Report – By the ABC’s Europe correspondent Mary Gearin in Brussels
Australia’s has defended last year’s ASIO raids on a lawyer for East Timor and expressed offence at claims aired by the tiny nation in its case at the International Court of Justice.
East Timor is in the court at The Hague demanding Australia return documents and data seized in the raids on the office and house of lawyer Bernard Collaery last year.
East Timor says its national security and sovereignty was violated and that Australia has breached international law.
Yesterday, East Timor’s leading counsel Sir Eli Lauterpacht called the ASIO raids “unprecedented, improper and inexplicable”.
Australia’s solicitor-general, Justin Gleeson, has now had a chance to respond.
“Coming from such an authority as Sir Eli, those remarks wound,” he said.
Gleeson said Attorney-General George Brandis had also given further undertakings to satisfy East Timor’s concerns about the use of the seized materials.
Senator Brandis has ordered that the information must not be communicated to anyone for any purpose other than to protect national security until the International Court of Justice makes an order.
John Reid from the Attorney-General’s Department says it is offensive that East Timor has been reluctant to believe previous undertakings.
“To question the veracity of these undertakings and to suggest from the bar table that the undertakings have either not been implemented or are somehow without legal force, as our friends did yesterday, is both wrong as a matter of law and frankly, offensive,” he said.
“Australia has made the undertakings. Australia will honour them.”
Source: Radio Australia