Subject: Torture witness fears reprisals

Sydney Morning Herald

Torture witness fears reprisals


September 17, 2009

AN ALLEGED victim of torture in East Timor says he regrets talking to the Australian Federal Police because he is now in danger after the man he accused flew out of Australia.

The journalist Jose Belo was interviewed in Dili earlier this year over his allegations that a fellow Dili resident, Guy Campos, had collaborated with Indonesian special forces when they tortured him in 1995.

''I put myself in danger by talking to the AFP,'' Mr Belo said. ''If Mr Campos comes back to this country I will come to him and reconcile with him and I will forget justice from a Western country … I am very, very disappointed with the Australian Government.''

Mr Campos left Australia on Monday for Indonesia having entered the country last year on a World Youth Day visa. He was identified in Sydney by the sister of 11-year-old Francisco Ximines, who Mr Campos had beaten to death in 1979 while trying to extract information.

Clinton Fernandes, Australia's principal East Timor analyst in 1998-99, told the Herald last year that Mr Campos was convicted of the crime in East Timor. A higher court acquitted him.

The Greens senator Bob Brown accused the Government of helping Mr Campos. ''It is not just remiss; this is by deliberation. It is a shameful day for injustice.''

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions had asked federal police to continue investigating Mr Campos but charges were not laid before he left. He had applied for refugee status and been granted a bridging visa which expired yesterday. Had he not left, the Attorney-General could have stopped him from being deported while the investigation continued.

The federal police said yesterday that it did ''not have sufficient evidence to proceed with any charge against Mr Campos at this time''.


Radio Australia

Australia faces criticism after alleged East Timor war criminal leaves

Updated 4 hours 14 minutes ago

Australian authorities are facing bitter accusations from East Timorese torture victims after accused war criminal Gui

Presenter:Linda Mottram

Speakers: Rob Oakshott, Independent Australian M.P; Jose Belo, East Timorese torture victim and Newspaper Editor; Professor Simon Bronitt, Director, Australian Centre for Military Law and Justice, Australian National University

Listen: Windows Media

MOTTRAM: Independent M-P Rob Oakshott broke the news in Parliament in Canberra that Gui Campos had left Australia without facing charges.

OAKSHOTT: Potentially Australian's best war crimes prosecution, we've missed it. The guy has gone, the guy has skipped and I think it should be to the great disappointment of the Australian government.

MOTTRAM: One of Gui Campos' victims in the 1990s was journalist Jose Belo, founder and editor of East Timor's Tempo Semanal newspaper.

One of a number of witnesses interviewed by the Australian Federal Police, his evidence runs to 17 pages documenting beatings and electrocutions in 1995 at the hands of Gui Campos who was then working with Indonesia's anti-resistance SGI unit. But with the prospect of prosecution now gone, Jose Belo accuses Australia of preserving impunity for Gui Campos.

BELO: I don't believe the Australian government's really committed to justice and I have no opinion to say its just a waste of effort making us more suffer, as a victim, more suffer.

MOTTRAM: Gui Campos has been under Australian Federal Police investigation for about 12 months under Australia's Crimes (Torture) law. He came to Australia for World Youth Day last July and has remained in the country on a bridging visa. His presence in the country meant the police investigation could begin. His departure means it now lapses. And with no charges laid, there's no prospect of an extradition request either.

Less than a week ago, several Australian Senators urged the Rudd government to find a way of keeping Mr Campos in the country pending charges. The government said he couldn't be held against his will.

Responsibility for bringing charges lies with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who is Christopher Craigie. He's declined to be interviewed on the matter and said in a statement only that:

CDDP STATEMENT: Allegations of crimes committed overseas many years ago involve significant legal and evidential issues.

The matter of Mr Campos was being investigated by the AFP. This Office was provided with preliminary material by the AFP and provided advice to the AFP to assist in its investigation.

MOTTRAM: The statement goes on.

CDDP STATEMENT: This Office can only make a decision to commence a prosecution when the investigation has gathered sufficient evidence to determine that there are reasonable prospects of conviction. That position had not been reached in relation to the allegations being investigated concerning Mr Campos.

MOTTRAM: Evidence gathered by Australian police can be transferred to another jurisdiction .. for example Indonesia .. under reciprocal arrangements. Journalist Jose Belo finds that route laughable.

BELO: Its just joke, its just joke, the AFP or the Australian government trying to convince Indonesia to try these issues, its just joke.

MOTTRAM: While Australia had the legal framework to begin the Campos investigation, some legal experts say a flaw is that Australia lacks adequate capacity in such cases. The previous government of John Howard wound up an earlier immigration department war crimes unit. Director of the Australian centre for military law and justice at the Australian National University's College of Law is Professor Simon Bronitt.

BRONITT: Looking at some of the evidence of countries in equivalent positions like Canada there seems to be much more effective screening for war crimes and crimes of this nature, crimes against humanity, in a sense to screen out persons as well as to perhaps aid in the investigation of criminal behaviour.

MOTTRAM: Australian government ministers have declined to speak about the issues since Gui Campos left the country. The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has spoken to Indonesia's President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono after concern in Jakarta over a separate Australian war crimes investigation into the deaths of the Balibo five in 1975.

Journalist Jose Belo says Mr Rudd should now talk to Indonesia's leader about Gui Campos as well.

BELO: And he should mention as well that case to the Indonesian President because in 1975 the Australian government supported the Indonesian invasion of this country and make us suffer.

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