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2020 | Dutch ex gratia payment to Iraqi victim of Dutch bombing

The Netherlands has made an ex gratia payment to Basim Razzo, one of the victims of a Dutch airstrike in Mosul, Iraq on 20 September 2015. The operation was conducted in the context of the Dutch participation in the United States-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. Razzo lost four family members in the airstrike after his home was misidentified as an ISIS target. It took four years for the Dutch Defence Minister to acknowledge that Dutch F-16s were indeed responsible for the bombing of Razzo’s house.

The Dutch Minister of Defences’s openness about Dutch involvement in the Mosul airstrike ultimately resulted in an on-line meeting with Basim Razzo and the offer for an ex gratia payment on humanitarian grounds. In her letter of 8 September 2020 to the Dutch parliament the Minister underscores that the Netherlands does not acknowledge legal liability for the harm inflicted on Razzo, reasoning that the Dutch airstrike on his house was a mistake yet not unlawful. Meanwhile the parties have reached a voluntary compensation agreement, the details of which were not disclosed.