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DUTCH COURT DISMISSES SREBRENICA CASE AGAINST NETHERLANDS

September 11, 2008 4 comments

“One could not have expected a different verdict, because we are dealing with the state, which doesn’t want to accept its responsibility.” – Munira Subasic.

PHOTO: Relatives Mehida Mustafic-Majic, sitting left, her daughter Alma, center, and her son Damir, right, leave the court after the verdict at the District Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.

A Dutch civil court sided with the Dutch state and dismissed the case against the Netherlands for their failure to prevent Srebrenica genocide in 1995. The Srebrenica enclave had been declared a UN “Safe Haven” under the control of Dutchbat before the massacre took place. Dutch soldiers allowed Serb forces to take away more than 8,000 Bosniak men, children, and elderly – actions which resulted in the worst massacre and the first genocide since the World War II in Europe. Thousands of Bosniak women were forcibly deported from the enclave in a U.N.-assisted ethnic cleansing.

The lawsuit against the Netherlands was brought by Hasan Nuhanovic and the family of Rizo Mustafic. Nuhanovic is a survivor of Srebrenica genocide who lost his mother, father and brother in the massacre. Mustafic, who worked as an electrician in the U.N. force’s Dutch battalion (Dutchbat), also died during the Srebrenica genocide. The plaintiffs claimed that both the UN and the Dutch troops failed to take effective action to prevent the massacre, thus violating the UN Convention on genocide.

In June, the Dutch court also rejected another lawsuit brought forward by the association Mothers of Srebrenica, which sought to sue the UN for damages for having failed to protect local civilians and to prevent the massacre.

The latest court ruling said that the Dutch soldiers had acted under the UN flag and the Dutch state could therefore not be held accountable, saying the “actions must be attributed exclusively to the United Nations.” The court ruling also added that if national courts were to start judging United Nations actions and operations, it could have significant negative effects on the future work and decision-making of the UN Security Council.

PHOTO: Hasan Nuhanovic talks to the media after the judgement at the District Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.

The president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, Munira Subasic, who lost 22 members of her family in the massacres said that “One could not have expected a different verdict, because we are dealing with the state, which doesn’t want to accept its responsibility.”

“Many Dutch soldiers became mentally ill after their Srebrenica mandate where they witnessed mass slaughter and killings,” Subasic said. “It is also known that the Netherlands was sued by its own soldiers,” she added.

“None of the points we presented as evidence to the court over the last six years has been accepted. They have all been rejected. This is a total denial of all accusations presented by the two families,” said Hasan Nuhanovic.

“I have repeated thousands of times that I am not here to blame Dutchbat for their passivity,” Nuhanovic said. “I am accusing them of being active – in violation of the human rights of my family and other refugees. I noticed the judge read several times the sentence ‘under the UN flag’. They referred to the flag under which these Duchbat actions were conducted. However, these actions were conducted under the flag of the Netherlands as well.”

Hasan Nuhanovic said that he feels betrayed by the Dutchbat, “I have been betrayed so many times before by people in my life. The moment I was betrayed was 13 years ago was when I was working with Dutch battalion soldiers, UN officials who knew me and my family personally, they sent my family out to die.”

In June, Nuhanovic had told the court how the Dutch troops expelled his family from the safety of the U.N. compound in Srebrenica. “My mother was crying, I was crying. The only person that wasn’t crying was my brother. He was 22 and very proud. ‘Hasan, don’t beg them for my life any more.'”

Laywer for the Plaintifs, Liesbeth Zegveld, said it was unprecedented that the court did not recognise the suffering of the claimants in any way. “Justice is not a science. It is a choice to see it purely in legal terms.”

SREBRENICA GENOCIDE SURVIVORS AWAIT COURT DECISION

September 9, 2008 1 comment
Decision due on 10.9.2008 at The Hague in first civil court action brought by Srebrenica survivors against Dutch state

Why were Ibro, Nasiha and Muhamed Nuhanovic and Rizo Mustafic sent to their deaths when the United Nations had promised to ensure their safety?

Today the Netherlands District Court in The Hague will deliver its verdict on whether the Dutch state and its contingent of United Nations peace-keeping troops can be held responsible for handing over Bosnian refugees who had looked to them for protection to be murdered by Serb soldiers in July 1995.

“We hope that the Dutch government, along with the international community, will finally accept responsibility for the deaths of 8376 men and boys from the town and for their surviving relatives”, declared GfbV/STP General Secretary Tilman Zülch, speaking in Göttingen, Germany, today. “The eyes and thoughts of all the survivors of the massacre who hold the Dutch UN troops and the Dutch government responsible for the the death of their defenceless relatives are focused on The Hague. The judges must not disappoint them.”

In July 1995 Bosnians who had sought refuge In the UN forces’ base at Potocari were ordered by Dutch UN peacekeepers to leave the safety of the base and sent to face the prospect of certain death with Bosnian refugees already being killed and raped by Serb soldiers only a few metres outside the area under UN protection . The UN forces even denied protection to Bosnians who were known personally to them and to the family of their interpreter.

Six years ago the family of electrician Rizo Mustafic, who was murdered at Srebrenica, and Hasan Nuhanovic, whose parents and brother were also among those killed, began their civil action in the District Court at The Hague. They sought to hold the Dutch state accountable for the failings of the Dutch UN battalion. What the court has to determine is whether the Dutch government and the Dutch command within UNPROFOR should be held accountable for the shameful conduct of Dutch forces who were more concerned for their own safety than they were for the protection of the civilians in their care.

Hasan Nuhanovic lost his parents and his younger brother. His father’s remains have been found in a mass grave and identified but the fate of his mother and brother remains unknown. Many mass graves were subsequently dug up by Serb troops using bulldozers to conceal the evidence. The remains were reburied elsewhere.

Alma Mustafic, daughter of the murdered Rizo Mustafic, has written to GfbV that, “Deep in my heart I am hoping that the court will deliver a just verdict and that these crimes will not be trivialised or denied.”

Background: the tragedy of the Nuhanovic family: Hasan Nuhanovic spent the night of 12-13 July 1995 with his parents and brother in a makeshift office on the UNPROFOR base at Potocari, on the outskirts of Srebrenica, working to the orders of the Dutch officer Andre de Haan. De Haan, who was staying in the same room with them and a doctor and nurse, had in the past been a welcome guest of the family and had enjoyed Mrs Nuhanovic’s cooking.

Nevertheless he did nothing to help her as she came close to breaking down on hearing that nine men had been killed in the area in front of the UNPROFOR base . The following morning, between 5 and 6 a.m., de Haan said, “Hasan, tell your mother, your brother and your father they must leave the base.”

Nuhanovic has painstakingly researched the story of the terrible events at Srebrenica which he documented in meticulous detail in his 550-page book, “Under the UN Flag”, before taking his case to court.

Jasna Causevic, GfbV/STP’s Southern Europe desk officer, can be contacted in The Hague by telephone on +49 179 524 35 38.

DISTRICT COURT’S RULING AWAITED ON THE DUTCH STATE’S FAILURE TO PROTECT CIVILIAN REFUGEES FROM GENOCIDE AT SREBRENICA

September 9, 2008 Comments off
Judgment in two civil actions due to be given at 10 a.m. on 10 September 2008 in the District Court at The Hague (Prins Clauslaan 60, The Hague, Netherlands).

On 10 September 2008 the District Court at The Hague will give its decision in the first civil actions brought against the Dutch State by relatives of the victims of genocide at Srebrenica. Hasan Nuhanovic and the family of Rizo Mustafic are seeking to establish that the Dutch state is responsible for the failure of Dutch troops acting under a United Nations mandate to protect their family members who were massacred at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Hasan Nuhanovic, a U.N. interpreter who lost his father, mother and younger brother, and the family of Rizo Mustafic, an electrician employed by the Dutch battalion of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), claim that the Dutch government failed to protect the lives of their relatives after the safe area established by U.N. Security Council Resolution around the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia was allowed to fall into the hands of the Bosnian Serb Army.

The Nuhanovic and Mustafic families were among thousands of refugees who sought protection inside the compound of the U.N. base at Potocari but were handed over by the Dutch UNPROFOR forces to Serb General Ratko Mladic. Dutch soldiers in U.N. blue helmets are alleged to have watched on as women and young girls were taken away and raped and men and boys separated before being taken away for summary execution.

In a tort action against the Dutch state in which much of the legal debate has revolved around the division of responsibility between the United Nations and national states, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld has argued that the Dutch government and the Dutch command within UNPROFOR were responsible for the gross negligence shown by Dutch troops, they were primarily concerned for the safety of their national contingent and they showed scant regard for the safety of the civilian population entrusted to their care.

The families have been concerned above all to establish the truth about why Ibro, Nasiha and Muhamed Nuhanovic and Rizo Mustafic were sent to their deaths in brutal circumstances when the United Nations had promised to ensure their safety.

The final hearing before the District Court on 16 June 2008 took place before the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, President of the Bosnian Serb Republika Srpska. Since the hearing Karadzic has been charged with responsibility for the genocide at Srebrenica and is currently in The Hague awaiting trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Contact person:Prof. Dr Liesbeth Zegveld, Böhler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden (BFKW) , Attorneys, Keizersgracht 560-562, Amsterdam 1017 EM, Tel.: +31 20 – 344 62 00, Fax: +31 20 – 344 62 01, e-mail: <lzegveld@bfkw.nl>

Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Zegveld studied law at Utrecht. She obtained her doctorate with distinction in 2000 and was sworn in as an attorney in Amsterdam the same year. In 2005 she became a partner at Böhler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden, where she is a member of the international law & human rights department. She has written many articles on issues in the field of international humanitarian law. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the International Law Association’s Committee for Compensation for War Victims. In September 2006 she was appointed professor of International Humanitarian Law, in particular the Rights of Women and Children, at Leiden University.

15 ACTIVIST DUTCH SOLDIERS TO TESTIFY IN KARADZIC’S FAVOR

August 30, 2008 6 comments

A group of former Dutch soldiers with questionable agenda and pro-Serb leanings are on a crusade to deny Srebrenica genocide and get their 15 minutes of shame…

Acccording to Serbia’s Vecernje Novosti, a group of former Dutch soldiers who were stationed in Srebrenica enclave in 1995, came to Belgrade on Wednesday “at their own expense” to meet with Milivoje Ivanisevic.

Milivoje Ivanisevic is a Belgrade-based Srebrenica genocide denier whose, so called, research has been discredited by the International Criminal Tribunal as “…a shameful denial and relativisation of the facts that this court has established beyond reasonable doubt about the genocide committed in Srebrenica.” (source: ICTY)

This fringe group of Dutch activists, who clearly have questionable agenda and pro-Serb leanings, say they want to testify in Radovan Karadzic’s favor. As ridiculous as it may seem, but these offensive liars and Srebrenica genocide deniers claim that Serb Army did not commit crimes in Srebrenica. Karadzic, the architect of Srebrenica genocide, is currently on trial at the Hague.

We spoke to two Srebrenica genocide survivors and they told us they have dealt with this type of propaganda for the last 13 years. For Srebrenica genocide survivors, this kind of irresponsible behavior, on the part of the Dutch, is nothing new. After all, the Dutch soldiers abandoned people of Srebrenica in 1995 and left disgusting material behind themselves (see photos of Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica).

Activist Dutch veterans told Ivanisevic they had to “protect themselves from the Muslims, rather than protect Muslims from the Serbs” in Srebrenica. What they failed to mention is that Serb soldiers wore Dutch helmets and disguised themselves as UN peacekeepers to trick Bosniak population of Srebrenica into surrendering. In this situation, it was impossible to distinguish between real and fake peacekeepers.

Srebrenica genocide resulted in the summary executions of 8,000 Bosniaks, including at last 500 children, and forcible deportations of thousands of women and children. Women would not be spared, but Serbs were sensitive to the public opinion so they opted for forcible deportations instead (read more here) – as concluded by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

DUTCH GRAFFITI IN SREBRENICA: SICKENING LEGACY OF THE UNITED NATIONS IN SREBRENICA

June 27, 2008 25 comments
WARNING: Some of the material that the United Nations’ Dutcbat ‘peacekeepers’ left in Srebrenica is explicit and highly offensive. Proceed viewing this material at your own risk.

Intro: This is the mountain road south of town where Dutch UN troops maintained observation posts. Facing the Bosnian Serb offensive in July 1995, the Dutch retreated without firing a shot. The town was taken, and the genocide of over 8,000 Bosniaks began. The forcible transfer (ethnic cleansing) of tens of thousands of people was assisted by the United Nations.

(can click on images for higher resolution photos)

Almost 13 years after the worst European genocide since World War II, the Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica still serve as a reminder of a shameful Dutch incompetence and a sickening arrogance they had towards their UN mission and people they ought to protect.

Oblivious to the fact that a horrible genocide was just about to happen before their eyes, the Dutch troops stationed at the UN base in Potocari spent their time “decorating” walls with drawings and graffiti. Some of these disgusting Dutch graffiti are XXX-rated, so it’s up to you whether you want to proceed with viewing this sickening material that Dutch soldiers left behind themselves in Srebrenica…

PHOTO: While people of Srebrenica were starving, Dutch U.N. ‘peacekeepers’ enjoyed T-bone Steaks, Spare Ribs, Schnitzels (see the ‘Dutchbat Menu’ above) and XXX-rated porn, as you will see from disgusting Dutch graffiti below…. Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: XXX-rated Dutch graffiti (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari) in Srebrenica, see right side wall drawing. Man in the photo is Abdulah, one of few who survived the four-day-long march through the forests around Srebrenica while the Serb Chetniks were shelling them with artillery and committing genocide in and around Srebrenica.

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica read “My ass is like a local. It’s got the smell same. Bosnia ’94” (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).
PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica read “I’m your best friend. I kill you for nothing. Bosnie 94.” (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).


PHOTO: XXX-rated Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica read “No Teeth…! A Mustache…? Smel Like Shit…? Bosnian Girl!” (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica read “UN, United Nothing.” (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: XXX-rated Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: XXX-rated Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: ” Lick my Ass.” Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: “Nema Problema” translates as “No Problems” in Bosnian language. Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

PHOTO: Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica read “No Teeth…! A Mustache…? Smel Like Shit…? Bosnian Girl!” (Dutchbat Camp in Potocari).

NETHERLANDS: SREBRENICA GENOCIDE SURVIVORS ATTEND COURT HEARING AGAINST THE DUTCH STATE

June 17, 2008 2 comments
A Dutch court has begun hearing a civil action brought against the Netherlands by relatives of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia. Meanwhile, at a vigil outside the Dutch court, Srebrenica genocide survivors and victims’ relatives held up a long banner inscribed with the names of at least 8,106 victims – many of them defenceless children and elderly…

PHOTO: Hasan Nuhanovic, Srebrenica genocide survivor.

By Foo Yun Chee / REUTERS
(Republished for fair use only, as defined by the Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107)

A survivor of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre who says Dutch U.N. troops guarding the Bosnian town allowed Bosnian Serb forces to murder his family told a Dutch court on Monday he wanted justice for his loss.

Hasan Nuhanovic and the family of another Srebrenica victim are suing the Dutch state for negligence over its troops’ role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The court will hear a separate civil suit on Wednesday filed by about 6,000 relatives of Srebrenica massacre victims against the Dutch state and the United Nations.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) men and boys were killed at Srebrenica, a U.N. safe haven guarded by a Dutch army unit serving as part of a United Nations force, after Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic overran it on July 11, 1995.

Nuhanovic, a U.N. interpreter who launched his case in 2002, says his father, mother and younger brother were killed after they were expelled from the town’s Dutch military base. He says he was allowed to stay because he had a U.N. identity card.

“If I had not done this, I would not be able to go on with my life. I am seeking justice,” Nuhanovic told Reuters ahead of the court hearing in The Hague.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, representing Nuhanovic and the family of Rizo Mustafic, an electrician in the U.N. force ‘s Dutch battalion who also died in the massacre, told judges the Dutch state had been grossly negligent and violated human rights through the actions of its soldiers in Srebrenica.

“One life could have been saved, my dad,” Mustafic’s daughter, Alma, told the court. “He was entitled to Dutch protection, this was confirmed to us, but he was not given it. He fell into Serbian hands, since then we have not heard anything about him.”

At a vigil outside the court earlier on Monday, about 50 relatives and Srebrenica survivors held up a long banner inscribed with the names of the 8,106 victims.

Government lawyers said Mustafic was not evacuated because he was a temporary worker and not a U.N. employee.

“The acts of the Dutch battalion are attributable to the U.N. and not to the Dutch state,” the lawyers told the court. “The Dutch state made available soldiers for the peacekeeping mission, to keep apart fighting parties. The fact they didn’t succeed does not mean they are liable for the atrocities.”

The Netherlands has said its troops were abandoned by the U.N., which gave them no air support. The families’ lawyers have said public documents show a network of Dutch military officials within the U.N. blocked air support because they feared their soldiers could be hit by “friendly fire”.

Judges said they would issue their ruling on September 10.

Munira Subasic, head of an association of mothers bereaved by the massacre, and who will be a witness for the suit to be heard on Wednesday, said she hoped for justice for Nuhanovic “and all others who experienced genocide under the protection of the U.N. and before the eyes of the whole world”.

The Dutch government led by Wim Kok resigned in 2002 after a report on the massacre blamed politicians for sending the Dutch U.N. troops on an impossible mission. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Mladic, both indicated for genocide over Srebrenica, are still at large.

THE DUTCH STATE FAILED IN ITS DUTY TO PROTECT CIVILIAN VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE AT SREBRENICA

June 3, 2008 6 comments
PRESS RELEASE

Amsterdam, 3 June 2008:

Civil action due to be heard at 10 a.m. on 16 June 2008 in the District Court at The Hague (Prins Clauslaan 60, The Hague, Netherlands).

On 16 June 2008 the District Court at The Hague will hear the first civil action brought against the Dutch State by relatives of the victims of genocide at Srebrenica. Hasan Nuhanovic and the family of Rizo Mustafic are seeking to establish that the Dutch state is responsible for the failure of Dutch troops acting under a United Nations mandate to protect their family members massacred at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Hasan Nuhanovic, a U.N. interpreter who lost his father, mother and younger brother, and the family of Rizo Mustafic, an electrician employed by the Dutch battalion of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), claim that the Dutch government failed to protect the lives of their relatives after the safe area established by U.N. Security Council Resolution around the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia was allowed to fall into the hands of the Bosnian Serb Army.

The Nuhanovic and Mustafic families were among thousands of refugees who sought protection inside the compound of the U.N. base at Potocari but were then delivered by the Dutch UNPROFOR forces into the hands of Serb General Ratko Mladic. Dutch soldiers in U.N. blue helmets are alleged to have watched on as women and young girls were taken away and raped and men and boys separated before being taken away for summary execution.

In a tort action against the Dutch state in which much of the legal debate revolves around the division of responsibility between the United Nations and national states, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld will argue that the Dutch government and the Dutch command within UNPROFOR were responsible for the gross negligence shown by Dutch troops, were primarily concerned for the safety of their national contingent and showed scant regard for the safety of the civilian population entrusted to their care.

The families are concerned above all to establish the truth about why Ibro, Nasiha and Muhamed Nuhanovic and Rizo Mustafic were allowed to go to their deaths in brutal circumstances when the United Nations had promised to ensure their safety.

Contact person:
Prof. Dr Liesbeth Zegveld, Böhler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden (BFKW) , Attorneys, Keizersgracht 560-562, Amsterdam 1017 EM, Tel.: +31 20 – 344 62 00, Fax: +31 20 – 344 62 01, e-mail: info@bfkw.nl

Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Zegveld studied law at Utrecht. She obtained her doctorate with distinction in 2000 and was sworn in as an attorney in Amsterdam the same year. In 2005 she became a partner at Böhler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden, where she is a member of the international law & human rights department. She has written many articles on issues in the field of international humanitarian law. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the International Law Association’s Committee for Compensation for War Victims. In September 2006 she was appointed professor of International Humanitarian Law, in particular the Rights of Women and Children, at Leiden University.