Dutch state failed to prevent Srebrenica deaths-court

AMSTERDAM, (Reuters) – The Dutch state is responsible  for the deaths of three Muslim men after the fall of Srebrenica  during the Bosnian war, a Dutch appeals court ruled yesterday,  opening the door to compensation claims.

The ruling will touch a raw nerve with the Dutch, whose  troops were in charge of the U.N. “safe area” of Srebrenica and  were accused of cowardice when Bosnian Serb troops overran the  enclave in July 1995.

In the ensuing dangerous and confusing days, Bosnian Serb  forces slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys and buried them in  mass graves in Europe’s worst massacre since World War Two. Relatives of a local electrician who assisted the Dutch but  was killed at Srebrenica and the troops’ local interpreter,  whose father and brother are also believed to have died, lodged  legal action against the Dutch state seeking damages.

The court ruled yesterday the state was responsible for the  death of those men because U.N. troops from the Netherlands,  known as Dutchbat, should not have allowed them to leave the  safe area or fall into the hands of the Bosnian Serb forces.

“The Dutchbat had been witness to multiple incidents in  which the Bosnian Serbs mistreated or killed male refugees  outside the compound. The Dutch therefore knew that … the men  were at great risk if they were to leave the compound,” the  court said in its ruling.

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