Netherlands liable in case re: abuse of Javanese man during his captivity in 1947

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Amsterdam, 20 July 2018 – In 2014, the Javanese Mr. Yaseman notified the Dutch State that he considered it liable for the fact that he was abused during his detention and questioning by the Dutch army on Java in 1947. In its final verdict of 18 July 2018, the district court of The Hague held that it has been proven that the the skull of the then detained Yaseman was indeed smashed with a stick by a Dutch soldier and his Javanese accomplice, and that a cigarette was put out on his head. As such, the court concludes that the State of the Netherlands indeed acted unlawfully towards Yaseman.

The court has awarded Yaseman immaterial damages, and considered that:

The conduct took place while he was in captivity, while he was in a fully dependent position without knowing what he was facing and what he could expect might happen next. The conduct caused intentional pain and suffering [...] The court finds it beyond a reasonable doubt that Yaseman endured fear while the events were taking place and that he suffered psychological distress as a result thereof. [free translation]

Aside from the aforementioned, proven counts of abuse, Yaseman had also asserted that he was electrocuted and that water had been forced into his body through a hose after which Dutch soldiers forcefully kicked his stomach. The court considered that although there was insufficient supporting evidence for those two acts, it considered it (very well) possible that those facts had also taken place in the manner described by Yaseman.

Unfortunately Yaseman did not live to see the end of his trial. He passed away in the fall of 2017, shortly before his injuries and scars were to be examined by an expert and a few weeks after the court had heard him as a witness via a videolink with Java.

Mr. Yaseman was represented by lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg.

Read the verdict here (in Dutch).

Previously

Yaseman getuigt via een videoverbinding voor de rechtbank in Den Haag. © Inge van Mill, Trouw

[Photograph: Yaseman testifies via a video link before the district court of The Hague. Source: Trouw © Inge van Mill - link to article]

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