Colonial bloodbaths in Indonesia and the Dutch government


This 2012 video is called Traumatic memory of Dutch war veteran in Indonesia.

Translation of the first part of an article by Maurice Ferrares in the Netherlands:

Can the truth about the war crimes in Indonesia still be concealed?

Maurice Ferares

February 22, 2016

Rengat massacre, Central Sumatra. January 5th 1949. Regularly there are still new reports of war crimes by Dutch soldiers in the years 1945-1950, committed in Indonesia. Eg, Anne-Lot Hoek wrote about the atrocities in Rengat, Central Sumatra, by the Depot Special Forces (NRC daily, 13-02-2016). A police report on the events is said to have been for decades in the National Archives in The Hague without the government having done anything about it.

Anne-Lot Hoek: “According to a part of an official report on January 5, 1949 in that place there were 270 deaths. Indonesian sources, however, speak of 1,500 to 2,000 victims. The Dutch Resident M.D. Pros reported 400 victims. On the fifth of January at eleven o’clock in the morning 180 paratroopers landed under the command of Lieutenant R. F. de Mey (a confidant of Captain Westerling) in the kampong [village] Skip and there caused a bloodbath among women, men and children after having raped a number of women. Their bodies were thrown into the Indragiri river.”

Corps Special Troops

Those who wanted to know have known for a long time that war crimes were committed in Indonesia. Those committed by Captain Westerling and the men of the Corps Special Forces in South Sulawesi were known, after the English newspaper The Daily Worker on June 7, 1947 had written about them. Ten to twenty thousand people were killed. No one was brought to justice, while the law was clear enough: “With life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment not exceeding twenty years or a fine of the 5th category will be punished those soldiers who in time of war by joining forces for violence against one or more people in committing this crime abuse or threaten to abuse power, opportunity or means given them as soldiers.” (Article 142 of the Code of Military Criminal Justice)

Excesses Report

In December 1968 Joop Hueting, who had been sent to Indonesia as a soldier, stated during a television broadcast of Achter het Nieuws that he and other Dutch soldiers had committed war crimes in Indonesia. The Hague circles were upset. There followed a debate in parliament and the government was asked to start an inquiry into the true events.

The then government De Jong had to do something about it. A committee appointed by them published already in March 1969 the so-called Report on Excesses. This title already showed that it was a very limited investigation. All previous governments had made every effort to avoid investigation. Their reasons? First, they were afraid of financial claims by the relatives of the victims. Secondly, they wanted to prevent from becoming clear what the consequences of the colonial war which their political friends had waged against Indonesia in the years 1945-1950 were.

The Excesses Commission had for two months delved into archives and did not go outside to hear witnesses. The result was indeed very limited and repeated the lies by military commanders in their reports. We pointed out earlier that according to the Report on Excesses twenty people were slain in Rawagede in Java in December 1947, while in the village there are 431 graves of the entire male population (men and boys) who were killed by Dutch troops.

Prime Minister De Jong could not deny the narrowness of the research, writing in the concluding remarks: “With this letter and its attachments in the opinion of the government as much as is currently possible, has been met the legitimate desire for openness in this matter. (…) The government intends to continue and complete the work by a general historical investigation.”

A follow-up study has not been commissioned by the De Jong government or at the request of any later Dutch government.

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5 thoughts on “Colonial bloodbaths in Indonesia and the Dutch government

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