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Dutch peacekeeper not prosecuted for massacre

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The general who commanded Dutch peacekeepers in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica when Bosnian Serb fighters overran the town and massacred some 8,000 Muslim men won’t be prosecuted for not stopping the slayings, authorities said Thursday.

Relatives of three victims of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II wanted retired General Thom Karremans held criminally responsible for the Muslim deaths.

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They asserted that he turned them over to the Serbs when he should have offered them protection because they had worked for the peacekeepers.

But prosecutors said that Karremans and two other senior Dutch officers ‘‘cannot be held liable under criminal law for having been involved in the crimes committed by the Bosnian Serbian Army in July 1995 in Srebrenica.’’

The massacre and the Dutch peacekeepers’ involvement in it have been a national trauma for the Netherlands, which has long prided itself on offering protection to endangered minorities.

A national government resigned en masse after a critical report in 2002.

Many of the ill-equipped troops who served in Srebrenica needed medical or psychological treatment when they got home.

Bosnian Serb forces separated the Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica from women and the elderly and then transported them away to remote sites dotted around the hills surrounding the town and summarily executed them before plowing their bodies into mass graves.

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