Saturday, September 12, 2009

Balibo Investigation: Why Now?

I always thought that anyone who are alleged of committing crime should be investigated, prosecuted and fairly tried by the court of law, all of which should be based on legal grounds, free from political intensions.

However, I was surprised when I read the blog post of Rob Baiton about the Australian police's plan to investigate allegations that the Indonesian military was involved in the death of five Australian journalists in Balibo, East Timor in 1975.

My surprise was based on the fact that 34 years have already passed since the alleged killing, and lots of things have happened e.g military top brass & other officers have retired, change of government in Indonesia in 1998 from president Soeharto to free democratic governments afterwards.

I would not have been surprised if the investigation was carried out when Soeharto was still in power, or not long after, when all who are allegedly involved are still around. I wonder whether the investigation was not carried out at that time because Australia has fully backed the invasion of East Timor just like when they supported Soeharto's rise to power in 1965.

For details on the above, please click here, here and here.

Considering the above, I hope that the investigation would be carried out free from any 'hidden agenda' to undermine the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono who has been re-elected to lead Indonesia for the next 5 years.


Millie River said...

I like your passion on the topic. Thanks for the awareness

H. Nizam said...

I am just curious about the case. Thank you for your attention.

Rob Baiton said...


First things first. Thanks for the plug. Much appreciated.

Onto the substance. I have answered your queries over at my place in direct response to the questions and ideas posed.

I am interested that you think this might be a plot to undermine SBY. The suggestion is tantamount to foreign interference, isn't it? Is that what you are saying?

Perhaps you could expand on the "hidden agenda" angle. I am interested in the idea that there is a hidden agenda on this.

The rationale that Australia supported the invasion of East Timor and previously the rise to power of a dictator named Soeharto is hardly justification for not proceeding with an investigation, is it?

Let's not forget, the Australian government of 1999 was instrumental in backing an East Timor push for Independence. So, should this mean that there is now a legitimate reason why Australia might be pursuing this?

My personal opinion is that there must not be a statute of limitations on crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. So, as such, I am for letting the cards fall where they may. If the evidence is there for guilt to be established, so be it. If the evidence is not there because the relevant parties have died or there is no evidence of guilt, so be it.

But, to simply dismiss this as an incident of some 34 years ago and is best left alone does not sit well with me.

H. Nizam said...

You are welcome, I'd rather quote fellow blogger than the media. I never said that I disagree, I am
only very curious why Australia need to spent 32 years to name the alleged murderers, but only start police investigation 2 years later. Especially after 1998 Indonesia is a free country where most things are 'open' incl. about the men that have been alleged as the murderers.
Don't you think that the Australian
government and police have been procratinating investigation of the case? Yet they want to punnish the Indonesian military for such procrastination.
NOTE: my question is based on reports re: the efficiency & effectiveness of the Australian intelligence agencies (ASIO etc).

Do you think it's fair to put the blame on the military who are now led by officers who were perhaps still in the military academy when the incident happened?
NOTE: although the military is not as dominant as before by they still need to be treated properly.

Rob Baiton said...


I think ultimately we are on the same page, but just in different sections of it.

I really do not see Australia wanting to tar the "new" armed forces with the same brush as those of past eras. I have written as much in response to issues raised over my place.

However, I would argue that the new armed forces, new as in those who lead the armed forces now were in the academy at the time, could be pro-active in resolving this issue once and for all.

This is a wherever the cards may fall proposition. If the evidence is there, then so be it. And, conversely, if the evidence is not there, then so be it. I would also argue that Indonesia would garner more respect for cooperating with the investigation and would also conceivably garner more plaudits for how far she has come since 1998 in seeing this resolved.

Just a thought.

H. Nizam said...

Yeah, we are on the same page but just in different section of it.
Let us hope that this case would be settled without harming anyone who is not involved.