Plea for investigation of archives re: violence in Dutch East-Indies during court hearing 8 October 2015
Amsterdam, 7 October 2015 - Tomorrow, a court hearing will take place at the district court of The Hague regarding the cases of 23 children and widows of Indonesian men who were summarily executed by the Dutch army between 1945 and 1949. The case of an Indonesian man who was tortured by the Dutch army in 1947 is scheduled for tomorrow as well, along with the case of an Indonesian woman who was gang-raped by Dutch soldiers during military operations (purges) in the Javanese village Peniwen. The surviving relatives and victims are represented by lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg.
One of the discussion points tomorrow will be if the court should appoint an archive expert to investigate whether or not the Dutch National Archives contain (further) evidence that substantiate the plaintiffs' claims. There is every reason to do so.
Last summer, it was revealed that the Dutch archives contain much more information about the nature and scope of the violence perpetrated by the Dutch army back then, than was previously thought. For example, in June an article was published in de Correspondent revealing that the archives contain "death lists". Moreover, in August it was announced that, based on years of research in those archives, scholar Remy Limpach has concluded that "structural violence" took place, thereby debunking the use of the euphemistic term "excesses" that the Dutch State has used to date. His dissertation however, remains confidential until 2016, as per his own request. Interesting detail is that Limpach (also) works for the Dutch Institute for Military History (connected to the Dutch Ministry of Defense), and as such investigates the archives for the Dutch State in light of the claims filed by surviving relatives and victims in the legal procedures at issue (as well as in others). The fact that the archives contain relevant information is something the Dutch State has therefore known for a long time. The lawyers think it is time that this information is entered into the ongoing procedures.
Annexes (in Dutch)
- A. Hoek, 'Advocaat eist inzage in proefschrift geweld Indië' | NRC Handelsblad, 7 October 2015
- A. Hoek, 'Op de vlucht neergeschoten' | NRC Handelsblad, 15 August 2015 (part 1, part 2)
- M. van den Brekel, 'In het Nationaal Archief verbergt de overheid namenlijsten van vermoorde Indonesiërs' | De Correspondent, 12 June 2015
Update 12 October 2015 (in Dutch)
- A. Hoek, 'Waarheidscommissie Indië is nodig' (interview Geoffrey Robinson) | NRC Handelsblad, 10 October 2015
- The Netherlands liable for damages of widows and children of summary executions in the former Dutch East Indies
- Dutch State held liable for torture on Java in 1947
- Interview with Liesbeth Zegveld: 'Sympathetic' regulation provides old widows with nothing.
- Meeting with widows of summary executions on South-Sulawesi
- Dutch State compensates ten widows of the summary executions on Sulawesi and offers apologies
- Negotiations with the State regarding the South-Sulawesi case have failed
- Declaration of liability of the State for massacres on South Sulawesi in 1947
- Dutch State must compensate widows and survivor of the bloodbath in Rawagede