Researchers: Dutch Allowed War Crimes in Indonesia

The Netherlands tolerated acts of violence by its soldiers in Indonesia when the Southeast Asian nation was fighting for independence from 1945 to 1949, researches found.

A joint study of The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH), and the Institute of War, Holocaust, and Genocide (NIOD) has mentioned the systematic violence of Dutch soldiers in Indonesia.

Participating in a discussion through video link, the researchers said the Dutch soldiers’ violence against Indonesians was “widespread and deliberate.”

They underlined that the Dutch government tolerated acts of violence by not conducting adequate investigations by military, administrative, and judicial authorities.

Dutch soldiers frequently and widely used violence during the war. They carried out extrajudicial executions, committed acts of murder, rape, and torture, and made arrests under inhumane conditions, said researchers.

Criticizing the impunity enjoyed by those responsible, the researchers described Indonesia’s war of independence as the result of the Dutch colonization, racism, and exploitation.

Jeffry Pondaag, chairman of the Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts (KUKB), told local media that the findings were “not surprising.”


Stressing that such findings are not newsworthy unless the Netherlands openly declares itself responsible for the war, he said: “Wherever the two sides fight, there is mutual violence and accusations. But only the responsibility of the Netherlands is mentioned here.”

Pondaag emphasized that the Netherlands investigated the events in 1969 and the results were recorded.

Indonesia declared independence from Dutch Empire on Aug. 17, 1945.

The Netherlands did not recognize Indonesia’s declaration of independence and landed troops on the islands of Java and Sumatra to maintain colonial rule.

Dutch soldiers committed war crimes by carrying out massacres against the civilian population.

Peace negotiations between the Netherlands and Indonesia ended when the Netherlands recognized the independence of the new state on Dec. 27, 1949.

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