Dutch Aid to Srebrenica Questioned

Published: 18 July 2013


An investigation into where  €120 million in Dutch aid meant to rebuild Srebrenica after the 1995 massacre actually ended up could result from claims that large amounts of the money were lost to corruption, the Irish Times reports.

In the summer of 1995, Dutch UN peacekeepers failed to intervene when Bosnian Serb forces slaughtered some 8,000 Muslim men and boys. In recognition of a debt owned the people of the city, the Netherlands had given almost €5 million a year toward reconstruction of the town, victim identification, and reconciliation projects.

Srebrenica Mayor Camil Durakovic recently said that while some of the money has gone to aid agencies and NGOs working to rebuild Srebrenica, most of it has landed in the hands of local gangsters.

Evidence of these exchanges also appears in documents from the Dutch embassy in Sarajevo. Reports from 2011 and 2012 showed disappointing results in how the aid money was being spent, noting that no one was dealing with corruption.

Little aid that should have gone to rebuilding homes for families affected by the genocide or the Bosnian War has reached those people. 

Harry van Bommel, a Socialist member in Dutch Parliament, has called for the investigation. He said that Durakovic should have reported suspected corruption to police, the multitude of NGOs and international organizations operating in Srebrenica should demand more transparency.

And, he has said, if the money isn’t accounted for, “the tap should be turned off.”