Indonesian widows to seek Dutch justice

20th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Widows of Indonesian men killed by the Dutch colonial army in 1946 and 1947 on Saluwesi island are planning to seek justice before a court in the Netherlands, their lawyer said Tuesday.

"We are exploring the possibilities of legal action," Amsterdam-based lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld told AFP, following a landmark ruling earlier this year which found the Dutch state responsible for another massacre in Indonesia in 1947.

The new case was "not about money" but "about getting recognition for the harm that has been done to them," said Zegveld.

In September a court in The Hague found the Dutch state responsible for executions committed by its colonial army in 1947 in the village of Rawagede on Indonesia's Java island.

The court ruled in favour of eight widows and a survivor of the Rawagede massacre during Indonesia's fight for independence, where men and boys were executed by the colonial Dutch army as relatives and friends looked on.

Zegveld said the new legal action could start "within two or three months in the Netherlands."

"So far, we have spoken to about 10 widows who could enter the Dutch courts," she added.

Residents claim some 40,000 Indonesians were killed by the Dutch army in Sulawesi's south between December 1946 and February 1947 while conducting operations to look for opponents of the former Dutch colony.

The Dutch government says there were between 3,000 to 5,000 deaths, according to figures quoted in the Dutch media..

Zegveld said events to open proceedings are being studied, citing examples such as executions in the Sulawesian villages of Pare-Pare, Bulukumba, Lombok and Supa-Galung.

The Dutch government formally apologised earlier this month for the Rawagede massacre on the country's Java island in an emotional ceremony.

Dutch officials say some 150 people were killed, but a support group and the local community say the death toll was 431.

Indonesia gained its independence in 1949.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article