More soldiers want damages for traumas of active service

Over 50 former Dutch soldiers are looking for damages from the government for the trauma they suffered while serving as UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica and other war zones, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

On Monday it emerged agreement has been reached between one soldier, Dave Maat, and the defence ministry after the highest Dutch military court said in March he must be compensated. No information about the size of the pay-off has been made public.

Maat served with Dutch peacekeepers in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica for the first six months of 1995. Some 8,000 men and boys were massacred when the enclave fell to the Serbs.


The court ruled in March the defence minister at the time had failed to provide the soldier, who was traumatised by his experiences, with sufficient after-care. Soldiers returning from active service in the former Yugoslavia were sent on an eight week holiday instead.

Now 52 other soldiers have also gone to Maat’s lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops looking for compensation, the Volkskrant said. ‘We are talking about soldiers who served in Lebanon, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan,’ Koops told the paper. ‘But most of them were in Bosnia where things went terribly wrong.’

A survey of 300 former UN peacekeepers by military union ACOM found around 10% were not happy about the way they were treated on their return home.

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