On 24 October 2023 at the district court of The Hague, a hearing will take place in case of victims of the Hawija airstrike against the Dutch State.
This is the first court case worldwide in which the military actions of the anti-ISIS Coalition will be judged by a court.
On 17 February 2022 twenty-five victims and surviving relatives of the airstrike on Hawija of 2-3 June 2015 sued the State of the Netherlands for its unlawful airstrike. The bombing killed and injured their family members and destroyed their homes. They demand that the Dutch State compensates their damages.
In the night of 2 to 3 June 2015, two Dutch F-16s carried out an airstrike on an ISIS weapons storage and bomb factory, in the city of Hawija in Iraq. The bombing and the massive (secondary) explosions it caused killed at least 85 civilians, injured many civilians and damaged thousands of homes and buildings.
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 military advantage that disabling the target at that time would provide.
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 hearing is public and will also be accessible remotely via a livestream. This news post will be updated with a link to that livestream.
Date: Tuesday 24 October 2023
Start: 09:30 AM (CET)
Court: District Court The Hague
Address: Prins Clauslaan 60, The Hague 2595 AJ
For further information see:
- Azeem, L. Gould, E. Bijl & J. Demmers, ‘After the strike, exposing the civilian harm effects of the 2015 Dutch airstrike on Hawija,’ 4 april 2022
- Nick Turse, ‘S. Didn’t Expect Major Explosions When an ISIS Bomb Factory Was Bombed’, 8 April 2022