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2019 | Nuhanovic Foundation supports request for information Iraqi bomb victims

In 2017, Dutch lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld has repeatedly, and to no avail, requested the Dutch Ministry of Defense for detailed information concerning Dutch involvement in airstrikes in Iraq on a convoy that left civilian casualties. The airstrikes were carried out by the international coalition “Combined Joint Task Force” of which the Netherlands is a member. Zegveld is acting on behalf of two victims seeking to know who bears responsibility for their injury. It is known that the Dutch military was involved in airstrike operations in Iraq in the relevant week, but information is not publicly available about the precise nature of that involvement.

In view of the Ministry’s persistent refusal to provide information, Zegveld requested the Dutch District Court of The Hague to order the Dutch State to supply specified documents. On 15 October 2019, the court rejected the request, reasoning that the plaintiffs failed bring forward specific and concrete facts and circumstances that show the Dutch State’s involvement in the airstrikes. The Court also found that the Dutch State’s interests and the coalition forces’ safety are serious reasons precluding the publication of documents and that, in view of the Combined Joint Task Force modus operandi, the legal requirements for the Dutch State’s liability for the bombardments, are not met. The plaintiffs will appeal this decision.

The Nuhanovic Foundation supports the request on behalf of the victims and contributes to the costs of the proceedings.