Mass Murder in Perspective, A Comparison of Influences on the Dutch Policy during the Genocides in Cambodia and Bosnia
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Genocide is the most barbaric crime a government can carry out on its own people. Throughout the years, many examples of these crimes have occurred, resulting in many different responses from the international community. This thesis aims to outline the influences on the policy of the Dutch government during the genocide in Cambodia and compares this with the policy during the genocide in Srebrenica (Bosnia), which is already much investigated. During the genocide in Cambodia the Dutch government remained silent and followed the path of other (bigger) countries and of the international community. On the other hand, during the genocide in Bosnia, the Netherlands took the lead in intervening, and tried to move other countries to follow its example, even though this was overly ambitious for such a small country. The central question of this thesis therefore is: What were the different influences affecting the policy of the Dutch government during the Cambodian and Bosnian genocide? In order to answer this question, both cases are answered by four sub-questions. Firstly, what was the influence of the historical context of both cases on the policy of the Dutch government. Secondly, what was the influence of the nature of the acts of genocide on the policy of the Dutch government? Thirdly, what was the influence of the information level on the policy of the Dutch government? And finally, what was the role of the international community and how did this affect the policy of the Dutch government? The research for this thesis was carried out in the archive of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The findings were compared to the research on the case of Srebrenica by the Dutch Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. To answer these four sub-questions, the situation in Cambodia was discussed, followed by the case of Bosnia and a comparison of both cases. Finally, in the conclusion of the thesis the difference in policy has been explained. The research shows that the historical context of the genocide, information level of the government and the role of the international community are important factors for influencing the policy of the Dutch government during the Cambodian and Bosnian genocide. The nature of the genocide was no significant factor in influencing the Dutch policy.