M.-N.F., I.S. et al. v Kingdom of Belgium, M.L. et al.

Brussels First Instance Tribunal, M.-N.F., I.S. et al. v Kingdom of Belgium, M.L. et al., Nr. 04/4807/A, 8 December 2010

In the early days of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, an estimated 2.000 men, women and children were massacred when a Belgian contingent of the UNAMIR peacekeeping operation abandoned the school facility where these persons had sought refuge. Several relatives of the victims brought  proceedings against the Belgian government and three former officers of the Belgian ‘KIBAT’ contingent seeking compensation. In its interlocutory judgement, the Court dismisses objections that the claims had expired. In addition, the Court asserts that the decision to evacuate the ‘ETO’ school facility was taken under the auspices of the Belgian government and not UNAMIR. Furthermore, the Court emphasizes that the defendants could not harbor any illusions as to the fate that awaited the refugees upon the withdrawal of the Belgian peacekeepers, and that the Rwandan refugees had lost a chance of survival as a result of the retreat of KIBAT.

C. RYNGAERT, Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts, 2010, 1604.