The murders of Rijswijk

Opheldering van de Rijswijkse moordzaak

In the night of March 7th, 1985, a violent attack surprised an amateur band. Three men were executed and two were badly wounded. The attack, which became known as the murders of Rijswijk (Rijswijkse moorden), was never solved.

Over 35 years later there is still no answers and only more questions. The Dutch newspaper, the NRC, made a 10 part podcast series named “Het Geheim van Rijswijk” (the secret of Rijswijk). In this podcast Anne Korterink dives deeply into the case. Her research leads her to more questions than answers. Why was the investigation stopped? Why are there so many secrets? Why was the police held back from fully researching the case?

The podcast has triggered a lot for the survivors, families and symphatisers. They have decided to start a foundation (Stichting Gerechtigheid en Waarheidsvinding). The goal of the foundation is to finally get answers in this case.

The Podcast

The popular podcast The Secret of Rijswijk from the NRC came out in 2021. Over 300,000 people have listened to the podcast. Many of them were left with the same questions and feelings of injustice and indignation. From the research of Anna Korterink and Mirjam van Zuidam, it is clear that there was political interference in the police investigation. Anna and Mirjam have spoken to witnesses and people who were involved, dove into archives and uncovered secret police files. Yet the case remained clouded in darkness, partially because many archives are still not accessible.

Liberation Council Suriname

The band was rehearsing in an office building that also held the Liberation Council of Suriname. The Liberation Council of Suriname was founded after the December murders of 1982. Many people fled from Suriname to the Netherlands afterwards. It has been determined that the attack was not meant for the band, but most likely was aimed at the members of the Liberation Council of Suriname. The Council was one of the opponents of the regime of Desi Bouterse. There are strong suggestions that this regime is somehow responsible for the attack. The police had leads in this direction at the time.

Next steps

There are many indications that the state did not do everything that was in its power to solve the Rijswijk murders. The murderers and those who ordered the assassinations were never prosecuted. Liesbeth Zegveld, a well known Dutch human rights lawyer, demands clarification of the secret of Rijswijk on behalf of the survivors and families.

“It is clear that the case is extremely politically charged. The police seemed to want to investigate, but was held back by The Hague. At the same the case held many political hurdles which made even the more fundamental police work challenging.”

Professor Liesbeth Zegveld specialises in liability in human rights violations. She is a parttime professor restitution for victims of war at the University of Amsterdam.

This case will take a long time and will be expensive. We have started a fundraising campaign to support the survivors and families in their fight for justice. The aim is to raise €26.600. Read more about the progress of the campaign and how to support here.