The Sydney Morning Herald
September 18, 2008
Pressure is growing for Australia to investigate a Timorese visitor who is accused of being a war criminal, reports Connie Levett.
JOSE BELO identified the face in the picture as Guy Campos, claiming the East Timorese man was present when he was interrogated and tortured by the Indonesian Special Forces on the night of January 9, 1995.
“I was very badly tortured by Kopassus soldiers while Mr Guy Campos with two other Timorese who worked as the Indonesian Intelijen [spies] were present in the room,” Mr Belo recalls.
The photograph was taken on a western Sydney street, where Mr Campos was holidaying after coming to Australia on a World Youth Day visa. Some members of the Australian East Timorese community are asking how he could freely enter Australia.
Mr Campos refused, through his brother Fernando Campos, who lives in western Sydney, to answer questions from the Herald. “Find out for yourself,” Mr Fernando Campos said. “As far as I know he never worked for an [intelligence] agency.”
Clinton Fernandes, the principal analyst, East Timor, for Australia’s intelligence corps in 1998-99, said he was “100 per cent” certain the man photographed in Sydney is the same Guy Alberto Francisco Campos who was a key collaborator with the Indonesian military during its occupation.
“[Campos] was not a low-level beater; he, along with Jose Gregorio Trindade de Melo, ran a spy network for Indonesia, in conjunction with them,” Dr Fernandes said. “He would have come within the upper echelons of collaborators.”
His role was to identify East Timorese for interrogation and torture by the Indonesian military, and he participated in their “disappearances”, said Dr Fernandes, who became aware of Mr Campos’ activities in 1994.
The Immigration Department has defended its decision to issue a visa, saying it was not aware of Mr Campos being wanted for charges or convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity.
“We were aware of this individual and went through comprehensive screening. In the absence of any charges he was granted a visa,” a department spokesman said. The department has referred the allegations to the Australian Federal Police.
Dr Fernandes said he presented a brief to the AFP before the Olympics detailing Mr Guy Campos’s role in Indonesia’s Satuan Tugas Intelijen (the intelligence task force/implementing body).
Jose Teixeira, an East Timorese politician with connections to the former resistance, said there was a simple reason Mr Campos did not appear on an international watch list. “There have never been formal investigations or judicial inquiries or any similar process in Timor-Leste with respect to crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation for the period 1975 to 1999. The United Nations established a serious crime court but that only dealt with the crimes of 1999.”
Mr Teixeira called for Mr Campos to be prosecuted in Australia for his alleged part in the torture of resistance fighters, saying “[Among] former resistance leaders, especially of our clandestine network, his exploits as a collaborator with the Indonesian military/intelligence repressive apparatus are openly told and [he is] cited as being a person whom all feared from reputation.”
Mr Teixeira said former East Timorese political prisoners had called for Mr Campos’s arrest in Australia. “We have to respect the calls of these people who were victims of atrocities and are thirsting for justice. I support them in their calls.”
The claims against Mr Guy Campos’s involvement in acts of torture and coercion were first made on Channel Seven’s Today Tonight program. Mr Teixeira asked Australian authorities to consider the prosecution, “given the current underdeveloped state of our prosecutorial services, and the case overload, all concerned would be more speedily served by justice in a jurisdiction such as Australia”.
Dr Ben Saul, the head of Sydney University’s centre of international and global law, said Australia, as a party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, had a duty to search for, investigate, prosecute and extradite any suspected war criminal found in the jurisdiction.
“If there is someone here with credible allegations it certainly triggers an obligation for Australia to investigate the allegations and decide whether to prosecute or extradite.”
He said the convention was open as to whether a country should prosecute or extradite someone accused of breaching the conventions.
Mr Belo was a student leader in 1995 when he was detained. Today he is a journalist in Dili. “I am ready to talk because I am looking for justice. I want to know what happened to my friends they just killed during the occupation. Maybe Mr Guy Campos can help find out … Justice for me is the truth. I want to know what happened, when, why they did it to me.”