PRESS RELEASE: Consensus for a Frisia Tribunal
Updated: Jun 26
It is a well known fact that the Frisians fought in foreign armies. Whether as foreign fighter during the Crusades in the Middle East or as mercenary in the Roman army in Britannia. Also, their medieval kings committed war crimes. Early-medieval Frisian merchants were heavily involved in the profitable slave trade in West-Francia and on the British Isles. Furthermore, individuals committed large-scale piracy at the North Sea, Wadden Sea, Zuyder Sea and in the German Bight. And, do not forget those that participated in Viking war bands that ransacked Europe.
Against this background there is much support among the people of the former Seven Sealands of Frisia to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for Frisia (ICTF). This in response to the committed (war) crimes against humanity by Frisian individuals, like army commanders, pirates, privateers, human smugglers, crusaders, terrorist fighters, mercenaries, slave traders, espionage for foreign governments et cetera. The first Frisians slave trader recorded already in AD 679 (read our blog post Merciless medieval merchants). As one of the initiators of the tribunal put it:
We periodically fight about the statue of Governor Jan Pierterszoon Coen in the Westfrisian town of Hoorn, are still proud of our Crusade history and still think Grutte Pier is a nice chap or big hero and freedom fighter at least. This is total ignorance of our history, right?
The objective of the ICTF is to try Frisian individuals who committed these serious crimes in the past. Therefore, it is limited to those persons who died without ever being tried by an independent and recognized court and died before the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in 2002. By bringing deceased perpetrators to trial the ICTF aims to render justice to Frisian history in general and to strengthen and promote the rule of law internationally.
Trial of individuals already deceased is what the ICTF distinguishes from other criminal courts and tribunals. For this reason, the tribunal will merely consider the question whether or not it can be proven the individual concerned indeed committed the war crimes or crimes against humanity. It will not additionally and symbolically impose a penalty post mortem. Neither is it necessary that remains of the person must be dug up. Therefore, the ICTF will not be a copy of the Cadaver Synod: the post-mortem conviction of Pope Formosus in AD 897.
The jurisdiction, not only limited till the year 2002 when ICC in The Hague was established, is also restricted to those individuals born in an area that was Frisia at the time of birth of the suspect. Where on the world the crimes have been committed, is irrelevant.
The proposed seat of the ICTF is the town of Aurich in Ostfriesland (also East Frisia) in Germany. In the High Middle Ages, from AD 1156 till 1327, every year delegates and chosen judges from the Seven Sealands gathered at Upstalsboom on a mound near Aurich. Here, at the first Tuesday after Pentecost, the delegates and judges proclaimed in open air new laws for the whole of Frisia. The league of Upstalsboom functioned as supreme court in legal matters and disputes among the Seven Sealands too. With the seat in Aurich the ICTF can -in some way- restore the gross shortcomings of the former supreme judges of the Upstalsboom. If interested in more backgrounds of the Upstalsboom treaty, read our blog post Upstalsboom: why solidarity is not the core of the collective.
Every person has the right to bring forward a case to the ICTF with the request to indict a deceased Frisian individual. Privacy legislation is not applicable to dead persons and zombies. Therefore, all personal details are made public in the indictments.
The provisional -therefore still very short- list of indictments to be issued, is as yet:
Hnaudifridus (third century AD), Frisian chieftain, also known as Notfrid. Date and place of birth not exactly known, but early in the third century at the northeast coast of present-day the Netherlands. Allegedly took service in a foreign (Roman) occupation army as commander of the Frisian cavalry force (cuneus Frisiorum) called the 'Hnaudifridi' after its leader. Allegedly fought against the Picts and Scots at fort Housesteads at Hadrian's Wall in northern Britannia near the present-day town of Hexham. In our blog post Frisian mercenaries in the Roman army more about Hnaudifridus.
Weladu (ca. AD 600), master blacksmith, also known as Wayland the Smith. Possibly lived near Schweindorf in East Frisia. Although he was maltreated by the King Niðhad of the Njars in modern Sweden (i.e. his hamstrings were cut and he was imprisoned), his revenge was too cruel. At least excessive self-defense. He allegedly murdered the two sons of the king, made goblets and jewelry out their corpses and he raped the daughter of the king. Read our blog post Weladu the flying blacksmith.
Radbod († AD 719), king in West Frisia, also known as the Enemy of Christ. Exact date and place of birth unknown. Allegedly committed and/ or ordered crimes against civilians of the cities of Utrecht, the Netherlands and of Cologne, Germany during the sieges of both cities in the year AD 714. Allegedly responsible as well for a policy of non-intervention concerning the slave trade of the Breton, the Frankish and the Slavish people. More about the battles of King Radbod in our blog post.
Ubba the Frisian († AD 878), Frisian chieftain. Date and place of birth not exactly known. Allegedly took service in a foreign (Viking) occupation army and allegedly was one of the three commanders of the Great Heathen Army of the Vikings that raided and raped England for fourteen years. He had his stronghold at the Walcheren island, West Frisia. Also, he might have been using Rodulf as a false identity. Read more about the career of this warlord in our blog post Island the Walcheren: Sodom and Gomorrah at the North Sea.
Arnulf (AD 955 - † 993), Count of West Frisia, also known as Arnulf of Ghent as he was born in this town in Flanders. As count of West Frisia responsible for starting a Frisian civil war with the sovereign region Westfriesland (being the first of the Seven Sealands) in AD 993 by invading this Sealand with an army. A civil war that lasted until AD 1297 when Count Jan of West Frisia defeated the Westfrisians definitive. Although the attack of Arnulf was unsuccessful and Arnulf was killed himself at 18 September 993 by the Westfrisians, Arnulf has not been held responsible. To learn more about this civil war, read our blog post In debt to the beastly Westfrisians.
Popte or Poptetus Ulvinga († AD 1147), commander and Frisian nobleman, also known as Heinricus or Hendrik van Bonn or as Poppo from Wirdum and as a saint worshiped in Lisbon, Portugal to date. Exact date and place of birth unknown but suspected to originate from the village of Wirdum, region Ommelanden in Mid Frisia. Allegedly fighter in a foreign army as crusader of the Second Crusade (AD 1147 - 1149) and allegedly ordered and/ or committed crimes against civilians during the siege of the city of Ulixibona (modern Lisbon, Portugal).
Dodo Kempinga (thirteenth century AD), exact date of birth and death unknown. Frisian nobleman born in the village Kempingaburen, shire Oostergo, Mid Frisia. Allegedly fighter in foreign army as crusader of the Fifth Crusade (AD 1213 - 1221), allegedly crusaded three times and committed crimes against civilians, including against those of the city of Dalmieta, modern Egypt.
Thitard Jelgera (thirteenth century AD), nephew of Dodo Kempinga (file: 13/75373-m.0007.MF). Later became monk of the convent Mariëngaarde, near Hallum, shire Oostergo, Mid Frisia. Same indictment as suspect Dodo Kempinga (file: 13/75373-m.0007.MF), see above.
Hergeir († c.AD 1300), Frisian farmer annex caper, living on the Faroe Islands and head of a Frisians colony. Allegedly responsible for piracy and for killing bishop Erlendur of the Faroe Islands, above on sacred ground. Read more in our blog post Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast!
Keno I. tom Brok (c.AD 1310 - † 1376), First Hauptling annex warlord of region Brookmerland, East Frisia. Allegedly responsible for destabilizing Frisia and other regions between the river Ems and the river Elbe. Also, allegedly responsible for facilitating piracy along the coasts. Read also the State of the Union of the Seven Sealands of AD 1461 in our blog post Upstalsboom: why solidarity is not the core of a collective.
Klaus Niklaus Störtebeker († AD 1400) also known as Nicolao Stertebeker. Date of birth unknown. Place of birth disputed (Rotenburg, Wismar in Germany or Termunten in the Netherlands, region Ommelanden). A captain of the Victualienbrüder and later leader of the so-called Likedelers pirates meaning 'those who share equally'. Allegedly committed huge-scale piracy first at the East Sea and Baltic Sea and later at the North Sea and Wadden Sea, with their base in Mariënhafe, Ostfriesland (East Frisia), Germany. Read more about this privateer in our blog post It all began with piracy.
Ygo Gales Galema (c.AD 1443 - † 1492), Frisian nobleman, also known as the Forest Viking or -under his opponents- as the Forest Swine referring to his brutal fighting methods. Born in the port town of Workum, shire Westergo, Mid Frisia. Allegedly a warlord of the Vetkopers 'fat buyers' faction during the civil war in Frisia and allegedly responsible for committing and ordering crimes against civilians.
Pier Gerlofs Donia (c.AD 1480 - † 1520), farmer and commander of large rebel and mercenary army the Arumer Zwarte Hoop 'Black Heap of Arum village', also known as Grutte/ Greate Pier and as The Cross of the Dutchmen. Born in the terp-village of Kimswerd, shire Westergo, Mid Frisia. Allegedly committed large-scale piracy at the Zuyder Sea as commander of a pirate fleet during the period AD 1515-AD 1520. Allegedly committed and/or ordered crimes against civilians during the sieges and looting of the several towns, among others of Amsterdam, Medemblik, Muiden and Naarden. The fact the village Kimswerd after 500 years has offered formal apologies for the havoc done to the town of Medemblik in 2017, is a sweet gesture but evidently not enough, if he is found guilty. Read alss our blog post It all began with piracy.
Jan Pieterszoon Coen (AD 1587 - † 1729), Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (VOC), born in the town of Hoorn in the region Westfriesland, West Frisia and present-day province Noord Holland. Allegedly ordered crimes against the population, both against the armed forces as civilians of the Banda Islands, modern Indonesia in the year AD 1621, as well as allegedly interferring in court proceedings in the case of Saartje Specx and Pieter Kortenhoef, city of Batavia in modern Indonesia in the year AD 1629.
Peter Stuyvesant (c.AD 1610 - † 1672), Governor of the town of New Amsterdam (present-day New York City). Born in the village of Peperga, shire Stellingwerf, Mid Frisia. Allegedly suppressed the native population of Manna-Ha-Ta island (modern Manhattan) in the present-day United States and the religious minorities the Quakers and the Jews -on racial grounds- during the period AD 1645 - 1664. Furthermore, he was active in the slave trade and owned no less then forty slaves in Manhattan, being the largest slave owner in town.
Gustaaf Willem Baron von Imhoff (AD 1705 - † 1750), Governor of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (VOC). Born in the town of Leer in the region Ostfriesland, East Frisia. Allegedly involved and/or (partly) responsible for the so-called Batavia Massacre or pogrom against the Chinese civilians in the year AD 1740, during which thousands of Chinese civilians were murdered at Java island, present-day Indonesia.
Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (AD 1840 - † 1910), courtesan and exotic dancer, also known as Mata Hari. Born in city of Leeuwarden, shire Oostergo, Mid Frisia. Allegedly spied for foreign governments. Although already punished for this (executed) this was done by a foreign authority (French), and therefore not recognized.
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Hondius, D., Jouwe, N., Stam, D. & Tosch, J., The Netherlands Slavery Heritage Guide (2019)
Wiersma, J.P., Friesche sagen (1934)