Subject: Downer raises Balibo case with Indonesia's Wirajuda

Downer raises Balibo case in Indonesia

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has met with his Indonesian counterpart to discuss a coroner's recommendation that Indonesian troops be investigated for war crimes.

NSW deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch last week found that five Australian-based journalists were deliberately killed by Indonesian forces in East Timor in 1975 to cover up Indonesia's invasion.

She recommended that the federal attorney-general consider prosecuting those responsible, including military commander turned politician Yunus Yosfiah.

Downer, who is in Singapore for the East Asia Summit, said he met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and discussed the Balibo finding.

"He (Wirajuda) didn't raise concerns about it, no, we just talked about it," Downer told reporters.

"I took him through the process, and he was comfortable with that."

Downer said he had explained that the matter had been referred to Australian Federal Police for investigation.

"If they think there's sufficient evidence to put a brief to the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider, that's what they will do.

"Then it's up to the DPP to act on it."

Comment is being sought from Wirajuda.

Downer, meanwhile, says he's happy with the progress of an Indonesian investigation into a Garuda plane crash in March, which killed five Australians.

The Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737 carrying 140 passengers and crew slammed hard onto the runway in the central Java city of Yogyakarta on March 7, careened off the end of the runway into rice paddies and burst into flames.

Five Australians were among the dead. A final report into the accident issued by Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT) said the pilot had ignored 15 warnings not to land.

Downer said he did not raise the crash probe during the bilateral meeting.

"I didn't need to because the police are working on that issue ... on the whole question of bringing charges against the pilot," Downer told reporters.

"I don't want to be pressing the Indonesians when I'm happy with what they are doing so far.

"As you can imagine my heart is very much in seeing people prosecuted for that plane crash."

Brought to you by AAP


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