Selection of cases

Executions by State during ending of train hijacking at 'De Punt' in 1977




On 4 November 2016, the court hearing was held at the District Court of The Hague against the State of the Netherlands regarding the ‘Moluccan train hostage crisis’ that took place near De Punt in the Dutch province Drenthe in the summer of 1977. The train siege was ended by force on 11 June 1977 by a large-scale military operation under the code name ‘Mercedes’. Within the context of this operation, two hostages and six of the nine hijackers were killed. Documents that became available to the surviving relatives at the end of 2013 reveal that hijackers Hansina Uktolseja and Max Papilaja were executed by marines who entered the train.
Plaintiffs in these court proceedings against the Dutch State are Max Papilaja’s mother and two of Hansina Uktolseja’s brothers. It is to be noted upfront that they are not using this case to justify the hijacking of the train in and of itself. For them, the point of the procedure is to find out the truth about what happened to their son and sister. All the more so because it has become clear that the State of the Netherlands kept a lot of information about ‘Operation Mercedes’ and the death of the hijackers hidden in the years after 1977, both from the surviving relatives and from the Dutch people.
 
The court is to issue its judgment on 27 January 2017.
 

Executions by State during ending of train hijacking at 'De Punt' in 1977

Executions by State during ending of train hijacking at 'De Punt' in 1977

On 4 November 2016, the court hearing was held at the District Court of The Hague against the State of the Netherlands regarding the ‘Moluccan train hostage crisis’ that took place near De Punt in the Dutch province Drenthe in the summer of 1977. The train siege was ended by force on 11 June 1977 by a large-scale military operation under the code name ‘Mercedes’. Within the context of this operation, two hostages and six of the nine hijackers were killed. Documents that became available to the surviving relatives at the end of 2013 reveal that hijackers Hansina Uktolseja and Max Papilaja were executed by marines who entered the train.
Plaintiffs in these court proceedings against the Dutch State are Max Papilaja’s mother and two of Hansina Uktolseja’s brothers. It is to be noted upfront that they are not using this case to justify the hijacking of the train in and of itself. For them, the point of the procedure is to find out the truth about what happened to their son and sister. All the more so because it has become clear that the State of the Netherlands kept a lot of information about ‘Operation Mercedes’ and the death of the hijackers hidden in the years after 1977, both from the surviving relatives and from the Dutch people.
 
The court is to issue its judgment on 27 January 2017.
 
Landsadvocaat: 'Er zijn geen treinkapers geëxecuteerd' via @volkskrant

Train hijacking De Punt: Next-of-kin hold Dutch State liable for the execution of their relatives

Today, lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg summoned the Dutch State before the District Court of The Hague on behalf of the relatives of two hijackers who were shot dead when the hijacking of a train near the town De Punt (Drenthe) was ended by force on 11 June 1977. Zegveld and Vossenberg claim that there is sufficient proof that Max Papilaja and Hansina Uktolseja were unnecessarily and thus illegally killed. Evidence shows that that the hijackers were shot at close distance by marines who entered the train, while they were already defenceless and could also have been arrested. In addition, the lawyers claim that the marines used Hollow Point 5 bullets, a type of ammunition that is prohibited by the laws of war. The Dutch State is summoned to appear before the Court in The Hague on 23 December 2015.

Background
In the morning of 23 May 1977, nine young Moluccans hijacked an intercity train near the town De Punt to address their struggle for an independent Moluccan state. The train hijacking was ended by force on 11 June 1977, killing six of the nine hijackers and two hostages, and (gravely) wounding others. In his report to parliament, the then Minister of Justice, Dries Van Agt, stated that ‘controlled force’ had been used. The government closed the file within two weeks, on 23 June 1977. Only recently disclosed documents contradict the conclusion of ‘controlled force’. In response to parliamentary questions late 2013, the Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, ordered an archival investigation into ‘De Punt’, the conclusions of which were published on 19 November 2014. The Dutch State denies all liability.    

Writ of summons, 7 December 2015 (in Dutch).
Radio Interview, BNR Radio, 7 December 2015 (in Dutch).

Train hijacking De Punt: Next-of-kin hold Dutch State liable for the execution of their relatives

Train hijacking De Punt: Next-of-kin hold Dutch State liable for the execution of their relatives

Today, lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg summoned the Dutch State before the District Court of The Hague on behalf of the relatives of two hijackers who were shot dead when the hijacking of a train near the town De Punt (Drenthe) was ended by force on 11 June 1977. Zegveld and Vossenberg claim that there is sufficient proof that Max Papilaja and Hansina Uktolseja were unnecessarily and thus illegally killed. Evidence shows that that the hijackers were shot at close distance by marines who entered the train, while they were already defenceless and could also have been arrested. In addition, the lawyers claim that the marines used Hollow Point 5 bullets, a type of ammunition that is prohibited by the laws of war. The Dutch State is summoned to appear before the Court in The Hague on 23 December 2015.

Background
In the morning of 23 May 1977, nine young Moluccans hijacked an intercity train near the town De Punt to address their struggle for an independent Moluccan state. The train hijacking was ended by force on 11 June 1977, killing six of the nine hijackers and two hostages, and (gravely) wounding others. In his report to parliament, the then Minister of Justice, Dries Van Agt, stated that ‘controlled force’ had been used. The government closed the file within two weeks, on 23 June 1977. Only recently disclosed documents contradict the conclusion of ‘controlled force’. In response to parliamentary questions late 2013, the Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, ordered an archival investigation into ‘De Punt’, the conclusions of which were published on 19 November 2014. The Dutch State denies all liability.    

Writ of summons, 7 December 2015 (in Dutch).
Radio Interview, BNR Radio, 7 December 2015 (in Dutch).

Train Hijacking 'De Punt'

Today, lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg have held the Dutch State liable on behalf of the surviving relatives of five hijackers who were shot dead when the hijacking of a train near the town De Punt (Drenthe) was ended by force, as well as on behalf of one survivor of that assault. 

Read the press release here.

Annexes (available in Dutch)