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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Srebrenica report: Excerpts
From left to right, former foreign affairs minister Hans van Mierlo, current foreign affairs minister Jozias van Aartsen, minister of defence Frank de Grave and prime minister Wim Kok, listen to repor
The report blames the Dutch Government and the UN
The following are excerpts from the official Dutch report into the Srebrenica massacre, produced by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation and commissioned by the Dutch Government in 1996.

A Dutch battalion of UN peacekeepers (Dutchbat) failed to prevent the killing of 7,000 Muslims when the town was overrun by Serb forces in 1995.

The report concludes that the Dutch Government and the United Nations must share responsibility for Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

"Humanitarian motivation and political ambitions drove the Netherlands to undertake an ill-conceived and virtually impossible peace mission.

Dutchbat had to keep the peace where there was no peace.

All the warring factions were guilty of gross violence.

[Srebrenica failures were] more the fault of the inadequate resources and the policy of the United Nations.

Dutchbat grew less and less able to carry out its task

Ethnic cleansing

The military balance of power was such that, without outside support, Dutchbat would have been defenceless in a serious confrontation.

Concern about their own survival in this hell will have meant more to [the Dutch soldiers] than the fate of the Muslim men.

Report weighs 10kg and is 7,600 pages long
A journalist reads the report which took five years to complete

It was the natural task of the Dutch battalion to supervise [the evacuation of men].

Although those refugees were themselves very keen to leave... in the given circumstances it was tantamount to collaborating with ethnic cleansing.

[Deputy commander of the battalion Major Robert Franken] had recognised the danger of excesses... From fear of panic and a direct catastrophe, he was silent about these fears and assisted with the evacuation in full awareness that the fate of the men was uncertain.

No evidence had been found that suggests the involvement of the Serbian authorities in Belgrade.

Information limited

There was not only an incapacity but also a deliberate attempt by the army to, contrary to the wishes of the [defence] minister, to limit the flow of information and, where possible, to avoid sensitive issues.

The army had different priorities, such as preserving the image of Dutchbat and of the army, as a result of which the minister was informed relatively late, often inadequately, and on a few occasions was not even informed at all.

(L - R) Sehida Abdurchmanovic, Hajra Catic, unidentified man, Munira Subesic and Hasja Selinovic stand in front of the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, 09 April 2002.
Bosnian survivors in The Hague before the report was published

The battalion command received limited information... but what was reported was alarming enough: two sightings of nine or 10 corpses and indications that assaults were taking place during interrogations in a house near the compound.

See also:

06 Apr 02 | Europe
Bosnia marks war anniversary
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Q&A: Srebrenica massacre
01 Apr 02 | Europe
Bosnia genocide suspect arrested
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Srebrenica judgement: Excerpts
10 Apr 02 | Europe
Identifying Srebrenica's victims
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