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Dutch Government Rejects Link Between Srebrenica, Gay Soldiers

Dutch officials have rejected a claim by a former U.S. army general that Dutch soldiers failed to prevent the 1995 Srebrenica massacre partly because their ranks included openly gay soldiers.

John Sheehan, a former NATO commander, made the comments at a U.S. Senate hearing where he argued against a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military.

Sheehan said Dutch leaders had told him that the presence of gay soldiers had contributed to the fall of Srebrenica.

About 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered at Srebrenica in 1995 after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-protected enclave where Dutch peacekeeping troops were stationed to protect civilians.

A spokesman for the Dutch Defense Ministry, Roger van de Wetering, called Sheehan's remarks "complete nonsense."

compiled from agency reports