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Survivors of 1995 Srebrenica Massacre File Suit Against Netherlands, UN


Survivors and relatives of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre are taking legal action against the United Nations and the Dutch government for failing to protect Muslim civilians in the U.N. safe haven.

Lawyers for the group "Mothers of Srebrenica" filed suit Monday in The Hague. The class action suit accuses the Dutch government of failing to authorize air cover to prevent the massacre - which is considered the worst genocide in Europe since the end of World War II. Serb forces slaughtered up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys after capturing the town.

Dutch forces operating under a U.N. mandate were assigned to protect the enclave, which had been declared a U.N. safe zone to protect Muslims from Bosnian Serb attacks. When calls for protective airstrikes were denied, about 450 lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers allowed Serb forces into the town and failed to prevent the Serbs from taking away the victims.

Ten principal plaintiffs are each asking for $34,000 in damages.

A 2002 report blamed politicians for sending Dutch U.N. troops on an impossible mission.

The findings led to the resignation of the Dutch government. Last December, Srebrenica survivors expressed their outrage when the Dutch government gave medals to the peacekeepers.

Earlier this year, the International Court of Justice dismissed a claim filed by Bosnia - Herzegovina against Serbia, which sought compensation for the genocide.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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