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Make7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 03:13 AM
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Dutch court rules Srebrenica families can sue U.N.
Tue Nov 27, 8:49 AM ET

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Families of Srebrenica massacre victims have cleared a legal hurdle in their lawsuit against the Dutch state and the United Nations, which they argue allowed the killing of thousands of Muslims, their lawyers said.

A court in the Hague ruled the case could proceed, dismissing pleas by public prosecutors that it should be dropped after the United Nations invoked its legal immunity and said it would not take part.

In 1995 Bosnian Serb forces massacred 8,000 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica, a town declared a safe area and guarded by a Dutch army unit serving as part of a larger U.N. force.

Lawyer Marco Gerritsen, representing the victims' families, said on Tuesday the court had supported their argument that the U.N. could not be granted automatic immunity.

"The U.N. has the duty to prevent genocide. An appeal to immunity in a case of genocide, as in the Srebrenica drama, is irreconcilable with the U.N.'s own objectives and its international obligations," he added in a statement.

Victims' families launched the suit against the Netherlands and the U.N. in July, arguing the Dutch were to blame for the massacre because they refused crucial air support to their own troops defending the Bosnian town.


(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson in Amsterdam and Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo; Editing by Dominic Evans)

If the victims' families win this lawsuit, will it have a detrimental effect on the ability of the U.N. to deploy troops from any country on future missions?

- Make7
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:02 AM
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1. Maybe. Or they might start fulfilling their mission and preventing genocides.
This ruling will also send a clear message to OTHERS, you know, SOME PEOPLE who believe themselves to be above and beyond international law. I'm not naming any names, but if I were a real Dick on the international stage, I'd be wondering just how much longer I'd be running around free.
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Make7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think it is much more likely to have the opposite effect.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 05:50 AM by Make7
The Netherlands are being sued because they accepted a mission and did not succeed. Apparently more could have been done, and perhaps they may have even prevented this massacre, but the fact remains that they are the ones being sued, not other member nations of the U.N. - the ones that did not participate in the mission. So the lesson learned may be for countries to not participate in missions if it might open them up to legal liability.

I don't think the U.N. has really ever been resoundingly successful getting the troops needed for their missions; I see a lawsuit like this making it that much more difficult.

You are probably already aware of the numerous agreements the U.S Military has with various countries where their troops are stationed to prevent U.S. troops from being charged for wrong-doing within the host country's legal system. It's not exactly the same thing, but it demonstrates that governments do try to limit liabilities. For some countries, that might mean not sending troops on U.N. peacekeeping missions if they may be sued for failure.

The response to genocides in recent history would seem to indicate that indecisiveness and inaction are a more common response by other countries than substantial action. I doubt if a lawsuit like this succeeding would change that in a positive direction.

- Make7
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 07:36 AM
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3. If UN thinks they should have legal immunity then they shouldn't
be dictating what other countries should or shouldn't be doing.

If they have legal mandates to perform that they fail to follow then they should be held liable.
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