Dutch soldiers who served as UN peacekeepers during the 1995 massacre of Srebrenica are planning to sue the government for compensation because of the damage caused to their reputations, the Telegraaf said on Monday.
Defence minister Jeanine Hennis said during this weekend’s Veteran Day event that the Dutch soldiers sent to protect the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica were ‘not adequately prepared, had insufficient equipment and capacity and a weak supply of information,’ making it impossible to do their job.
The Telegraaf quotes lawyer Michael Ruperti as saying the government’s admittance that the troops were not properly prepared clears the way for compensation claims.
Some 8.000 men and boys were massacred when the enclave fell to the Serbs and the Dutch soldiers have long been held to be partly responsible for the killings by failing to offer sufficient protection. There have also been reports that the UN failed to provide proper air support.
‘Money now has to be found,’ veteran Olof Bijeboer told the paper. ‘All the mistakes have damaged reputations. This is a collective issue and one we are going to talk to ministers about in the coming months.’
The defence ministry points out that ‘a considerable amount’ has already been done for veterans who were wounded or are dealing the post traumatic stress.
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