Subject: RA: NGO's say rebel leader Reinardo should be brought to justice

Radio Australia 

Last Updated 27/11/2006 8:49:35 PM

TIMOR: NGO's say rebel leader Reinardo should be brought to justice

East Timor's rebel leader and murder suspect Major Alfredo Reinardo has emerged from hiding, he addressed a public seminar in the town of Suai on Friday. Before the seminar, Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta was urging the international military forces to arrest him. But now he says Major Reinardo is getting another chance.

Presenter/Interviewer: Joanna McCarthy Speakers: John Miller, spokesman for the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network; Arsenio Bano East Timor's Minister for Labor and Solidarity

McCARTHY: It's three months since East Timor's renegade soldier Major Alfredo Reinardo escaped from Dili's main jail and last week the government was given a prime opportunity for his arrest. When unconfirmed reports on Friday said Major Reinardo would speak at a public seminar, Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta urged international military forces to arrest him. But when Major Reinardo appeared at the seminar, Australian and Portuguese forces took no action. The Prime Minister now says the government is giving Major Reinardo another chance. Arsenio Bano is East Timor's Minister for Labor and Solidarity:

BANO: I think Major Reinardo has been given the possibility of coming back to Dili and hand over guns proceed with judicial process. There is confusion as to his interpretation as to what he should be followng. And I think the state, the judicial court, the police has given him a lot of possibility that he should come to Dili and the government itself wants to solve the problem peacefully.

McCARTHY: Prime Minister Ramos Horta says Major Reinardo's reprieve comes at the wishes of army chief Brigadier General Taur Ruak.

It's nearly 8 months since Major Reinardo abandoned the military to join rebel soldiers during the unrest that bought down then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. While Reinardo remains at large, Ramos Horta faces an enormous challenge as his government tries to restore stability among the armed forces, the police and the disaffected youth for whom Major Reinardo remains a hero.

BANO: It's not an embarrassment. I think the approach the prime minister is taking is dialogue and also not to have people killed in solving the problem. I hope Reinardo understand that because a lot of people have tried to convince him to Dili including Bishop Bello. The government still has that line. But as I said he's running out of time.

MCCARTHY: How much longer are you going to give Major Reinardo to surrender?

BANO: I'm not sure. His problem is complicated. Because he has escaped from prison. he is also under investigation. He says he should be criminally prosecuted. So he has those allegations. I think I'm not very sure, sooner or later, we all need to decide what we need to do with major Reinardo.

McCARTHY: But not everyone agrees with the government's conciliatory line. John Miller is the National Co-ordinator of the US-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network.

MILLER: I think this continuing encouragement of dialogue rather than prosecution has led to impunity. We feel in this instance that a judicial approach is best. It needs to decide and needs to be clear that there's civilian supremacy over the military. And whatever civilian commanders wants the military have to know they have to take the orders from and take second place to whatever the civilian leadership decides.

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