Subject: LUSA: Dili Awaits Portuguese Legal Opinions on 1975 Balibo Killings

East Timor: Dili Awaits Portuguese Legal Opinions on 1975 Balibo Killings 26 Feb-13:18

East Timor's attorney general's office is awaiting Portuguese judicial opinions before deciding on whether to press charges against a former Indonesian general and cabinet minister in the 1975 killings of five foreign jou[r]nalists.

A Dili judicial official told Lusa Monday that Portuguese experts had been contacted and that a final decision on the notorious "Balibo Case" would be taken "within two or three days".

At issue, the official said, was whether Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor and the subsequent "obstacles" it raised to investigations of the killings overrode Portugal's 15-year statute of limitations, then applicable in the formerly Lisbon-ruled territory.

"We are waiting for the opinions of some Portuguese experts who are studying this case", the judicial official said.

Early this month, UN judicial officials in Dili said they had completed their investigation into the slaying of five Australian, British and New Zealand journalists at Balibo in October 1975, at the outset of Indonesia's invasion.

The evidence, they added, incriminated three men, including Yunus Yosfiah, then a general commanding an elite Indonesian unit, who went on to serve as a minister of information in Jakarta.

While Dili has yet to seek Yosfiah's extradition for trial, Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab recently said Jakarta would "never" consider complying with such a request.

SAS -Lusa-

see also Balibo Investigation


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