A Dutch court has ruled that it has no jurisdiction in a civil case against the United Nations brought by survivors of the Srebrenica massacre.
Judges decided that the UN’s immunity, written into its founding charter, means it cannot be held liable in any country’s national court.
But lawyer Alex Hagedorn says its a dangerous precedent to set. “They are saying that the genocide convention is less important than the absolute immunity of the United Nations.”, he told reporters outside the court, “and in fact, this is very dangerous, because that means UN soldiers can do whatever they want and you can never charge them, only on criminal terms, but not on civil terms. So the victims and the relatives are without any rights.”
A group call the “Mothers of Srebrenica” wants compensation for the failure of Dutch UN troops to prevent the slaughter by Serb forces of more than eight thousand Bosnian muslim men and boys in the UN-declared safe haven on July the 11th, 1995.
The case comes at a poignant time.
The remains of 307 recently exhumed victims will be reinterred at a ceremony in Srebrenica on Friday -marking the thirteenth anniversary of the massacre.