APSN Banner

Family demands justice over Balibo deaths

TVNZ - October 16, 2012

The family of a Kiwi news cameraman slain during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor is calling on the Government to seek justice.

Gary Cunningham, along with four Australian and British reporters, was allegedly killed by Indonesian troops in Balibo in 1975.

A letter obtained by ONE News shows the Government are now considering a new memorial for civilians killed in war, like Cunningham, for the new National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

Cunningham's aunt Pat McGregor said anyone who is killed or murdered in a war zone deserves to be remembered.

"No government has officially recognised the fact that the boys were murdered and it's wrong – Governments are supposed to protect people."

Cunningham's family unveiled a small plaque on Mount Victoria two years ago in memory of his pursuit for "the truth". No Government officials or ministers attended, despite invitations.

"From day one the New Zealand Government abrogated its responsibility to one of its citizens and passed the buck to the Australian government who as we all know did nothing but lie and cover up the truth," said Gary's brother Greig Cunningham.

The Australian and Indonesian Government have maintained the men known as the 'Balibo Five' died when they were caught in a cross-fire.

But in 2007 an Australian Coronial Inquiry found they had been targeted by Indonesian special forces. The Australian Federal Police have also been investigating the case for three years.

"We communicate about that with the Australians from time to time," said foreign minister Murray McCully. "But we don't want to push a process that the Australian's are operating at the moment. It's an independent process and we're happy to respect that."

McCully said he still discusses the killings with his Indonesian colleagues from "time to time".