Society for Threatened Peoples / Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker calls on the Netherlands and the United Nations to compensate genocide survivors

Supreme Court ruling: Netherlands responsible for the deaths of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) at Srebrenica

The Netherlands and the United Nations (UN) must compensate the surviving relatives of Srebrenica without delay, Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) insisted in Göttingen on Friday following the publication of the Netherlands Supreme Court's final ruling . “The Judges' decision sends a clear message to the international public how the UN failed in its duty during the Bosnian War”, declared STP/GfbV's General Secretary Tilman Zülch. The Supreme Court found the State of the Netherlands responsible for the deaths of three Bosnian Muslims who in 1995 sought protection from Serb forces at the Dutch UN peacekeeping force's base on the outskirts of Srebrenica but were then forced to leave the compound.

“Another 5000 to 6000 residents of Srebrenica who fled from the troops commanded by the Serbian leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic and sought shelter inside the peacekeepers' base failed to receive the protection they should have been given and were instead delivered into the hands of murderers. Several hundred men and boys in this group ended up as victims of the Srebrenica genocide“, Tilman Zülch said, noting that 25,000 more refugees were refused admission to the compound and simply left to the mercies of the advancing Serb troops. “Many of the survivors are deeply traumatised and live in poverty in a destitute Bosnia. It must be obvious that they should now at last be provided with adequate income support and educational assistance for their children.“

The plaintiff in one of the cases considered by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the translator Hasan Nuhanovic, was obliged to watch as his parents and younger brother were sent to their deaths on 13 July 1995. The UN-employed electrician Rizo Mustafic would have survived had he too not been separated from his wife and children, the other plaintiffs, and ordered out of the UN compound.

8372 victims died in the Srebrenica genocide, among them 510 women. It was in 2003 that Hasan Nuhanovic and Mehida Mustafic-Mujic and her children Damir and Alma began their legal action against the State of the Netherlands, assisted by the Dutch human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld.