Netherlands Sued over Westerling Massacre
The Netherlands have neither apologized nor compensated the family members of the victims.
VIVAnews – Following the Rawagede case, 10 family members of victims of Westerling massacre officially filed a lawsuit to a Dutch court.
The suitors believed the Netherlands was held responsible for the murder of their husbands and fathers during the period of 1946-1947. Financial compensation is one of the issues they have filed for. However, the main issue in the appeal is to have the Netherlands render an apology for committing the killing.
Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, who previously represented the Rawagede victims, was called on to represent the 10 family members of the Westerling case. Through a letter, she presented the demands to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uri Rosenthal.
“The foundation that represents the interests of the victims in South Sulawesi, desires, together with the State, to find a way out of the crime committed there,” said the letter to a news supplier in the Netherlands, ANP, as released by Radio Nederland.
The crime mentioned is the large-scale execution set out by Captain Raymond Westerling and his troops who were at that time assigned to restore the Netherlands’ power in South Sulawesi.
According to Zegveld, in 1954, a special committee had decided that the Dutch military had conducted a crime in South Sulawesi.
“The authority opted in a judgment and execution system that was considered violating the law. Experts also concluded that Captain Westerling was free to act without supervision,” said Zegveld. She also added that the highest authority in the Netherlands allowed such crime to happen.
Last April, the prosecutor stated that it would not investigate the crime as it had been expired since the 1970s. However, “The Netherlands have neither apologized nor compensated the family members of the victims,” said Zegveld.
40,000 lives killed
Within a year (1946-1947), Westerling and his troops recorded a dark history over the people of South Sulawesi. As many as 40 thousand people were massacred, although the Netherlands only claimed 3,000 people were killed during that period. Meanwhile, Westerling only claimed 600 victims were dead.
With the pretext of finding ‘extremists’, ‘robbers’, ‘criminals’ and ‘murderers’ – Westerling barged into the villages. Whoever considered a threat to the Netherlands was murdered.
Killing by gunshots was not the only method. In his book, Horst H. Geerken, the commander of the Dutch Special Forces, instructed decapitation be carried out in addition to the shootings in the neck.
“Hundreds of sacks of decapitated heads were disposed out to sea to eliminate the identity of the victims,” said the book.
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