Wednesday 26 February 2020

200 Srebrenica veterans sue Dutch state for social, emotional, economic damage

Part of the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial. Photo: Dinos Michail via Depositphotos.com

Some 200 Dutch army veterans are suing the Dutch state for compensation for the trauma they suffered after being sent on ‘an impossible mission’ in Srebrenica during the Yugoslavian civil war.

Their lawyer Michael Ruperti told a television talk show on Monday night the men are campaigning for a ‘symbolic’ €22,000 each – or €1,000 for every year since the Srebrenica massacre took place.

The 200 soldiers were serving in the Dutch battalion Dutchbat III protecting the Muslim enclave in 1995 when it was over-run by Bosnian Serbs. They rounded up and massacred some 8,000 men and boys while under the control of Dutch soldiers.

The veterans claim the Dutch government could have known the mission was impossible to execute and say the outside world has blamed them for not being able to prevent the massacre. This has caused them social, emotional and financial damage for which they now want compensation.

PTSS

The defence ministry currently only compensates soldiers who can prove that they are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. ‘But this is about more than PTSS,’ Ruperti said.

There is no compensation for other damage, such as social issues, and the ministry has so far refused to discuss their problems with the veterans, Ruperti said.

A ministry spokesman told the NRC that no damages claim from the vets has yet been received.

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