July 5 2011
The Hague district court has ruled that the Netherlands can be held responsible for the death of three Bosnian Muslim men in the Srebenica massacre. The deaths occurred when in 1995 Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN ‘safe area’ under the watch of Dutch forces, killing 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. This case referred to three Bosnian Muslims who had taken shelter in the compound but were forced out by Dutch peacekeepers. While previous courts had ruled that the Dutch state was not responsible for the deaths because the soldiers were operating under a UN mandate, this recent ruling rather held the Dutch responsible, ordering the government to pay compensation to relatives of the deceased men. The verdict came as a surprise and could have implications for similar cases against the Dutch state.