The Netherlands refused crucial UN air support to their own troops defending the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, lawyers representing the families of the thousands of men killed in the massacre told news agency Reuters.
The lawyers are suing the Netherlands and UN, whom they blame in part for allowing the massacre to happen.
Srebrenica was declared a safe area under the guard of lightly-armed Dutch troops during the 1992-95 Bosnian war but came under attack from Bosnian Serb forces. Some 7,000 Muslim boys and men, who relied on the protection of the Dutch soliders, were taken away and killed.
The lawyers, from law firm Van Diepen Van der Kroef, say Dutch military officials blocked the offer of UN air support because they feared their own soldiers could be killed.
‘It is a wrong idea that Dutch soldiers were let down by the United Nations,’ Marco Gerritsen told Reuters. ‘It was a decision by high-ranking Dutch officers together with the Dutch state to see that requests for air support were denied.’ The families claim air support could have halted the Serb advance.
The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after a report blamed the government for sending troops on an impossible mission.
Some two hundred women from Srebrenica were in The Hague on Monday to see the formal summons being handed over to a government representative.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation