‘State can be held liable for death of three men in Srebrenica’

The Dutch state can be held responsible for the death of three Muslim men during the siege of Srebrenica during the Yugoslavia war in 1995, according to the high court’s advocate general.

After the fall of the enclave, effective control passed from the United Nations to the Dutch army, which was the responsibility of the Dutch state, the advocate general said in his formal advice to the court.

The Hague district court ruled in July 2011 the Dutch state can be held responsible for the deaths, clearing the way for compensation payments to the families of the men. However, the state decided to take that decision to the high court.

Appeal

The appeal court ruling clears the way for compensation payments to families of the men. Interpreter Hasan Nuhanovic and the descendents of electrician Rizo Mustafic say Dutch soldiers serving under the UN flag in the Muslim enclave did not do all they could to protect their relatives from the Bosnian Serb army.

Over 8,000 men and boys were murdered and buried in mass graves when the enclave was overrun.

The appeal court said Dutch soldiers – known as Dutchbat – should not have sent the electrician and the brother of the interpreter out of the compound and should also have prevented the interpreter’s father following his son. All three men were later killed.