Saturday 17 April 2021

No-one faces prosecution for death of two soldiers in Mali: prosecution office

No-one will face criminal prosecution for the 2016 death of two Dutch soldiers on a peacekeeping mission to Mali, when a 60mm mortar set off a grenade during a practice session, the AD reported on Monday.

The public prosecution department says it has not been able to establish what caused the mortar to go off, and that experts had reached different conclusions.

A 2017 report on the incident said ‘serious deficiencies’ in military procedures were to blame for the accident. Procedures were not properly followed in purchasing the weapons, initially for a mission in Afghanistan in 2006. They were not kept cool enough in transportation and storage, and medical care at a local hospital was inadequate.

Dutch armed forces chief Tom Middendorp and defence minister Jeanine Hennis both resigned in the wake of the report’s publication.

However, lawyer Michael Ruperti, who is representing family of the two soldiers who died, has said that the public prosecution department decision is ‘incomprehensible’.

‘Even if you don’t know the exact cause of the explosion, you can’t say a crime has not been committed,’ he said. The families of the men say they will press ahead with a private prosecution if necessary.

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