Families of the victims say they will fight the plans by the Dutch Defence Ministry to appeal a verdict under which it was found responsible for the deaths of three Bosniaks in the Srebrenica genocide.Klaas Meijer, a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Defence, told journalists last week that the Netherlands will lodge an appeal with the country’s Supreme Court against a verdict by the District Court in The Hague, which found them responsible for the deaths of three Bosniaks who were forced to leave the Dutch soldiers’ base in Srebrenica in July 1995.“The United Nations had effective control over the ‘Dutchbat’ forces, not the Dutch state,” Meijer said and added that the appeal would be lodged soon.
Hasan Nuhanovic, one of the plaintiffs in the case – who lost his brother and father in Srebrenica – claims that “the Dutch state will do all it can to stop this case”.
“This case has been on-going for eight or nine years. Only last year I won before the Appeals Chamber of the Hague District court. The mere fact that the Dutch state has said it will appeal this decision, means that I will have to spend another year or two before the Supreme Court,” Nuhanovic told BIRN.
Nuhanovic, a former interpreter with the United Nations, together with the family of Rizo Mustafic, a former electrician with the Dutch Battalion who was also killed, filed a suit against the Netherlands in 2002.
According to the lawsuit, soldiers with the UN’s Peace Corps, who were in charge of securing the then protected zone of Srebrenica, enabled Bosnian Serb forces to kill two members of his family.
The District Court at The Hague determined that the Netherlands was responsible for the death of three Bosniaks, because the Dutch contingent of the UN’s Peace Corps handed them over to the Army of Republika Srpska.
The court pressured the Netherlands to pay material compensation to families of the three killed Bosniaks, by advising the family members to file civil suits.
Nuhanovic told BIRN that the Dutch Ministry has three months to file an appeal.
“I think they will wait until the last second to file it. This is a tactic to tire me and stall the process. I am already tired but that does not mean I will stop. They have managed to drag this on for nine years, so I think by the end of everything this will take more then a decade. However while I am alive and healthy I will fight for justice,” said Nuhanovic.
The Hague Tribunal and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina have found in several verdicts that genocide was committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, when the Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Bosniaks.