Subject: LUSA: Jakarta Never To Extradite Ex-Minister in Balibo Killings - Shihab

East Timor: Jakarta Never To Extradite Ex-Minister in Balibo Killings - Shihab 13 Feb-13:52

Indonesia would never consider extraditing former Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah for trial on charges of involvement in the killing of five journalists in East Timor in 1975, Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said Tuesday.

"Even if it is proved that Yunus Yosfiah is guilty, we will not hand him over for trial abroad", the Associated Press quoted Shihab as saying.

Shihab's comment followed the conclusion of investigations by Dili authorities which implicated Yosfiah, then commander of a special Indonesian army unit, and two others in the slaying of the five journalists at Balibo at the start of Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor.

Judicial sources in Dili told Lusa it was "impossible" to bring criminal charges against Yosfiah and that the case would be dropped.

The impossibility of a trial, they said, centered on statute of limitations prescriptions and problems of whether to apply the laws of Indonesia or Portugal, then East Timor's colonial ruler.

One judicial official told Lusa that the possibility of bringing charges of crimes against humanity, which have no statute of limitations, also was "difficult" because the killings could be understood as "simple homicide" during a cross-border "incursion".

The slain journalists were two Australians, two Britons and a New Zealander.

SAS -Lusa-

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