International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Dutch Peacekeepers are Found Responsible for Deaths

Dutch Peacekeepers are Found Responsible for Deaths

Here is a link to an article about a recent trial regarding the Dutch’s responsibility in the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre that we spoke about in class today. In September of last year, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Netherlands was in fact responsible for the deaths of three Bosnian Muslim men because Dutch peacekeepers had wrongfully ordered them to leave UN compound. What’s really interesting is one of the families that filed this lawsuit, was the young man we watched in one of the videos, the one who was allowed to remain on the base because he was a UN translator while his mother, brother and father were forced to leave.

this verdict gives the U.N a certain level of accountability for the thousands of death that took place during the massacre, saying that the Dutch peacekeepers had ‘effective control’ of the troops so as a result they must share responsibility for the crimes. Many victims feel that this verdict brings true justice, because it sets the precedent that the U.N actors are held accountable too, and cannot hide behind the U.N wall of immunity. I don’t know if i necessarily agree with this verdict, but it definitely does send the message that by allowing this travesty to happen, you are just as responsible as the ones who committed the crime

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One response to “Dutch Peacekeepers are Found Responsible for Deaths

  1. blondellm January 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    This article brings up the an interesting question of the extent to which the UN peacekeeping forces are accountable for the Srebrenica Massacre. In addition to this question, however, I also find myself questioning who else within the UN, if anyone, should be held accountable for the Dutch peacekeeper’s failure? In his article titled “Paving the Road to Hell: The Failure of U.N. Peacekeeping” (2000), Foreign Affairs correspondent, Max Boot, places particular blame upon the UN administration’s reliance on the use of non-violence and negotiation: “These mandarins fail to grasp that men with guns do not respect men with nothing but flapping gums”. However, journalist William Shawcross (mentioned by Boot) places blame on the UNSC. While the majority of the blame is placed on Dutch peacekeepers, Boot also notes that UN peacekeeping forces are not chosen for their military expertise, but merely for their availability. Based on Boot and Shawcross, does the failure of the Dutch peacekeepers to protect civilians reflect a greater and ongoing systematic failure within the UN?

    Furthermore, it does not seem that the system of holding UN peacekeeping forces accountable for their failures has improved. UN peacekeepers from Nepal have been connected to the outbreak of cholera in Haiti while dispatched for disaster relief. Although the UN has promised to provide a claims commission that would collect claims against the United Nations via forum has yet to come into effect. If these peacekeepers do take responsibility for their actions, is it enough to reconcile the damage they have caused? Our readings have discussed the notion of reconciliation and justice in cases of domestic, foreign and international atrocities, but can these notions also apply to cases in which an international institution such as the UN? Does the UN taking responsibility for past and recent failures damage their legitimacy or aid it?

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