A Dutch appeals court has ruled that the government was ‘partially liable’ in the deaths of some 300 Muslim men murdered by Bosnian Serb forces in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
The ruling largely upheld a civil court’s 2014 judgment that said the state was liable in the deaths of the Bosnian Muslim men who were turned over by Dutch U.N. peacekeepers to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 and subsequently killed.
Hague Appeals Court presiding judge Gepke Dulek says that because Dutch soldiers sent the men off the Dutch compound along with other refugees seeking shelter there, “they were deprived of the chance of survival.”
Over 8,000 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica – a small, overpopulated town in Eastern Bosnia – were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
The genocide was the final chapter in a four-year war. Bosnia, which had been a multi-ethnic republic that was home to Muslims, Serbs and Croats, declared its independence from a disintegrating Yugoslavia in 1992.
Bosnian Serbs, armed by the Yugoslav army, laid siege to the capital city Sarajevo and wiped parts of northern and eastern Bosnia of Muslims in an attempt to create Greater Serbia or ‘Serboslavia’.
The strategy directed by Bosnia Serb figureheads like Radovan Karadzic and his military henchman Ratko Mladic included concentration camps, mass rape, forced evacuations and villages burned to the ground. Muslims were, and still are, referred to as “Turks”.
Up to 50,000 females were subjected to sexual violence, including rape, slavery and forced impregnation, during the wider war. In Višegradska Banja, a village south of Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb authorities established a rape camp at a spa hotel called Vilna Vilas.
Srebrenica, which was a supposed safe area overseen by Dutch peacekeepers on behalf of the United Nations, was the most notorious act of horror. After entering the town Mladic issued a warning to the Muslim population: “Survive or vanish.”
A peace deal was signed later in the year – the Dayton Agreement – which created two autonomous entities in one country. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is mostly populated by Muslims, while Republika Srpska is dominated by Bosnian Serbs.
For the Hague to even use the term ‘partially liable’ is gross and ridicules the lives of the Muslims of Bosnia and Muslims across the world. The trauma of Bosnia is etched into the hearts and minds of Muslims, because it was a demonstration of the low value powers in the West placed on them. The systematic murder and abuse of men and boys was witnessed by Dutch ‘peacekeepers’. The rape of thousands of Muslim women was under their full watch and not just partial.
The burden of genocide and rape is still carried by survivors of Srebrenica. However, the full responsibility is not just on Dutch peacekeepers, but also on the United Kingdom, the United States, every European state and even the governments of the Muslim world.
They watched Srebrenica, just like today they watch the massacres in Syria, Iraq and Rohingya. They watch Palestine and Kashmir. They watch all the atrocities across the Muslim world and turn the other way.
‘Partially liable’ is inaccurate, fully liable and responsible is precise. The Ummah of the Prophet (saw) will never forget Srebrenica and how every nation on the face of the world watched this calamity.