Dutch soldiers executed 11 unarmed people during the Indonesian war of independence, between 1945 and 1950. Now their children will be compensated for the murders of their kin.

The government of the Netherlands said on Monday it will pay compensation to the children of Indonesians who were executed by Dutch soldiers during the Indonesian independence war. 

The announcement came in light of a court ruling earlier this year, which ordered the government to pay compensation to the widows and children of 11 Indonesian men who were killed in the country’s southern Sulawesi island between 1946 and 1947.

The Dutch government promised 5,000 euros ($5,890) to those who could present credible proof of their father’s execution during the conflict.

Dutch soldiers executed several hundred people without conducting any form of trial, and tortured several others to death in prisons, according to the Dutch appeals court. 

The court at the time rejected claims by the Dutch state that the acts in its former colony had happened too long ago for it to be held responsible, citing the exceptional level of violence and the extent to which the Dutch state was culpable.

The Netherlands had earlier offered compensation to widows of executed men, but had always refused to pay damages to their children.

A government spokesman said it was not clear how many people would ask to be recognised under the new settlement.

Indonesian War of Independence

The Indonesian national revolution, or war of independence, was declared in 1945 against the Netherlands. 

After more than four years of bloody and violent conflict, the world’s largest Muslim country gave birth.

The Dutch forces could not defeat the inexperienced but determined Indonesian insurgents.

Young Indonesians were ordered to keep their hands up when Dutch soldiers rounded up Republicans in Batavia, July 30, 1947, just before the outbreak of hostilities in Java.
Young Indonesians were ordered to keep their hands up when Dutch soldiers rounded up Republicans in Batavia, July 30, 1947, just before the outbreak of hostilities in Java. (AP)

Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo, was one of the important places for the Indonesian National Revolution. 

As Indonesian Republicans gained power within the region, the Dutch counter-offensive was kicked-off in December 1946 with the leadership of controversial Raymond Westerling, a Captain in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army(KNIL).

Until the operation ended in February 1947, Westerling succeeded in eliminating the Indonesian insurgency and weakened local support for the Republicans. 

However, his way of summary executions of suspected enemies has long been a controversial issue in both countries.

The Republican government of Indonesia claimed Westerling was responsible for 40,000 deaths. However, some historians say the number is exaggerated.

Dutch historian, Willem IJzereef, estimates the real number of killed Indonesians was about 1,500. 400 of these victims were executed directly by Westerling.

Source: TRT World