Netherlands to apologise for 1947 Indonesia massacre

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The Dutch government will formally apologise to Indonesia for the Dutch army's 1947 executions of scores of people, the foreign ministry said Monday.

Dutch troops fighting to retain Indonesia as a colony swept into the Javan village of Rawagede and carried out the mass executions. Dutch officials say 150 people were killed, but a support group says the death toll was 431.

In September, a Hague-based court ruled in favour of seven widows and a survivor of the massacre in the village east of Jakarta, known today as Balongsari. An eighth widow in the case died earlier.

The Netherlands agreed to pay 180,000 euros ($242,000) total in compensation.

"The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia will on Friday 9 December apologise in the name of the Dutch government for what happened," foreign ministry spokesman Aad Meijer said, adding that the ambassador would address residents during a ceremony in the village.

"I hope these (apologies) will help parents close this difficult episode in their lives," Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said in a statement.

The Netherlands has previously expressed regret over the killings and their illegality, but never formally apologised.

© 2011 AFP

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