No prosecution for Dutch soldiers’ death in Mali; Families go to court

No prosecution for Dutch soldiers’ death in Mali; Families go to court

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) decided that no one will be prosecuted for a mortar grenade accident in Mali in July 2016 that cost the lives of two Dutch soldiers. The soldiers’ families find the decision incomprehensible and will go to court to try and force prosecution, lawyer Michael Ruperti, who represents the families, said to AD.

On July 6, 2016, a mortar grenade exploded during training in Mali. Dutch soldiers Henry Hoving (29) and Kevin Roggeveld (24) were killed. In 2017, the Dutch Safety Board concluded that the safety of the grenades and the medical healthcare available to soldiers on the site were inadequate. The grenade that exploded had weak spots in the design and was not properly stored beforehand, the Dutch Safety Board concluded.

An investigative committee led by Jeroen van der Veer concluded that the fatal explosion was the result of poor military safety. The Ministry of Defense’s policy was insufficiently focused on safety on all fronts, and there was therefore no guarantee that military tasks could be executed safely, the committee said in 2018.

But the OM concluded, based on five reports, that the exact cause of the explosion cannot be determined. “The cause of the premature detonation of the mortar grenade has not been conclusively established,” a spokesperson for the OM said to Therefore, nobody can be held directly responsible.

“In addition, a great many people and organizational units were involved in the purchase, inspection, storage, transport and use of the mortar grenades over a longer period,” the OM said. This makes it impossible to designate the person who is ultimately responsible, the OM said.

According to Ruperti, the two soldiers’ families cannot believe these conclusions. There is enough leads for further investigation and the relatives will argue this in court in an attempt to force the OM to prosecute, he said to AD.

Greetje Groenbroek, Hoving’s mother, confirmed this to AD. “I cannot be at peace with this and I will not give up,” she said. “Our lives have been turned upside down for 4.5 years. Every time we are confronted with that empty chair. When I see my granddaughter, I often think: she will never get to know Henry. It remains very confronting.”