‘Ten thousands of Dutch war crimes in Indonesia’, new research


This 2012 video about the 1945-1949 Dutch-Indonesian war is called War memory of Indonesian freedom fighter.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Leiden research confirms: structural and excessive violence in Indonesia

Dutch troops were using structural and extreme violence against the Indonesians, according to new research. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië (published end of October) historian Gert Oostindie, basing himself on other sources, draws the same conclusion. He presents new findings and makes clear what moved the soldiers.

100,000 Indonesians were killed

The question of whether Dutch were guilty of structural and excessive force during the period 1945-1950 was never properly answered. The conclusion of historian Remy Limpach, who will get his PhD this fall at the University of Bern, was front page news in the run-up to the commemoration of 70 years of independence in Indonesia. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië Gert Oostindie, Leiden Professor and Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), describes the war on the basis of testimony from Dutch soldiers. In the struggle for independence, roughly estimated, 100,000 Indonesians and nearly five thousand Dutch soldiers died, in addition to a higher but unknown number of European civilians.

What is your reaction to the conclusion of Remy Limpach?

“I largely agree with his conclusion that ‘excessive violence’ was not as exceptional as has long been asserted also by the Dutch government. It is good that Limpach has thoroughly investigated the context of this violence. He relies, I understand, especially on government archives. … From my research together with KITLV colleagues about personal documents of Dutch soldiers and veterans also emerges the picture that frequently war crimes were committed.”

Where do you rely on?

“We examined 700 published testimonials, together by about 1,400 soldiers, diaries, correspondence, memoirs and biographical sketches. We found in these personal documents about 700 individual cases of war crimes. That is staggering. Especially if you extrapolate this, then I fear that one, though one should be cautious, should think in terms of tens of thousands rather than in thousands of cases. Indeed, over the period there were 220,000 soldiers on the Dutch side. ”

“Some explain the violence with an attitude of ‘better safe than sorry’, saying it is better to deal ruthlessly with the opponent than becoming a victim oneself. Others write that also purely out of revenge war crimes were committed.”

“But most soldiers do not write about violence, and there are those who explicitly state that they oppose brute force, or afterwards regretted the actions of the armed forces.” …

Oostindie conducted the research with colleagues from the KITLV, especially Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey. Also Leiden students and trainees worked on this.

You call for more investigation into the violence in Indonesia. What questions are there?

“In 2012, the KITLV, the NIOD and the NIMH (Dutch Institute for Military History), called for a broad investigation into this war. The argument has not changed: this is the biggest war ever fought by the Dutch armed forces, but a balanced view of it is not there. We want to understand the war and come to a balanced judgment on how the armed forces acted. That includes questions about war crimes and the manner in which the military leadership and ultimately the politicians coped with it. It’s not moralizing. But the Netherlands owes it to its own position and foremost ambitions to allow unprejudiced research: for we are often the first to let others know how important respect for human rights is“.

Soldaat in Indonesië, 1945-1950 1945-1950 Getuigenissen van een oorlog aan de verkeerde kant van de geschiedenis
Gert Oostindie m.m.v. Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey
(Prometheus, Bert Bakker, 2015)

The book will be presented on October 31 during History Night at the Rijksmuseum.

(August 18, 2015 – LVP)

Dutch war crimes in Sumatra, Indonesia investigation


This video says about itself:

Shocking story of Dutch war veteran in Indonesia

12 January 2012

CLICK TO WATCH FULL DOCUMENTARY ONLINE: here.

Story

In Tabee Toean – meaning ‘Goodbye Sir’ in Indonesian – five veterans of the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949) share their recollections, telling us how they as young soldiers, unprepared for guerrilla warfare, found themselves in a devil’s circle of excessive violence and cruelty.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Investigation into war crimes in Sumatra

Today, 10:18

The Netherlands has possibly committed war crimes on the Indonesian island Sumatra. The foundation Committee Dutch Debts of Honour (K.U.K.B.) now does research on that.

The foundation is investigating an air strike on Bandar Buat in 1947, the ANP news agency reports. In bombardments by fighter aircraft on the market there many civilians are said to have been hit.

For the research, witnesses and survivors are being sought who can provide more information about what happened at that time. If enough people will turn up, then the foundation will be able to bring a lawsuit in order to get compensation and recognition for the victims.

The Netherlands guilty

The K.U.K.B. has previously successfully litigated on Dutch war crimes in Indonesia. The foundation has, inter alia, litigated on behalf of widows and children of men who were executed in South Sulawesi and Java. The Dutch government was ultimately ruled to be liable for the damage they have suffered thereby.

Indonesian fish and coral research


Whale shark

November 2011. Read here about marine research in Indonesia: tagging whale sharks, maybe new fish species discovered, and coral.

Indonesian ant-like flower beetle discoveries


An ant-like flower beetle

From Wildlife Extra:

November 2011: International Anthicidae specialist Dr Dimitri Telnov, of the Entomological Society of Latvia, Riga, writes about the amazing discovery of 84 new ant-like flower beetles [species] in Wallacea and New Guinea.

Ladybugs change color, reacting to climate change: here.

‘Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, stop compensation bureaucratic red tape’


Indonesian relatives of victims of Dutch war crimes in a Dutch court in 2014, photo: ANP

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

‘Postpone deadline for relatives of victims in Indonesia’

Today, 11:22

Survivors of men who during the Indonesian war of independence were executed by the Dutch armed forces should get more time to file claims. This says the Stichting Comité Nederlandse Ereschulden which investigates war crimes committed during the Indonesian struggle for independence.

Two years ago, the Dutch government announced that widows of victims would get two years time to file claims. On September 11 that deadline will run out.

The foundation calls the deadline “not realistic, not generous and undesirable.” The time people need to get the documents together is too short, they say. They also say that relatives face “petty restrictions”.

Children

One of the objections is that widows are only eligible for compensation if the execution is “listed in already published public sources”. The foundation points out that many cases have not yet come to light and that the necessary documents are often not available.

The foundation also wants to make the children of executed Indonesian men able to claim compensation. They points out a ruling by the court in The Hague on March 11th. Which ruled in favor of five children of men who had been executed in South Sulawesi (formerly Celebes). The Netherlands, according to the verdict, had wrongly argued that the cases are time barred and that the arrangement with widows already had taken into account the loss of income for the family.

Rawagede

The Dutch army executed during the war of independence (1945-1949) thousands of men. Many victims died in South Sulawesi. Another infamous massacre occurred in the village Rawagede (Java).

In 2011, a judge already ruled that the crimes were not time barred. After that, a settlement was reached with widows of Rawagede. In August 2013 a settlement was reached as well with widows of victims in Sulawesi. The compensation amounted to 20,000 euros.

‘Dutch government knows names of Indonesians murdered during war of independence’


This video says about itself:

Court to rule on Dutch massacre in Indonesia

14 September 2011

A Dutch court is expected to rule if survivors of a massacre carried out more than 60 years ago will get compensation.

According to Indonesian researchers, Dutch troops wiped out almost the entire male population of a village in West Java, two years before the former colony declared independence in 1949.

Indonesia declared independence in 1945. The Dutch government recognized that only after four years of war later.

Most Indonesians do not know about the massacre that took place in Rawagede.

Only recently has a monument been built to remind residents that Dutch soldiers killed all the men of the village.

The only living witnesses are now in their 80s, and illiterate, after having to fend for themselves following the deaths of their husbands.

“There were dead bodies everywhere, many of which we found in the river after the shooting stopped,” said Cawi, a survivor.

Of the nine widows and survivors who have filed the case, three have died while waiting for the verdict.

The Dutch government has admitted that war crimes were committed in Rawagede but it says the survivors filed their claims for compensation too late.

They should have done this within 30 years after the atrocities were committed, says the Dutch government.

It is now up to the judge to decide whether it is justified to have a time limit on war crimes.

The massacre in Rawagede is not the only village where the Netherlands has an unresolved dark history.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vassen reports from Rawagede.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The Dutch government has a list of names of Indonesians who were executed in 1947 on the island of Sulawesi by Dutch soldiers, says online journalism platform De Correspondent. Those names are important in a lawsuit which relatives of the victims have filed against the government.

Five children of men who were shot claim damages. The government refused because these cases supposedly had been barred. On March 11 the court decided in favour of the children, but some of them must still prove that their father was actually among those executed.

Archive

Now De Correspondent writes that the government itself ever since the nineteen seventies has lists of some 180 names of men who were summarily executed in 1947. These lists, along with about sixty testimonies by both Dutch and Indonesian witnessses are in the National Archives.

‘Shot like dogs’

A letter to one ‘Paul’ is one of the hundreds of documents in the National Archives that focus on the mass executions. An excerpt:

“Dear Paul, (…) have witnessed this morning the confirmation of the power of Dutch bayonets in the Supa region. (…) Yesterday there was a large-scale action (…) to put an end to the evil of bandits and terrorists. Burned some villages, people gathered and based on denunciations by a bunch of spies then over two hundred people (…) shot like dogs, with revolvers.”

Sulawesi, which was called in colonial times Celebes, was regarded as a bulwark of resistance against Dutch rule. To prevent villagers from providing food and shelter to the insurgent nationalists, Dutch soldiers burned villages and male residents were summarily executed.

Illegal

From documents in the National Archives it can be deduced that alone between January 14 and February 14 1947 at least 1200 people in South Sulawesi were killed illegally, says De Correspondent. This refers only to men who were not killed during battles with the Dutch armed forces.

The judge has already ordered the Dutch State twice before to give financial compensation to relatives of victims from Indonesia. In 2011 the surviving widows from the Javanese village Rawagade were vindicated, and the Netherlands in 2013 settled with widows from South Sulawesi. They each received a compensation of 20,000 euros.