On Friday 19 July 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Dutch state had 10% liability for the deaths of 350 men and boys while under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeepers in July 1995, in a final verdict that ends a years-long legal battle between the Dutch state and the claimants, the Mothers of Srebrenica, led by Munira Subašić.
The Court determined that if Dutch peacekeepers had given the men and boys the chance to stay, there was only a 10% chance they would have survived. While the ruling did not set out how the 10% chance of survival was determined, it concluded that the Dutch state should be liable for only that proportion of damages.
An appeals court had previously determined liability at 30% but the matter was escalated to the Supreme Court because the Netherlands appealed, while the Mothers of Srebrenica wanted the State to be held accountable for all of the over 8,000 deaths in the genocide.
Munira Subašić, President of the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica and Žepa Enclaves, said:
They are responsible, and they will always have a stain. We know what happened we don’t need this court to tell us. I am shaken, I did not expect this. Today we experienced humiliation upon humiliation. We could not even hear the judgment in our own language because we were not given a translator. Just like in 1995 the Dutch were in charge, and we didn’t know what was going on”.
Amir Halilović, Survivor and Remembering Srebrenica Ambassador said:
Today is a very emotional day, but it is good to see that there is some judgment on the hell that happened in Srebrenica and for all those people that were left alone and killed. At least families have received some sort of [comfort], it’s not big, but at least there is some responsibility, even if only 10%.
I would like to thank the all the Mothers of Srebrenica who led this fight and succeeded at least a little to help everybody in Bosnia”.
You can listen to Amir’s interview with Dan Damon on BBC World Service here:
Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chairman of Remembering Srebrenica said:
Today we share the pain of the Mothers and survivors who lost their loved ones in the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995. While the Dutch Supreme Court’s judgment upholding partial liability of Dutch peacekeepers for 350 deaths is welcome, it must be understood that their liability has been drastically reduced, and that over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War because of the failure to protect them in the UN safe zone. While the perpetrators of the genocide should be held accountable, so too should those who promised to protect the victims. We grieve with the Mothers and families of Srebrenica, as well as all survivors in BiH, who lost their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons”.
You can listen to Dr Azmi’s interview with Marco Werman on PRI’s The World here: