UN Liability in Bosnia


Relatives of those killed at Srebrenica are attempting to sue the United Nations and the Dutch government over the massacre.  This is a civil case in addition to the various war crimes tribunals being held at the Hague.

I have two positions on this.  First off, I don’t think the Dutch government should be held liable, or culpable in this case.  The Dutch “Peace keepers,” were screwed before they got to Bosnia.  Their hands were tied long before they ever set foot on the gorund by UN restrictions.  Things like being unable to carry loaded weapons, or return hostile fire, or enforce UN mandates, or do anything other than give up when confronted by the Serbian partisans.  Those soldiers were put in an untenable position, charged with a task that they were in turn not allowed to actually do.

ould they have done something at that time?  Maybe, but it would ultimately have been futile, and would only have made them out to be “bad guys” for exacerbating the violence.  Besides that, they are good soldiers.  They followed the legal orders of their commanders, who were taking their orders from the duly authorized legal authority of the UN.  I cannot hold them accountable for what they did, as it was exactly what they were told to do, and was confirmed by their superiors in the UN “command.”  I have no doubts, from published accounts, that it galled them no end, and it still bothers them deeply today, a decade later.

The United Nations on the other hand, should be held liable, culpable, and accountable for what happened.  It was thier decisions which allowed this to happen.  the stated “rules of no-engagement,” the direct order to the Dutch soldiers to stand down and give in to the Serbs, the lack of any sort of enforcement capability, directly contributed, and allowed the events at Srebrenica to happen.  In effect, the UN polices regarding thier peace keepers, and the so called “safe zones,” aided and abeted the Serbian insurgents efforts. 

So here’s to hoping the Srebrenica relatives and survivors win their case.  While they may never collect anything from the UN, it will put on record what the UN did, and did not do in Bosnia.  It will enter a legal judgement against the UN for being the ineffectual hypocrites that they are. 


2 thoughts on “UN Liability in Bosnia

  1. The civil court action brought by the Mothers of Srebrenica names the Dutch state and the United Nations as being responsible for the deaths of their relatives. However Hasan Nuhanovic and Mustafic family have sued the Dutch and not the United Nations, because their relatives were among the 5-6000 who were actually expelled from the compound at Potocari by the Dutch who had done their own deal with Ratko Mladic to swap the refugees for the 30 Dutch hostages being held by Mladic.

    It was impossible that the Dutch did not know what sort of fate awaited the people they were forcing to leave the base. Even if they had been totally ignorant of the history of the area since 1992, they had seen evidence of summary executions and rapes inflicted on members of the group of 20,000+ refugees they had refused entry to who were right outside the gate of the compound.

    The argument for holding the Dutch government responsible for gross negligence on the part of the Dutchbat contingent advanced by Liesbeth Zegveld, the lawyer acting for Hasan Nuhanovic and the Mustafics, refers to the routine way in which the Dutch forces went side-stepped the UN chain of command, reporting to, consulting with and following instructions from their own government instead.

    You can listen to an interview with Dr Zegveld on the CBC Radio programme The Current in which she explains some of the issues at http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2008/200806/20080617.html

    There’s a Reuters UK report on the hearing at http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKL1619530520080616?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

  2. Interview Request

    Hello Dear and Respected,
    I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

    We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind. Please send us your approval for your interview at my email address “ghazala.khi at gmail.com”, so that I could send you the Interview questions. We would be extremely grateful.


    Ghazala Khan
    The Pakistani Spectator

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s