Dutch foreign minister ‘astounded’ by Bosnian war criminal release

Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans is ‘astounded’ at the decision by the Bosnian authorities to release 10 men convicted of war crimes pending a re-trial.

‘I was astounded yesterday to hear 10 convicted war criminals have been released pending a new trial,’ the minister said on his Facebook page.

The 10 include men who have been convicted of genocide. ‘Their release is incomprehensible and will have a serious impact on relatives. I sympathise deeply with them,’ Timmermans said.

The minister called on Bosnia to take steps to ensure other people convicted of war crimes are not released and that these 10 do not escape their punishment. ‘This is necessary for Bosnia’s credibility,’ he said.


Britain’s foreign minister William Hague has also criticised the release of the men. He and Timmermans are to hold talks with other EU leaders about the release, Nos television said.

The release of the 10 men follows a European Court of Human Rights ruling in July which found in favour of two Bosnian men who said they had been tried under tougher rules than were in place when the crimes were committed. Ten other war crimes convicts then complained on the same grounds. They had been jailed for between 14 and 33 years.

The Netherlands was in charge of the Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica during the Yugoslavian civil war when it was over-run by Bosnian Serb forces. Some 8,000 men and boys were massacred.

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