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Dutch envoy apologises for executions in colonial Indonesia
Thursday September 12, 2013 11:38 PM , IANS

The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia has apologised for the summary executions during the colonial war in the former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, Xinhua reported citing Dutch media Thursday.

"On behalf of the Dutch government I apologise for these excesses," Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd de Zwaan said at an event in Jakarta.

The Dutch ambassador said his government has a "special responsibility" for the widows of victims of the executions.

The casualties occurred during military operations of the Netherlands during the Indonesian war of independence, which lasted from 1945 to 1949. Before that, Indonesia was a Dutch colony.

"The Dutch government is aware that it bears special responsibility in respect of the Indonesian widows of victims of summary execution carried out by Dutch troops in what was then Celebes and Rawagede," De Zwaan said.

The official apology, besides financial compensation, are part of a recent legal settlement between the Dutch state and the widows of South Sulawesi, formerly Celebes.

Their husbands were executed by Dutch troops in 1946 and 1947.

A similar case against the Dutch state in 2011 was also won by victims of a 1947 massacre in Rawagede, Java.

Only a few widows were present at the event, because it was not held in Sulawesi, but in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

The ambassador promised to travel to the Sulawesi women to offer them personal apologies soon.

He also announced that all Indonesian women who were widowed after a summary execution in the Dutch East Indies, can directly address the Dutch state to apply for compensation without any legal proceedings.

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