"MOVEMENT OF MOTHERS OF SREBRENICA AND ŽEPA ENCLAVES" • OFFICIAL WEB SITE • Updated on: 17-Jul-2016
Netherlands liable for 300 deaths during Srebrenica massacre
News • March 24th, 2016 • Source: The Independent/Associated Pres • Photo: EPA (European Pressphoto Agency)
A court on Wednesday cleared the Netherlands of liability in the deaths of most of the 8,000 Bosnian Muslims slain in the Srebrenica massacre 19 years ago, but did order the nation to compensate the families of more than 300 men turned over to Bosnian Serb forces and later killed.
In an emotionally charged hearing at a civil court in The Hague, Presiding Judge Larissa Alwin said Dutch UN peacekeepers should have known that the men deported from the Dutch compound by Bosnian Serb forces on July 13, 1995, would be slain because there was already evidence of the Serbs committing war crimes.
“By cooperating in the deportation of these men, Dutchbat acted unlawfully,” Alwin said, referring to the name of the Dutch UN battalion.
The victims were among thousands of Muslims killed after Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic overran the town of Srebrenica on 11 July in what was to become the bloody climax to the 1992-95 Bosnian war that claimed 100,000 lives.
Two days later, the outnumbered Dutch peacekeepers bowed to pressure from Mladic's troops and forced thousands of Muslim families out of their fenced-off compound. Bosnian Serb forces sorted the Muslims by gender, then trucked the males away and began executing them. Their bodies were plowed into hastily made mass graves in what international courts have ruled was genocide. But the ruling cleared Dutch troops of responsibility in the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men who fled into the forests around Srebrenica and were later rounded up and murdered by Serb forces, saying “Dutchbat cannot be held liable for their fate.” Relatives of the dead welcomed the limited finding of liability, but lamented that it did not go much further. “Obviously the court has no sense of justice,” said Munira Subasic, president of the “Mothers of Srebrenica” group that filed the case. “How is it possible to divide victims and tell one mother that the Dutch state is responsible for the death of her son on one side of the wire and not for the son on the other side?” Subasic said her organisation would “keep fighting for truth and justice. And in the end we will win.”
The court did not say how much compensation the families should receive.
Earlier in the long-running case, judges said relatives of the victims could not sue the United Nations in Dutch courts because its immunity from prosecution is a cornerstone of peacekeeping operations around the world. A lawyer for the relatives, Marco Gerritsen, said he would carefully study the 89-page ruling before deciding whether to appeal. The Dutch Defence Ministry did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the ruling.
Dutch peacekeepers' involvement in the Srebrenica massacre has long been a source of national trauma for the Netherlands. In 2002, then-prime minister Wim Kok and his government resigned following a report that blamed Dutch authorities and the UN for sending ill-equipped troops without a strong enough mandate to prevent the slaughter.
Profiles of the Missing
News • July 8th, 2016 • Source: ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons)
At an event organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons in The Hague today, family members of missing persons from around the world described how they joined forces with others who had suffered the same trauma, in order to seek the truth about the fate of their loved ones.
“It is complex to live with ambiguous loss,” said Ram Kumar Bhandari from Nepal, whose father was arrested by police in December 2001 and has not been seen since. “It’s now been 15 years: this is a long, long wait.”
Ram, who has taken the case of his father’s disappearance through the courts, described how he suffered harassment when he sought legal redress. “We are fighting against injustice, to repair society: we are not following a path to revenge. We see the perpetrators posing in the media and leading the issues form the government side. We have been fighting against impunity. Truth is important, the objective truth, the social truth, and the forensic truth. It’s very important for closure, for final rituals. We will never forget.”
“We mothers have been waiting for 20 years,” said Munira Subasic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose husband and son and 20 other family members were killed in July 1995 in the Srebrenica genocide. “We have been searching for justice. The biggest injustice is to be waiting for justice. In 1995 we were left all alone. In order to learn the truth about the fate of our loved ones we established an NGO where all the mothers got together. We raised children who were left without parents, we raised them to be healthy adults, none of them ever sought vengeance; our children are friends with children whose fathers are murderers. We know that when a man falls ill he can be cured, but hatred is something you can never get cured of.”
“We’ve protested, marched, worked with experts, the government is not helping us,” said Blanca Luz Nava Velez from Mexico, whose son was one of the 43 students who were forcibly disappeared in September 2014 in Guerrero state. “I am the wife of a farm worker, our destiny wasn’t to stage marches, but as a mother I always told my son the difference between right and wrong and that is why I’m so angry. Why was he taken away? Why did the government not protect us?”
Other speakers at the event were Norah Fuathum from Uganda, whose oldest son was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army; Ali Aillele from Syria, whose brother was arrested by government forces in February 2012 and has not been seen since; and Dennis Schouten from The Netherlands, whose brother-in-law was among the 283 passengers and 15 crew on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 which was hit by a missile over Ukraine in July 2014.
All of the panelists have actively lobbied the authorities to establish the circumstances of their loved ones’ disappearance and take steps to find and prosecute those who were responsible.
ICMP Commissioners HM Queen Noor, Tom Miller, Wim Kok, Knut Vollebaek and Alistair Burt also participated at Profiles of the Missing, along with ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. The conference was part of a series of events organized to mark ICMP’s 20th anniversary. The organization was founded in 1996 to spearhead the effort to account for the 40,000 people who were missing as a result of the conflict in former Yugoslavia. It revolutionized the use of DNA-led identification techniques and developed database systems to collect, safeguard and share information on missing persons. In 2003 it began operating throughout the world. In 2015 ICMP moved its headquarters from Sarajevo to The Hague. On Thursday evening, it formally opened its new headquarters in The Hague at a ceremony attended by Foreign Minister Bert Koenders and City of The Hague Mayor Jozias van Aartsen.
Karadzic guilty of Bosnia genocide, jailed for 40 years
News • March 24th, 2016 • Source: Reuters (Toby Sterling, Anthony Deutsch, Thomas Escritt)
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted by U.N. judges of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the worst war crime in Europe since World War Two, and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Karadzic, 70, the former president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic, was found guilty on 10 out of 11 charges brought by war crimes prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. He would appeal the decision, his legal adviser said. "The accused was the sole person within Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Republic) with the power to prevent the killing of the Bosnian Muslim males," said presiding judge O-Gon Kwok, in a reference to the 8,000 killed at Srebrenica. "Far from preventing it, he ordered they be transferred elsewhere to be killed," the judge said.
Karadzic was acquitted of one count of genocide in various towns across Bosnia during the war of the 1990s.
The three-judge panel said Karadzic was "at the apex of power," heading the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, when crimes were committed by his troops.
Judges said the 44-month siege of Sarajevo could not have happened without his support; that he committed crimes against humanity in an attempt to purge Muslims and Croats from parts of Bosnia; and that he had intended to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim males of the town of Srebrenica.
Karadzic's legal adviser Peter Robinson said Karadzic was "disappointed by the verdict, astonished by the reasoning and he wants to appeal."
As the judges described the siege of Sarajevo, Karadzic looked pained and his face tightened into a grimace.
Ms Florence Hartmann arrested in Hague
News • March 24th, 2016 • Source: N1 Televizija
Florence Hartmann (C), former spokesperson of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecutor del Ponte, is detained by Dutch police and UN security personnel prior to the court's reading the verdict on former Serbian leader Karadzic in The Hague, The Netherlands, 24 March 2016. Hartmann was imposed with a fine of 7,000 euros by the ICTY in 2011 for disclosing contents of confidential nature on the war crimes case against Milosevic.
Karadžić's War Crimes And Judgment
Retrospective • March 24th, 2016 • Source: AJ+
Radovan Karadžić was convicted in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his role in the Bosnian War, including his role overseeing the genocide at Srebrenica.