Thursday 09 April 2020

Dutch state must compensate Indonesians for executions, court rules

Statue of justice.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Dutch state must compensate victims of the Dutch military action in South Sulawesi in Indonesia in the 1940s, a court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday.

The highest amount, €10,000, was awarded to a man who saw his father being shot as a ten year-old boy by Dutch soldiers. Eight widows and three children of other executed men were awarded compensation of up to €3,600 for loss of income.

The court ruled the men were summarily executed, and that in one case a man was randomly shot.

The killings took place during mass executions in 1946 and 1947 when Dutch were trying to regain control of their former colony during the country’s struggle for independence.

Thousands of civilians were executed in Sulawesi during what the Dutch called ‘police action’ but which was in fact military intervention.

The court said it recognised that the compensation awarded to the widows and other children of the victims is extremely low by Dutch standards. They are only being compensated for loss of income and will get between €123,48 and €3,634, based on the amount the men were earning as farmers at the time – which didn’t exceed €100 a year.

It is ‘not in proportion with the grief experienced for the loss of husbands and fathers and the amounts are not meant to reflect that,’ the court said in its statement.

In 2011 the court ordered  compensation of €20,000 be paid to the widows of men who were executed by Dutch troops in the West Java village of Rawagede.

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