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UN sued over 8,000 deaths in Srebrenica massacre

By Harry de Quetteville in the Hague

Thursday June 19 2008

RELATIVES of thousands of Bosnian Muslims killed in Europe‘s worst post-war atrocity began a court case yesterday in which they are claiming €2.6bn in damages from the United Nations and the Dutch government over the deaths.

More than 6,000 relatives of the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre are taking part in the case, which could set a legal precedent for UN responsibility in conflict zones.

Lawyers for the families argue the UN was culpable for failing to stop the execution of more than 8,000 men and boys in a designated UN “safe haven” during the Bosnian war. A lightly armed contingent of Dutch UN peacekeepers failed to prevent the mass killings. Some even helped to separate men and women before the killings.

Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb leaders who are accused of genocide for allegedly ordering the massacre, remain on the run.

The victims’ relatives want the UN's immunity from prosecution waived so they can sue for compensation.

Munira Subasic, the president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, said: “The genocide happened here, before the eyes of the UN.” Judges in the case are likely to take several months to reach a ruling. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

– Harry de Quetteville in the Hague

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