The Dutch government will pay 5,000 euros each to the nation’s soldiers who were part of a UN peacekeeping mission that failed to prevent the Srebrenica genocide in 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina in appreciation of their service in horrific circumstances.
More than 8,300 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN “safe area” of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.
In a statement, Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten said the recommendations of a report by a commission on the Dutch soldiers serving in the UN in Srebrenica will be implemented.
Bijleveld said the soldiers will receive a one-off payment of €5,000 as a “gesture and token of appreciation” for their service, and special flights will be organized for them to visit Srebrenica.
Professional assistance will also be offered to soldiers who still have psychological problems.
Around 850 troops were stationed in Srebrenica when it was overrun by heavily armed Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic.
Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.
The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Mladic overran the UN zone.
Mladic was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing around 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone.
Some 15,000 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests.