Wednesday 29 January 2020

Dutch soldier awarded damages for Srebrenica massacre trauma

A Dutch soldier must be paid damages by the government for the trauma he suffered while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Srebrenica, the highest Dutch military court said on Monday.

The defence minister now has three months to decide how much to pay the soldier, named by the NRC as Dave Maat.

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.

After-care

The court ruled 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.

The ruling does not mean every soldier has the right to compensation but does pave the way for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorders to do so. Maat’s lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops said the onus is now on the defence ministry to prove it was not negligent in similar cases.

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, Knoops told the NRC.

Genocide

Earlier this month, the public prosecution department said the man in charge of Dutch troops during the Srebrenica massacre during the Yugoslavian civil war will not face charges of facilitating genocide and war crimes.

Thom Karremans was head of the Dutch armed forces who were protecting the enclave of Srebrenica from Bosnian Serbs during the civil war.

The man in charge of Dutch troops during the Srebrenica massacre during the Yugoslavian civil war will not face charges of facilitating genocide and war crimes, the public prosecution department said on Thursday.

Thom Karremans was head of the Dutch armed forces who were protecting the enclave of Srebrenica from Bosnian Serbs during the civil war.

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