Dutch state apol­o­gizes for 3 Sre­brenica deaths

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

the Nether­lands, The Nether­lands has for the first time apol­o­gized to rel­a­tives of Bos­nian Mus­lim men mur­dered at Sre­brenica in 1995, the Dutch de­fense min­istry said on Thurs­day.

Rel­a­tives of three men who were forced out of a U.N. com­pound won a long-run­ning bat­tle with the Dutch state in 2013, claim­ing that the lives of Muhamed Nuhanovic, his fa­ther Ibro and Rizo Mustafic could have been saved.

Al­most 8,000 Mus­lim men and boys were slaugh­tered and buried in mass graves in mid-July 1995 by Bos­nian Serb troops com­manded by Ratko Mladic in Bos­nia’s three-year civil war in which 100,000 peo­ple died.

The Serb forces brushed aside the lightly armed Dutch peace­keep­ers and over­ran the sup­pos­edly safe en­clave, be­fore com­mit­ting the worst atroc­ity on Euro­pean soil since World War II.

“Last year in June De­fense Min­is­ter Jea­nine Hen­nis-Plass­chaert spoke to rel­a­tives and apol­o­gized,” the min­istry said in a state­ment is­sued in The Hague.

“The State re­grets that Mustafic and the Nuhanovics had to leave the com­pound,” it said.

The Dutch gov­ern­ment has not pre­vi­ously apol­o­gized deaths at Sre­brenica.

The com­plaint was made by rel­a­tives of Muhamed Nuhanovic, 27, who worked as a trans­la­tor for the Dutch U. N. blue hel­met con­tin­gent known as “Dutch­bat.”

Mustafic was em­ployed as an elec­tri­cian.

The vic­tims sought safety with the Dutch troops, but plain­tiffs say they were forced to flee into the hands of the Bos­nian Serb army un­der Mladic — him­self now on trial for geno­cide and war crimes at the Hague-based Yu­goslavia war crimes court.

The Dutch gov­ern­ment has pre­vi­ously said it would pay the fam­i­lies 20,000 eu­ros each in com­pen­sa­tion, but a de­fense min­istry spokes­woman de­clined to con­firm that that was the sum paid.

The an­nounce­ment of the apol­ogy was only be­ing made now be­cause talks with the vic­tims’ rel­a­tives’ lawyers were on­go­ing.

The role of the Dutch peace­keep­ers at Sre­brenica has cast a long shadow in the Nether­lands, with a cab­i­net re­sign­ing in 2002 af­ter a re­port laid some of the blame for the atroc­ity on the gov­ern­ment.

Some 2,000 Dutch sol­diers served as peace­keep­ers in Bos­nia.

for any

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.