August 20, 2019
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Dutch state '10 percent' liable for 350 deaths at Srebrenica

The Hague, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday upheld a ruling that found the Netherlands partially responsible for the deaths of 350 Bosnian Muslims during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The court said the Dutch state had 10 percent liability as it considered this to be the probability that Dutch peacekeeping forces deployed to the area by the United Nations had of preventing the deaths of the 350 Muslim men in question.

It added that the peacekeepers had evacuated Bosnian Muslim men from their military base despite knowing they were at risk of "being abused and murdered."

The Netherlands' highest court, however, acknowledged that the advancing Bosnian Serb troops, at the time led by convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic, would likely have found the Muslim men taking refuge in the Dutchbat base but insisted that Dutch blue helmets should nonetheless have offered them shelter.

The case was brought by a group of victims' relatives called Mothers of Srebrenica.

Mothers of Srebrenica had accused the Dutch government of being wholly responsible for the events leading up to the massacre.

The court dismissed this accusation and said the victims' relatives could claim 10 percent compensation from the Dutch government.

The 350 men were among 5,000 evacuated from the military base.

The court said the men would have had a 10 percent chance of survival if they had been allowed to stay in the base.

The Supreme Court's decision lowers the 30 percent liability previously ruled by a regional court and brings an end to a years-long legal battle pursued by the mothers and widows of the murdered Bosnian men.

Bosnian Serb forces killed around 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

The soldiers dumped the bodies into mass graves.

The remains of more than 1,000 victims of Srebrenica are still unaccounted for.

Mladic, a former military commander who was in charge of the Serb troops who carried out the massacre, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide.

The Bosnian War raged between 1992-95 as Yugoslavia disintegrated.

There were around 30,000 Bosnian Muslims in the town at the time of the massacre.

The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after a report found it could have done more to prevent the massacre. EFE-EPA

ir/jt

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