Massacre victims’ relatives get apology
Dutch mark grim anniversary by acknowledging verdict, paying compensation
The Dutch government today offered an apology to relatives of men killed by the Dutch troops in Rawagede village in eastern Jakarta in 1947. The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia, Tjeerd de Zwaan, issued the apology for the massacre during a ceremony in the village, which is now called Balongsari. According to the relatives’ lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, the Dutch government will also pay compensation to nine relatives. “Each will receive €20,000 (about US$27,000),” she said at a press conference held yesterday in the National Human Rights Commission’s office in Jakarta. Relatives had fought for years to get an official acknowledgment of the Dutch troops’ actions in the past and compensation from the Dutch government. They won a landmark court case in The Hague earlier this year when judges ruled that the Dutch government was responsible for the killings of 431 men in the village. The Dutch government had previously expressed regret over the killings, but never formally apologized. On December 9, 1947, 300 Dutch troops led by Major Alphons Wijnen stormed Rawagede to find and capture Captain Lukas Kustaryo, the commander of Siliwangi Division who had often given the Dutch troops problems. At the time, the Dutch government had insisted there had been no more than 150 victims.