Today, eleven victims and surviving relatives of the victims of the airstrike on Hawija of 2-3 June 2015 have sued the State of the Netherlands for the unlawful bombardment. The airstrike killed and injured their family members and destroyed their homes. They demand that the State compensates their damages. The State is obliged to compensate these damages because it carried out the airstrike.

On the night of 2-3 June 2015, two Dutch F-16's carried out an airstrike on an ISIS weapons storage and carbomb factory, in the city of Hawija in Iraq. Due to the bombardment and the massive (secondary) explosions it caused, at least 70 civilians were killed, many civilians were injured and more than 430 homes and buidings were damaged. 

In carrying out this bombardment, the State took an unacceptable risk of disproportionate damage to civilians and civilian objects. The State knew or should have known that the airstrike would (or could) cause an enormous amount of civilian casualties and that this damage was disproportionate to the limited military advantage that disabling the target at that time would provide.

Moreover, after the airstrike, the State concealed its involvement and failed to provide assistance to the victims.

Both the international anti-ISIS Coalition and the Dutch State present the war against ISIS as the most precise war ever. This frame is false. Independent organizations and media conclude that the Coalition's air war suffers from an extreme lack of accurate intelligence and transparency. Such framing by the State of a precise war fits into a system that is set up to provide minimal accountability. The airstrike on Hawija in June 2015 is a striking example of this.

The plaintiffs are represented in these proceedings by lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Thomas van der Sommen.

Still persbureau IS

[Hawija, after the airstrike | Source: Imagery originates from the news agency of IS; images disseminated by AFP news agency]

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