The third day of our travel. The second city and second country, Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This trip will focus on the Srebrenica massacre, in which the Netherlands played a notorious role.
Firstly, we will visit the Memorial Centre in Potocari, which shows the magnitude of the genocide that took place in July 1995. This Memorial Center commemorates the 8373 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims) men that were killed by the Bosnian Serb army under command of General Mladic.
Secondly, our guide will take us to the compounds of the Dutch battalion under UN command, ‘Dutchbat’. This battalion, of which Colonel Thom Karremans was the commander, was supposed to keep the Muslim enclave in Srebrenica safe. However, as their battalion only counted 400 soldiers and the requested air support from the UN never showed up, they were forced to surrender to Mladic’ forces. Fierce critique has been given on how the Dutch handled this situation. Critique to, amongst others, the infamous words of the commander “I am a piano player, don’t shoot the piano player” and the handover of 5000 Bosniak that were seeking refuge in the Dutch compound to the Serbian troops. In case of the latter act, the Dutch state has even been convicted, which relates to our last activity.
The third activity will be a Q&A session with Mr. Hasan Huhanovic, who sued the Dutch state for wrongful conduct. The wrongful conduct refers to the handover of his family, which were part of the 5000 Bosniak that were situated in the Dutchbat compound, to the Serbian army. In 2013 the Supreme Court in The Hague declared the deed as a wrongful act and the Dutch government responsible, as the battalion knew about the atrocities conducted by the Serbian forces to the Bosniak people.