Lawyer: Slain Indonesians’ kin want Dutch apology

May 7, 2012, 3:43 PM

Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Ten relatives of Indonesian men allegedly killed by Dutch troops in their country’s bloody struggle for independence demanded compensation and an apology Monday from the Netherlands.

A lawyer for the Indonesians said their relatives were summarily executed by Dutch forces in a series of massacres in villages in South Sulawesi province in 1947.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld said more than 3,000 Indonesians were killed in three months during a Dutch crackdown intended to “cleanse” the province of pro-independence insurgents and that it is time for the Dutch government to acknowledge its actions.

It is not the first time Zegveld has represented widows and children of alleged massacres in Indonesia. Last year, she won a landmark case that prompted the government to apologize and compensate a group of widows.

Zegveld cited a Dutch commission of inquiry that in 1954 concluded that Dutch authorities “adopted the way of extra-statutory trial and execution” to stamp out the rebellion.

The full report of the commission was not immediately available. However, Dutch media have reported on such killings before.

No Dutch troops have ever been prosecuted in any of the alleged massacres, Zegveld said.

The foreign ministry confirmed it had received Zegveld’s letter and said in a statement it was studying the claim.

In her letter, Zegveld alleges that one of the massacres took place in the village of Galung Lombok on Feb. 1, 1947. The letter claims that Dutch forces entered the village in the morning, ordered residents from their homes and then torched the houses before executing 364 people.

One of Zegveld’s clients, Asia Sitti, was the daughter of the village elder and witnessed the killings. Sitti was 12 years old when her father was shot in front of her, Zegveld claimed.

In another village, Bulukumba, Zegveld alleged that up to 250 men were executed in January 1947, some shot while fleeing through rice fields, others while standing in front of a pit dug by villagers.

“The people were shot from behind so they fell into the hole,” according to Zegveld’s letter. “Most of them were farmers or fishermen.”

Monday’s demand comes months after Zegveld successfully sued the Dutch state in a similar case _ a massacre on Indonesia’s main island of Java, also during the independence war.

In that case, a court in The Hague ruled that Dutch forces were responsible for summarily executing up to 430 men in the village of Rawagedeh. After the judgment, Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal formally apologized to the relatives and agreed to pay compensation to widows.

Rosenthal said last year that the apology “does justice to the gravity of what happened in Rawagedeh.”

Former Foreign Minister Ben Bot expressed deep regret for offenses by Dutch forces throughout Indonesia in 1947, but the government had never previously formally apologized to relatives in Rawagedeh.

Zegveld said that following the landmark Rawagedeh judgment, she now wants to sit down with Foreign Ministry officials to work out a plan for addressing similar cases.

“I see no reason to go to court. We can all predict what the court will say,” she told The Associated Press.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
4 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Lawyer: Slain Indonesians’ kin want Dutch apology