The Dutch state is liable for damages in relation to the slaughter of dozens of men and boys in an Indonesian village in 1947, The Hague district court ruled on Wednesday.
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.
Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, was granted sovereignty in 1949 after an armed struggle. In 1947, Dutch soldiers executed a group of around 431 men and boys in the West Java village of Rawagede. Official papers estimate the number of men killed at Rawagede (now called Balongsari) at 150.
The Netherlands has never paid compensation to the victims’ families or officially apologised for the killings.
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