Dutch government ordered to compensate widows of 1947 Indonesian massacre

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The Dutch government has been ordered to pay compensation to the relatives of hundreds of victims of a massacre in Indonesia in 1947.

Between 150 and 400 people died at the hands of Dutch troops in the village of Rawagede, West Java, on December 9, in one of the most infamous atrocities of Indonesia’s war of independence.

A court in The Hague today ruled that seven widows of the victims were entitled to compensation. The exact amount was not disclosed.

The court decided that the Dutch state was responsible for losses suffered by the victims and their families.

The court accepted jurisdiction in the case even though the normal time period for such claims had expired and barred the state from appealing on this point.

The only survivor of the massacre, Saih Bin Sakam, died in May this year.

Two years ago the government allocated €850,000 in development aid money for the nearby region of Balongsari, but refused to call it reparation money or officially link it to the massacre.

The money was earmarked for the construction of a new school, a market and an extension to Rawagede’s hospital. However, locals say the cash, which was paid directly to the interior ministry in Jakarta, has still not filtered through to the region.

The Dutch embassy has insisted the holdup is down to the need to take “due care and attention” with development projects.

The state attorney said he was surprised by the judgment and would be studying the findings in detail.

Source: NRC: Nederlandse staat moet weduwen Rawagedeh betalen
Photo by Muhammad Ibnu Lukman

Background material from Radio Nederland Wereldomroep (in English)
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