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AFP launches probe into Balibo five

AFP launches probe into Balibo five

A war crimes investigation has been launched by the Australian Federal Police into the murders of five Australian newsmen in East Timor in 1975.Known as the Balibo Five, television journalists…

A war crimes investigation has been launched by the Australian Federal Police into the murders of five Australian newsmen in East Timor in 1975.

Known as the Balibo Five, television journalists Greg Shackleton and Malcolm Rennie, sound recordist Tony Stewart and cameramen Gary Cunningham and Brian Peters were allegedly executed by Indonesian special forces.

NSW deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch found in November 2007 that the Balibo Five were murdered while trying to capture images of Indonesian troops invading East Timor and referred the matter to Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

The AFP began its investigation in August and family members of the deceased were notified on Tuesday, reported the Australian Associated Press.

"The investigation of war crime allegations can be problematic where witnesses and evidence are located offshore, or where a significant period of time has elapsed since the commission of the offence," the AFP said in a statement.

If sufficient material can be found to compile a brief of evidence, the AFP will refer its findings to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

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