Sole Rawagede massacre survivor at trial

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The only Indonesian to survive the 1947 massacre of 431 civilians by Dutch troops in Java is in the Netherlands for a trial against the Dutch state.

Saih Bin Sakam, 87, and victims' relatives are claiming compensation. The state has rejected the claims, arguing the events took place so long ago that they have lapsed.

The massacre took place on 9 December 1947, when Dutch troops killed, without trial, an estimated 431 civilian men in the Javanese village of Rawagede. Against the advice of its own military and judicial authorities, the Dutch government decided, that same year, not to prosecute any of those involved in the massacre.

The victims' relatives, most of them widows of those killed, argue they have been treated unfairly compared with other war victims. Their lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, says the Dutch state has compensated Dutch nationals living in colonial Indonesia.

"The Netherlands traditionally does not reject claims brought by other World War II victims simply because they have lapsed. The same policy should apply to the widows of Rawagede", the lawyer concludes.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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