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The End of the Road: State Liability for Acts of UN Peacekeeping Contingents After the Dutch Supreme Court’s Judgment in Mothers of Srebrenica (2019)

Spijkers, Otto, Cedric Ryngaert. 2019. The End of the Road: State Liability for Acts of UN Peacekeeping Contingents After the Dutch Supreme Court’s Judgment in Mothers of Srebrenica. Netherlands International Law Review, 66(3), 537–553.

Abstract

This article provides an analysis of the Dutch Supreme Court judgment in the Mothers of Srebrenica case, placing it in its context, and comparing it with earlier and related decisions, in particular the judgments in the cases of Nuhanović and Mustafić. The Mothers of Srebrenica is a foundation established to represent the interests of the approximately 6000 surviving relatives of the victims of the fall of Srebrenica during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia (1995). The foundation holds the Netherlands responsible for not having done enough to protect the victims of the Srebrenica genocide. This contribution addresses the attribution of the conduct of the United Nations peacekeeping contingent to the troop-contributing State (the Netherlands), followed by the wrongfulness of the peacekeepers’ conduct and the State’s attendant liability for damages suffered by the victims. It is argued that the Dutch State’s international responsibility was only engaged because of the exceptional circumstances present in Srebrenica at the time. In the ordinary course of events, the liability of troop-contributing States is unlikely to be engaged if the Supreme Court’s review standard were to be applied.

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