Oral pleadings victims of Srebrenica
Amsterdam, 22 April 2011 – Yesterday, the oral pleadings were held in the Srebrenica case before the Appeals Court in The Hague. On behalf of the family Mustafić and Hasan Nuhanović, Liesbeth Zegveld and Anne Scheltema Beduin are suing the Dutch State for unlawful conduct by the Dutch soldiers of the Dutch battalion (‘Dutchbat’) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in July 1995. This unlawful conduct consists of sending Rizo Mustafić and the family of Nuhanović off the protected compound, into the hands of the Bosnian-Serbian enemy. The family members of Nuhanović and Mustafić were subsequently murdered by the Bosnian-Serbs.
On 10 September 2008, the district court of The Hague rejected the claim. According to the court, the United Nations (the 'UN') are liable for the damages and not the Dutch State. After all, the Dutchbat soldiers were wearing blue helmets.
The plaintiffs have filed for appeal against this decision. The victims argue that the Dutch soldiers had participated in the deportation of the Nuhanović family and Mustafić by sending them into the arms of the enemy. As these actions are diametrically opposed to the UN-mandate—the protection of civilians—the State must bear the responsibility for that conduct.
The Appeals Court in The Hague will render its verdict on 5 July 2011.