Holland Plunges into Crisis | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 17.04.2002
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Holland Plunges into Crisis

Dutch Prime Minster Wim Kok’s entire cabinet has resigned en-masse over an explosive official report which slams the Dutch government for its role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.


Gone... Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok

The entire Dutch cabinet resigned on Tuesday over an incriminating official report published by a commission that investigated Holland’s role in the Srebrenica massacre – the worst atrocity of the Bosnian war.

The report condemned the Dutch government for the failure of its UN peacekeepers to prevent the 1995 massacre.

"I will go to the Queen and hand over the resignation of all ministers and junior ministers," Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok told journalists in the Hague.

Earlier Wim Kok’s coalition held a crisis meeting to discuss the fallout from last week’s damaging report.

The present crisis has led to the collapse of the three-party coalition led by Kok’s PvdA Labour Party for eight years. It will also erode the popularity of a Prime Minister credited with slashing unemployment and creating prosperity.

The Dutch government has been under fire since the report last week by the Netherlands Institute of War Documentation (NIOD) slammed the country’s politicians for their hand in Europe’s worst massacre since World War Two.

The NIOD report said that Dutch soldiers became unwitting collaborators in ethnic cleansing when Bosnian Serb forces invaded a supposedly UN protected eastern enclave in 1995 and murdered up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

The report has led to a intense political debate in Holland and raised piercing questions about Dutch accountability in Srebrenica.

The 7,000 page document says misconceived humanitarian motivation and political ambitions drove the Dutch to engage in a virtually impossible and ill-conceived mission.

It blamed Dutch politicians for sending troops into an impossible mission with ill-defined goals and a weak mandate.

Only a couple of hundred lightly-armed Dutch UN peacekeepers were assigned to protect the Muslims in Srebrenica, which allowed Serb forces to easily take the enclave and butcher the Muslims.

Head of State Queen Beatrix will now oversee the formation of a caretaker government until a new government is formed after elections next month on May 11.

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