The Situation: The new Assistant-Resident in Lebak has become an unexpected thorn in the flesh of both the Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam. Against the advice of his superiors and supporters, Max Havelaar has tried to protect the indigenous population in the Residency of Lebak (located in the north of the island of Java) in a very public and overt manner. In particular Havelaar has allowed villagers to conference with him secretly, giving them a safe forum to relate the abuses they are suffering at the hands of the Regent (Bhupati in Malay) of Lebak and his extended family. Havelaar has independently documented these abuses by observing the results as soon after they occur as possible, creating a massive dossier of evidence. This evidence has now been submitted to the Resident of Bantam and the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Since Havelaar has submitted an official complaint against the Regent of Lebak, as opposed to an informal complaint, a trial must take place in which Havelaar and the Regent respectively must defend and justify their actions. So too, however, must the Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam for they have been presiding over an administration that has allowed abuses to occur. They must justify their respective actions to the representative of King William III of the Netherlands (reigned 1849-1890).
Goals, Governor-General and Resident of Bantam: The Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam are in a tricky situation. They must both condemn the Regent of Lebak, but also defend their own administration of the Dutch East Indies without embarrassing King William III's representative (me) or his government. They can achieve this in one of two ways. First, if Max Havelaar is successfully prosecuted and judged to have been overly zealous in his reprimand of the Regent of Lebak, they can be successful. Second, if they are able to have the Regent of Lebak reproved for personal failings that were concealed from them until the Max Havelaar's report came to their attention, they have succeeded. If they are successful in this, the Governor-General will retire with honor to the Netherlands and the Resident of Bantam will succeed the Governor-General. If they fail, the Governor-General will be disgraced and the Resident of Bantam will be exiled to a penal colony in the Dutch East Indies for having countenanced the abuses that have taken place. Essentially both men are men of their day caught in a moment in which the political winds of change were blowing fiercely.
Advantages: The Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam are, like the Regent of Lebak, powerful men. The supporters of the Max Havelaar and the villagers and village headmen of Lebak all know that if Max Havelaar loses his case and they support him, then these men could do them much harm. King William III's administration would like to believe that the administrators put in place to run the Dutch East Indies are effective. Only clear proof of their negligence that does not attack King William III too overtly will convince the King's representative of Max Havelaar's rightness. In addition, any charges against the Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam must be based on legal standards. Finally, the Governor-General and the Resident respectively give evidence and make their arguments first [on day 1] and so can frame the trial.
Disadvantages: As voting members of the Court, the Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam must make arguments that are legally sound and, most importantly, speak to the broader interests of the Dutch East Indies as a whole. Simply suggesting that Max Havelaar has behaved improperly because he has charged the Regent of Lebak publicly and created an embarrassing situation will not be sufficient. If their arguments are not judged to be sound by the Court Convener (me) then one or the other or both will lose the game. The Governor-General and the Resident of Bantam will not learn of their fate until the the Court pronounces sentence after the trial is over. The final decision in the trial rests with the Court Convener.