Wednesday, November 28, 2007


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (November 28,2007) - Families of genocide victims from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica have cleared a legal hurdle in their lawsuit against the Netherlands and the United Nations, which allowed the genocidal Serbian aggressor to mass murder thousands of Bosnian civilians, their lawyers said.

A court in the Hague ruled the case could proceed, dismissing pleas by the Dutch prosecutors that it should be dropped after the United Nations invoked its legal immunity and said it would not take part.

In 1995 the genocidal Serbian aggressor's forces massacred 10,000 Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica, a Bosnian town declared a safe area during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia and guarded by a Dutch army unit serving as part of a larger U.N. force in Bosnia.

Lawyer Marco Gerritsen, representing the genocide victims' families, said yesterday the court had supported their argument that the U.N. could not be granted automatic immunity.

"The U.N. has the duty to prevent genocide. An appeal to immunity in a case of genocide, as in the Srebrenica drama, is irreconcilable with the U.N.'s own objectives and its international obligations," he added in a statement.

The genocide victims' families launched the suit against the Netherlands and the U.N. in July, arguing the Dutch were to blame for the massacre because they refused crucial air support to their own troops defending the Bosnian town.

The Dutch U.N. soldiers abandoned the enclave instead to the genocidal Serbian aggressor who took away and mass murdered up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians who had relied on protection from the Dutch troops.

Former leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague on genocide charges over Srebrenica, are still on the run.

Dismayed by the failure to bring to justice the two chief suspects, the genocide victims' families say they have turned to a Dutch court for recognition and redress for the tragedy.

The Dutch state has always said its troops were abandoned by the U.N. which gave them no air support, but public documents show a network of Dutch military officials within the U.N. blocked air support because they feared their soldiers could be hit by friendly fire, the genocide victims families' lawyers said.

"The Srebrenica women have got a fair chance to proceed against the United Nations," Bosnian lawyer Semir Guzin said.

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