Today, the District Court of The Hague ruled that the bombardment that the Dutch State carried out in June 2007 on a quala (walled residential community) in the village of Qal-e-Ragh in Chora (Afghanistan), was unlawful. The case had been initiated by victims and surviving relatives of residents of that quala. Amongst other things, the court held that:
[Informal translation] The plaintiffs argue that during the bombardment, i.a. the principle of distinction as defined in international humanitarian law (IHL) was violated. This means that the quala - a walled residential community - could only be bombed if it was a military object at the time of the bombardment or could be regarded as such.
The court concludes that the State has not substantiated concretely enough, that at the time the bombing took place there was sufficient information based upon which a reasonable commander could have designated this quala as a military target. As such, the State has insufficiently contested the plaintiffs' claim that the bombardment was in violation of the principle of distinction as per IHL. As a result, the bombardment of this quala is deemed to be unlawful. (par. 1.1, Judgment)
See further (only available in Dutch):
- Rechtbank Den Haag 23 november 2022, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2022:12424
- 'Nederlands bombardement met burgerdoden in Afghanistan was onrechtmatig', NOS d.d. 23 November 2022
UPDATE (13 December 2022)
An unofficial English translation of the judgment is now available here.