Newsletter 12/11 - Beyond Rawagede apologies and reparations to Indonesia
On September 14, 2011 the Hague tribunal found the Netherlands guilty of the massacre of Rawagede, in which on December 9, 1947 the Dutch armed forces massacred almost all the males of the village (431 persons), and condemned the Dutch State to pay reparations to a surviving man and to the relatives of nine victims who had filed a complaint in September 2008.
On November 2008 the Dutch State had refused the request for apologies and reparations, while the state Attorney general had expressed to the survivor and the relatives of the victims deep regret for what had happened.
The process, during which the victims have got the support of the Komite Utan Kehormatan Belanda, has been continuing for three years until the historical sentence of September 2011 which condemned the Dutch State to pay reparations.
As a result of the sentence, on November 22, 2011 the State Attorney general contacted the lawyers of the relatives of the victims in search of an agreement on reparations, while on December 9, 2011 during the celebration of the sixty-fourth anniversary of the massacre in the village of Balongsari, once called Rawagede, ambassador Tjeerd de Zwaan apologized on behalf of the Dutch Government in English and Indonesian. The apologies were accompanied with the tears of many of the people attending.
Always following the sentence, the Komite Nasional Pembela Martabat Kebangkitan Bangsa Indonesia and the Komite Utan Kehormatan Belanda requested apologies and reparations for the post-colonial war period, elapsed between the proclamation of the independence from Indonesia on August 17, 1945 and the recognition of the independence by the Netherlands on December 27, 1949.
Colonialism Reparations asks that the Netherlands apologize and pay reparations to Indonesia for the whole colonial period, which began in 1602, during which the Dutch East Indies colonial possessions were one of the richest in the world.