World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


NZ Govt. Must Back "Balibo Five" Trial In Timor

3 February, 2001

Indonesia Human Rights Committee,

Box 68-419,


MEDIA RELEASE: New Zealand Government must back an international trial for the killers of the 1975 "Balibo Five" in East Timor

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee is calling for the Government to throw its support behind the United Nations investigators who are seeking international warrants for the arrest of 3 men for the murders of Australian based journalists (including a New Zealander- Gary Cunningham) on October 16, 1975.

After a 7 month long investigation which included extensive interviews with witnesses and the gathering of forensic evidence, the UN investigators are recommending the arrest of Yunus Yosfiah, a former Indonesian military commander and former cabinet minister, Christoforus da Silva and Domingos Bere. They want these men to be tried under crimes against humanity provisions in the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

"New Zealand must back this trial and work with the UN to ensure that Indonesia cannot get off the hook on this pivotal case," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee. " The relatives have been pleading for justice for 25 years - their calls must now be heeded."

"The murders at Balibo took place just before Indonesia's full scale invasion, when East Timor was still under Portuguese control, and the crime was hushed up at the time by the pro-Indonesian governments of Australia and New Zealand. So this case will go right to the heart of the matter - the very beginning of East Timor's tragedy."

"This is also a very welcome development for justice in East Timor and in Indonesia. In the eighteen months since Indonesia's brutal occupation of East Timor came to an end, only one lowly militia man who returned to East Timor has been convicted for a crime committed during the violent post referendum rampage"

"Justice and an end to impunity are essential to peace and reconciliation in East Timor and for democracy and stability in Indonesia. All we have seen so far of human rights trials in Indonesia has been a complex farce of investigations and 'questioning' but no convictions. Even the notorious militia leader Eurico Guterres remains free and treats his court appearances as self-promotion opportunities."

"The case could be tried either under Portuguese jurisdiction or under the provisions of an International Criminal Tribunal such as that set up for those responsible for crimes in the former Yugoslavia or for Rwanda."

for further information: Maire Leadbeater 09-376-9098 or cell phone 025-436-957

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>


Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC