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Netherlands high court rules UN immune from suit

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands [official website, Dutch] ruled [text, Dutch] Friday that the relatives of Bosnian men murdered by Serbian forces in 1995 cannot sue the UN for failing to protect them during the massacres. The ruling essentially held that the UN is immune from prosecution in Dutch courts. The group bringing the lawsuit, known as the Mothers of Srebrenica, are claiming that the UN is liable for their failure to protect civilians during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The UN is claiming that it is immune, citing Article 2 Section 2 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN [text, PDF], which says that the UN's property and assets "shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except it has expressly waived its immunity." Both the District Court in The Hague and the Supreme Court agreed with the UN, but the Mothers of Srebrenica have said they plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Trials in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] relating to the Serbian genocide continue to develop. Radomir Vukovic's 31-year sentence was upheld in January [JURIST report]. The trial of former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] continues with him pleading not guilty earlier this month [JURIST report]. Last July, the District Court in The Hague ruled that the Netherlands is liable for the death of three Bosniak men during the Srebrenica massacre [JURIST report].

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