Timor-Leste Legal News June 2006
East Timor to Question Former Premier The New York Times Thursday, June 29, 2006 (Jane Perlez) DILI, East Timor, June 28 — East Timor’s prosecutor general said Wednesday that he had summoned the former prime minister for questioning over accusations that he was involved in arming hit squads that were ordered to strike at opponents of the governing party.
The prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, also said he had enough evidence to proceed with an indictment of the former interior minister on charges of illegally supplying weapons to the groups.
The former prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, who resigned under pressure on Monday after four years as this nation’s most powerful politician, had been asked to appear for questioning on Friday, Mr. Monteiro said in an interview.
The saga that is apparently spilling forth from the former interior minister, Rogério Lobato, and some of his subordinates who have also been interviewed by the prosecutors, portrays two of the most senior politicians of this tiny, four-year-old nation as arming a small group of former resistance fighters amid the collapse of the underpaid and poorly trained army and police force.
The information from the interviews reveals the deep fissures between the personalities and approaches at the top of an inexperienced government led by men who were in exile, like Mr. Alkatiri, or in prison, like President Xanana Gusmão, or in the bush during 24 years of Indonesian occupation.
For the past week, prosecutors have been questioning Mr. Lobato, who served time in jail in Angola on charges of diamond smuggling before returning to East Timor when the country gained independence from Indonesia.
Mr. Lobato gave details and dates of how and when the hit squads were armed, and he implicated his friend Mr. Alkatiri, who served as chief of the governing party, Fretilin, said a senior investigator, who, along with some other people interviewed for this article, spoke anonymously because the investigation is continuing. Efforts to reach Mr. Alkatiri at his home were unsuccessful. On Monday, in negotiations over the terms of his resignation with the foreign minister, José Ramos-Horta, Mr. Alkatiri requested amnesty from prosecution, diplomats said.
A government official familiar with Mr. Alkatiri’s thinking said he understood that Mr. Alkatiri would cite parliamentary immunity when summoned.
About 600 dissident soldiers were dismissed from the 1,400-member army in March, and the 3,000-member police force evaporated in May. The 2,700-member Australian-led international force that arrived at the end of May stepped up patrols on Wednesday after episodes of looting and arson in Dili on Tuesday night.
UNOTIL Media Monitoring 28 June 2006
There Must Be Court Process If Evidence Shows Alkatiri Involvement: Aderito de Jesus – Aderito de Jesus Soares, human rights advocate reportedly said if evidence shows during the court summon that former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri was involved in allegations against him, there must be court process. “I think now, it depends on the process from the prosecutor and we’ve already seen the investigation on Rogério Lobato. We must wait to see how the justice is being processed, because I heard that Alkatiri has been summoned to testify and if there is any proof that shows his involvement, the process will be carried forward,” Aderito told STL Tuesday (27/6). He added that Alkatiri’s resigned based on his conscious and that political parties, NGOs and religious institutions must think of reconstructing PNTL and F-FDTL. He added that the reconciliation between east-west which is a mammoth task, noting that the Timorese people must learn to acknowledge that there were big mistakes in the last four years. Aderito de Jesus said the UN has been involved therefore in the last 4 years they also committed mistakes stressing all components of the country must seat and resolve the problem together. (STL)
26 JUNE 2006 UNOTIL MEDIA MONITORING
Rogerio states Mari aware of weapons distribution – Timor-Leste Prosecutor’s General, Longuinhos Monteiro reportedly said in the 72 hours revision audience for former Minister of Interior, Rogerio Lobato in Dili District Audience, Lobato had declared that Prime Minister Alkatiri was aware of the guns distribution to Railos group, reported Timor Post Monday. Monteiro told the media on Saturday that it is too soon to hold an investigation on Mari Alkatiri, adding the next step is put a questionnaire for Mari to answer as part of the criminal instruction phase.
In a separate article, Timor Post reported on the resignation of two ministers from the government: Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Defence José Ramos-Horta and Minister for Telecommunications Ovidio de Jesus Amaral. The advisor for Gender Promotion and Equality for the Prime Minister resigned Saturday.
Following President Gusmão appeal, on Saturday, some members of the population handed in guns to Longuinhos Monteiro and President Gusmão at his residential in Balibar. The weapons were handed in by civilians from Dili and Liquiça, totaling 10 guns, 1 pistol and 1610 ammunitions. (STL, TP)
29 June 2006 UNOTIL Media Monitoring
Parliament will be dissolved if not active – President Gusmão has issued 30 days for the Parliament to reactivate and establish a new government. “If during this time, the National Parliament is still facing difficulties to establish the government, the President of the Republic has the possibility to dissolve the Parliament in anticipation of general elections,” said a communiqué released by the President’s Office. In response to the current situation, the President of the Republic, according to the Parliament, began working to form the new government. (Suara Timor Lorosa’e)
New Government Should Be Under Xanana’s Leadership: Maubucy – Vicente Maubucy, Fretilin Central Committee member, reportedly said the sovereignty of the nation is totally under President Gusmão therefore it is up to him to establish an interim government following Prime Minister Alkatiri’s resignation. In relation to the recent problems, Maubucy said Fretilin is trying to hold an extraordinary congress. “We have already met with President Francisco Guterres Lu’Olo and Estanislau da Silva. We want to continue to strengthen Fretilin and we are trying to find paths to consolidate Fretilin to confront the latest situation,” he said. In a separate article, one of the members of Fretilin Reformation Organization, George Teme, reportedly said the election of Fretilin’s President and Secretary-General’s last May is considered illegal as per the political party regulations. Therefore the Reformation Group is organizing an extraordinary meeting as soon as the head of the group arrives from New York (STL)
Xanana Calls Members of Former Alkatiri Government + New Caretaker Cabinet – President Xanana Gusmão called 10 members of Alkatiri’s former cabinet to discuss the interim government. Those who participated in the three-hour closed-door meeting included Jose Ramos-Horta, Rui Maria de Araújo, Luis Lobato, Armindo Maia, Alcino Barris, Arsenio Bano, Ovidio Amaral, Virgilio Smith, Egidio de Jesus and Cesar da Cruz. (STL)
26 JUNE 2006 UNOTIL MEDIA MONITORING
UN is responsible for victims of Caikoli shootings – Families of the police victims shot on May 25 by F-FDTL after being disarmed by the United Nations Police (UNPOL) in PNTL Headquarters asks the UN to be responsible and demands the establishment of a monument for ‘victims defending stability Timor-Leste nation.’ The request came from families of the victims when they buried Manuel Amaral last Wednesday (21/6) in Raikotu cemetery. The families want the UN to open an investigation and find those responsible involved in the case and take it to court. They demand the UN the clearly clarify why they disarmed only PNTL and not F-FDTL who had guns in their hands and shot the PNTL officers who were already disarmed. They ask the UN to look after and take good care of the wounded ones, the widows and orphans of those killed as they considered the process still under the UN responsibility.
The families claims they were all victims under the UN flag On Monday Timor Post reported families members, friends and work colleagues participated in a mass celebrated to mark one month following the shootings which killed some police officers in front of the Ministry of Justice building in Caicoli, Dili. SRSG Hasegawa, USA Ambassador for Timor-Leste, Joseph Grover Rees, UNPOL Commander and diplomatic corps were also present at the mass celebrated by Fr. Antonio Alves. Members of the victims have also expressed that would like to see justice done through the UN investigation commission. (STL)
02 JUNE 2006 USAID Land Law Program II East Timor: Final Report Published – The final report on the USAID-funded East Timor Land Law Program has been published. The Land Law Program, implemented was undertaken by the the Ministry of Justice through the National Directorate of Land and Property.
“On the legislative drafting front, LLP II worked with government and prepared the main land bill entitled Juridical Regime of Immovable Property – Part III: Property and Transfer Systems, Land Registration, Pre-Existing Rights and Title Restitution. This bill addresses the themes related to the new immovable property and land registration systems to be implemented in the future, the provisions for the resolution of land claims and title restitution of pre-existing freehold rights and the compliance with the Constitution by non-national claimants of land rights. Numerous work sessions with high-level government officials and a special committee designated for the review of the bill took place. Advocacy for the passage of the law was carried out to the fullest extent possible. The submission of the bill to the Council of Ministers is pending.
The law drafted previously by LLP II on Leasing between Private Parties was passed by Parliament. A draft decree-law for the regulation of illegal constructions and informal settlements was prepared and delivered to the Ministry of Justice. The first debate of the bill at the Council of Ministers took place in December 2005.
A bill on Land Taxation and Expropriation was also delivered to government in mid-March 2006 for the future debate of these matters and to be considered only after the main land bill is passed and the land registration system is fully functional. In addition, the DNTP Organic Law was drafted and accepted by the Ministry of Justice for consideration along with ministerial decrees on lease tender processes, contract preparation, and delegation of responsibilities by the Minister of Justice to DNTP.”
02 JUNE 2006 27 TIMORESE JUDGES, PROSECUTORS & PUBLIC DEFENDERS TAKING OFFICE – Twenty seven Timorese judiciary practitioners will tomorrow be sworn into office, by the President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, the Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro and the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento in the presence of President Xanana Gusmão, Prime-Minister Mari Alkatiri and President of Parliament Francisco Lu Olo as well as Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sukehiro Hasegawa, Ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps. The ceremony will take place at 3.30pm on the 3rd of June, at the Court of Appeal.
For 18 months they have trained to take on the function of judges, prosecutors and public defenders. From tomorrow, they will be fully functioning judges, prosecutors and public defenders, with a probation period of one year.
“Dealing with a security situation such as the one we are now in, requires the national institutions in the areas of law and justice – the courts, prosecution service, public defense office, and prison – to be fully functioning.” President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes said. “Without an adequate criminal justice system, public security is at risk of being compromised.“
A non-functioning judiciary and penal system is critical to maintain law and order and a sense of security in society. “Detainees once arrested need to be dealt with fairly by a functioning judiciary and a penal system. If the criminal justice system does not perform, the void can only lead to insecurity due to the lack of judicial review of detainees’ confinement. The trainees from the Legal Training Centre have completed the second phase of the training, all of them with success. Evaluations are done and they were due to take office as probationary judges, prosecutors and public defenders in mid June 2006. Due to the current situation that the country is facing all of them have expressed their interest in supporting the state and the people immediately.” A non-functioning judiciary and penal system is critical to maintain law and order and a sense of security in society.
“Detainees once arrested need to be dealt with fairly by a functioning judiciary and a penal system. If the criminal justice system does not perform, the void can only lead to insecurity due to the lack of judicial review of detainees’ confinement. The trainees from the Legal Training Centre have completed the second phase of the training, all of them with success. Evaluations are done and they were due to take office as probationary judges, prosecutors and public defenders in mid June 2006. Due to the current situation that the country is facing all of them have expressed their interest in supporting the state and the people immediately.”
A decree law promulgated by the President in August 2004 regulates access to the career of judges, prosecutors and public defenders through a compulsory training period of 2 and a half years. The training comprises three phases: (a) a theoretical lecture phase of one year duration common to all trainees; (b) a six month practical phase with judicial simulations targeting trainees from three different specific careers; and (c) a probationary phase of one year where the trainees will be sworn in as probationary judges, prosecutors and defenders to perform in court assisted by a training coordinator.
In September 2004, 40 candidates for judges, prosecutors and public defenders enrolled in the first phase of the post-graduate training at the Legal Training Centre in Dili. 27 trainees were approved to move to the second phase, which began in January and was successfully completed at the end of May this year. The third and final phase begins tomorrow with the 11 judges, 9 prosecutors and 7 public defenders acting in court.
The training curricula and scientific coordination was developed with the support of UNDP Justice System Programme and implemented by UNDP and UNOTIL judge, prosecutor and public defender trainers under the leadership of the Legal Training Centre. SRSG Hasegawa who is also UNDP Resident Representative said “UNOTIL and UNDP are fully committed to strengthening the professionalism and independence of the Timorese judiary system and continues support the capacity development of Timorese judges, prosecutors adn public defenders The ceremony will take place in the Court of Appeal tomorrow, Saturday 3 of June, at 3.30 pm.
The President of the Court of Appeal, the Prosecutor General and the Minister of Justice will sworn in the Timorese judges, prosecutors and public defenders followed by a speech from a representatives of the judiciary practitioners and a speech from the Prime Minister. The President of the Republic will make the closing address. Journalists are welcome to attend. Kym Smithies Communications Officer UNDP Timor-Leste +670 724 4987 (Mobile) +670 3312 481 (ext 2044)