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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 18:19 GMT
Dutch felt Srebrenica 'not worth sacrifice'
Retired British General Rupert Smith
Smith criticised The Hague actions as inadequate

A former United Nations commander in Bosnia has told a Dutch parliamentary inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre that it was clear to him that Dutch authorities would not sacrifice its soldiers for the enclave.

Widows of Srebrenica dead
Srebrenica was the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II
About 7,000 Muslim men were killed after Serb forces took over Srebrenica in 1995, which was under the protection of Dutch peacekeepers.

Retired British General Rupert Smith was speaking during the last day of hearings in the inquiry at The Hague.

He said the impression he had received from Dutch authorities before the massacre was: "It is not worth dying for this."

If the inquiry's report shows that a lack of information between the Dutch army and the government could have prevented the slaughter, it may pave the way for claims for damages against the Netherlands.

Cover-up theory

Mr Smith is the highest former UN official to testify in the inquiry into the fall of Srebrenica, which was declared a safe haven by the UN.

He criticised the Netherlands for sending 200 lightly-armed peacekeepers to defend the enclave against Serb forces.

He also said that the UN could have done more to prevent the genocide, which has been described as Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

In trying to determine the Dutch role in the tragedy, the inquiry is focusing on whether the army covered-up information about Serb atrocities after Srebrenica fell.

On Friday, Dutch military officials gave evidence about a photographic film taken by a lieutenant which turned out to be blank after it was developed at an army laboratory.

The photos had allegedly shown the bodies of Muslims, and Serbs separating the men from the women.

The report is due out on 27 January.

See also:

11 Nov 02 | Europe
10 Apr 02 | Europe
10 Apr 02 | Europe
02 Aug 01 | Europe
17 May 02 | Europe
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