Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
East Timor atrocities: Mr Downer, will you help to ensure justice?

Download PDFDownload PDF

KEVIN RUDD M.P. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

[insert ref]



Today’s Sydney Morning Herald and Age report that the Howard Government had intelligence material from as early as February 1999 directly linking Indonesian Generals and an Indonesian Minister to East Timor atrocities in 1999.

Yet even as late as September and November 1999, Foreign Minister Downer insisted that “rogue elements” and not the Indonesian authorities were responsible for the campaign of violence in East Timor.

Today’s revelations provide further support for Labor’s longstanding position, as consistently put forward by former Shadow Minister, Laurie Brereton, that all along the Howard Government has downplayed evidence of Indonesian military orchestration of violence in East Timor.

As if that is not enough, this intelligence material has apparently been withheld from United Nations, East Timorese and Indonesian investigators who have been putting cases together to prosecute those involved in East Timor crimes.

The Indonesian human rights trial of 18 suspects for crimes against humanity in East Timor begins in Jakarta today. Mr Downer argues that Indonesia itself should be given the opportunity to bring perpetrators of East Timor crimes to justice. He has also said that he would consider providing intelligence material to Indonesian investigators to assist in this process.

United Nations and East Timorese investigations and prosecutions on the 1999 atrocities are ongoing in East Timor. Last year, UN investigators there were expecting to be given access to Australian Government intelligence material on the 1999 violence. They specifically sought this access seeing it as vital to their cases.

Now is the time for Mr Downer to come forward and hand over crucial intelligence material to investigators. Failure to do so would deny justice for all those affected by the violence in East Timor. Failure to do so would help to ensure that the perpetrators of East Timor crimes, and especially those who were responsible for orchestrating the campaign of terror, continue to go free.

Ends 14 March 2002

For further information contact: Kevin Rudd, MP on (07) 3899 4031 or 0418 796 931