Dutch authorities recalled their country’s responsibility in the Srebrenica genocide on Saturday, at a ceremony held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the massacres in which over 8,000 people died.
“This commemoration is very dear to me,” Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said. She was to have gone to Bosnia to deliver an address, but the new coronavirus crisis caused her to cancel her trip. Instead, she inaugurated a temporary monument in The Hague on which photos are displayed.
”On the photos, we see a young generation of Bosnian-Dutch” citizens, Bijleveld said. “The Netherlands will remain forever connected to Srebrenica so that we never really forget.”
The Dutch government also announced that a permanent national commemorative monument would soon be erected in The Hague.
In 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were massacred in Srebrenica, in Europe’s worst series of atrocities since World War II. A unit of 450 Dutch Blue Helmets deployed in the area was unable to prevent the mass killings.
Speaking at Saturday’s ceremony, Jan Pronk, who was the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation in 1995, recalled that “over 8,000 Muslim men were killed by Serb militias, but the Netherlands are also guilty of not protecting the populations. We did our best, but not enough. We are 100% responsible politically.”