The Netherlands just decided to sort out all the atrocities that its military committed in “its” Colony the Dutch Indies after WW II to try stopping an independent Indonesia. The Low Countries are obviously very slow in cleaning up war crimes. Look at the following case.
There is now a trial going on about alleged liquidation of Moluccan train hijackers from close by after they were already incapacitated, 40 years ago. Marines employed at the liberation of the train claim not to have done this. It is hard to believe them. Autopsy reports tend to be very accurate in the Netherlands. But then it happened.
Marines employed at breaking up another Moluccan hostage situation now have spoken up. They could not stay silent any longer. Their story: politicians try to run away from blame by framing us, declaring that they never asked for liquidation. However, we marines are trained to kill. You order marine action, you order killers. Otherwise you send in the police. The ones who should stand trial are the politicians.
In other words: “I’m sure we murdered them but politicians ordered us – go take them to court.” Shocking! Have they never heard that ever since the Nuremburg trials against Nazi Germany’s top perpetrators, “Befehl ist Befehl”, literally “an order is an order,” is invalid defense? Who needs a prosecutor with friends and colleagues like that!
Apparently they still think that any command needs to be executed, even if it’s plain murder. But it gets worse. Really.
The minister of justice at the time, who ordered the storming of the train, is still alive. In the Netherlands, ministers can be political appointees who know nothing about the ministry they get to work in. But this person was law professor. We’re talking about the notorious Van Agt, later known for his unabated smear campaign against Israel, but who already at the beginning of his political career called himself in an interview an Aryan, instead of Gentile or non-Jew.
Professor Van Agt has refused to answer questions about his orders to the marines at the time “as long as the trial goes on.” This evasion shows that he too is unaware of the bankruptcy of the Befehl ist Befehl excuse. Otherwise he could have easily said: Even if they were told to kill all the hostages and take no prisoners, which I deny, that does not permit anyone to murder someone who’s been rendered powerless or who has given himself up. Murderers on order are still murderers.
In the post-WW II Jewish State, the military code is (of course) very clear on the obligation to disobey unjust orders. Conscripts are drilled about it endlessly. But even the Israeli public that never served knows that unlawful commands cannot be heeded. Not so in the Netherlands: not the law professor minister of justice, not the marines, not the prosecutor, not the defense lawyers and not the judge know. Shocking.