Thursday, September 15, 2011


Rawagede is one of the most notorious events in the history of Indonesian struggle for independence against the Dutch. Witness accounts from survivors (Dutch-Indonesian-Sundanese) say that some young males of 11-12 years old were among those massacred!
"I never thought they would kill us because we were just ordinary people," says Saih. "I only realised [what they were going to do] when they began the countdown... Een, twee, drie." Three soldiers started shooting the men in the back.
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. A suit was brought before the Dutch by survivors of the massacre, asking for compensation. In 2009, the Dutch attorney general rejected that civil claim put forward in September, 2008 because the case was too old.

 I wrote about the massacre in Java here, here, and here.

Now there's a been a change with a ruling on Wednesday by the district court in The Hague.
Seven widows, one daughter and a survivor of the massacre of hundreds of men from the village of Rawagede have taken the Dutch state to court, calling for compensation and official recognition of the actions of Dutch soldiers. The claim was rejected by the attorney general in 2008 because it was too old. But The Hague court said the state cannot use that as a defence because the case is about people who were direct victims of Dutch army war crimes. [...] The Netherlands has never paid compensation to the victims' families or officially apologised for the killings.

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