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Court to rule on Dutch massacre in Indonesia

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Uploaded on Sep 14, 2011

A Dutch court is expected to rule if survivors of a massacre carried out more than 60 years ago will get compensation.

According to Indonesian researchers, Dutch troops wiped out almost the entire male population of a village in West Java, two years before the former colony declared independence in 1949.

Most Indonesians do not know about the massacre that took place in Rawagede.

Only recently has a monument been built to remind residents that Dutch soldiers killed all the men of the village.

The only living witnesses are now in their 80s, and illiterate, after having to fend for themselves following the deaths of their husbands.

"There were dead bodies everywhere, many of which we found in the river after the shooting stopped," said Cawi, a survivor.

Of the nine widows and survivors who have filed the case, three have died while waiting for the verdict.

The Dutch government has admitted that war crimes were committed in Rawagede but it says the survivors filed their claims for compensation too late.

They should have done this within 30 years after the atrocities were committed, says the Dutch government.
It is now up to the judge to decide whether its justified to have a time limit on war crimes

The massacre in Rawagede is not the only village where the Netherlands has an unresolved dark history.

Al Jazeera's Step Vassen reports from Rawagede.

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