The Dutch government has decided to give 5.000 euros each to peacekeeping veterans who did not manage to prevent the Srebrenica genocide, more precisely the 1995 massacre of more than 8.000 Bosniaks, as a “gesture of gratitude” for serving in horrific circumstances.
The payment, announced by the defense minister, is part of the government’s response to a study of the experiences of approximately 850 soldiers who were part of the Dutchbat III peacekeeping force, Klix.ba writes.
“Each Dutchbat III veteran will receive a non-taxable lump sum of 5.000 euros. This symbolic amount is not only a sign of appreciation for the exceptional circumstances under which the military had to operate 25 years ago but also for the period thereafter, in which they received unfair criticism and negative media attention, ” it was published in the announcement on the website of the Dutch Ministry of Defense.
The money is intended to compensate “for the lack of support, recognition, and respect they experience”.
The Netherlands has long struggled with the legacy of mentioned events. The government of former Prime Minister Wim Kok resigned in 2002 after the report harshly criticized authorities for what was said at the time to send troops to the danger zone without the proper mandate or weapons needed to protect refugees fleeing to a Dutch base.
In 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Netherlands was partly responsible for the deaths of around 350 Bosniaks.
These are people who, after the fall of Srebrenica on July 11th, sought salvation within the United Nations (UN) base. Instead of providing them with protection, which was the UN’s mandate in the ”protected” zone at that time, the Dutch battalion expelled the citizens of Srebrenica from the base, after which the separation of men from women and children began.”Some of the Dutchbat III veterans still experience the personal and social consequences of this mission,” Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, the Defense Minister wrote in her letter to parliament.