The Dutch Prime Minister apologized to the soldiers who failed to defend civilians in Srebrenica

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte formally apologized to Dutch soldiers who were part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Yugoslavia in 1995 and failed to defend the thousands of Bosnian Muslim civilians killed in the Srebrenica massacre by Bosnian Serb soldiers and paramilitaries.

During his visit to The Hague, Ruti said:

“Some words have yet to be said. I apologize on behalf of the Dutch government to all the women and men in the battalions and to the people who cannot be here today. With as much appreciation and respect as possible they have continued, under difficult circumstances, to try to do good, even when they have not It is possible.”

In the summer of 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army, led by General Ratko Mladic, launched a campaign of arrests against the Bosnian Muslim population in the area closest to the southeastern Serbian border, with the aim of carrying out ethnic cleansing. That phase of the Yugoslav wars was about to end, and the area around Srebrenica had been fighting for three years. At the beginning of July, the Serbs entered the city, publicly reassured the local population, but began to separate men of conscription age from women, children and the elderly, apparently for questioning.

The massacres began at this time, and in the meantime tens of thousands of civilians fled to a nearby base designated for the Dutch army for the United Nations, but they were in the minority and poorly equipped, and they could do little to prevent the Serbs from continuing to fight. their plans. From July 12 onwards, over eight thousand Bosnian Muslims were killed in the worst massacre in Europe since the end of World War II.

Subsequently, the Netherlands participated in the international trials for the massacre and took partial responsibility. In 2014, the Hague court ruled that the Dutch state was civilly responsible for the murders of three hundred Bosnian Muslims and imposed reparations on their families. The behavior of the Dutch battalions in Srebrenica remains one of the most discussed aspects of the reconstruction of the massacre.

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