An appeals court in the Netherlands has found the Dutch state responsible for the deaths of three Muslim men in the town of Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian war.
Dutch troops were in charge of a UN ''safe area'' when Bosnian Serb forces overran it in 1995 and killed 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
The court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch troops should not have handed the three men over to Bosnian Serb forces.
The BBC reports the ruling was unexpected and may open the way for other compensation claims.
The case centred on three Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) who were working for the Dutch force during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war and were among thousands who took shelter in the UN compound as Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic overran Srebrenica on 11 July 1995.
Two days later, Dutch peacekeepers forced the Bosniaks out of the compound.
''The court ruled that the Dutch state is responsible for the death of these men because ''Dutchbat'' should not have handed them over,'' a spokeswoman for the court said.
A court previously ruled in 2008 that the Dutch state was not responsible for the deaths of Bosnian Dutchbat employees and their families because the soldiers were operating under a UN mandate.
General Mladic is currently on trial in The Hague. He faces 11 charges including genocide of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats during the Bosnian war.
In 2002, the Dutch government collapsed after an investigation by the National War Documentation Institute blamed them and the UN for sending ill-equipped Dutch soldiers on an impossible mission.