Friday, November 16, 2007


Brian Raymond Peters, in the company of fellow journalists Gary James Cunningham, Malcolm Harvie Rennie, Gregory John Shackleton and Anthony John Stewart, collectively known as “the Balibo Five”, died at Balibo in Timor- Leste on 16 October 1975 from wounds sustained when he was shot and/or stabbed deliberately, and not in the heat of battle, by members of the Indonesian Special Forces, including Christoforus da Silva and Captain Yunus Yosfiah on the orders of Captain Yosfiah, to prevent him from revealing that Indonesian Special Forces had participated in the attack on Balibo.
That's the finding of a coroner's report [DOC] into the deaths of the Balibao Five, just released this afternoon. In other words, it was murder, and a war crime. The question now is whether the Australian government will seek to extradite and prosecute those responsible, or whether they will continue their policy of looking the other way on Indonesian human rights abuses and extend it to abuses committed against their own citizens.

As the Indonesian Human Rights Committee point out, it's a question also faced by New Zealand, as one of those killed - Gary Cunningham - was a New Zealander. We have a case, we have a clear law (the Geneva Conventions Act 1958) under which the offence can be prosecuted, which provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction for such offences. The government should put its money where its mouth is on human rights, and use it.