THE Dutch government is partially liable for the deaths of some 300 Muslim men murdered by Bosnian Serb forces in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, an appeals court has ruled.

The ruling largely upheld a civil court’s 2014 judgment that said the state was liable in the deaths of the Bosnian Muslim men who were turned over by Dutch UN peacekeepers to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 and subsequently killed.

Hague Appeals Court presiding judge Gepke Dulek says that because Dutch soldiers sent the men off the Dutch compound along with other refugees seeking shelter there, “they were deprived of the chance of survival”.

The men were among around 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb forces in Europe’s worst massacre since the Second World War.

The ruling angered a group of female relatives of victims of the massacre who were in court for the ruling.

Munira Subasic, who leads an organisation called the Mothers of Srebrenica that brought the case, stood up and waved her finger at the judge after the ruling, saying “this is a huge injustice”.

The court estimated the men’s chances of survival if they had stayed in the Dutch compound at around 30 per cent.

“The state is therefore liable for 30 per cent of the losses suffered by the relatives,” the court said in a statement.

Lawyers for the victims can now begin discussions with government lawyers about compensation.

Lawyer Marco Gerritsen, who represented the relatives, said he understood the relatives’ anger.

He added: “But from a legal point of view it is not that bad. Of course we would have hoped for more and I think we had a good case.”

Gerritsen called the court’s assessment of the men’s survival chances “very arbitrary”.

He said he will study the judgment to see if it is possible to appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court.

Yesterday’s ruling is the latest legal case in the Netherlands concerning the country’s role in the Srebrenica massacre and whether its soldiers could have done more to prevent the mass killings.