Srebrenica Victims’ Families Told to Seek Damages from Netherlands

Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten told the Dutch parliament that relatives of a group of Srebrenica victims who were killed in July 1995 can submit requests for compensation from the start of March next year, after a Dutch court ruled that the state has partial responsibility for several hundred deaths.

"The fall of Srebrenica is and remains a disaster for all the relatives who miss their loved ones. The state is well aware that no compensation can do enough justice to the grief that has been suffered," said Bijleveld-Schouten, who was also speaking on behalf of Foreign Minister Stef Blok.

Arrangements will be made for the victims' families to apply to a Dutch parliamentary committee for compensation at a location in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. Applications can be filed until March 2023.

An explanatory note said that this will offer the surviving relatives "an alternative to what would likely be protracted, complicated and emotionally taxing [legal] proceedings" to obtain compensation.

In July 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Netherlands was partially responsible for some 350 deaths in the 1995 Srebrenica massacres because its soldiers failed to protect the victims.

Around 350 Bosniak men who had taken refuge at the UN's Dutch Battalion of peacekeepers, who had a base near Srebrenica, were handed over to Bosnian Serb Army troops on July 13, 1995 and subsequently killed.

The Supreme Court ruled however that the victims' chance of survival if the Dutch peacekeepers had attempted to protect them by keeping them at their base was only ten per cent.

Munira Subasic, the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves organisation, which represents war victims, said that she disagreed with the Dutch...

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