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Goff Dismayed At Failure To Increase Sentences


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

20 September 2001

Goff Dismayed At Failure To Increase UN Killers’ Sentences

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today that the Government was dismayed at the failure of an Indonesian appeal against the inadequate sentences handed down to six men involved in the brutal killing of three UN workers in West Timor last year.

“On 14 September, the Jakarta High Court rejected a prosecution appeal of the 10-20 month sentences handed down in May to six men who had been found guilty of involvement in the mob killing of three UNHCR staff in Atambua, West Timor. The killings occurred on 6 September 2000 and were condemned by the international community.

“Those involved had been found guilty of offences punishable under Indonesian law by up to 12 years in prison. Given the seriousness of the crime, and the importance of ensuring that UN personnel are not attacked with impunity, we deeply regret that these totally inadequate sentences will stand.

“The New Zealand Government respects the independence of other countries’ judicial systems and does not seek to interfere in court decisions. It is a mark of our serious concern about this particular case, and its international dimensions, that we feel compelled to comment.

“New Zealand commends the Indonesian authorities for having appealed these sentences. We encourage the Indonesian authorities to explore any other avenues that might exist to ensure justice is done.

“This disappointing outcome stands in stark contrast to recent encouraging developments in West Timor. The Indonesian authorities, working with the UN, have taken positive steps to improve border security and promote refugee repatriation. This has contributed to a dramatic upsurge in refugee repatriation since the beginning of this month.”


ENDS

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