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Court: Dutch State Responsible For Three Srebrenica Deaths

Bosnian Muslim women mourn over a casket during the funeral of 465 Bosnian Muslims at the Potocari Memorial Center in 2007.
A Dutch appeals court has issued a landmark ruling holding the Dutch state accountable for the killing of three Bosnian Muslim men during the 1995 massacre in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

The court found the Dutch government responsible for the killings because, as a court spokeswoman announced, the Dutch peacekeeping troops stationed there "should not have handed them over" to invading Bosnian Serb forces.

The court has ordered that compensation be paid to the victims' families.

Srebrenica was a UN-declared "safe haven" protected by Dutch peacekeeping troops when Bosnian Serb forces invaded the town and systematically killed 8,000 Bosniak men and boys.

The Dutch government says its soldiers were abandoned by the UN during the incident.

Today's case was brought forward by Hasan Nuhanovic, an interpreter who lost his brother and father in the massacre, and relatives of Srebrenica victim Rizo Mustafic.

Observers say the ruling could allow for other victims to claim compensation from the Dutch state.

compiled from agency reports