Srebrenica relatives' case against UN rejected

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

A court in The Hague has thrown out a number of complaints from the "mothers of Srebrenica" against the United Nations and the Dutch state.

The court says that the immunity of the United Nations is of a higher order than the interest of the survivors of the 1995 genocide. The mothers and wives of Srebrenica victims say that the UN failed in their protection of the Muslim enclave in Bosnia. Bosnian Serb troups took the enclave and killed 8,000 men and boys despite the presence of Dutch UN soldiers. The court says the Dutch state cannot be held responsible because its military were operating under the UN flag.

Understandable, but...
Explaining its decision, the court says that it is understandable for the Srebrenica victims' relatives to take the issue to court, but it emphasises that the UN will be hampered in its work if the organisation has to appear in court. If that were to happen, countries would no longer be prepared to offer troops for the UN's worldwide peacekeeping operations. The court recommended the plaintiffs to take the actual perpetrators of the genocide to court.

The "mothers of Srebrenica" told the press they do not accept the rejection of their case and will take it to the Netherlands' Supreme Court. This highest judicial body of the country could refer them to the European Court of Justice.

 Listen to an interview with Alex Hagedorn, lawyer for the Mothers of Srebrenica

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide