Drees cabinet allegedly covered up war crimes

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The Dutch government of 1954 allegedly covered up a bloodbath in Indonesia according to Dutch daily has got its hands on a secret report of a special investigation committee, which had only been seen by researchers up to now.

In 1946, a state of emergency was announced in South Celebes to curb revolutionary violence against the Dutch colonial power. Snipers had targeted Dutch troops. The Dutch elite units were ordered to restore order. They were also given the authority to execute opponents.

More than 3000 Indonesians were killed in three months. Many faced summary execution. More than 300 people were killed in one day in one Sulawesi village, more than during the Rawagede bloodbath in 1947. The secret report reveals that the military, political and judicial leaders were all informed of the atrocities immediately.

The report does not state the reason behind the cabinet decision not to prosecute. By this time, Indonesia was independent. A note by the chief of cabinet affairs says officers “went too far”, but that the “old affair should not be dragged up again.”

In , historian Willem IJzereef calls the decision a perfect example of a cover up. The Dutch government knew perfectly well that the operation had been illegal and that it would not stand up to the scrutiny of wartime law.

Liesbeth Zegveld, lawyer for the relatives of the Rawagade massacre, thinks the Dutch Public Prosecution Office should take action. The PPO says it needs to receive an official complaint first.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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