The Immunity of the United Nations before the Dutch Courts
On 13 April 2012, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands delivered a judgment in the case between the Mothers of Srebrenica Association
et al. against the State of the Netherlands (Ministry of General Affairs) and the United Nations. The case is about the responsibility of the Netherlands and the United Nations for a failure to prevent the genocide of around 8000 Bosnian Muslims in the East Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in 1995. A contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping force, comprised of Dutch soldiers, was present, but failed to prevent the tragedy. The Mothers of Srebrenica, an association established in the Netherlands for the purpose of representing the (legal) interests of the relatives of the victims, wants to hold the UN and the Netherlands accountable. One of the hurdles in their efforts to hold the United Nations accountable is the immunity of the UN from the jurisdiction of domestic courts. The ruling of April 2012 by the Dutch Supreme Court provided the final Dutch word on this preliminary issue of immunity. The immunity of the UN was upheld, and the case between the Mothers of Srebrenica and the Netherlands and the UN now continues without the UN.