Netherlands liable for rape of woman in Dutch East-Indies; State must allow investigation in Dutch National Archives

Netherlands liable for rape of woman in Dutch East-Indies; State must allow investigation in Dutch National Archives foto ©Al Jazeera

On 27 January 2016, the District Court in the Hague held that a then 18-year old Indonesian woman who was gang-raped by five Dutch soldiers during the purging of the Javanese village Peniwen on 19 February 1949 is entitled to €7,500 in immaterial damages. Just like in the cases concerning the summary executions, the District Court has rejected the State’s argument that the claim in the rape case was time-barred.

The District Court also appointed an expert in cases concerning the widows and the children of men who were summarily executed by the Dutch army in the former Dutch East-Indies, namely the Australian historian Robert Cribb. Cribb is fluent in Dutch and is specialized in the Indonesian war of independence. The District Court has assigned him the task of researching the evidentiary issues in the cases concerning the unlawful executions on South-Sulawesi in 1946 and 1947.  In that regard, he may also conduct research in the Dutch National Archives in The Hague. The District Court has also ordered the Dutch State to submit its own research and findings with regard to each widow/child to the court.

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