Military Justice in the Dutch East-Indies: A Study of the Theory and Practice of the Dutch Military-Legal Apparatus during the War of Indonesian Independence, 1945-1949
Bos, S.T. van den
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This study critically evaluates the Dutch military-legal apparatus during the War of Indonesian Independence. It compares both the theory and practice of the apparatus, thereby including the relevant legal processes. The term „military-legal apparatus‟ refers to the various types of courts-martial that existed during the war, including the “krijgsraad te velde KL”, “krijgsraad te velde KNIL”, “bijzondere krijgsgerechten”, but also the military police (KMP), the commanding general, and the High Military Court. Due to their importance, special attention is given to the role of the military prosecutors. The main conclusion is that the dysfunction of the military-legal apparatus created conditions in which it was possible for soldiers to commit ‘war crimes’ or 'excesses' without facing any form of punishment. It also devalues the court-martial reports, which don’t seem to represent past events at all. Primarily, the arbitrariness of the people involved, the lack of legal uniformity, lack of supervision, severe staff shortages, expanding jurisdictions, impossible workloads and flawed legal procedures were the main reasons for the problems within the Dutch military-legal apparatus.