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The State of the Netherlands v. Hasan Nuhanovic

Supreme Court of the Netherlands
No. 650457/13 November 4 2013 (2013)


Facts

During the Bosnian War, the United Nations (UN) designated Srebrenica a safe zone for people fleeing the violence. The Netherlands (defendant) put a Dutch battalion called “Dutchbat” at UN disposal, and the UN placed it in the Srebrenica enclave as part of its peacekeeping forces. But Dutchbat offered little resistance when the more heavily armed Bosnian Serb militia moved into the enclave. Eventually, Dutchbat essentially stood by as the Bosnian Serbs evacuated women and children, then massacred some 8,000 men and boys. Hasan Nuhanovic and other survivors (plaintiffs) sued the Netherlands for failing to protect their family members. The appellate court found Dutchbat’s conduct attributable to the Netherlands under international law because it retained control of Dutchbat’s conduct inside the compound, even though the mission had failed and Dutchbat no longer had any influence outside the enclave. The Netherlands appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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