The Dutch government has donated a military truck, a so-called “four-tonner”, to the Memorial Center Srebrenica-Potocari.
The truck will become part of a the center’s permanent exhibit commemorating the massacre of Muslim men and boys in July 1995 during the Bosnian War.
The donation of the truck came about through an initiative by five veterans of the former Dutch Battalion (Dutchbat) who served in Srebenica as part of the UN forces stationed there in 1994 and 1995. PAX organized a return visit to Srebrenica for these veterans in 2017, which is when the veterans came up with idea of donating the truck.
PAX and the Memorial Center Srebrenica-Potocari prepared the handover of the truck, while the Dutch Ministry of Defense provided the four tonner. The ministry worked with the Dutchbat veterans to restore the truck to how it looked in 1995: white, with big black letters ‘UN’ on both sides and on the canvas covering the payload.
The four-tonners played an important role during the UN Mission in Srebrenica. Dutchbat had 80 four tonners at its disposal. These trucks were not only used for the transport of goods for the UN soldiers but also as a tool to transport and distribute humanitarian aid to the approximately 40,000 people who were stuck in the UN Safe Area Srebrenica.
The truck has been placed in a hall in the Memorial Center Srebrenica-Potocari. The center is on the compound where the Dutchbat was stationed and where approximately 6,000 refugees stayed from the 11th to the 13th of July, 1995. Dutchbat staff and interpreters regularly climbed on top of such a four-tonner to share information with the refugees. During the handover, the truck was placed at exactly the same spot where it was back then. Inside the truck, a small photo exhibition shows the many functions the vehicle had.
Dutch Ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina Reinout Vos presented the truck to Mr. Sevket Hafizovic, Chairman of the Board of the Memorial Center Srebrenica-Potocari at a ceremony in the memorial center. Approximately 80 survivors of the massacre attended the ceremony, as did a number of the board and staff members of the memorial center. The five Dutchbat veterans who initiated the donation were in attendance. Representatives of the UN Delegation, EU Delegation and the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina were also present.