Impunity for Dutch massacre in Indonesia was given 60 years ago
The Dutch state does not want to pay compensation to the victims of a 1947 massacre in an Indonesian village, but it also stopped the prosecution of the army officer who was held responsible right after the attrocity, the Dutch current affairs television programme Netwerk revealed on Monday.
The story of the Rawagede village was back in the limelight last year when relatives and survivors of the massacre demanded an apology and compensation from the Dutch state.
On the TV show on Monday, Jeffrey Pondaag of the Committee for Dutch Honours of Debt showed an exchange of letters from 1948 that reveals the decision not to prosecute major Alphons Wijnen for the atrocity was taken straight after the tragedy, in spite of a recommendation by the Dutch chief of staff Simon Spoor to the procurator general to institute proceedings.
On 9 December 1947, Dutch troops attacked the village of Rawagede and, according to the villagers, killed all the men - 431 in total. A 1969 investigation by the Dutch government into war crimes in Indonesia says 150 were killed in Rawagede (since renamed Balongsari).
Indonesia was granted sovereignty from the Netherlands in 1949 after five years of armed struggle against the Dutch army.
Pondaag and his committee are now seeking compensation and apologies for nine widows and one man who survived the bloodbath as a boy. Pondaag said he found the exchange of letters in the files given to him by the lawyer representing the government in the case.
The Dutch attorney general has rejected the civil claim put forward last September because the case is too old.
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