Addressing Colonial Crimes through Reparations?
Author: van den Herik, Larissa
Source: Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 10, Number 3, 28 July 2012 , pp. 693-705(13)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:In 2011, Dutch history came to the courtroom. In the so-called Rawagede case, reparations were asked of the Dutch state for mass executions committed on 9 December 1947 in Indonesia under Dutch colonial rule. In an unanticipated judgment delivered on 14 September 2011, The Hague Court of First Instance declared the Dutch massacre in Rawagede wrongful, set aside existing statutory limitations, and held that reparations should be awarded to victims. This judgment is taken as an opportunity to discuss some more general questions concerning retroactivity, statutory limitations in civil versus criminal cases, and the question whether articulations of regret and the donation of development aid can be considered as specific expressions of an effective remedy. This article argues that the judgment does not directly contribute to state practice in the formation of a concrete rule of customary international law on statutory limitations in reparation cases concerning international crimes. The importance of this case can rather be found at the meta-level in that it functions as leverage for the Dutch state and society to revisit its colonial past.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2012-07-28
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