (Holland) liable over the 1995 deportation and deaths of 300 Bosnian Muslim men who were under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeeping Blue Helmets in the enclave of Srebrenica in Bosnia.

The verdict Wednesday came in response to a lawsuit filed last April by the Mothers of Srebrenica Foundation against the Dutch state for its alleged role in the genocide of 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia in 1995.

The foundation, which represents 6,000 relatives of those killed, claim the Dutch state was not able to defend the victims, who were evacuated by Bosnian Serb forces and executed July 13, 1995.

The judges said the Dutch peacekeeping forces should have considered taking into serious account the possibility that the men could be killed, noting that they might have survived if they had remained in Srebrenica.

But the court, however, fell short of holding the Netherlands responsible for the Srebrenica massacre as a whole, prompting lawyers of the Mothers of Srebrenica to announce their intention to appeal the verdict.

The fall of the Muslim Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, which was declared a safe area for civilians by the UN, began July 11, 1995, and lasted several days.

Srebrenica was protected at the time by Dutch peacekeepers deployed in the area under the umbrella of the UN during the Bosnian war (1992-95).

The troops of General Ratko Mladic, who is currently being tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague, entered Srebrenica and after separating women from men took the latter, including children and the elderly, on a one-way trip which became Europe's largest massacre since World War II.

The Mothers of Srebrenica foundation filed another lawsuit against the UN in 2007 over the case, which ended in favour of the international organisation.

IANS

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