The Netherlands sued by dozens of children re: post-colonial violence in former Dutch East Indies (1945-1949)

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Amsterdam, 13 March 2017 - Since the end of last year, 71 Indonesians have summoned the State of the Netherlands to court in nine separate court cases. The plaintiffs are children of men who were summarily  executed by the Dutch army on the islands Java, Sumatra and South-Sulawesi between 1945-1949; in some cases other grave misconduct took place as well. Aside from these cases, the State has also been summoned to court by a man whose mother was unlawfully shot to death by Dutch soldiers within the context of a large-scale attack on Rengat and surroundings (Sumatra) on 5 January 1949.

The plaintiffs in these court cases are represented by lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg. The lawyers are currently representing 500-550 children of summarily executed men, who are holding the State liable for their (im)material damages in that respect.

These cases are in line with the judgment by the District Court of The Hague in 2011, in which it held that the State of the Netherlands cannot invoke the statute of limitations vis-à-vis the claims filed by surviving relatives of summary executions carried out by its army. On 11 March 2015 the District Court rendered an interlocutory verdict in which it held that this also applies with regard to the children of summarily executed men. That procedure was initiated by, among others, 5 children of men who were summarily executed in Suppa and Bulukumba in 1947.

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