Target: Geert Corstens, President of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands
Goal: Commend president of the Netherlands for ruling Dutch government at fault for three killed in Bosnian genocide
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands recently handed down a landmark ruling placing the country’s government at fault for the deaths of three Bosnian Muslim men during the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. This judgment is historic because it is the first time ever that a government has been held accountable for crimes committed by its soldiers during a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
The 1995 Srebrenica genocide occurred during the Bosnian War, when Army of Republika Sprska (Bosnian Serb) soldiers under General Ratko Mladic seized control of the city. Dutch soldiers engaged in peacekeeping work of the UN held thousands of Bosnian Muslims in a compound for protection, but released them under pressure from Mladic’s forces. The result was the massacre of about 8,000 men and boys, a tragedy the BBC called “the worst massacre on European soil since the second world war.”
Among the victims were electrician Rizo Mustafic as well as the father and brother of interpreter Hasan Nuhanovic, who aided the Dutch peacekeepers. The victims’ families sued the Dutch government in a 2003 civil suit, stating that the peacekeepers had no right to hand their relatives off to be killed. After ten years, they finally achieved victory with the current Supreme Court ruling.
This historic decision by the Dutch Supreme Court is a tremendous victory for human rights. It asserts that governments have the responsibility to protect people from massacre and genocide, and that not even UN peacekeepers are above this principle. By signing this petition, you will thank the Supreme Court of the Netherlands for their decision.
Dear Mr. Corstens,
I am writing to thank the Supreme Court of the Netherlands for its recent historic ruling finding the Dutch government liable for the deaths of three victims during the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. This landmark decision is the first time a government has been held accountable for crimes committed by its soldiers during a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
As you know, at the time of the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Sprska’s July 1995 capture of the city of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War, Dutch peacekeepers held thousands of Bosnian Muslims in a compound for protection. Under pressure from Republika Sprska forces, the Dutch soldiers evicted those they were protecting and left them to their fate. Approximately 8,000 men and boys were killed in the resulting massacre.
The recent ruling compensating the families of three of those victims firmly establishes that governments have the responsibility to protect people from massacre and genocide, and that not even UN peacekeepers are above this principle. I thank the Supreme Court of the Netherlands for making this powerful judgment in favor of human rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. via Flickr