Dutch state to appeal against Srebrenica liability ruling

The Dutch state is to appeal against a court ruling which found the Netherlands is responsible for the removal of 300 Muslim men from the Dutch army compound following the fall of Srebrenica during the Yugoslavian civil war.

Relatives of the 8,000 men and boys who were taken away and killed by Serb forces say the Dutch government is responsible for all their deaths because Dutch UN soldiers did not intervene when the Serbs overran the enclave.

Judges ruled in July that the Netherlands is not responsible for the death of all 8,000 men but for the 300 who were taken from the army compound on the afternoon of July 13. The Muslim enclave fell to the Serb forces on July 11, 1995.

Bosnian Serbs

‘The mass murder in Srebrenica is a terrible tragedy and Bosnian Serb troops, and they alone, are responsible for it,’ the defence ministry said in a statement outlining its decision to appeal.

The relatives, known as the Mothers of Srebrenica, lost earlier appeals to the Dutch supreme court and the European court of justice. Both said the Dutch soldiers had immunity because they were under the command of the UN.

The women decided to continue their campaign for justice after the Dutch supreme court said last September that the Dutch state is responsible for the deaths of three Muslim men. They were forced out of the army compound and later killed.

Marco Gerritsen, a lawyer for the relatives, said they are disappointed at the ministry’s decision to appeal but that it is not unexpected.

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