The relatives of victims of Bosnia's 1995 Srebrenica massacre are
asking a court in The Hague Wednesday to lift the legal
immunity of the United Nations so they may seek damages.
They accuse the United Nations of failing to protect people in the town of Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, after declaring it a safe haven for Bosnian Muslims.
Despite the town's safe-haven status, lightly-armed Dutch forces surrendered the town to Serb forces in July 1995. The Serbs then massacred some 8,000 men and boys, in the worst mass atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Lawyers for the victims' families say they represent about 6,000 people. They are asking the court to allow the families to file a civil suit against the United Nations and the Dutch state.
The Netherlands has argued its troops were abandoned by the United Nations command, which refused to provide air support that might have prevented the killings.
Two separate cases opened at The Hague Monday. One was brought by Hasan Nuhanovic, who lost his parents and his brother in the massacre. The other was brought by the family of Rizo Mustafic.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.