Wednesday 25 November 2020

Dutch safety board won’t investigate Hawija bombing: says no legal basis to do so

An F16 at the Volkel airbase. Photo: U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch safety board OVV has said it will not carry out an investigation into the Dutch role in the air bombing of Hawija in Iraq in 2015.

In total, 70 civilians died in the raid, which was aimed at taking out an ISIS bomb factory. The extent of Dutch involvement in the operation only became clear last year.

Defence minister Ank Bijleveld had asked the OVV to look into circumstances surrounding the bombing, following MPs’ calls for an inquiry.

However, OVV chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem has now said that the OVV’s statutes do not allow it to research ‘combat operations’ and no exception to this can be made, despite the minister’s request.

In addition, the OVV, which has a budget of €13m, did not have enough money to carry out an investigation, Dijsselbloem said.

‘We do not have the financial resources to investigate Hawija and we do not want to ask ministers for more money,’ he said. That could create the risk that ministers could then exert influence on the research, he said.

The OVV was given extra funding to carry out its investigation into the MH17 disaster.

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