East Timor prosecutor-general issues warrant for former interior minister

[JURIST] The prosecutor-general of East Timor [JURIST news archive] has issued an arrest warrant for former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato, accused of giving weapons to a rebel group that targeted opponents of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri [official website; BBC profile]. The United Nations Office in East Timor [official website] said in a statement [text] that Lobato is suspected of supplying guns to the hit squad's leader, Vincente "Rai Los" da Concecao. In the statement, Sukehiro Hasegawa [official profile], the UN Secretary-General's special representative in East Timor, said:

The action taken by the Office of the Prosecutor-General to Timor-Leste is a clear sign that the Timorese can carry out effectively their constitutionally mandated responsibility. The independence of the judiciary branch is key to re-asserting the rule of law in Timor-Leste.
The ruling Fretelin party [Wikipedia backgrounder] said Tuesday that Lobato, the party's deputy leader, was at his home in the Timorese capital of Dili. In an interview to be broadcast on national television, Alkatiri denied having provided weapons to anyone and welcomed a UN investigation [JURIST report].

Also on Tuesday, the UN Security Council [official website] adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN office in East Timor through Aug. 20 [press release, including resolution text]. At least 30 people in East Timor have been killed in clashes between soldiers and police since Alkatiri fired 600 soldiers in March. The UN has sent more than 2,000 international peacekeepers, most from Australia, to Dili and has delivered supplies to house some of the 63,000 Timorese who have fled looting and violence. AP has more.

 

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