Rawagede massacre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rawagede massacre
LocationRawagede (present-day Balongsari, West Java
Coordinates6°15′S 107°17′E / 6.250°S 107.283°E / -6.250; 107.283Coordinates: 6°15′S 107°17′E / 6.250°S 107.283°E / -6.250; 107.283
Date9 December 1947 (UTC+7)
TargetIndonesian villagers
Attack type
PerpetratorsRoyal Netherlands East Indies Army
Part of a series on the
History of Indonesia
Surya Majapahit Gold.svg VOC gold.svg National emblem of Indonesia Garuda Pancasila.svg
Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia portal

The Rawagede massacre was committed by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army on 9 December 1947 in the village of Rawagede (now Balongsari in West Java), during Operatie Product. Forces of the Royal Netherlands Army were deployed in the East Indies to restore Dutch authority and protect the country's interests in Indonesia. They were battling Indonesian Republican army fighters TNI and militia forces seeking independence for Indonesia or engaging in criminal activities. Almost all males from the village, amounting to 431 men according to most estimates, were killed by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, since the people of the village would not tell where the Indonesian independence fighter Lukas Kustario was hiding.

Although Dutch Army General Simon Hendrik Spoor recommended that the responsible officer, Major Alphons Wijnen, be prosecuted, no criminal investigation was started. A report from the United Nations published on 12 January 1948 called the killings "deliberate and merciless".[1]

On 8 September 2008, 10 widows of victims of the massacre officially held the Netherlands responsible for the massacre. The state lawyer replied in a letter published on 24 November 2008, that the Netherlands "deeply regrets" the massacre, but that it believes the term for prosecution had expired. This has drawn some criticism among members of the States-General of the Netherlands, as well as among leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, which argued in an editorial that there is no such thing as a statute of limitations on war crimes.[2]

In December 2009, the 10 widows decided to sue the Dutch state in court.[1] The court decided on 14 September 2011 that the crime, due to its extraordinary nature, is not subject to a statute of limitations, and thus held the Dutch state fully accountable for the damages caused.[3] Following settlement negotiations with the Dutch State, the plaintiffs/widows of the men executed in Rawagedeh were awarded 20,000 euros each in compensation; the State furthermore agreed to extend its formal apologies for the massacre.

On 9 December 2011, the Dutch ambassador to Indonesia stated: "We remember the members of your families and those of your fellow villagers who died 64 years ago through the actions of the Dutch military... On behalf of the Dutch government, I apologize for the tragedy that took place." Only 9 relatives are still alive and will receive 20,000 euros ($27,000) compensation each, but there is no schedule for these payments.[4]

The ruling of the judge also included that the Dutch state was responsible because it has the duty to defend its inhabitants, which also indicated that the area was part of the Dutch East Indies in contradiction of the Indonesian claim of 17 August 1945 as its date of independence.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b NRC Handelsblad - Widows sue Netherlands over Indonesia massacre
  2. ^ NRC Handelsblad - No statute of limitations on Dutch past in Indonesia
  3. ^ RNW - Court: Dutch accountable for war crimes in Indonesia
  4. ^ "Dutch state apologizes for 1947 Indonesia massacre". 9 December 2011. Archived from the original on 15 September 2013.