Netherlands agrees to pay compensation to families of three Srebrenica victims

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 29.06.2015 18:14
Updated 29.06.2015 20:24
Bosnian Muslim women cry and pray among 520 caskets stocked in an abandoned factory hangar, in preparation for a mass burial ceremony at the Srebrenica Memorial Cemetery, in Potocari on July 10, 2012 (AFP Photo)
Bosnian Muslim women cry and pray among 520 caskets stocked in an abandoned factory hangar, in preparation for a mass burial ceremony at the Srebrenica Memorial Cemetery, in Potocari on July 10, 2012 (AFP Photo)

The Netherlands has agreed to compensate the families of three Bosnians killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The Netherlands last week (for the first time) apologized to relatives of the three Bosnian Muslim men murdered. Relatives of the three men who were forced out of a UN compound won a long-running battle with the Dutch state in 2013, claiming that the lives of Muhamed Nuhanovic, his father Ibro and Rizo Mustafic could have been saved.

The amount of compensation to be paid by the Dutch state was not revealed, but the ministry had previously offered to pay each family 20,000 euros ($22,300).

Almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and buried in mass graves in mid-July 1995 by Bosnian Serb troops commanded by Ratko Mladic in Bosnia's three-year civil war in which 100,000 people died.

The Serb forces brushed aside the lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers and overran the supposedly safe enclave, before committing the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II.

"Last year in June Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert spoke to relatives and apologized," the ministry said in the last week's statement issued in The Hague.

"The State regrets that Mustafic and the Nuhanovics had to leave the compound," it said.

The Dutch government has not previously apologized for any deaths at Srebrenica.

The complaint was made by relatives of Muhamed Nuhanovic, 27, who worked as a translator for the Dutch UN blue helmet contingent known as "Dutchbat". Mustafic was employed as an electrician.

The victims sought safety with the Dutch troops, but plaintiffs say they were forced to flee into the hands of the Bosnian Serb army under Mladic -- himself now on trial for genocide and war crimes at the Hague-based Yugoslavia war crimes court.

The role of the Dutch peacekeepers at Srebrenica has cast a long shadow in the Netherlands, with a cabinet resigning in 2002 after a report laid some of the blame for the atrocity on the government.

Some 2,000 Dutch soldiers served as peacekeepers in Bosnia.

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