Subject: Anger as alleged war criminal 'flees'
Anger as alleged war criminal 'flees'
September 14, 2009 - 10:54PM
AAP - A independent federal MP says he's surprised and angry an alleged war criminal has been allowed to leave Australia while the subject of a police investigation.
Rob Oakeshott says the fact Guy Campos was allowed to leave the country could become a "keystone cops moment" for the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The AFP had been investigating Mr Campos over allegations relating to torture in East Timor in the 1990s.
Last week, the Australian Greens moved a motion in the Senate to prevent him from leaving the country until the investigation was finalised.
Mr Campos was in Australia on a bridging visa after attending World Youth Day in Sydney last year.
AAP has confirmed he left the country on Monday morning.
Mr Oakeshott says that's not good enough.
"It is with surprise and anger that I have been informed Guy Campos has now fled the country, one day before his World Youth Day temporary visa expired," the independent MP said in a statement.
"This now means the extensive AFP evidence-gathering process, including trips to East Timor, can no longer continue, as under relevant legislation a subject of an inquiry must be located within Australia."
The Australian government now had to act urgently, Mr Oakeshott said.
"They must establish where Mr Campos is, and under Geneva Convention principles, they must pass on any information gathered that leads to his arrest within another jurisdiction.
"This has the potential to be a keystone cops moment for the AFP if Mr Campos is lost to the criminal justice system."
A spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor declined to comment.
Last week, the manager of government business in the Senate, Joe Ludwig, rejected the Greens' push to hold Mr Campos, saying it was misleading and inappropriate.
"As Mr Campos is currently lawfully in Australia on a bridging visa, he is free to leave the country if he chooses to do so," Senator Ludwig said on Thursday.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown says Australia failed to act on Mr Campos because it didn't want to get Indonesia offside.
Australia had "aided and abetted" the alleged war criminal to flee - probably to Indonesia or East Timor - in contravention of its obligations under the Geneva Conventions, Senator Brown told AAP.
"It's shameful day for justice.
"It will enhance Australia's growing reputation as a haven for war criminals."
The Greens leader said the government's suggestion its hands were tied was pathetic.
"This police investigation has been going for months now," he said.
"They could have introduced legislation which would have ensured ... they could keep him in the country but they didn't.
"It's a political convenience for the government to have Guy Campos out of the country."
Family First's Steve Fielding says by letting Mr Campos leave the country Labor has proven it lacks backbone.
"The AFP may as well flush all its work down the toilet because the Rudd government doesn't want to cause an incident with Indonesia despite its international obligations," he said in a statement.
"The government has sent a dangerous message to the rest of the world that we welcome alleged war criminals in Australia because we have no interest in bringing them to justice."
Australia-Indonesia relations tested over Campos investigation
Updated Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:01pm AEST
Australia-Indonesia relations are being tested as the Australian Federal Police conduct a war crimes investigation into the deaths of five Australian journalists killed at Balibo in 1975 and now there's pressure over the case of Guy Campos, accused for crimes carried out in East Timor in the 1990s. He's also being investigated by the Australian Federal Police and is currently in Australia. No charges have been laid, but there's concern Mr Campos could leave Australia before the investigation is complete.
Presenter: Linda Mottram Speakers: Bob Brown, Senator and Australian Greens party leader; Steve Fielding, Australian Family First party Senator; Joe Ludwig, Australian Special Minister of State; Dr Clinton Fernandes, Senior Lecturer, Strategic Studies, University of NSW. * Listen: <http://www.abc.net.au/ra/asiapac/stories/m1787497.asx>Windows Media
MOTTRAM: Guy Campos has been accused of collaborating with Indonesia's military involving kidnapping and torture of East Timorese during Indonesia's occupation. Last year, it was revealed by Australia's former principle East Timor intelligence analyst, Doctor Clinton Fernandes, that Guy Campos had been convicted of maltreatment leading to death of an eleven-year old boy, Fancisco Ximenes, in 1979. The conviction was quickly overturned by a superior court.
In separate matters, Australia's Attorney General says, the Australian Federal Police is currently investigating several allegations involving Mr campos in East Timor during the 1990s. Mr Campos is presently in Australia. He came to the country on a World Youth Day visa for the Catholic youth event in July last year. He has remained in Australia since then on a bridging visa.
A day after the separate issue came to light of the Australian Federal Police war crimes investigation into the deaths of the Australian journalists known as the Balibo five, Australian Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, moved to try to compel the Rudd government to ensure Guy Campos doesn't leave Australia before the police investigation is complete or a prosecution determination about possible charges is made.
BROWN: I am very alarmed indeed and I hope that the Senate will share that alarm that Mr Campos may in the coming days, certainly in the coming weeks go back to Timor Leste or to Indonesia and out of the reach of the criminal justice system here in Australia.
MOTTRAM: Another non-government Senator, Steve Fielding, has echoed Senator Brown's sentiments on the issue.
FIELDING: It would be outrageous to see this person being able to leave this country without Australia really following through on its obligaitons to actually bring this person to justice.
MOTTRAM: The Australian government says Mr Campos is in Australia legally and can't be prevented from leaving. If he overstays his visa and becomes unlawful, the Attorney General has said in a letter he'd consider acting. But even then, he says Mr Campos can't be stopped from leaving voluntarily. And Australia's Special Minister of State, Senator Joe Ludwig, says its unfair to suggest there are other options at this stage.
LUDWIG: This motion is thoughtless at best and unfairly misleading to the families affected by war crimes.
MOTTRAM: Some experts believe the evidence before Australia's top prosecutor against Guy Campos is more advanced than publicly believed. And Doctor Clinton Fernandes, now at the University of New South Wales, says its clear under which act a prosecution could proceed.
FERNANDES: There are two acts that confer universal jurisdiction such that crimes committed elsewhere can still be tried in Australia. One is the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, which brings into effect the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Crimes that he is alleged to have committed in 1979 would be prosecutable under that act. However because of legal problems and the need to have a reasonable prospect of a conviction that avenue is not being pursued. There is in fact another act called the Crimes Torture Act which brings into effect the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture. Now Mr Campos is alleged to have conducted certain activities that may fall within the ambit of that act in the 1990s. That's the basis for any investigation.