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The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
"Public concern has been mounting"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK
Call for Dutch Srebrenica apology
Mass grave at Cerska outside Srebrenica
Bodies are still being uncovered in and around Srebrenica
By Geraldine Coughlan in The Hague

A group of 40 well-known authors used the occasion of a remembrance ceremony for the victims of Srebrenica to send an open letter to the Dutch Government calling for a public apology to those who survived the massacre.

They say this would be a first step towards healing the scars of Srebrenica and it would be essential to restore confidence in Dutch troops sent on future peacekeeping missions.


Peacekeepers
Writers question confidence in Dutch peacekeepers
The letter says the crucial question is whether the Dutch battalion could and should have done more to save human lives.

It also calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the role of Dutch troops responsible for guarding Srebrenica when it was taken by the Serb forces.

The writers say too many questions are still unanswered and only a full parliamentary inquiry will determine who is really to blame.

They also propose better support programmes for the survivors and the victims' families.

Previous investigations

A series of enquiries by independent commissions and the Dutch courts have said there are no grounds for prosecution against Dutch troops.


Radko Mladic
Bosnian Serb leader Radko Mladic offered Muslims freedom if they surrendered arms
Public concern has been mounting over the past weeks as an existing parliamentary commission has been hearing evidence from army officers and politicians as it wraps up an investigation into the role of Dutch troops in the fall of Srebrenica.

The writers made their voices heard at Tuesday's remembrance ceremony, which was boycotted by the Liberal and Christian Democrat parties who objected to a statement by the organisers that the Dutch battalion did not protect the victims of Srebrenica from their Serb attackers.

Just how seriously the Dutch Government will take the authors' open letter will become clear when the Srebrenica report is presented to parliament when it resumes in September.

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See also:

11 Jul 00 | Europe
Bosnia remembers Srebrenica
14 Mar 00 | Europe
Flashback: Srebrenica 1995
16 Nov 99 | Europe
Srebrenica report blames UN
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