News / Europe

    Court Holds Netherlands Responsible for 3 Srebrenica Deaths

    Appeals judges ruled ordering the Dutch government to compensate the men's relatives. The landmark ruling could open the path to other compensation claims by victims who claim their male relatives should have been protected by the Dutch U.N. peacekeepers
    Appeals judges ruled ordering the Dutch government to compensate the men's relatives. The landmark ruling could open the path to other compensation claims by victims who claim their male relatives should have been protected by the Dutch U.N. peacekeepers
    Lauren Comiteau

    In a historic decision, appeals judges in a Dutch court have ruled the Netherlands is responsible for the deaths of three Muslim men after the fall of Srebrenica in 1995. Dutch U.N. troops were, at the time, in charge of what was designated a U.N. safe haven during the Bosnian war. About 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed after the enclave was overrun by Serb forces.

    For nine years, U.N. interpreter Hasan Nuhanovic, who lost his brother and father, and family members of electrician Rizo Mustafic have been trying to get the Dutch government to take responsibility for the murder of their relatives. The three men were thrown out of the U.N. compound by Dutch soldiers and taken by Bosnian-Serb troops under the command of Ratko Mladic. All three were killed.

    When Hasan Nuhanovic finally heard the verdict, all he could say was he felt relief.

    "I prepared myself for a negative, not positive outcome," Nuhanovic said.

    The appeals verdict overturned an earlier decision that sided with the Dutch state. It had argued that because its troops were serving under the United Nations, the Netherlands could not be held responsible for the crimes.

    But appeals judges ruled that after the fall of Srebrenica an “extraordinary situation” developed, and that Dutch military and political leaders were in “effective control” of their troops.They said its soldiers should not have sent the men off the base.

    The lawyer who brought the case, Liesbeth Zegveld, called the ruling “historic."

    "It is the first time, I believe, that a state is held accountable during a peacekeeping operation that went wrong.  Court ruled that state responsibility exists, although there was a peacekeeping operation and command and control had been transferred to the United Nations," said Zegveld.

    "The state has always warned, almost threatened, during the procedure that we will not contribute any new troops," Zegveld added. "And that will also be the reflection of many other states. Let us see."

    Netherlands government officials say they need to read the verdict before deciding whether to appeal.  

    The government has also been ordered to pay compensation to the families of the three murdered men, although there are not any figures yet.

    But at the very least, the ruling paves the way for compensation cases against the Dutch by other survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, especially for the many Muslim men who sought refuge on the Dutch-U.N. base in Srebrenica. But Zegveld says this case was never about money, but about establishing facts and accountability.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.