Timor-Leste Legal News December 2007 (Part 1)
AN: Police detain eight Chinese girls near Timor Leste border 12/08/07 00:56 – Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) – Indonesian police patrolling the border between Indonesia and Timor Leste in Belu District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province, detained eight Chinese girls who intended to cross the border to enter Timor Leste last Wednesday (Dec. 5).
The teenaged Chinese girls were believed to be victims of a human trafficking operation that would have forced them into prostitution in Dili, Timor Leste.
They are currently being detained at the NTT Police office, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agus Suraytna of the NTT police, said here on Friday. “We are still investigating the case. We suspect that they are victims of a human trafficking operation,” he said.
The Chinese women claimed they wanted to go to Dili to find jobs, he said. However, the visas printed in their passports were for tourists. The foreign girls were escorted by an Indonesian, identified as Bambang. The NTT Police have contacted the International Police (Interpol) regarding the case, he said.
Draft Law on the Legal Profession Meeting Asosiasaun Advogadu Timor Lorosa’ e (AATL) In. 7A, Road of Marconi, 7 of December (Alor Field) – Comoro, Dili, Timor East Tel. (670) 3310 086 Press Release – The Association of Lawyers of East Timor (AATL) organized a meeting this afternoon with members of the Committee Members A and proponents of the Draft-law on the exercise of advocacy for joint and informally discuss the future of advocacy in East Timor.
The meeting took place in the restaurant Esplanade, the 17h, and was attended by Mrs Fernanda Borges (PUN), chairman of the Commission, Mrs. Carmelita Moniz (CNRT) and the gentlemen Natalino Santos (CNRT), Vital Santos (PD ), Jose Manuel Carrascalão (ASDT), Fernando Dias Gusmao (PSD) and Domingos Maria Sarmento (Fretilin).
This event was aimed at presenting the new Executive Council of AATL, chaired by lawyer Jose Pedro Camões, recently elected (in September 2007), to inform the Members to AATL, its objectives and its deep commitment to technical training and language the lawyers and regulation of the exercise of advocacy in East Timor.
Both the President of AATL as the Members present expressed their willingness and need to involve all concerned by the Project-law regulating the legal profession, now under discussion in Parliament, so that the law will be a consensus law and that engages everyone involved in its application and implementation. Also recently, the AATL requested the support of the embassy of Portugal for the teaching of Portuguese lawyers.
UNMIT Media Review 06 December 2007
71,5% of the Transitional Budget is Being Executed – The Minister of Finance, Ms. Emilia Pires, said that up to now the government has executed 71.5% of the transitional budget – therefore only 28.5% is remaining. According to government estimates, this year the government could spend the remaining budget. “For the year 2008 budget, the government is prioritizing IDPs,” said the Minister. (STL)
Taur: Alfredo and the Petitioners Should Follow the Rules – The Commander-General of the F-FDTL, Mr. Taur Matan Ruak, appealed to Major Alfredo Reinado Alves and Petitioners to comply with the law if there is a warning from the Court. He asked Major Alfredo and the Petitioners not to use the excuse that they are waiting for a military tribunal. “In fact, we have no military law or military court,” he said. “F-FDTL officers have submitted themselves to the legal process in a civil court. I therefore ask Alfredo and the Petitioners not to waste time with this line of argument,” said Mr. Brigadier General. (STL)
The International Stabilization Force and UNPOL Seize Ammunition at an F-FDTL Member’s House – The ISF and UNPOL seized ammunition at house where two members of the F-FDTL were living in Kampung Baru, Comoro, Dili. Both of them should be held responsible for the ammunition. (STL)
Committee C has Received the Budget Proposal for the Year 2008 – Committee C of the National Parliament officially received the budget proposal for 2008 from the President of the National Parliament, Mr. Fernando Lasama de Araujo. “The President of the National Parliament just received the budget proposal from the government and will officially hand it over it to Committee C for review and discussion at all levels.” Said the Deputy of Committee C. (STL)
Portuguese Military Will Train the F-FDTL – The Portuguese government wants to train F-FDTL members with a view to maintaining military relations with Timor-Leste. This is a part of an agreement between Timor-Leste’s Secretary of State for Defence and Portugal’s Secretary of State for National Defence and Maritime Affairs. The Portuguese Military will train the F-FDTL in four areas, including legal advice for the defence ministry and F-FDTL, helping train the military in Metinaro and helping train the naval component in Hera base. (TP)
Fretilin Insists that Major Alfredo Cooperate with the Justice Sector – The Fretilin party insisted that former Military Policy Commander Major Alfredo Reinado should engage in dialogue and cooperate with the justice sector, because Timor-Leste is a State based on law which means the law should come before everything else. “We insist that Mister Alfredo comply with the legal process; he may be having dialogue planned with another group, but he should also cooperate with the justice sector because people need to see justice working”, said Fretilin vice-President, Mr. Arsenio Bano. (TP)
Carascalo agrees with Major Alfredo that a Military Tribunal should be established – The President of the Social Democratic Party, Mr. Mario Carascalao, agreed with Major Alfredro’s idea that the government should establish a military tribunal to try his case. “He is a soldier and so are the petitioners. In our constitution, it clearly says that military cases should be resolved in a military court”, said Mr. Carascalao. (TP)
Audit Team is Conducting Investigations into the Former Government Program – The Minister of Finance, Ms. Emilia Pires, said that audit team from Deloit company is conducting an investigation focusing on procurement, tax and customs. The Audit team is also investigating the solidarity, education and infrastructure departments. “The investigation is underway; I am waiting for them to submit their report after finishing their work”, said the Minister. (TP)
The Government Stops the Contract with Tafui Oil – The Government has terminated the contract with Tafuir Oil which supplies the fuel to Comoro Central Electricity, because irregularities have been discovered in the contract. “Consequently, the Ministry of Finance advisor is conducting an investigation in order to find solution”, said the Minister. (DN)
Brigadier Taur: “Next Year the F-FDTL will Recruit 300 Soldiers.” – Next year the F-FDTL will conduct the first phase of recruitment for 300 personnel in order to replace those who left the F-FDTL in March 2006. “We want to bring the total number of soldiers up to 3000.” “Probably next year in June or July, in the first phase of recruitment, we will recruit 300 personnel”, said the General. (DN)
NZDF Helicopters Evacuate Stab Victim – Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 5:05 pm Press Release: New Zealand Defence Force The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) 3 Squadron helicopter detachment in Dili were called out to evacuate a 13-year-old girl with stab wounds in Timor-Leste on Sunday.
The crew, with support from Australian medical specialists, were called out at approximately 2:30am Dili time (6:30am NZ time) to the town of Suai on the southern coast of Timor-Leste. Once on scene, the medical teams stabilised the patient before being airlifted back to the Australian administered Aspen Hospital in Dili. Her condition is described as stable.
The RNZAF 3 Sqn detachment, as part of their commitment to the International Security Force (ISF) in Timor-Leste, has one helicopter and crew on standby for medical evacuation and quick reaction tasking 24 hours a day.
3 Squadron completed 500 hours of flying time in Timor-Leste last month including 14 aero-medical evacuations. The RNZAF detachment have a mandate to remain in Timor Leste until at least April 2008. A new rotation of 144 NZDF personnel departed for Timor-Leste yesterday.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 5 December 2007
TVTL Summary News – TVTL interview with Alfredo Reinado – Reporter 1: Alfredo Reinado Alves stated that the dialogue process would not have follow-up when the State did not guarantee security for him.
Reporter 2: Alfredo Reinado Alves issued this statement in relation to the attempts made by the International Stabilization Force [to get him] when Alfredo and his group including the petitioners met with Task Force team in Gleno, Ermera District last Sunday.
Alfredo said the dialogue process would not continue when the Government and the State did not guarantee security for him and his group because at the moment he felt threatened by all of the attempts.
Alfredo Reinado (AR): I have been asking for the dialogue for a long time. I requested it to sit down with President of Republic, Prime Minister, President of National Parliament, Brigadier General, and Mr. Colonel Lere to have it in a short time in order to guarantee the stability for the nation, and safeguard the nation. But all of the sudden, my life is in danger, now I feel that.., and I have been thinking…, and I do not know what response I will give to this. I feel otherwise there will be a continuation of this or not. This is due to the fact that my life is in danger. And when the State and the Government do not guarantee my safety, and consider this as a joke, and I think I cannot deal with this. This is because my life is in danger. The [international] force was used to get me with the sniper. Yesterday, it was a question of minutes. The witnesses who were there were: Secretary of State for Defense, Secretary of State for Security, Adviser of Prime Minister, and representatives from Geneva and MUNJ. They themselves were the ones who spoke with them along with my lawyer about why they came.
Reporter: Responding to the question of his absence from the trial concerning the Fatu-Ahi case carried out on Monday at the Dili District Court, Alfredo said he was ready to face the case.
AR: I am not going to be present at the civilian trial. I am not going to do so. And I do not accept it, and I will never authorize my men to be present there. They can provide testimonies, but I will be the one who is responsible for it when the time comes. When the time comes, the case will be resolved in accordance with the military process, and based on the chain of incidents. Donâ€™t make me out as a victim for the sake of political interest in order to cover up the responsibility of the leaders, and if I will be the one to be responsible for it, no I am not going to do so. On [28 April] case, whoever was in power at the time should be responsible, and who gave the order, and who executed the order [so that there will be a trial on this]. Then, we can deal with my case. I am not going to run away from it. But, it should be done through a military panel. I have nothing to do with other cases. The majority of the crisis concerns other cases: the 24, 25 [May 2006] cases were against the civilians, and these should be dealt with through civilian laws. On the 23 [May] case, there should be a military law to deal with it because it was a military process. A proper panel should be created to deal with this matter. Mr. Ivo or the existing judges, none of them have the competent capacity to resolve the case in a military way, since they are not competent. They are not military judges and lawyers. They have no knowledge about the military and the military condemnation to try the case in a military way. I think the State should consider this matter: creating a military panel. I can say that the current judicial processes are not just. There is a lot of injustice for defending the individual interests. That is it.
Reporter: Mr. Commander, the Fatu-Ahi case had been tried, but you did not mark your presence [at the court], what was the reason?
AR: The reason is as I have said a while ago. This is due to the fact that I will not mark my presence at the civilian trial. The Fatu-Ahi case was among the military personnel. It was within one institution. It was among [the personnel] in one institution. And the problem existed within one institution, among the military men who were armed. This should be resolved in accordance with a military panel. What it was done yesterday was a civilian case, and I will not be responsible for it, and I am not stupid. The law says something, and there should be compliance to this.
Reporter: If that is the case, what are your wishes for the process of the solution of the case? How is it?
AR: How? The case should be resolved based on the date of the incident. There was no 23 May incident if there was no 28 April incident. There was no 28 April incident if there were no petitioners. So, here the State and the Government had no responsibility and capacity to resolve the crises; the previous government and now the case is in the hands of the current Government, and now there is no solution. And we see… And I, even if there is a military panel, and the ttrial will be a military one, will not face it any time in whatever courts if there is no solution of the petitioners problem and 23 [May] case. I have made these statements in writing in a thick document, and so why has there not been any response to me? So, whatever consequences might happen to force me to be at the court, I will wait. And if this might create any bad result to the nation; it will not be my action. This is because the leaders, authorities and international judges are the ones who pull the trigger to destroy the stability of the nation, not me. I am not running away from the law. Until now I have not faced justice because there has not been any process which is in accordance with the proper judicial process.
Aitahan Matak: the sentence for the F-FDTL members is very controversial – The Coordinator of Timor-Leste’s Popular Council of Defence (CPD-RDTL), Antonio Aitahan Matak said that the sentence for the F-FDTL members was very controversial because it has mixed together charges of manslaughter and attempted murder. He added that it is well known that both parties were armed, which indicates that F-FDTL and PNTL were obeying their own principles and regulations. He recommended that a United Nation-sponsored judicial commisson be set up with military judges who have thorough understanding of war, military law and combat in order to ensue a proper court hearing. Meanwhile, he also asked the court to conduct a similar hearing for the foreigners who were involved in the incident. (DN)
Capturing Alfredo will have a huge impact on the country’s stability – The Chief of the Social Democratic Party, Fernando Dias Gusmao, said that if the Court has decided to give UNPol and ISF a five day deadline to capture Major Alfredo Reinado Alves, this will have a huge impact on the stability of the country. “In order to prevent such an impact, it would be better to suspend his case while the Government and the President of the Republic are still trying to hold a dialogue with Major Alfredo,” he said. (DN)
UNMIT respond to the request that UNPol and ISF capture Alfredo – UNMIT Spokesperson, Allison Cooper, said “We don’ want to comment on this, because the process is still underway and it up to a tribunal to decide what to do. As I said, we don’t have a comment yet, but the United Nation continues to care about the problems in the country.” (DN)
Judge: It’s Better for the State to Make a Law to Close the Court – One of judges from Dili District Court said that if the International Security Forces (ISF) and UNPOL only respect the three sovereign institutions of the President of the Republic, the National Parliament and the Government, and put aside the arrest warrant was issued by the Court to capture former Police Military Commander Major Alfredo Reinado, it would be better for the State to make a law to close the Court. This was partly in response to the statement made last week by the ISF Commander where he said that the ISF will not capture Major Alfredo and his members due to requests from these three sovereign institutions that are trying to have dialogue with the fugitive. (STL)
Contact with Major Alfredo is Being Established; the Government Will Continue the Dialogue – Mr. Francisco Guterres, Secretary of State for Security and Chief of the Task Force for dialogue with Major Alfredo Reinado, said that the Government has already made direct contact with Major Alfredo Reinado to set up the place for dialogue in the next few days, in the vicinity of Ermera district. “We have not come up with any agenda. We are still in the process of deciding the venue for the meeting”, said Mr. Guterres. (STL)
Budget $348.1 Million for Year 2008 – The Council of Ministers decided that next year’s (2008) annual budget would be $348.1 million. According to information received by this newspaper, $327.9 million out of the total amount of the budget comes from the petroleum fund and tax. (STL)
Julio Tomas: Politicians Shouldn’t Create Confusion – The Secretary of State for Defence, Mr. Julio Tomas Pinto, said that if politicians want to question the function of the F-FDTL Commander, they need first look at the decree law of the F-FDTL, in order to avoid misunderstanding. He said that according to the F-FDTL decree law, it is clearly the competency of the F-FDTL Brigadier General to fire the petitioners. (STL)
Francisco Guterres: Government will not encroach on the court’s area of expertise – Secretary of State for Security, Mr. Francisco Guterres, said that Government will go on with its plan to conduct dialogue on the problem of Major Alfredo Reinado. The Government will not encroach on the court’s area of competence because the two are institutionally separate. (TP)
On the Arrest Warrant Letter – ISF Keep Quiet and UNPOL Seek Peace – The ISF had no comment on the warrant letter to capture Reinado issued by the Court. On the UNPOL side, Mr. Rodolfo Tor said that UNPOL understand and respect the instruction mentioned in that letter. The police have a duty to maintain peace and stability in Timor-Leste. The police also have a duty to bring the suspect to court; however, capturing Mr. Alfredo Reinado would require operational action. Learnt from past experience that using violence means came up with dead result therefore Police wants to avoid it. (TP)
East Timor: Council of ministers approves 2008 budget – Dili, East Timor, 5 Dec – The government of East Timor Tuesday approved the General State Budget for 2008 with expenditure totalling US$348.1 million, according to a statement issued in Dili by the country’s Council of Ministers. The proposed state budget for 2008 will be sent to the National Parliament for approval and later ratification by the President of the Republic. The budget includes total expenditure of US$348.1 million and non-oil revenues of US$27 million, with the deficit covered by oil revenues of US$327.9 million. “This state budget was drawn up to meet operational needs in 2008 and, in a balanced way, to carry out the necessary reforms to ensure efficiency of Public Administration, ensure the stability and security of the country, reduce poverty and promote sustainable development,” said the government statement. (macauhub)
E Timor Calls For Reinado To Surrender As Trial Begins Radio Australian December 3, 2007 -transcript- In East Timor the trial of rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado has begun in Dili despite his failure to appear. The former commander of the military police remains on the run after escaping from custody at the height of East Timor’s crisis last year. His criminal trial on various charges of murder, attempted murder and revolt was scheduled to begin today. In his absence the panel of judges heard from security forces why an arrest warrant has not been enforced.
Presenter – Karon Snowdon Speaker – Estanislau da Silva, a member of the Fretilin Party’s Central Committee.
SNOWDON: A last minute meeting on Sunday between Reinado and the Prime Minister’s special commission set with the job of talking him into surrendering failed. He remains holed up with armed supporters near Gleno just south-west of Dili. And insisting his case and the so-called ex-army petitioners who are trying to get their jobs back, be resolved together. Meanwhile his trial is proceeding with a panel of three judges today in Dili.
Reinado faces charges for his role in the murderous violence between a confusing array of police and army factions last year which left at least 37 people dead, more than 100,000 homeless and brought in UN and Australian security forces.
Deputy Prime Minister at the time, Estanislau de Silva, became temporary Prime Minister until elections after Mari Alkitiri was forced from office over his handling of the crisis. Now an Opposition Fretilin Party member of parliament, da Silva says the trial wont be delayed, despite Reinado’s no-show.
DA SILVA: Yes I think the trial is going to go ahead because the judges are following the legal procedure. So regardless of whether Reinado is going to be present or not.
SNOWDON: Last week the court handed out sentences of ten and twelve years to four former army soldiers for killing police officers in another incident during the worst week for violence in April last year. Tension was high on the news but there has been little reaction otherwise. The former Alkitiri government Minister Rogerio Lobata has previously been sentenced to a long prison term for arming civilians during the crisis. As to the decision not to arrest the heavily armed Reinado, one of the three judges, Portuguese Ivo Nelson Rosa has been particularly critical of late. He’s been hitting out in statements from the bench accusing the President, the UN representative and the commander of the Australian security forces of interfering in the judicial process.
President Jose Ramos Horta has countered with his own criticism of international judges for – in his words arrogance.
In this highly charged atmosphere I asked Fretilin’s Estanislau da Silva if the legal/political dispute could spell trouble. Fretilin has been critical too of Reinado’s apparently special treatment.
DA SILVA: One thing is the negotiation. I think everyone thinks the issue is complex so it needs to be properly addressed. I think what is lacking here is consultation for what needs to be done. But another other thing is the justice system should be complied with. I think what the judges, regardless of who they are, whether or not they are Timorese or not, they are defending the constitution and they are defending the legal system that is in place in this country at the moment.
SNOWDON: And in reply President Jose Ramos Horta says that to try to arrest Alfredo Reinado now would probably lead to bloodshed and it’s his intention to avoid that. Isn’t it better to avoid bloodshed?
DA SILVA: No one, I think even Alfredo wants the bloodshed for this country. What they want to see is the rule of law should be applied regardless of who they are. Every Timorese citizen is equal before the law. So I think it’s an honourable thing for Alfredo to think and reasses his situation, and submit himself to the justice system so then it will help to resolve the issue and then avoid any precedent that could create anarchy in this country.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 4 December 2007
Alfredo asks to host a meeting for Xanana – Former Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinaldo Alves, has asked to have meeting with the Prime Minister. “I believe that this week or next week, Major Alfredo and the Prime Minister will meet,” said the Vice-Prime Minister, Jose Luis Guterres. He added, “This government, lead by Prime Minister Xanana, is determined to find a way to solve the Petitioners’ and Major Alfredo’s problems.” As Timorese people, the Petitioners and Major Alfredo should be willing to solve their problems through dialogue since is the best approach. (STL)
Regarding the Court Hearing for Major Alfredo: Judge gives ISF-UNPOL five days to respond to the court – Judge Ivo Nelson Batista Rosa, who is trying the case of Former Military Police Commander, Major Alfredo Reinado Alves, said: “The Court has a right to process any case. Therefore the Court has decided to give the ISF and UNPol five days to respond to the Court in relation to the arrest warrant issued for Alfredo. So far, they haven’t captured him,” said Judge Ivo Rosa. (STL) The Court asked ISF and UNPOL to explain the reason why they have not captured Alfredo based on the warrant issued by the Court. (DN)
Afonso de Jesus: No Political Influence on the Police – The General Commander of the PNTL, Alfonso de Jesus, affirmed that the police force is a security institution for the nation and carries out its work based on law and order, with no influence from political parties. New recruitment will begin in 2009 after the completion of the screening and training processes for all police officers within the districts in 2008. (STL)
32 PNTL members from the Rapid Intervention Unit in Baucau join screening process – 32 members of the PNTL from the Rapid Intervention Unit are participating in the week-long screening process currently underway. “The training is part of the agreement between the Government and UNMIT to ensure that all the PNTL officers are screened before they resume their normal duties,” said the PNTL Academy Director, Julio Hornai.(DN)
FRETILIN MP: The President of the Republic does not understand the law TIMOR POST, Dili, 4 December 2007 – Dili – According to FRETILIN MP and former Justice Minister Domingos Sarmento, the statements by the President of the Republic Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, that the Judge from the Community of the Portuguese Speaking Countries does not respect the State, was made because he does not understand either the laws in force or the Constitution of Timor-Leste.
“As the President of the Republic Dr. Horta himself does not understand the laws or the constitution in force in Timor-Leste and due to this he himself has violated the constitution”, lamented Domingos.
The MP added that the Constitution clearly stipulates the separation of powers between the Constitutional institutions. The President of the Republic cannot intervene in a case which is before the courts.
“Of course you can still engage in dialog to solve political conflicts, but, once the court has summonsed whomever it is to appear before it to answer charges, it must be obeyed by all of us, but we can see in recent times that the President of the Republic has interfered with the court in this regard,” he followed up saying.
“The President of the Republic cancelled the arrest warrant issued by the court for the arrest of Major Alfredo and the President of the Republic also issued a ‘right of passage’ document which the President of the Republic has no powers to do, but is a power of the court,” said the MP.
Domingos followed up stating that, as the highest office bearer the President of the Republic should be the one guaranteeing the rule of law and democracy in Timor-Leste. The President of the Republic should guarantees the proper functioning of the courts and the independence of the courts.
However, Domingos added, in Timor-Leste, instead, the President of the Republic interferes in the functioning and the independence of the courts.
In addition, MP from the CNRT, Natalino dos Santos, said “In order to solve the problem of this crisis we all have to follow the policies which are currently being implemented by the President of the Republic.”
“To me the policies of the President of the Republic Horta are policies which are good in order to solve the problem we now have. To solve the problem we should not use violence, and because of this I really appreciate the approach which President Ramos Horta has taken,” he pointed out.
Responding to the statements by the FRETILIN MP that in recent times President Ramos Horta has breached the constitution because he has interfered with the judiciary, Natalino said that as a symbol of national unity and the guarantor of national stability, the President of the Republic has the right to intervene with a decision of the court if it is wrong.
“If we are saying the President of the Republic has breached the constitution, then which clause of the constitution has he breached? If some people are saying that the President of the Republic breached the constitution because he cancelled the ISF operations to capture Mr. Alfredo, I can say this is a constitutional right of the President,” said Natalino.
He added that in Timor-Leste only PNTL and UNPOL can comply with court orders to arrest and not the ISF. If the arrest warrant was issued to UNPOL or PNTL and that was cancelled by the President of the Republic, then he would be breaching the constitution.
“The President of the Republic cancelled the ISF operations to arrest Mr. Alfredo for the fundamental reason that he is the Supreme Commander, and because the ISF are in Timor-Leste under the supreme commander”, reinforced the CNRT MP
UNMIT Daily Media Review 3 December 2007
The Head of the Security Council delegation: the UN is still needed in Timor-Leste – The head of the Security Council delegation, Dumisani Kumalo, said that the UN was still needed in Timor–Leste to help the country solve the major issues facing it. “UNMIT’s current 12-month mandate expires on 26 February 2008. Because Timor-Leste still needs the help of the international community, we will recommend to the UN Security Council the extension of its mission in Timor-Leste”, he said. During the four-day visit, Security Council members held discussions with senior Government officials including the President and Prime Minister, as well as representatives of political parties and other stakeholders. The three major issues most often raised during the discussions were Major Reinado, the IDPs, and the Petitioners. “I have great faith that the Government and people of Timor-Leste, working together, can solve these problems,” he said. “You have come a long way and we will support you. But we cannot do it for you.” (STL)
Horta asks a foreign Magistrate not to ‘open his mouth’ recklessly – The president of Timor-Leste asked a foreign magistrate who is currently contracted by the Government not to open his mouth or comment recklessly since this could destabilize Timor-Leste (STL)
Court hearing for Major Alfredo – “The Court hearing for the Major Alfredo case was supposed to be held on Monday 3/11 today, but it fell through once again. Even though he has not yet turned up in court, the justice process still continues. It indicates that Alfredo will never free himself from justice for the crimes he committed during last year’s crisis,” said a member of the National Parliament, Vital Dos Santos. (STL)
Calls for ETimor rebel to surrender as trial begins ABC Radio Australia Last Updated 03/12/2007, 22:39:28 – Calls have gone out in East Timor for the rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado to surrender to authorities.
The former commander of the military police remains on the run after escaping from custody at the height of East Timor’s crisis last year, which left at least 30 people dead and more than 100,000 homeless. His criminal trial on various charges of murder, attempted murder and revolt is due to begin in the capital Dili on Monday.
Estanislau da Silva, a member of the Fretilin Party’s Central Committee, who became temporary prime minister following the ousting of Mari Alkatiri during the crisis, has told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia program he doesn’t see a problem with the trial occurring without Mr Reinado’s presence. “I think the trial is going to go ahead, because the charges are following the legal procedure, so regardless of whether Alfredo is going to be present or not,” he said.
Last minute talks
The authorities are maintaining their efforts to negotiate his peaceful surrender, with meetings right up to the 11th hour. Mr Reinado remains holed up in the Gleno area and will be tried with his co-accused in absentia. The government’s decision not to arrest Mr Reinado has led to tensions between the international judges and the president, Jose Ramos-Horta, and Mr da Silva says it is not an easy situation to resolve.
“I think everyone believes that the issue is complex,” he said. “So it needs to be properly addressed. What is lacking here is consultation for what needs to be done. “The judges, regardless of who they are, whether they are Timorese or not, they are defending the constitution, and defending the legal system that is in place in this country at the moment.”
You can find the full story at Radio Australia’s Connect Asia website: http://radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia
listen at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/s2107745.htm