Sunday, August 16, 2009

Balibo: unfinished business

From Cinema Takes: Balibo: Tense East Timor Testament

Robert Connolly’s Balibo is a compelling political thriller. It “is a true story” based on Jill Jolliffe’s book, Cover-Up.

The film raises many questions about the political responsibility for what happened and the need for justice to be done. This is a dark part of both Indonesian and Australian history. It does not attempt any definitive answers.
There have not been any prosecutions despite the 2007 Inquest into the death of Roger East:
The NSW coroner investigating held that "The Balibo Five ... were shot and or stabbed deliberately, and not in the heat of battle" in order to silence them from exposing Indonesia's 1975 East Timor invasion.
Balibo Five
Richard Walcoott, then Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, PM Gough Whitlam and his Foreign Minister Bill Morrison have consistently denied complicity, either directly or passively. Controversy has continued about their exact roles as evidence has come to light.

In his research website for the film Dr Clinton Fernandes argues:
The willful killing of the Balibo Five was a war crime. War crimes can be prosecuted wherever they occur and regardless of the nationality of the victims or perpetrators. There is no statute of limitations. This means that the alleged killers of the Balibo Five can be prosecuted in Australia following extradition from Indonesia.
34 years after the murder of the Australian journalists, there is still much unfinished business.

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