Thursday, September 05, 2013
Nuhanović, Mustafić et al:
As you may or may not know, after the District Court ruling in 2008 was overturned by the Dutch Appeals Court in 2011, finding that the State of the Netherlands was responsible for sending Ibro and Muhamed Nuhanovic and Rizo Mustafic to their death in the Srebrenica genocide, the Dutch government applied to have the Appeals Court finding quashed.
Tomorrow, Friday 6 September, the Dutch Supreme Court gives its decision, the final stage in the ten year long legal process by which Hasan and the Mustafic family have tried to hold the Dutch government accountable for the actions of Dutchbat in expelling their relatives from the UN base at Potocari and handing them over to Ratko Mladic's troops.
The press release attached and copied below gives background information and contact details. Unfortunately Hasan didn't have his Dutch mobile phone number before he left but he can be contacted via Liesbeth Zegveld's number (the Bosnian mobile number means high roaming charges).
Apologies for any duplication of e-mail addresses, any lack of communication in the intervening time due to computer and other problems, etc. Please tell me if you don't want to receive e-mails relating to the case (hopefully it won't, but if the Supreme Court grants the Dutch government's application it's also likely to give leave for an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights).
Tarik Samarah's "Srebrenica - genocide at the heart of Europe":http://tariksamarah.com/thumbs.htm
Photomontage of Potocari:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaN5-13W3Zc&NR=1
Hoping for the right result tomorrow and ultimately justice for all the victims of Srebrenica.
Press Release issued by Truth and Justice for Srebrenica
Thursday, 5 September 2013
On 13 July 1995 Hasan Nuhanovic's father and mother, Ibro and Nasiha, his younger brother Muhamed and Rizo Mustafic were ordered to leave the base by Col. Thom Karremans and effectively sent to their death as victims of what the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has determined was a crime of genocide. In 2003 Hasan Nuhanovic and Mehida Mustafic-Mujic and her children Damir and Alma sought the assistance of human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld in bringing a claim against the State of the Netherlands, arguing that Dutchbat and the Dutch State had committed wrongful acts by offering insufficient protection to the victims and exposing them to the enemy.
In controversial circumstances the District Court in The Hague initially ruled that the Dutch Government could not be held responsible because their peacekeeping force was operating in Bosnia under a United Nations mandate and "operational command and control" over the Dutchbat troops had passed to the UN.
In July 2011 the Dutch Court of Appeal quashed the District Court judgment, finding that by the time the Nuhanovics and Mustafic were forced to leave the base Dutchbat had information that the Bosnian Serbs were committing serious crimes, in particular against the able-bodied male refugees, and so "reasonably could not have drawn any other conclusion than that the able-bodied men that were going to leave the compound from that moment to be 'evacuated' by the Bosnian Serbs, ran the real risk of being killed or at least of being subjected to inhuman treatment."
Dutchbat therefore acted wrongly in ordering Ibro and Muhamed Nuhanovic and Rizo Mustafic to leave the compound. However the Court of Appeal failed to draw similar conclusions regarding the risk posed to Nasiha Nuhanovic by her eviction from the base.
Although the Dutch force at Potocari was in principle under the command and control of the UN, the Court of Appeal found that the Dutch government had assumed "effective control" over Dutchbat and Dutchbat's unlawful actions in contravention of international humanitarian law were attributable to the Netherlands as well as to the United Nations, which the Dutch courts had found to be unaccountable by virtue of the global immunity claimed by the UN. The State of the Netherlands applied to the Netherlands Supreme Court to quash the Appeals Court decision. The Supreme Court will deliver its ruling on this application in The Hague tomorrow , Friday 6 September.
If the Supreme Court finds in favour of the claimants' case, the ruling could have major implications for the potential liability of UN Member States for the actions of peacekeepers taking part in UN peacekeeping missions.
Notes for editors:
In its decision of 5 July 2011, the Netherlands Appeals Court in The Hague held that the actions of the Dutch peacekeeping battalion ('Dutchbat') in charge of the United Nations compound during and following the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in 1995 were directly attributable to the Dutch State.
In an advisory opinion to the Supreme Court of 3 May 2013, the Dutch Advocate-General concluded that this was the case despite the fact that at the time operational command of the peacekeeping mission ('command and control') was exercised by the United Nations. According to the Advocate-General, the facts and circumstances of the case as proven in court revealed that the Dutch State exercised 'effective control' over Dutchbat, which was therefore acting as an organ of the State. In particular this meant that the Dutch State exercised jurisdiction over the compound with regard to the human rights applicable .
Confirmation of the Appeals Court judgment by the Supreme Court will raise very important questions concerning the potential liability of UN Member States for the actions of their peacekeepers taking part in UN peacekeeping missions.
The titles of the two joined cases are: Nuhanovic v. State of the Netherlands (Nuhanovic v. Staat der Nederlanden) and Mustafic et al. v. State of the Netherlands (Mustafic et al. v. Staat der Nederlanden)
The Netherlands Supreme Court judgment will be delivered at [***time***] at the High Court in The Hague - Kazernestraat 52, Den Haag (Tel. 070 - 361 1311)
Bosniak is the correct designation for members of the group known as "Bosnian Muslims".
Background information available at:
Information about the similar action brought by the Mothers of Srebrenica involving the immunity of the United Nations before the Dutch Courts can be found at
Have you received the follow-up? It's brilliant news, the Supreme Court has accepted the Appeals Court ruling and found that the Dutch govt. were responsible for the deaths of Ibro and Muhamed Nuhanovic and Rizo Mustafic.
The Dutch were in effective control rather than the UN after the time the town fell, and at the time they expelled the three (and Hasan's mother) they knew that the Serb forces outside were committing atrocities.