Dutch War Crimes

Sep 9th, 2008, in History, Opinion, by

Lairedion on the Dutch state being sued over war crimes at Rawagede, West Java.

Dutch State sued by Indonesians

On Monday 8 September 2008 10 Indonesian survivors of Dutch post WWII violence have sued the Dutch State for the assassination of their family members during the First Police Action (Agresi Militer Belanda I) after WW II. They want financial compensation, explanations and recognition for their suffering, as announced by their lawyer Mr. Gerrit Jan Pulles.

According to Pulles it is for the first time Indonesian victims of the fighting of 1945-1949 hold the Dutch State responsible. Mr. Pulles acts on behalf of ten villagers from Rawagede, West Java. They survived the bloody attack of the Dutch Army on 9 December 1947. According to the Dutch Honorary Debts Foundation, 431 (almost all the male) villagers were slaughtered. According to the Dutch Indulgence Note from 1969 150 people were killed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced they will study the matter.

Well into 2008, 63 years after Indonesian independence, the Dutch, due to their stubbornness, ignorance and patronizing behaviour, are being haunted again by their crimes in the aftermath of Soekarno’s declaration of 17-8-45 and they rightfully should. Only just being liberated themselves from the Germans the Dutch wanted to continue the situation as it was before WWII and re-occupy their former territories now being declared independent and bearing the name Republik Indonesia.

Rawagede is one of the most notorious events in the history of Indonesian struggle for independence against the Dutch. On 9 December 1947 Dutch forces raided the West Javanese village to look for weapons and Indonesian freedom fighter Lukas Kustario who often spent time in Rawagede. They didn’t find any weapons neither did they find Lukas.

Survivors of Rawagede remember (full version of documentary linked in footnotes).

Apparently dissatisfied by their lack of success the Dutch commander directed all males to be separated from the rest in order to execute all of them, despite the fact there were some young males of 11-12 years old among them. Indonesian leaders reported the mass killing to local UN officials. The UN made an inquiry and concluded the killings were “deliberate” and “ruthless” but failed to prosecute and to have the Dutch punished and sentenced for these obvious crimes against humanity and this is still the situation today!

Last month Pulles (of mixed Indo-Dutch blood like yours truly) visited Rawagede together with people from the “Yayasan Komite Utang Kehormatan Belanda (KUKB)”, including its chairman Jeffry Pondaag, to collect witness accounts and endorsements from survivors in order to hold the Dutch State responsible.

A protest outside Dutch embassy in Jakarta.

While financial compensation is sought after it must be noted that most survivors only want the Dutch State to take moral responsibility and offer official apologies to the Indonesian people. Furthermore they do not seek punishments for the people directly involved in the killings. One survivor just wants the Dutch not to forget what has happened.

At the same time more and more Dutch veterans, haunted by the crimes and horror they experienced, are supportive of the Rawagede survivors’ claim. It is very disappointing to see that of all the Dutch political parties only the left-wing Socialist Party support the claim while the conservative-liberal VVD on behalf of MP spokesman Hans van Baalen even denied Dutch crimes against humanity in Indonesia! 63 years of ignorance and subtle racism have been persistent obviously, a disease many Western nations still suffer from.

It is because of this the KUKB has been founded by Netherlands-based Indonesian Jeffy Pondaag in 2005. They demand the Dutch government:

  1. to recognize 17 August 1945 as the day Indonesia became independent.
  2. to offer apologies to the Indonesian people for its colonialism, slavery, gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.

The foundation is a non-subsidized independent foundation with branches in the Netherlands and Indonesia and would be happy to accept any donations. They look after the interests of civilian victims who suffered from violence and war crimes committed by Dutch military. Their website have more information on the Rawagede story and on the infamous Raymond Westerling who murdered thousands of innocent people in South Sulawesi.

Back in 2005 Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, obviously speaking on behalf of the Indonesian people, made it clear Indonesia is not seeking apologies or compensation from the Dutch. This reaction came after then Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot (who is Jakarta-born) expressed regrets and morally accepted the de-facto independence of Indonesia on 17-8-45 while he was representing the Dutch government during the festivities of Independence Day on 17-8-2005. Bot’s remarks were widely criticized in the Dutch media for being insufficient and way too short of a full apology and recognition of 17-8-45.

Of course it is irrelevant if Indonesia is demanding apologies or compensation or not. It should come from the Dutch themselves but their stubbornness and ignorance are still hindering them anno 2008. The Netherlands have constantly refused to express a full apology and recognition but were always quick to raise their finger and lecture its former colony on alleged human rights violations during the Soeharto reign.

I’m fully supportive of the Rawagede villagers and any future similar cases, seeking for Dutch responsibility, recognition and financial compensation. Evidence is clear, witnesses and next of kin are still alive, we’re dealing with war crimes, gross violation of human rights and crimes against humanity and here lies an opportunity for the Dutch to finally deal with its own past by recognizing and helping those poor villagers.

Sources and links:

News article from Dutch daily “Parool” (Dutch) : Indonesiërs klagen Nederlandse staat aan

Website of KUKB (Dutch and Indonesian): Yayasan Komite Utang Kehormatan Belanda

1948 (English) Word document approx. 7.8 MB: Report of the Rawahgedeh observation team

Broadcast of Dutch news show Netwerk with topic on this story: Netwerk 8 September 2008 (witness accounts from survivors (Dutch-Indonesian-Sundanese). Streaming media, requires broadband internet access.

827 Comments on “Dutch War Crimes”

  1. Oigal says:

    Kind of took guts, if you ask me

    Maybe? It’s amazing account but I have real trouble rationalising it myself is it brave or selfish.. the moment you involve children in the equation it becomes almost Jim Jones ish (but there is probably some cultural considerations but still children?)

    I have trouble calling suicide anything but cowardice, invairably the ones you leave behind have to deal with the grief and repercussions you leave behind. I do agree though it would make a mighty powerful movie, if done with a bit more class than the Bali bomb movie.

    Vietnam saying that most soldiers were reluctant to fire on other humans when it came down to it.

    Very true and one of the reasons for the need to demonise a people, Zionists, Islamists, Gooks, Frogs, Hun, Unbelievers had/have less to do with racism and more to paint people as a target rather than human beings.

  2. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    On the puputan and children, well, Oigs, perhaps I’d quote a great Australian Blogger who once said you can’t judge the events of the past by the values of today…: P

    Japanese, Romans, and apparently the Balinese have been into the idea of suicide as a noble exit. Falling on the sword or running into a line of rifle fire surely is a different thing to quietly downing a bottle of sleeping pills, no ?

  3. Oigal says:

    I have real trouble rationalising it myself

    Bugger I knew I would run into trouble with that post thats why i tried to qaulify it with the “myself” statement.

    This could get really bizarre..however..”Falling on the sword or running into a line of rifle fire surely is a different thing to quietly downing a bottle of sleeping pills, no ?” absolutely!! but if I am running into a line of rifle fire and decide to bring the missus and kids a long as well, a different kettle of fish no?

    Actually the whole thing is apples and oranges, falling on your sword is not the same as marching into a line of rifle fire against the odds eithier. Who was braver the POW who survived the death march or the Japanese Commander who fell on his sword as the camp was over run (for me obviously a no brainer)

  4. R says:

    Maybe we as Indo-Europeans should sue the Indonesian state for the killing, raping, looting, crusifing, robbing, beheading of our people, by so called Pemuda’s, during the time between the capatulation of Japan and the “politionele acties” (Bersiap Period)?
    And also for the harassment of Indo-European Indonesian siticents (Warga negara) in Indonesia during the war over Dutch New-Guinea in the seventies, causing them to flea to The Netherlands?

    And we could sew them for rascisme against Indo’s* who where only accepted as Indonesians if there father was Indonesian (something very rare).
    Something my Indonesian friend discribes als “theasing” Indo’s, a national game since indipendence?

    The Dutch did terrible things, but so did the Indonesians

    *Indo short for Indo-European ore Indisch, Indische-Nederlanders, like the Eurasians of Malaysia, people of mixed origine mainly dutch with indonesian.

  5. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Different people have different ideas of bravery…I find it brave to play “cupit-cupitan” on the ukulele in front of a crowd of tens of thousands who have never heard Dangdut before…

  6. Oigal says:

    Oh I have no doubt you will get to test your mettle and see if you stand tall or flinch and cower when the day finally arrives when the shirt front you so richly deserve is delivered.

    Sooner or Later we are all weighed and measured..

  7. timdog says:

    Aside on the subject of puputan:
    It seems that there’s a certain lack of clarity as to the exact nature of puputan. Accounts of how the Balinese behaved in the Puputan during the Dutch Balinese campaigns vary somewhat.
    Sometimes it is said that puputan was a sort of kamikaze suicide attack where the Balinese rushed the Dutch forces, knowing that they would likely be killed, but actually intending to kill, and possibly even defeat their enemy in the process.
    At other times puputan is described as much more ritualistic, the Balinese advancing slowy, in a dignified manner into the line of fire, with no attempt actually to attack their enemies.
    That’s oviously more like suicide, but there are yet more accounts where the Balinese simply adavance some way from their palace or whatever, then abruptly stop, turn their krisses around and stab themselves to death…

    I’ve read two separate accounts of the same puputan (the last, at Klungkung), one claiming a “kamikaze rush”, one claiming a self-stabbing a hundred yards out of the palace…

    Why is this? Is it because the Dutch, who provided most of the initial accounts of puputan, were so taken aback and baffled, so freaked out by the process that they were simply not sure about what had actually happened?
    Or – here’s a radical one; I’m not claiming it myself for a moment, I don’t remember having ever read anyone else claim it, though I’m surprised no one has (it’s a classic historical conspiracy theory) – could it be that puputan doesn’t really exist, that the Dutch misinterpretted wh at was nothing more than cool-headed bravery in battle, and the Balinese later ran with these accounts of what had previously been just a vague mythological concept?

    As I said, I am not claiming that, and I don’t actually believe it, but it would make a perfect starting point for a controversial revisionist thesis…

    Incidentally, I was looking at some work on the history of Eastern Madura the other day; there was an account of a Balinese attack on Sumenep in the 16th Century. After initial success the Balinese were routed and their encampments burnt. Many of them, apparently, killed themselves in the flames rather than face defeat…

  8. Oigal says:

    Hi Timdog,

    Interesting, despite ASSMAD’s comments I was not judging I find the whole issue extermely interesting but its one of those things that I could never get my head around and can understand the dutch soldiers “freaking out”

  9. Oigal says:

    then abruptly stop, turn their krisses around and stab themselves to death…

    You think we could talk PN and ASSMAD into a demonstration or us, I have feeling it would be a popular attraction (although limited to only one show)

  10. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    @ Oigal,

    Nice idea, but I think the universe is cruel and unfair, so sorry, don’t think it’ll happen. Also, don’t you think it’s a bit self-aggrandizing to think I deserve such a fate just for insulting you a few times on the internet ?

    @ Timdog,

    Maybe a mix of all ?

  11. Purba Negoro says:

    My father was a Pemuda.
    I am very proud of him as was his nation.

    The French dealt with their Vichy collaborators, as did the Dutch.
    Why do you expect some sort of compensation for your forebearers’ criminal behaviour, treason and treachery?

    You halfbreed Dutchman cowards were the worst scum of humanity- more vicious than even the Japanese.

  12. Deanevo says:

    Bold statement.
    Personally i don’t have this experience with Indo’s, but i’m my father was not a pemuda.
    If Indo’s have a more vicious reputation than the Japanese in Indonesia, what and how did they get this reputation?

  13. Lairedion says:


    PN’s words are somewhat harsh but he has valid points.

    We are talking about the indigenous people who wanted to liberate themselves from their colonial masters. Most Eurasians were servants to the Dutch, supported Dutch colonialism and looked down on pribumis. I don’t condone violence and murder against anyone but sometimes this is the burden of choosing the wrong side. You should complain to the Dutch who dropped you when you were of no use anymore in stead of whinge about pribumis treating you badly.

    And we could sew them for rascisme against Indo’s* who where only accepted as Indonesians if there father was Indonesian (something very rare).

    Rubbish. There are plenty of Indonesians with European descent and surnames who are fully accepted as Indonesians because they opted to support the young republic. The founding fathers accepted anyone who supported RI, including whites like Poncke Princen.

  14. Mets says:

    @ Oigs….finally you managed to put your points across in 2 sentences and a statement….so my gentle nudges of simple english is working cool!!! he he he!!!

    Challenges of these debates is basing arguments on facts and evidence as suppose to internalised opinions…

    @ Achmad – worked with Government Office for London, and 3 high crime level local authorities in London & two local Primary Care Trust in London

  15. Oigal says:


    Challenges of these debates is basing arguments on facts and evidence as suppose to internalised opinions…

    And therein lies your problem Mets… doing it your way, will require a legal testing of these facts..where..South Jakarta Court??? Ho di Ho..UN..(dangerous trend to encourage, don;t they still have number of pending cases awaiting some high profile Indonesians right now?..or Indonesia opens the door for further legal action on her own record (or even be called to account on her more recent record on the security council…the child soldiers of Burma), the US, Netherlands perhaps..Is Indonesia really ready for international legal exposure human rights.

    Still its nice to dream I guess but be careful what you wish for..(Although I for one, hope you succeed although I doubt the Indonesian Society at large is ready for the dark underbelly that follow on cases would expose)

    ASSMAD..never underestimate the univerise’s sense of humour..

  16. Purba Negoro says:


    what are you talking about?
    The child soldiers where Chinese descended Hmong. TIME clearly photographs them as being non MYANMARESE.

    Furthermore- the real issue in Myanmar is low-volatility simmering territorial conflict between Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand- all jostling to redraw their boundaries.

    Or perhaps I should call them the quaint native Indian-run Imperial Palatinates of Burma, Indocine Francais and Siam for your benefit?

    Sorry- Colonialism was defeated- Burma no longer exists- the territory as wel as the term are as obsolete as White Ostraya Policy, the same time Whitey’s Shangri-La vanished.
    The capital is not even Yangon (former Rangoon), but Nawpidaw.
    Just like fatso’s capital is not Sydney, but Canberra.
    Old Victoria is dead, and the tinted red parts of the map no longer exist.

    Catch up with current events please and learn to love the humiliation of failed White Supremacy.

  17. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Friends,

    @ Mets,

    Cool. Good to know. So are you Indonesian ? Male ? Female ?

    @ Oigsie,

    It’s true — the universe keeps bringing me to you, for example ! ; p

  18. Oigal says:

    Yawn..wade back to the shallow end PN, You are out of your depth..as usual (you’ll get ur kilt wet as well)

  19. Mets says:

    @ Achmad…female Indonesian, born in London grew up in Jakarta until I was 15 and completed my studies in the UK and am working there too….the whole family has decided enough is enough I am to march my butt back to Jakarta…so I am due to fly back next year to organise what job they have in mind for me lol!!!

  20. AchmadSudarsono says:

    @ Mets,

    Glad to hear it. Plenty of opportunities around for folks like you. Foreign-funded NGO sector here quite big because government is so dysfunctional…perhaps some good opportunities there ?

    @ All,

    I think something’s wrong. I’ve lost my desire to insult Oigal. It’d help if PN & ABB could be a bit more creative…

  21. AchmadSudarsono says:

    p.s.– Mets, some good job mailing lists around if you’re looking for a gig.

  22. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    @ Pak Achmad,

    I think something’s wrong. I’ve lost my desire to insult Oigal. It’d help if PN & ABB could be a bit more creative…

    Ouchgal’s responses were gibberish and non-sequitur. Our Javanese trumbu had reduced this shatterred pinata to a pulp. Remember Prince Joyoboyo won the heart of millions by pratising sopan and restraint. There is no point rubbing this seriously wounded Whitey’s face in the gravel. Afterall, his forebearer shot the Blackies, not her. She was just an exponent. There are other loudmouths (Rob and Andy) to practise our trumbu on.

  23. Oigal says:

    Sorry ASSMAD but PN and ABB carry a parody too far and it just too easy, ain’t worth anymore than one liner…I will try and come up with a statement to get you fired up again..although thats a risk in the rent boy business after awhile the the passion just goes and its just a job (or you may wish to try an extra sugar in your starbucks latte or is it green tea that is the drink of choice amongst the rich young things these days).

    Mmmm METS.. It would be interesting to see if there is a “reverse culture shock” when you come back..might find it a bit harder to be taken seriously over here..after all you are only a woman..

  24. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Nice try, but the latte jokes just me me chuckle at myself.

    Mama, take the guns offa me. I can’t use them anymore.

  25. Oigal says:

    ya i know..latte is about done..i will work on somehting new

  26. Rob says:


    “Loud mouth” is that the best you got?

  27. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    @ Rob,

    It is funny to see how another humble Brown brother from Purba Lingga armed with nothing more than Javanese wisdom silenced a big fat overpaid ogle sitting on a commode in her air-cond office.

    Don’t take it too personal, big boy. We know it is your forebearers who bayonetted the Blackies, not you.

  28. Andy says:

    Oigal-Mmmm METS.. It would be interesting to see if there is a “reverse culture shock” when you come back..might find it a bit harder to be taken seriously over here..after all you are only a woman..

    Very true, haven’t yet met any Indonesian who was happy to return home after a lengthy time away. One woman I know was excited about returning but very quickly tired of the gossip and inuendo, the salary (much less than bule but much more than local who had never travelled abroad). She got on the plane and went back to New Zealand. Then a guy I know who studied in Malaysia and speaks excellent English found people wanted him to work for less than 2 million a month. He was so insulted by that he started applying for work in any other country. These are two of thousands of stories. Many others have shared the same sentiments. Sometimes it is harder to return home than leave your native land in the first place. And yes Mets, with her feminist education will find Indonesia (particularly the men) tiresome and boring i’m sure.

  29. Mets says:

    @ Oigs & Andy…for the record I have already turned down two offers as the salary & package wasnt right…so they are hoping third time lucky lol!!!

    As for gossip….I wouldn’t be in Indonesia if there wasn’t any gossip………lol!!! I had great training dealing in a chauvanist world.. I’m an Indonesian women (with her prada glasses & gucci bag to boot!!) advising the British Metropolitan Police for god sakes!!!

    @ Achmad…thanks for the tips ..but have discovered NGO’s also can;t match the offer I’m after but will look at the other suggestions too….

  30. Oigal says:

    Allstar Anak Babi (AAB). Ayo.. You are going to have to do better than that! See the difference is I find ASSMAD a repugant little worm with no respect for anything however he is an intelligent and reasonably well read little worm which does offer the odd challenge to my (and I admit) well entrenched viewpoints. You and your idiot fraudlent mates on the other hand offer nothing but inane insults and the closest you and Papa Numbnuts have come to displaying any sign of evolutionary progress is the ability cut and paste (albiet selective) other peoples research (back to the thousand monkeys thing again).

    Andy, nothing personal but don’t preferable if you didn’t hitch your comments to mine. You are like trout rising to the bait and carrying way too much angst.

    Mets..Actually I was quite serious as opposed to Andy who took it as another chance to slash Indonesia. I was wondering just how hard it would be to re-adapt to Indonesia from a professional womans point of view. Certainly in our industry, even for the men once they reach a certain level, often the best thing they can do is leave Indonesia (brain drain) as merit and ability more often than not have less to do with advancement than patronage and bribery.

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