Court says Dutch state must compensate woman for rape 67 years ago

lawyer court justiceThe Dutch state has been ordered to pay compensation to an Indonesian woman who was raped by several Dutch soldiers in 1949, when Indonesia was still under Dutch rule.

The woman, who was 18 at the time, will receive €7,500 in what is thought to be the first successful compensation claim for a war crime other than execution.

The court in The Hague said there was sufficient proof that the woman had been raped by several soldiers at gunpoint in the run up to independence.

In addition, the court said the state cannot appeal against the ruling on the basis that it is too old, even though the rapes took place almost 70 years ago.

Other rulings

Last year, judges in The Hague said the Netherlands must pay compensation to the children and widows of men executed in South Sulawesi without trial by Dutch soldiers in 1946 and 1947. The claims are still being looked into.

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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