Dutch court region to rule on Srebrenica liability

Dutch state partly liable for Srebrenica deaths - Supreme Court

The Dutch Supreme Court has upheld the partial liability of the Netherlands in the deaths of about 350 Bosnian Muslim men who were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

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 United Nations 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.

Bosnian Serb forces killed a total of 8,000 Muslim men in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

This case revolves around the execution of 350 Muslim boys and men. "The Dutch State bears very limited liability in the "Mothers of Srebrenica" case", the Supreme Court said. 'The likelihood is put at 10% and therefore the Dutch state's liability for the damage to relatives is 10%'.

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

A Dutch court originally held the state liable for compensation in 2014.

In January, the Supreme Court's advocate general called the 2017 judgment "irrational", writing that the Dutch battalion could not have "acted wrongfully in its choice between two evils: either facilitating the separation of the men or allowing a chaotic evacuation".

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The Dutch soldiers knew there was a real risk the men could face violence and death if they were expelled and should have offered them the chance to stay within the compound, the court said.

"They took away the men's chance to stay out of the hands of the Bosnian Serbs", it said.

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".

The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after acknowledging its failure to protect the refugees, but said the peacekeepers had been on "mission impossible".

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.

Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic's long-time patron during the war, was on trial in The Hague at the time of his death in 2006.

Ex-military chief Ratko Mladic, 76, dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia", is now appealing a life sentence on similar charges at an global tribunal in The Hague.

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