Today, Strasbourg judges rejected a complaint that Netherlands peacekeepers should have been prosecuted for their conduct at Srebrenica
In its decision in the case of Mustafić-Mujić and Others v. the Netherlands (application no. 49037/15) the European Court of Human Rights unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.
The applicants, relatives of men killed in the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, imputed criminal responsibility to three Netherlands servicemen who were members of the UN peacekeeping force.
They complained that the Netherlands authorities had wrongly refused to investigate and prosecute the servicemen for allegedly sending their relatives to their probable death by ordering them to leave the safety of the UN peacekeepers’ compound after the Bosnian Serb forces had overrun Srebrenica and its environs.
The court found that the Netherlands authorities had sufficiently investigated the incident and given proper consideration to the applicants’ request for prosecutions. In relation to the investigation, the court held that there had been extensive and repeated investigations by national and international authorities. There was no lingering uncertainty as regards the nature and degree of involvement of the three servicemen and it was therefore impossible to conclude that the investigations had been ineffective or inadequate.
In relation to the decision not to prosecute – taken on the basis that it was unlikely that any prosecution would lead to a conviction – the court rejected the applicants’ complaints that that decision had been biased, inconsistent, excessive or unjustified by the facts.