A lawyer challenging the immunity of the United Nations has launched an appeal against a Dutch court ruling that rejected efforts by families of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre to claim damages.
A Dutch court said last July the U.N. has "absolute immunity" and cannot be called before any court of law.
A suit was filed in 2007 by victims' families against the Dutch state and the U.N. in the Netherlands for failing to prevent the Srebrenica genocide.
"What's at stake here is the credibility of the United Nations as a protector of human rights," Axel Hagedorn told Reuters in an interview, adding that his appeal documents were lodged this week with a Dutch court against last year's ruling.
The appeals process officially started in January.
Hagedorn, who is representing an association of Srebrenica mothers, said the Dutch state, which is trying to use the U.N.'s immunity as shield, will now be given a chance to reply and a ruling could follow in the second half of this year.
Bosnian Serbs killed at least 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica that Dutch U.N. peacekeepers had been charged to protect, but they left Bosnians to the hands of militant Serbs, doing nothing.
Hagedorn is seeking a ruling that the United Nations does not have absolute immunity and is liable for the genocide and has vowed to take the case to the European Court of Justice if it is not first decided in the Dutch legal system.
"This is a case about human rights, it's a case about obligations. This is such a fundamental case, we have to bring it up there," he said.
Hagedorn's civil suit against the Dutch state is on hold until the issue of the U.N. immunity is settled. The U.N. had invoked its immunity after the lawsuit was filed in 2007.
But Hagedorn is confident that if the United Nations is ordered to appear in court it will opt to settle the case and pay compensation, saying that the organisation must now accept responsibility for past mistakes.
"The United Nations wants to be the only organisation in the world above the law -- no control whatsoever, whatever they do. This is just not acceptable," he said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Nisan 2009, 13:16