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Dutch Supreme Court Urged To Overturn Decision Partly Blaming Dutch Soldiers For Srebrenica Killings

One of the posts of Dutch UN troops near the Muslim enclave and UN safe area of Srebrenica on July 10, 1995.

The Supreme Court in the Netherlands has been urged to overturn a ruling holding the country partly liable for the deaths of about 300 Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian war.

The court’s attorney-general, Paul Vlas, said a Dutch appeals court in 2017 had made an “incomprehensible” decision by upholding a decision that Dutch peacekeepers had not done enough to protect the men who were seeking refuge at their UN base.

His opinion on February 1 will be taken into account when the court makes its final ruling, expected on April 19.

Altogether, 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb troops under the command of General Ratko Mladic in Srebrenica in July 1995, the worst mass killing on European soil since World War II.

Many of the victims had fled to the UN-declared "safe zone" in Srebrenica, only to find the outnumbered Dutch troops there unable to defend them.

The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after acknowledging its failure to protect the refugees but said the peacekeepers had been on "mission impossible."

The original verdict in 2014 ruled that Dutch soldiers should have known the men would be murdered by Bosnian Serb troops if they were forced to leave the base.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters