Dutch must compensate relatives of men executed in South Sulawesi, court rules

Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomThe Netherlands must pay compensation to the children and widows of men executed in South Sulawesi without trial by Dutch soldiers in 1946 and 1947, a court in The Hague said on Wednesday.

However, it is unclear if all the relatives who joined the formal complaint against the Dutch state will qualify and the claims will be looked at by an expert, news agency ANP says.

The court ruled against the Dutch state’s assertion that the case is too old to be heard, even though the killings took place almost 70 years ago.

The Dutch military interventions in Indonesia, or Dutch Indies as it was known then, followed the proclamation of the independent Republic of Indonesia in 1945 and lasted until the country formally gained independence in 1949 after a bloody struggle.

Thousands of Indonesian independence fighters were executed by the Dutch. At the end of 2011, the Netherlands finally formally apologised for the massacre of hundreds of men and boys in the Javanese village of Rawagede in 1947. Those widows, too, have been given compensation.

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