Netherlands to Pay Compensation for Indonesians Executed in 1945-50

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Netherlands will pay €5,000 or Rp86,525,000 to Indonesians whose fathers were executed by Dutch soldiers in the Independence War between 1945 and 1950, Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok said on Monday, October 19, in The Hague.

    In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, Blok said that “children who can prove that their fathers were summarily executed” between 1945 and 1950 “will be considered for compensation.” The attachment to the letter further explained that the compensation of  €5,000 would only be given to those whose fathers’ executions “were comparable in nature and gravity to the executions in Rawagede and South Sulawesi.”

    In the past decade, widows and children of men killed by Dutch soldiers, including in the West-Javan village of Rawagede in 1947 and in South Sulawesi between 1948 and 1949, have launched suits against the Netherlands in Dutch courts. In a landmark civil suit launched by a survivor and widows of Rawagede victims in December 2011, a court in The Hague ordered the Dutch government to apologize and pay the claimants a compensation of  €20,000 or Rp346,100,000.

    Following that case, several other suits were launched by victims, wives, or descendants of victims, who suffered at the hands of Dutch soldiers during Indonesia’s independence war, with accusations ranging from rape and torture to executions. The cases which were won by the claimants resulted in a range of compensations, from several hundred euros to thousands of euros.

    One key verdict came in October last year when a court in The Hague ruled that statute of limitations would not apply to cases of Indonesian victims of the 1945-50 war.

    In his letter, Minister Blok said: “By presenting this settlement, an easily accessible instrument is offered to surviving dependents, and we hope that this will provide all those concerned more peace and clarity in processing this tumultuous period.”

    Liesbeth Zegveld, the lawyer who has represented the survivors and their dependents, said she was happy that the state is willing to compensate victims’ children. “It’s a bit late, but it is decent,” Zegveld said as quoted by the NRC daily. She further said that she was unsure how many people would qualify for the compensation.

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