A Swedish observer to the Angolan mercenary trials in Angola, Lars Rudabeck, said on Saturday (5 June) that he expects that the 13 men will receive a fair judgement.
GV families at airport preparing to leave (3 shots)
SCU Lars Rudabeck (Swedish observer) speaking to reporter.
REPORTER: "Mr. Rudabeck, what do you see as the purpose of this international board of inquiry?"
RUDABECK: "I think, I think the main purpose is to give publicity to the, to the mechanisms behind the recruitment of mercenaries in Africa. That is what I've been told anyway, when I was invited".
REPORTER: "What do you see as your role at the trial?"
RUDABECK: "To observe and or, tell the people in my country, after I return, what's happened. And well, we give a fair report of what's been happening in Luanda during the trial."
REPORTER: "How did you receive an invitation?"
RUDABECK: "I was invited by the government of the People Republic of Angola because, well because they happened to know about me. Because I've been working in Guinea Bissau and I've been doing researches and political sciences on political developments in Africa, especially in Guinea Bissau".
REPORTER: "Are you convinced that the er, British and Americans on trial will get a fair trial?"
RUDABECK: "I certainly hope so and I also think so."
REPORTER: "Thank you very much".
RUDABECK: "You're very welcome, thankyou".
Initials RH/1911 RH/JB/AH/1922
This film is serviced with an interview by NBC reporter John Palmer with Mr. Rudabeck. A full transcript appears below.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A Swedish observer to the Angolan mercenary trials in Angola, Lars Rudabeck, said on Saturday (5 June) that he expects that the 13 men will receive a fair judgement. He was speaking at Lisbon airport in Portugal before leaving for Angola.
The statement by Mr. Rudabeck came amid reports that the Angolan government considers that the mercenaries from Ireland, Britain and the United States are guilty, although no details of the charges have yet been made.
Mr. Rudabeck is a member of an international committee of inquiry who will be attending the trials as observers. The exact membership of the committee has still to be announced but it is expected to have about 50 members, chosen by the Angolan government.
Mr. Rudabeck said that he would give his countrymen a full report of the proceedings at the trial, which he expected to be fair. He was accompanied on his flight to Angola by some of the mercenaries' families.
The British government has also sent an observer but with no instructions to intervene, even if the death sentences are passed.
A director at the Angolan Ministry of Information in Luanda, Luis d'Almeida, said on Saturday that his government considers the mercenaries to be guilty, according to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation. He was reported to say that the British government were as responsible for the mercenaries' actions as the mercenaries themselves.
SYNOPSIS: As 13 white mercenaries waited in Angola on Saturday for their trial to start, some of their families were leaving Lisbon airport in Portugal for the Angolan capital, Luanda. Their departure came amid reports that the Angolan government considers the mercenaries to be guilty, although the exact charges have yet to be made.
The trial proceedings will be scrutinised by an international committee of inquiry. One of the Swedish members of the committee, Lars Rudabeck, spoke at Lisbon airport to NBC reporter, John Palmer.