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 Monday, 27 January, 2003, 13:19 GMT
Srebrenica inquiry blames Dutch leaders
Relatives of Srebrenica dead demanding a Dutch inquiry
Relatives are angry about the role of the peacekeepers

A public inquiry carried out by a Dutch parliamentary commission has concluded that the Dutch Government held political responsibility for the massacre of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.

The enclave of Srebrenica was a designated United Nations safe haven under the protection of Dutch peacekeepers until it was taken over by Serb forces.

Forensic scientist examines mass grave
More than 7,000 died in the massacre
The inquiry's report also criticised the UN for failing to protect the Muslim civilians.

This is not the first report on the Srebrenica massacre but it is the first public inquiry into the tragedy.

The report concludes that the 200 lightly armed Dutch soldiers in the enclave were no match for Serb forces.

It says that the French general, Bernard Janvier, who was in charge of UN troops in the region, was wrong to refuse to allow air strikes to support the Dutch peacekeepers.

Compensation question

The report also says political responsibility for the tragedy lies with the government of former prime minister Wim Kok, as he sent Dutch troops to Srebrenica without a clear mandate.

Wim Kok's centre-left cabinet resigned en masse last April after an official report by the Dutch War Archives Institute drew similar conclusions.

The report holds the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his general, Ratko Mladic, ultimately responsible for the mass murder at Srebrenica.

It also urges the Dutch Government to take a stand in bringing them to justice.

It now remains to be seen whether the report's conclusions can pave the way for claims for compensation for some of the survivors of Srebrenica.

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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