According to Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, the Netherlands is dodging its need to pay reparations for its colonial authority over Indonesia by saying that his remarks “would not change any existing legal grounds.”
One observer adds that if the Dutch invasion of Indonesia in the 1940s were to be considered an invasion of a sovereign nation as of August 17, 1945.
Observers have said that the Netherlands’ recent commemoration of the formal independence day of its former colony Indonesia is “not sincere” and a “huge insult” to Jakarta since it lacks the necessary legal ramifications.
The Netherlands “recognises fully and without reservation” that Indonesia gained independence on August 17, 1945, according to remarks made by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on June 14.
During a parliamentary session in The Hague, Rutte said, “We see the proclamation as [a] historical fact,” adding that he “will consult” Indonesian President Joko Widodo on how to “reach a joint realization of that independence day.”
The next day, Widodo referred to the recognition as “a good thing,” although he said that he will talk to the minister of foreign affairs about any possible repercussions.
However, Jeffry Pondaag, head of the Netherlands-based The Dutch Honorary Debts Committee Foundation, which aggressively pursues restitution from the Dutch for their military offensives, believes that Rutte’s comment is a “huge insult” to Indonesia.
“Our administration must exercise caution; don’t merely accept the acknowledgment; consider making amends for the 350 years that the Dutch colonized Indonesia. We cannot just ignore it, Pondaag remarked.
The Dutch attempted to retake the colony during a four-year diplomatic and military conflict from 1945 to 1949, a time known in Indonesia as the revolutionary war and as bersiap in the Netherlands. Sukarno, the country’s first president, proclaimed independence on August 17, 1945.
With the signing of the Hague Agreement on December 27, 1949, the Dutch officially recognized Indonesia’s independence.
But the Netherlands has moved quickly to avert any potential legal repercussions from Rutte’s remarks. According to the Dutch president’s spokeswoman, The Hague would continue to recognize 1949 as the year Indonesia gained independence, and the president’s statement that his acknowledgment “would not change any existing legal grounds” echoed this sentiment.