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Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

Dutch Court Upholds U.N. Immunity for Srebrenica Genocide

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: March 30, 2010  

In the civil proceedings brought against the Dutch State and the United Nations by the 6,000 family members and relatives of the genocide victims in Srebrenica (also known as the “Mothers of Srebrenica”), the Court of Appeals (Gerechtshof) in The Hague today ruled that the United Nations’ immunity from prosecution is absolute. Remarkably, the Court decided not to submit the issue of the UN’s immunity to the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg.

It is a fundamental question whether the UN enjoys absolute immunity because such immunity immediately touches upon human rights enshrined within the legal order of the European Union. One of these fundamental human rights is the right of access to a court and to effective legal remedies. The decision whether the UN’s immunity should prevail above such fundamental rights ultimately lies with the European Court of Justice. The UN has repeatedly stated to be bound to human rights, but apparently deems itself not bound in this particular matter and has not even appeared in the proceedings. The political question remains: How long can the UN retain its credibility, striving to protect human rights but at the same time disregarding them itself?

The Mothers of Srebrenica will initiate appeal proceedings before the Supreme Court of The Netherlands against the ruling of the Court in the Hague and will in that context once again request submission of the aforementioned question to the European Court of Justice.

The Mothers of Srebrenica will continue their battle for justice.

For more, please visit: Van Diepen Van Der Kroef

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada