On 25 March 2020, the District Court of The Hague rendered a final verdict in which it granted the claims of several children and widows of men who had been summarily executed by the Dutch army on South-Sulawesi in 1947. It is now clear that none of the parties will file an appeal against that final verdict, so that the verdict will become final when the deadline for appeal passes later this month.
The cases of the widows whose claims have been granted by the court, will be settled with the State on the basis of the out-of-court settlement scheme that the State opened for widows of men who were killed during the course of summary execution rounds ‘of similar nature and gravity as Rawagedeh and South-Sulwesi’ (the so-called ‘Bekendmaking’; in effect until 11 september 2021). In accordance with this settlement sceme, the widows will each receive Euro 20,000 in compensation from the State.
At present, there is no similar settlement scheme for the children of summarily executed men. However, last week the State announced that one will become available. The contours of that scheme will be worked out in the coming period. By opening such a scheme to the children of summarily executed men, the State is (finally) responding to the plea by this group of surviving relatives to be treated the same as the widows. With regard to the children, the position of the State has always been that it can invoke prescription, arguing that children were ‘less directly’ affected by the executions than widows. The District Court of the Hague has already rejected that line of argument several times, the first time was on 11 March 2015 in the cases at hand; the interlocutory appeal that the State filed against that verdict on prescription foundered before the Appeals Court of The Hague on 1 October 2019.
Lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg have long since represented the plaintiffs in these proceedings. The lawyers also represent victims and surviving relatives in comparable cases concerning the wartime violence committed by the State during the war of independence in the former Dutch East-Indies.
- Claims of 11 surviving relatives of men summarily executed on South Sulawesi (1946-1947) upheld in final verdict
- Judgment re: unacceptability of invoking prescription by the Dutch State vis-à-vis victim of war crimes in former Dutch East Indies now final
- Claims by victims and surviving relatives of violence Dutch East-Indies not time-barred
- The Netherlands liable for damages of widows and children of summary executions in the former Dutch East Indies
- Dutch State compensates ten widows of the summary executions on Sulawesi and offers apologies
- Negotiations with the State regarding the South-Sulawesi case have failed
- Declaration of liability of the State for massacres on South Sulawesi in 1947