The man in charge of Dutch troops at the time of the Srebrenica massacre during the Yugoslavian civil war will not face charges for his role in the killing of three men, Arnhem appeal court ruled on Wednesday.
Thom Karremans headed the unit of Dutch soldiers working as UN peacekeeping forces in Srebrenica when it was over-run by Serb forces. Up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were taken away and killed.
Relatives of three men killed by the Bosnian Serbs went to court to force the public prosecution system to try Karremans and two other military leaders in connection with the deaths.
Interpreter Hasan Nuhanovic and the descendents of electrician Rizo Mustafic say Dutch soldiers serving under the UN flag in the Muslim enclave did not do all they could to protect their relatives from the Bosnian Serb army.
They argue the Dutch army should not have sent the electrician and the brother of the interpreter out of the compound and should also have prevented the interpreter’s father following his son. All three men were later killed.
In 2013, the public prosecution department said Karremans ‘was not criminally involved in the crimes committed by the Bosnia Serb army’ and would not face prosecution because he did not know the men would die.
The Arnhem court agreed Karremans and two other officers were not aware of the Bosnian Serbs’ plans, and cannot therefore be tried for genocide.
The three men will now take their case to the European Court of Human Rights, their lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld said.
There are several ongoing legal cases involving the Dutch army’s role in Srebrenica. The Dutch state said in October last year it 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.
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