It is a well known fact the Frisians fought in foreign armies. Whether as foreign fighter in the Mediterranean and the Levant, or as mercenary of the Roman army in Britannia. Also their medieval kings committed war crimes. Early Frisian merchants were heavily involved in the profitable slave trade 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 freely participated in Viking war bands.
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, spies for foreign powers et cetera. As the initiators put it:
We periodically fight about the statue of Governor Coen in the Westfrisian town of Hoorn, are still proud of our crusade history, and still think Grutte Pier is a big hero, or a nice chap the very least. This is total ignorance of our history, right?Frisian Bastards
The objective of the ICTF is to try those Frisian individuals who committed these serious crimes in the past. Therefore, it is limited to those 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 former 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 war crimes or crimes against humanity. It will not additionally and symbolically impose a penalty post mortem. Therefore, the ICTF will not repeat the morbid cadaver synod; the posthumous conviction of Pope Formosus in the ninth century.
The ICTF can also rule concerning the future of any statue of the person tried. If found guilty, the tribunal can rule that statues are taken away, or that they are taken from its pedestal or socle and placed on street level. This way, these historic persons are symbolically leveled with ‘ordinary’ people. No longer to be admired from down below, but not to be forgotten either. Look them straight in the eye and tell’em! Of course, the ICTF can also rule (additionally) a sign is placed next to the statues, stating the atrocities the person committed during his or her lifetime.
The jurisdiction, not only limited until the year 2002 when the 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.
Below political map of Frisia during in the High and Late Middle Ages with the Seven Sealands.
The proposed seat of the ICTF is the town of Aurich in region Ostfriesland in Germany. In the High Middle Ages, from 1156 until 1327, every year delegates and chosen judges from the Seven Sealands (see image above) gathered on a mound near Aurich. It was the pan-Frisia thing or ding called Upstalsboom. Here, on the first Tuesday after Pentecost, they proclaimed in open air new laws for the whole of Frisia. The Upstalsboom functioned as supreme court in legal matters and conflicts between Seven Sealands too. With the seat in the town of Aurich, the ICTF can in some way undo the gross shortcomings of the former supreme judges of the Upstalsboom thing. If interested in more backgrounds of the Upstalsboom treaty, read 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.
Provisional list of indictments
ca. 10 BC – † AD 29
file nr. 833.9346.DW
Date and place of birth not exactly known, but late first century BC. Origin from the territory of the Frisii, between the River IJ and the River Lauwers. Allegedly served, together with his tribesman Hilarus (file nr. 533.3423.DE), as imperial corpore custos ‘bodyguard’ of both general Germanicus Julius Caesar and of Roman emperor Nero Drusus. For more information, consult Frisian mercenaries in the Roman army.
ca. 5 BC – † AD 29
file nr. 533.3423.DE
Date and place of birth not exactly known, but late first century BC. Origin from the territory of the Frisii, between the River IJ and the River Lauwers. Allegedly served, together with his tribesman Bassus (file nr. 833.9346.DW), as imperial corpore custos ‘bodyguard’ of both general Germanicus Julius Caesar and of Roman emperor Nero Drusus. For more information, consult Frisian mercenaries in the Roman army.
third century AD
file nr. 374.8462.DG
Frisian chieftain, also known as Notfrid in his native tongue. Date and place of birth not exactly known, but early in the third century. Origin from the territory of the Frisii, between the River IJ and the River Lauwers. 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 Caledonii at fort Housesteads at Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britannia near the present-day town of Hexham. Find here more background on Frisian mercenaries in Britannia. Notfrid and his band were probably also responsible for the earliest attestation of Germanic democracy with their tribute to the thing. For more about these assembly meetings, consult The Thing is…
ca. AD 600
file nr. 759.8482.DJ
Master blacksmith, also known as Wayland the Smith. Possibly lived near Schweindorf in Ostfriesland in Germany. Although he was maltreated, i.e. his hamstrings were cut and he was imprisoned, by the king Niðhad of the Njars, his revenge was way beyond 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. Consult Weladu the flying blacksmith to run a full background check.
† AD 719
file nr. 247.0184.SN
King of (western) Frisia, also known as Redbad and nicknamed 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 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 click here. For more backgrounds on early-medieval slave trade by Frisians, consult Merciless medieval merchants.
Frederick of Utrecht
AD 780 – † ca. 838
file nr. 292.4901.DQ
Bishop of Utrecht between 815 and 838. Born in the village Sexbierum, province Friesland, the Netherlands. Allegedly destroyed temples of paganism at the Walcheren island in former (West) Frisia, and allegedly suppressed with force the freedom of religion. Frederick was assassinated in his church during service, possibly ordered by Empress Judith of Bavaria. Because Frederick of Utrecht is declared a saint by the Vatican, the ICTF will work out a bilateral agreement with the Vatican concerning its jurisdiction and future trial.
Ubba the Frisian
† AD 878
file nr. 924.5295.CM
Frisian chieftain and Viking warlord. 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 in (West) Frisia, modern province Zeeland in the Netherlands. For more about the career of this warlord consult Foreign Fighters returning from Viking war bands, and consult Island the Walcheren: Sodom and Gomorrah at the North Sea.
AD 955 – † 993
file nr. 402.5792.PA
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 the Frisian civil war with the sovereign region Westfriesland by invading this sealand with an army in the year 993. Westfriesland was the First of the Seven Sealands of tota Frisia. This civil war lasted until 1297, when count Jan of West Frisia defeated the Westfrisians definitive. Although the attack of Arnulf was unsuccessful and Arnulf was killed himself on 18 September 993 by the Westfrisians, Arnulf has not been held responsible. To learn more about this civil war and to appraise Arnulf’s atrocities, consult In debt to the beastly Westfrisians.
† AD 1147
file nr. 462.5292.NX
Commander and Frisian nobleman, also known as Poptetus Ulvinga, and as Heinricus or Hendrik van Bonn, and as saint worshiped in Portugal to this date. Exact date and place of birth unknown but suspect originates from one of the Sealands Westergo, Oostergo, Hunzingo or Fivelgo, Frisia. All in the north of modern the Netherlands. Allegedly fought in a foreign army as crusader of the Second Crusade (1147-1149), and allegedly ordered and/or committed crimes against civilians during the siege of the city of Ulixibona, modern Lisbon. For more about the atrocities crusading Frisians committed, consult Terrorist Fighters from the Wadden Sea.
thirdteenth century AD
file nr. 312.2238.XL
Exact date of birth and death unknown. Cousin of Thitard Jelgera (file nr. 292.5540.CP). Frisian nobleman born in the village Kempingaburen, Sealand Oostergo, Frisia. In current province Friesland in the Netherlands. Allegedly fought in foreign army as crusader of the Fifth Crusade (1213-1221), allegedly crusaded three times. Committed crimes against civilians, including against those of the city of Dalmieta, modern Egypt. For more about the atrocities crusading Frisians committed, consult Terrorist Fighters from the Wadden Sea.
thirdteenth century AD
file nr. 292.5540.CP
Date of birth and place of origin unknown. Cousin of Dodo Kempinga. Later became monk of the convent Mariëngaarde, near the village of Hallum in Sealand Oostergo, Frisia. In modern province Friesland in the Netherlands. Same indictment as suspect Dodo Kempinga, see above. For more about the atrocities crusading Frisians committed, consult Terrorist Fighters from the Wadden Sea.
Rainers lo Frison
thirdteenth century AD
file nr. 192.6540.CL
Also known as Reinaut lo Frizos. Exact date of birth and death, and place of origin unknown. Allegedly fought in a foreign army as crusader against the Cathars in southern France. Committed crimes against civilians, including against those of the city of Toulouse in 1217-1218. Read more about the atrocities crusading Frisians committed in Terrorist Fighters from the Wadden Sea.
Klaus Niklaus Störtebeker
† AD 1400
file nr. 384.2580.MC
Also known as Nicolao Stertebeker. Date of birth unknown. Place of birth disputed: Rotenburg, Wismar or Termunten. The latter village located in Sealand Fivelgo, part of the current region Ommelanden of province Groningen. Leader of the so-called Likedelers and Vitalienbrüder pirates, meaning ‘those who share equally’. Allegedly committed huge-scale piracy first at the Baltic Sea and later at the North Sea and Wadden Sea, with their base in Mariënhafe in region Ostfriesland, Germany. Read more about this pirate and so-called freedom fighter It all began with piracy, and in Yet another wayward archipelago.
Ygo Gales Galema
ca. AD 1443 – † 1492
file nr. 570.7632.VV
Exact date of birth unknown. Frisian nobleman, also known as the Forest Viking or, among his opponents, as the Forest Swine, referring to his brutal fighting methods. Born in the port town of Workum in Sealand Westergo, modern province Friesland in the Netherlands. 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.
Bernardus Bucho Aytta van Swichum
AD 1465 – † 1528
file nr. 621.6591.LK
Statesman working for the Spanish crown. Allegedly, as counselor of the high court Hof van Holland, Zeeland en West-Friesland, involved in the persecution of heretics in the Low Countries, among other the interrogation of the priest Jan Jansz de Backer from Woerden in 1525. De Backer was burned at the stake in The Hague. Investigation into the case of Bernardus Bucho’s nephew, Wigle van Aytta van Zwichem (1507-1577), also known as Viglius, is still going on. Not only served Viglius for a foreign power, he allegedly is the author of the Edict of 1550 against religious tolerance.
Pier Gerlofs Donia
ca. AD 1480 – † 1520
file nr. 205.5630.LC
Farmer and commander of large rebel and mercenary army the Arumer Zwarte Hoop ‘Black Heap of [village] Arum’, also known as Grutte Pier or Greate Pier ‘Tall Pier’, and nicknamed Cross of the Dutchmen (i.e. Hollanders) and Steersman of Death. Born near the village of Kimswerd in district Westergo, province Friesland. Allegedly committed large-scale piracy at the Zuiderzee ‘southern sea’ as commander of a pirate fleet during the period 1515-1520. 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 inhabitants of Kimswerd after 500 years have offered formal apologies for the havoc done to the town of Medemblik in 2017, is a cute and sweet gesture but evidently not enough. If he is found guilty, that is. For more about this pirate and so-called freedom fighter consult It all began with piracy, and consult Yet another wayward archipelago.
Jan Pieterszoon Coen
AD 1587 – † 1729
file nr. 001.000.AA
High-ranking officer of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, born in the town of Hoorn in the region Westfriesland in 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 1621, as well as allegedly inferring in court proceedings in the case of Saartje Specx and Pieter Kortenhoef, city of Batavia in modern Indonesia in the year 1629. Also, after conquering the Banda Islands, he transported slaves to the empty islands to replace the population for labour.
AD 1610/11 – † 1672
file nr. 248.8102.KQ
Also known as Peter or Petrus Stuyvesant. High-ranking officer of the West-Indische Compagnie (WIC) and Governor-General of the New Netherland colony, including the town of New Amsterdam (present-day New York City), also known as Peg Leg Pete or as Zilverbeen ‘silver leg’ for his wooden, decorated leg. Born in the village of Peperga, district Stellingwerf, province Friesland in the Netherlands. 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 1645-1664. Furthermore, after retirement, he owned no less than forty slaves on his estate the Bowery, Manhattan. Prices of slaves at the auction of New Amsterdam around 1665 were: male negro between 315 and 615 florijn, a female negro between 260 and 335 florijn (Venema 2003). Lastly, criminal offices during his studies at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Franeker, like having sex with the daughter of his landlady and stealing from her, and misbehaviour in bars in port town Harlingen. Stuyvesant is known for his statement: “I value the blood of one Christian more than that of a hundred Indians.” Read History is written by the victors – a history of the credits to learn more about Stuyvesant and the New Netherland colony. Consult Harbours, Hookers, Heroines and Women in Masquerade for more details on Stuyvesant’s behaviour in the bawdy taverns and brothels in the port town of Harlingen.
AD 1680 – † 1748
file nr. 85.3220.ÔL
High-ranking officer and Governor-General of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) from 1741 until 1743. Born in the town of Friedrichstadt in Kreis Nordfriesland, Germany. At first a merchant in Japan, India and Batavia. Later joined the VOC. Allegedly responsible for the violent crack-down of the Chinese uprising in Batavia, Java in the year 1740, following the Batavia massacre during which many thousands of Chinese had lost their lives, a pogrom started by Governor-General Adriaan Valckenier. After the Chinese uprising, the Chinese population was relocated by Thedens to Glodok, south of Batavia on Java.
Gustaaf Willem Baron von Imhoff
AD 1705 – † 1750
file nr. 415.5001.LW
High-ranking officer of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) and Governor-General of Ceylon (1736-1740), modern Sri Lanka, and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (1743-1750). Born in the town of Leer in the region Ostfriesland, Germany. Allegedly involved and/or (partly) responsible for initiating the war with the Indian kingdom Travancore.
Margaretha Geertruida Zelle
AD 1876 – † 1917
file nr. 271.7750.JG
Courtesan and exotic dancer, also known as Mata Hari. Born in city of Leeuwarden in district Oostergo, province Friesland, the Netherlands. Allegedly spied for foreign powers. Although already punished for this, i.e. executed, this was done by a foreign, French authority and therefore not recognized. Indeed, c’est la guerre. See also our post Women of Frisia: free and unbound?
- Abbott, J.S.C., Peter Stuyvesant. The Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam (1873)
- Galestin, M.C., Frisii and Frisiavones (2016)
- Gelder, van R., Het Oost-Indisch avontuur. Duitsers in dienst van de VOC (1600-1800) 1997
- Goor, van J., Jan Pieterszoon Coen. Koopman-koning in Azië. 1587-1629 (2015)
- Henkes, B., Sporen van het slavernijverleden in Fryslân (2021)
- Historiek, Jan Pieterszoon Coen (1587-1629). Stichter van Batavia (2019)
- Hondius, D., Jouwe, N., Stam, D. & Tosch, J., Dutch New York Histories. Connecting African, Native American and Slavery Heritage. Geschiedenissen van Nederlands New York (2017)
- Hondius, D., Jouwe, N., Stam, D. & Tosch, J., The Netherlands Slavery Heritage Guide (2019)
- Knottnerus, O.S., Redbad als icoon van de Friese identiteit (2021)
- Koops, E., Peter Stuyvesant (1612-1672). Gouverneur-generaal van Nieuw-Nederland. De calvinist met het Zilveren Veen (2020)
- Moolenbroek, van J., Friezen op kruistocht tegen de katharen in Occitanië (2021)
- Steensen, T. Nordfriesland. Menschen von A-Z (2020)
- Venema, J., Beverwijck. A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664 (2003)
- Vries, O., Bernardus Bucho Aytta van Swichum. Vorstendienaar in priesterhabijt (2009)