Nearly 12 years after the Srebrenica massacre, in which several thousand men and boys under the protection of Dutch soldiers were killed by the Bosnian Serbs, the issue still refuses to go away.
There have been reports and official inquiries and a government has been brought down, but there still remains a nasty taste that something is not quite right.
The government resigned in 2002 not over the Dutch failure to protect the people it had been entrusted with but over criticism that it had sent Dutch soliders on an impossible task. There was additional controversy last year when soldiers who were part of the UN peacekeeping efforts were awarded medals in ‘recognition for their behaviour in difficult circumstances’.
Now, lawyers representing the families of surviviors have begun the process of suing the Dutch state and the UN, saying they are partly to blame for the massacre.
In particular, the lawyers allege that it was the Dutch themselves who refused to allow UN air support when it became apparent that Srebrenica would come under attack.
The allegations are yet another twist in an unpleasant tale which has rumbled on for far too long. Let us hope the Dutch state and UN cooperate fully in any court case so the ghosts of Srebrenica can be laid to rest at last.
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