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    Australia's Top Lawmaker Pictured Dining With Alleged War Criminal

    Photos have emerged of George Brandis dining with Indonesia's controversial chief security minister.

    Photos have emerged of Australian attorney-general George Brandis dining at a restaurant in West Papua with Indonesia’s chief security minister and alleged war criminal, Wiranto.

    Matius Murib

    In the photos, Brandis is seen smiling and relaxed alongside Wiranto (right) and Indonesian coordinating minister for maritime affairs Luhut Pandjaitan (left) at a restaurant in the capital of Jayapura.

    Brandis visited the Indonesian-controlled province with the two ministers on 11 August.

    Wiranto is wanted by a United Nations-backed court for his time as commander of the Indonesian armed forces, which cut a bloody path through East Timor in the wake of the 1999 vote for independence.

    Adek Berry / AFP / Getty Images

    An estimated 1,400 East Timorese were killed by the military or military-aligned militias, 70% of the country’s buildings were destroyed, and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from Indonesian violence in the days leading up to and immediately after the vote.

    In 2004, an arrest warrant was issued for Wiranto by the UN-led Special Panels for Serious Crimes in East Timor, charging him with the crimes against humanity of murder, forcible transfer, and persecution, including illegal detention, assaults, and arson.

    Wiranto (pictured below, to Brandis's left) has denied the allegations, saying recently: “I want them to clearly point out when and where exactly my involvement [in the crimes against humanity in East Timor] was. Only then will I explain, one by one.”

    Matius Murib

    A former chief prosecutor for the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor from 2003-2005, Nicholas Koumjian, has responded in the Jakarta Post doing just that.

    "Does Wiranto now deny that the violence occurred, deny he was commander of the armed forces at the time, deny that he knew what was going on in a territory whose security he was responsible for, or deny that he did nothing to stop the violence or punish the perpetrators?" he writes.

    "Over the last 17 years, Wiranto has failed to answer any of these points, and undoubtedly will fail to do so now, hoping that what happened almost two decades ago will simply be forgotten."

    BuzzFeed News asked Brandis whether it was appropriate for the Australian government to have a ministerial relationship with a man wanted for crimes against humanity, and whether he was concerned about the message his visit to Papua with Wiranto sent to the international community.

    Matius Murib

    His office did not respond by time of publication.

    In an earlier press release on the visit, Brandis wrote:

    "A longstanding and bipartisan policy of the Australian Government is recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty over the Papua provinces, underlined by the 2006 Lombok Treaty.

    "Australia remains committed to partnering with Indonesia to tackle social and economic challenges in the Papua provinces."

    West Papuans have been fighting for self-determination since a sham ballot on independence was held more than 40 years ago.

    Adek Berry / AFP / Getty Images

    Like the East Timorese before independence, West Papuans face daily intimidation and surveillance by Indonesian security forces. Thousands have been killed, detained, beaten, and tortured since Indonesia took control of the province in 1963.

    Wiranto's recent promotion to coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs has been controversial in Indonesia.

    Adek Berry / AFP / Getty Images

    "He obviously brings baggage to this job," Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, told BuzzFeed News. "The most practical question is how will he travel with the UN indictment? Could he travel to the US or Europe? Or even Australia without a possible arrest warrant?

    "Australia should stand up for human rights principles. Diplomacy is indeed about being pragmatic. But sending the wrong message on rights will erode the reputation of Australia."

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