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25 September 2008

East Timor Court Papers show Campos convicted of torture leading to the death of a person

From Kevin Rudd's at the UN but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walks free The Daily Telegraph By Piers Akerman 25/09/2008 - Closer to home, it would appear that the Rudd Government is similarly committed to avoiding brutal realities in an attempt to dodge diplomatic friction.

Last week, I noted that the Government seemed reluctant to act on evidence provided by the Seven network's Today Tonight reporter James Thomas who had revealed that an East Timorese man, Guy Campos, accused of contributing to the beating death of 11-year-old Francisco Ximenes, and involvement in the disappearance of numerous others during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor.

Campos entered Australia on a 90-day pilgrim's visa issued in connection with World Youth Day and is scheduled to leave next month.

A spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus told me that the evidence against Campos, who numerous East Timorese say worked as a spy and enforcer for the Indonesian army's intelligence agency, was "flimsy".

Immigration department officials said they were unaware of any evidence that would have prevented them issuing Campos with a visa.

Reporter Thomas returned to Dili at the weekend and has returned with court papers showing Campos was convicted in April, 1979, for, "torture leading to the death of a person (namely Ximenes)".

It appears that Campos, aged 28 at the time, was sentenced to three years' jail but went to another Indonesian jurisdiction and successfully appealed. Dr Clinton Fernandes, an ex-Australian army major and former principal intelligence analyst on East Timor for the Australian Defence Force, now the senior lecturer in strategic studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy, told me it was probable that Campos was protected by the Indonesians.

"Given the state of Indonesian justice at the time, this is not surprising," Fernandes said.

Fernandes was in Dili last weekend with Thomas and said he met a number of witnesses willing to testify against Campos if the Australian Government was prepared to arrest him and charge him with war crimes.

The principle of double jeopardy which would normally prevent a person being tried twice for the same crime should not apply, he assured me, if the initial trial was designed to shield a criminal from a proper trial or if the original trial didn't follow due process.

Given that there are now scores of witnesses prepared to testify, those arguments should be left to the courts. The question is whether Australia is prepared to act or if it will only pay lip service to the notion of justice.

Sister Susan Connelly, a nun working at the Mary MacKillop centre in Dili, told me yesterday that Australia should act against Campos and not let the issue die quietly, on the grounds that the relationship between Australia and Indonesia is more important.
"If Guy Campos and his crimes join so many others under the carpet, it will be another instance of covering-up the role of the Indonesian military," she said.

"Campos, of course, is Timorese, but his crimes and those of other militia were at the behest and with the active assistance of the (Indonesian army intelligence)."

Campos is walking the streets of Sydney, where he has been confronted by relatives of those he has been charged with torturing and murdering.

Rudd is walking the streets of New York, along with Ahmadinejad, enjoying the uber-bureaucrat bazaar at the UN.

Australia has Buckley's chance of upsetting the Iranian despot but could demonstrate its real concern about war criminals by sending a couple of officers around to arrest Campos today.

Going by Rudd's form, nothing will happen. Well, a committee might report by 2010.

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