Dutch Supreme Court upholds Srebrenica liability

Relatives of the Srebrenica victims were represented by the Mothers of Srebrenica group which was suing for compensation

The Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday, July 19 that the Netherlands is partially responsible for the July 1995 deaths of 300 Muslims in Srebrenica but lowered the amount of damages it will have to pay to victim's families, euronews reports. The court estimated their chance of survival if they had stayed in the Dutch compound at around 30% and said the Dutch state was liable for 30% of losses suffered by their surviving relatives.

Dutch Supreme Court on Friday upheld partial liability of the Netherlands in the Bosnia's Srebrenica genocide, according to the court's website.

The relatives are represented by the Mothers of Srebrenica victims' organisation which sued for compensation, sparking a years-long legal battle.

But in the January advisory opinion, the Advocate General wrote that it could not be said that the Dutch battalion "acted wrongfully in its choice between two evils: either facilitating the separation of the men or allowing a chaotic evacuation".

The overall Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys was the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II.

The men were among 5,000 terrified Muslim residents of the Srebrenica area who took shelter in the Dutch peacekeepers' base when the region was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was convicted of genocide by a United Nations war crimes tribunal in 2017 for masterminding the massacre that left some 8,000 Muslim men and boys dead.

The Dutch case could set an worldwide legal precedent for states' liability when they contribute troops to peacekeeping operations. "We know what happened; we don't need this court to tell us".

In a swipe at the failure of other foreign powers to act, the top court added that the "chance of Dutchbat (the Dutch UN mission) receiving effective support from the global community was slim". "We won't leave it here, we will go to the European court to see if we have the right to justice as Muslims", said Munira Subasic, another plaintiff in the case. It also paved the way for the payment of unspecified damages to the families of the victims.

There was no immediate reaction from either the Mothers of Srebrenica or the Dutch government.

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