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NZ should insist Indo backs justice for Balibo 5

Indonesia Human Rights Committee,
8 December, 2009

Media Release: Time for New Zealand to insist that Indonesia support justice for the Balibo Five.

A former Indonesian officer, Gatot Purwanto, has just made a dramatic revelation confirming that Indonesian Special forces killed the Balibo Five journalists in cold blood. Mr Purwanto, a retired colonel, is the first senior Indonesian military figure to give a public eye witness account of the events. He said ‘we tried to make them disappear’. Australian Federal police are undertaking investigations for a possible war crimes tribunal and in 2007 Coroner Dorelle Pinch found that the men were killed deliberately by Indonesian officers including Captain Yunus Yosfiah and Christophorus da Silva.

“It is time that New Zealand took action on behalf of justice for its national Gary Cunningham who was murdered on October 16, 1975. Over the years, New Zealand has feebly stood back and left any action to Australia. Gary was killed with his companions because they wanted the world to know the truth about the imminent Indonesian invasion of East Timor. Gary bravely chose to keep filming as the Indonesian forces advanced on Balibo and he paid with his life.’

‘Indonesia has adamantly refused to co-operate with the Australian Federal Police in their current war crimes investigation. New Zealand should immediately make an urgent call to Indonesia to cooperate with the justice process under way in Australia and to ensure that Yunus Yosfiah and Christophorus da Silva are brought to trial for their alleged crimes. It is time to end Indonesia’s impunity for its historic crimes in East Timor and justice for the Balibo Five can be a first step.’

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee is writing to both the Attorney General and Prime Minister John Key to take action now.


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