A court in the Netherlands has ruled the Dutch state was responsible for the deaths of three Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia.Perhaps "a little responsible" would be a better phrase, as the Bosnian Serbs are the ones who did the killing of the Bosniaks and the Dutch force was in a tough spot.
The Dutch were in charge of the UN "safe area" in July 1995 when Bosnian Serb forces overran it and killed 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
The Dutch government has always said its troops were abandoned by the UN.
The ruling was unexpected, and may open the way for other compensation claims.
"The court ruled that the Dutch state is responsible for the death of these men because Dutchbat [Dutch UN troops] should not have handed them over," a spokeswoman for the court in The Hague said.
UN Secretary General wrote in 2009:
Today, we pay tribute to the victims of a terrible crime -– the worst on European soil since the Second World War. Throughout the world, this date is marked as a grim reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.You might want to read the timeline available here (I have no idea of its total accuracy) for the situation the Dutch battalion was placed in and then not supported by the UN or NATO.
We express our solidarity with the families and friends of those whose lives were brutally taken 10 years ago, and with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As they grieve, so we grieve.
As they cry out for truth and justice, so must we continue the fight, no matter how long it takes, to secure a full and proper reckoning.
Our first duty is to uncover, and confront, the full truth about what happened.
For us who serve the United Nations, that truth is a hard one to face.
We can say -- and it is true -- that great nations failed to respond adequately.
We can say -- and it is also true -- that there should have been stronger military forces in place, and a stronger will to use them.
We can say -- and it is undeniable -- that blame lies, first and foremost, with those who planned and carried out the massacre, or who assisted them, or who harboured and are harbouring them still.
But we cannot evade our own share of responsibility.
As I wrote in my report in 1999, we made serious errors of judgement, rooted in a philosophy of impartiality and non-violence which, however admirable, was unsuited to the conflict in Bosnia. That is why, as I also wrote, “the tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt our history forever”.
You might ask yourself on you would have carried out the duties of the Dutch commander on the ground if you were in his shoes.