The Netherlands has made a formal apology for the slaughter of dozens of men and boys in an Indonesian village in 1947, the foreign affairs ministry said on Monday.
Relatives of men killed in the massacre of Rawagede have been fighting for compensation and official recognition of the actions of Dutch soldiers for years.
The ministry said in a statement that the Netherlands’ ambassador to Jakarta had offered an apology on behalf of the government at a memorial service in Balongsari, as the village is now known.
‘This apology does justice to the seriousness of events in Rawagede. I hope it will help the relatives give closure to this extraordinarily difficult episode in their lives and allow them to focus on the future,’ foreign minister Uri Rosenthal said in a statement.
In September, a Dutch court ruled seven widows, one daughter and a survivor of the massacre were entitled to compensation.
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 at 150.
The Netherlands has also reached an agreement to pay the relatives compensation of €20,000 each.
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