10 Dec 2003

Call for New Zealand to push for East Timor war criminals to be tried by an international tribunal

5:01 pm on 10 December 2003

The New Zealand based Indonesia Human Rights Committee says the New Zealand Government should lead the call for an international tribunal to try alleged war criminals from East Timor.

This comes after the appointment of the former East Timor police chief Colonel Timbul Silaen to head the police in Indonesia's Papua province.

The Committee's Maire Leadbetter says there are also reports that Eurico Guterres, one of the militia leaders from East Timor, is trying to set up a militia group in Papua.

Both men have been indicted by the UN's East Timor Serious Crimes Unit, but have yet to face justice for their role in the campaign of violence in East Timor in 1999.

Ms Leadbetter says New Zealand should insist that such people face an international tribunal.

"because otherwise if that doesn't happen, what we are going to see is a sort of recidivist crime if you like, you know the very people responsible for murder and mayhem in East Timor are going on to perpetrate the same sorts of things in West Papua and Aceh"