After the Supreme Court of the Netherlands handed down a final judgment on July 19, establishing partial responsibility of the Netherlands for the deaths of some 300 Srebrenica men killed in July 1995, an international law team representing victims of the Srebrenica genocide dissatisfied with the degree of responsibility established, has announced that an appeal would be filed within the statutory time limit (six months) to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.
Dissatisfied with the extent and degree of responsibility that was reduced to just ten percent by the judgment, the victims are resolved to continue the legal battle that began 19 years ago, Federal News Agency reports.
Even so, despite the reduced scope of liability, the judgment in the said case constitutes a legal victory.
“After 19 years of working on the case, we were able to achieve a legal victory, because no one in the history of the European and world judiciary has ever been able to get a verdict declaring a country responsible for the failures of its soldiers engaged in a UN mission,” said today a member of international team of lawyers, Semir Guzin at a press conference in Sarajevo.
He stated that that responsibility was unfortunately reduced to an unacceptable ten percent, and that the verdict limited the number of people who could claim compensation and that it cover only those who were killed after they were expelled from the military base in Potocari by members of the Dutch Battalion.
He specified that their heirs/relatives – parents, wives, children, siblings (about 1,000 people) with whom they lived together are entitled to claim compensation and that it would amount to ten percent of the total amount to be determined later on.
An international team of lawyers representing victims is currently engaged in the preparation of compensation cases.
Guzin recalls that, in the meantime, victims’ associations have been provided with appropriate questionnaires, which should be filled by the claimants in order to be able to specify the harm suffered in each individual case.
“After collecting this information, we open negotiations with the state of the Netherlands in order to try to determine, through the negotiations, out of court, what that compensation would be,” explained Guzin, stating that the process should be completed quickly and that if no agreement is reached, new court proceedings should be initiated.
Vice President of the association “Mother of the Srebrenica and Žepa Enclaves” Kada Hotić recalled the suffering of the Srebrenica residents, who were guaranteed security by the UN after demilitarization and the establishment of a “protected zone”, and underscored the mothers’ determination to persevere in their path of truth and justice.
“We went through what we did and we have the right to justice,” said Hotić, assessing that this is important for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and beyond, and expressed her gratitude to the lawyer team for their unselfish engagement in the case.