A new, comprehensive investigation should be launched into conduct of the Dutch military in the former Dutch East Indies in the years 1945-1949. This is the conclusion reached by three Dutch research institutes.
After WWII, the Dutch government took military action against independence fighters in Indonesia, who wanted to end the Netherlands' colonial rule over their country. Indonesia declared independence in 1948, which was followed by the Netherlands severing the colonial relationship in 1949. It was not until 2005 that the Dutch government formally apologised for the military operations and acknowledged 17 August 1945 as Indonesian Independence Day.
The directors of the Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), the Dutch Institute for Military History and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), told the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant that it is essential that further investigation take place, because the controversy over the role the Dutch military played in the region continues.
The three institutes estimate that a new investigation would cost 2 to 3 million euros and take about three years to complete. The directors point out that it would be essential that Indonesian historians and researchers be consulted.
Last year, the Netherlands formally apologised and paid damages for the Rawagede massacre, in which the entire male population of that village, 431 people, were murdered by Dutch soldiers. Last month, a group of Indonesian families began proceedings to hold the Netherlands responsible for another bloodbath in South Sulawesi.
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