Timor-Leste Legal News September 2006
UNDP Timor-Leste International Judges sworn-in in the Court of Appeal – 29 September 2006, Dili: On the 28th of September, at 2h30 pm, the President of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, Cláudio Ximenes, swore in international judges Ivo Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa (from Portugal) and Telma Angélica Figueiredo (from Brazil) to perform functions as judges in the district courts of Timor-Leste.
The two judges were recruited by the UNDP Justice System Program. Both candidates have extensive experience as acting judges in their countries.
The President of the Superior Council of the Judiciary said “the judge has to decide, according to the law, with independence and impartiality. Independence means that nobody, authority, or group can pressure a judge so that he or she decide in a determined sense. The judge cannot decide according with individual opinions, authority or group’s will. Impartiality means do not favor or prejudice any of the process parties. Until now the judges have been providing their decisions according to the laws in force in Timor-Leste, based on the evidence before them, with independence and impartiality. This is the performance demanded from them and they will continue to perform as such, with independence and impartiality, even if it means rendering decisions that do not please everyone”.
RTTL News Monitoring Report 28 September 2006
8 People reported during clashes – Two groups of youths clashed yesterday in Luro-mata which resulted in eight people being injured. These casualties were taken to Dili National Hospital for treatment. Speaking to journalists, the director of the Dili National Hospital, Antonio Caleres Junior said that the number of patients this week was greater than last week. In addition, some casualties were reportedly taken to Bairopite Clinic. The Director of this clinic Dr. Daniel told the media that the average number of the patients who visited this clinic was 4 to 5 daily.
More than 200 weapons still in the hands of civilians – Speaking to the media after the meeting with the petitioners in Gleno-Ermera, PM Dr. Jose Ramos Horta confirmed that based on information from various sources, there were more than 200 weapons that have not yet been handed over to the International Forces. He appealed to everyone to continue to assist the government and the International Forces to search for them. On the same occasion, questioning whether or not the weapons of F-FDTL are still in civilian hands, he affirmed that according to information from the commander of F-FDTL, Brig. Gen. TMR all weapons of this institution have been collected.
United Nations UNOTIL Public Information Office National Media Reports Daily Media Review 27 September 2006
STAE Must Be Under IEC – MP Vicente Guterres (UDC) said the opposition party has proposed that Secretaridu Tekniku Administrasaun Estatal (STAE) be under the Komisaun Eleitoral Independent to prevent bureaucracy should any problems arise. Guterres said there were many problems during the 2005 suco elections, and STAE was not independent and did not show professionalism. On the other hand, MP Cipriana Pereira (Fretilin) said the question of independence depends on STAE staff. (TP, STL)
Fretilin Will Not Expel Lobato – Fretilin Central Committee will not expel its Vice-President until the court process is complete, said MP Francisco Branco, adding that the Prosecutor General has only just decided to process Lobato’s case. He said his party has been following the case closely and will not make a decision until the case process is concluded. (STL)
Daily Media Review Saturday 23 Sept, Monday 25 Sept 2006 UNOTIL Public Information Office National Media Reports
Lobato’s Case Processed in Court – President of the Court of Appeal Claudio Ximenes said the Court of Appeal had received the process of Rogerio Lobato alleging the distribution of guns to civilians groups. Ximnes said the court has been waiting for the case adding such a case would determine the judicial system currently in process. He said the judges would be independent and impartial to carry out the process and would make a decision without any influence or based on the person’s profession, group or institutional affiliations, but rather the court’s decision would be based on law and facts.
Aderito de Jesus, Human Rights advocate said the process of Rogério Lobato’s case by the court is providing hope for the public, but it must be a just and quick process.
In a separate article in Timor Post Saturday, the President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes said more international judges and public prosecutors are required to respond to the increase in cases during the crisis. Ximenes said the internationals likely to come from CPLP countries, Portugal and Brazil, would work together with their Timorese counterparts. A total of 8 judges, 8 public prosecutor and 8 defenders would be recruited by UNDP to continue to assist in the judicial system. (STL, TP)
Court Rules In Favour Of Alkatiri – A Washington District Court has ruled in favour of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri for allegations of embezzlement. Oceanic Exploration Company accused the former Prime Minister of receiving US$2.5 million of bribery from Conoco Phillips for the exploration of Timor Sea. The decision was made by the Washington Court on Friday afternoon, Fretilin deputy-secretary general, Manuel Fernandes told the media Sunday, adding that Alkatiri won the case due to unsubstantiated evidence. (STL, TP, DN)
JSMP Press Release Department of Justice and Prosecution in Timor Leste Supports the Victim Support Legal Service
20/9/2006 On Wednesday, 20 September 2006, the victim legal support service known as “VSS” (Victim Support Service), launched its mid-year report at the Hotel Timor. VSS is a legal aid unit that was established in April 2005 to assist women and children victims of domestic violence and sexual violence access the formal justice sector in Timor Leste. The launch of the mid-year report occurred over one hour, beginning at 9.15 am and ending at 10.15am. The proceedings were led by VSS Coordinator Luis Oliveira LLB, and attended by the Vice Minister for Justice, Isabel Pereira LLB, and the Deputy Prosecutor General of Timor Leste, Ivo Valente LLB.
During the launch proceedings, Isabel Pereira stated that the Timor Leste Ministry of Justice was very supportive of the VSS and its program in facilitating the Timor Leste judicial system. VSS supports women and children victims of domestic and sexual violence by promoting their rights, beginning from police investigation through to state prosecution, providing complete support when the case goes to court, should it progress to this stage.
At the same time, Ivo Valente also fully supported the programs being carried out by the VSS unit of JSMP. Ivo suggested that this program should not just be restricted to particular districts, but should be extended to all districts in Timor Leste. This is because there many women and children in the districts who become victims of domestic or sexual violence. Ivo stated that many victims are very scared to report their case to the authorities. There are also victims who withdraw their case, once it has been reported to the authorities, because the victims are economically or mentally unable to pursue their case. On the other hand, Isabel criticised the fact that VSS focuses only on women and children victims. Isabel asked why the programs carried out by VSS don’t involve men who are involved in domestic and sexual violence in Timor Leste.
VSS’s programs have been made possible due to support from the Asia Foundation, The Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights (KIOS), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Embassy of the United States of America in Timor Leste.
JSMP views the presence of the Vice Minister for Justice and the Vice Prosecutor General of East Timor at the launch of VSS’s mid-year
report as conducive to the existence and progress of the VSS in Timor Letse. JSMP welcomes this collaboration and cooperation. JSMP hopes that the positive response from the Ministry of Justice and Office of the General Prosecutor does not remain just as rhetoric but is taken to the next step and realized in the future for the strengthening of law and human rights in Timor Leste.
Actual Judges Should Replaced – MP Lucia Lobato (PSD), is of the opinion that to better the judicial system in Timor-Leste, the international judges, including the President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, must be replaced. Lobato said Claudio Ximenes’ decision has left many people discontent and there has been injustices because he interprets the laws according to his wishes and he has not been impartial. She points out that the tribunal should not be fully under the responsibility of expatriates because justice must be decided by the Timorese themselves. The MP said people have been critical of the court procedures and this reflects the court’s failings. (STL) UNMIT Daily Media Review Thursday, 21 September 2006
Daily Media Review Wednesday, 20 September 2006 National Media Reports
Alkatiri and Lobato Cases Must Be Advanced To Court: Egidio – Egidio de Jesus, leader of Grupo Fretilin Mudança (GFM) said the case involving the 13 weapons found in the residence of Mari Alkatiri must be taken forward to the court He said the Prosecutor General must not cover up the problem and keep it from the realm of justice. De Jesus said if the weapons were claimed to belong to Alkatiri’s personal close protection guards, it should have been handed over to the Australian troops stationed at his residence at the time. He said the former Prime Minister should be processed in court and be detained in Becora prison just like Alfredo.
In a separate article, Vital dos Santos, the Secretary General for FNJP, said the cases of Mari Alkatiri and Rogerio Lobato have remained stagnant due to the political influence instilled upon those responsible for the court, by the former Prime Minister, which is dominated by CPLP countries including the President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes. Dos Santos said the conspiracy was clear following some decision made by Claudio Ximenes. (STL)
Who Is Responsible For April 28-29 Incident: Salsinha – Lieutenant Colonel Salsinha Gastão, has asked the Notable Commission to extend the time allotment to investigate about 42 members of F-FDTL expelled in 2003. According to Salsinha, some of the 42 members were expelled as a result of continued absence but other left as a result of discrimination within the institution. He said he would like the commission to also investigate former veterans, specially Ernesto Fernandes ‘Dudu’ and Samba Sembilan saying, discrimination did not only affect the petitioners because it started a long ago in Aileu. He also asked the Commission who is responsible for the incidents of April 28-29, Fatuahi and the PNTL officers killed in Caicoli.
UNDP Provides Assistance To Judicial System – Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento has met with UNDP to ask donors countries to provide assistance for strengthening the judicial system in Timor-Leste. The Minister said according to coordination plans, UNDP will recruit more international judges and public prosecutors to attend to the communities in the Districts of Baucau, Oecussi and Suai noting that the current international judges, prosecutors and public defenders are doing good work. (DN)
RTTL News Monitoring Report 20 – 9 – 2006
Dili Court Decision Criticized – Juliana da Costa went to National Parliament to criticize for Dili Court’s decision to punish her son who was captured by UNPOL and International Force in Airport-Dili following fighting incidents last week. She said that her son is 11 years and too young to be put in the jail. She stated that according to the RDTL constitution art. 18 and paragraph 1, people less than 15 years old can not be put in the jail.
20 09 2006 Rogério Lobato formally accused by the Public prosecution service
The former-minister of the Interior Rogério Lobato, held for alleged distribution of weapons the civilians and attempt of revolution, among others crimes, formal was accused by the Public prosecution service, said judicial source today.
The source, that requested the anonymity, added that Rogério Lobato was accused, appointedly, them crimes of attempt of revolution, embezzlement and ownership and illegal distribution of weapons.
Between the shares whose responsibilities are imputed the former-minister, who asked for to the resignation the 1 of June and since 22 of the same month if he finds in domiciliária arrest, count the slaughter of nine Timorese policies, occurred the 25 of May in Díli, to the hands of military.
The source contactada for the Lusa advanced that relatively to the same process, of distribution of weapons the civilians, the inquiries on old the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri “go to continue”. Mari Alkatiri was so far heard an only time for the Public prosecution service, in the past day 20 of July.
Different outcome in this in case that it had Eusébio Salsinha, former-head of cabinet of Rogério Lobato, whose process the Public prosecution service decided to file for “lack of tests”.
The man who is in the origin of the opening of the process against Lobato and Alkatiri, the veteran of the fight of resistance against the Indonesian occupation Vicente of the Conceição “Railos” appears with the witness statute.
Mari Alkatiri was accused by “Railos” to have commanded the Rogério Lobato that proceeded to the distribution from weapons for the elimination from adversaries politicians, inside and is of the FRETILIN, broken maioritário in East Timor, of that it is secretary-generality (JSMP at http://www.jsmp.minihub.org/News/2006/News%20September%2006.html#RogerioLobatoformalaccusedbythePublicprosecutionservice Accessed 03 10 -6)
Daily Media Review Friday, 15 September 2006 National Media Reports
Roundtable discussion on Electoral Law – The East Timor People’s Action (ETPA) convened a round table discussion to discuss the draft electoral law proposed by the ruling party FRETILIN and the opposition parties on Thursday. The representatives of political parties, intellectuals, religious institutions, and diplomatic corps attended the discussion. Some of the participants told RTTL that there are not many differences between the two draft proposals.
Daily Media Review Thursday, 14 September 2006 National Media Reports
One Youth Death and Three Injured Following Attack – One youth died following attacks by an unknown group in the area of Kintal Bo’ot on Wednesday evening around 19:00hrs. The victim identified as Abento was hit on the forehead by the dart-Like weapon known as rama ambon. According to Timor Post, three youths were injured following shootings by the UN police. The population in the areas of Kaikoli, Mascarenhas, Balide, Matadouro and Mercado Lama claim to be in shock and are traumatized by the actions of the UN police for arbitrary shooting at the population. One of the injured, Mateus Droga who was treated at the Canossian Sisters Residence in Balide said before the problem started he and some youths were sitting in a kiosk, opposite the President’s Palace, and upon hearing information of the conflict they went to the vicinity of the incident and saw Ambeno on the floor. As they tried to help him, Mateus said the international police arrived and rather than chase after the attackers they started shooting at him and his friends. He further said they fled from the scene and started yelling that the international police were supposed to provide security for the people and not to harm them.
Mateus Droga said the police composed of GNR chased him and his friends all the way into the President’s Palace, where one of them had already been injured in the head from a bullet wound, and then as they approached the vicinity, Mateus claims that the police shot him in the in the neck. The three injured received medical treatment at the Canossian Sisters Residence in Balide. According to Timor Post, the UN police commander has not confirmed the actions of the police and it is reported police used rubber bullets. (TP)
700 PNTL Registered – About 700 PNTL have registered with the Commission of Evaluation in a first phase of screening process for PNTL officers, Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris said on Wednesday. Barris further said PNTL Commander General Paulo Martins, Operational Commander Ismael Babo and Deputy Administration Commander Lino Saldanha will also take part in the screening test. The Minister of Interior further said some members of PNTL have not yet handed in their weapons and pistols because they are scared. He said the police have the original list and know who still have guns. In the meantime, Paulo Martins has reportedly said the International Forces have not considered him as Commander of PNTL and searched his house in Bairro Pité without notifying him. (TP, DN)
Commission of Inquiry Collects 3000 Documents – The UN Independent, Special Commission of Inquiry headed by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro held a press conference on Wednesday to update the public on the progress of their work. According to Pinheiro, the Commissioners have visited the country for the second time and in the last 10 days have worked intensively with members of the Commission’s team and the information gathered from interviews and follow-up interviews. The Commissioners are scheduled to leave the country at the end of the week and resume their work towards the end of September in order to finalize the report which would be handed in to the UN Secretary General, and the Timor-Leste National Parliament. (DN, TP, STL)
Daily Media Review Wednesday, 13 September 2006 National Media Reports
FNJP Gives Ultimatum To Government – Frente Nasional Justisa no Paz has given an ultimatum to the government to urgently resolve the crisis or face actions to dissolve the Parliament, Vital dos Santos, the groups’ coordinator told the media on Tuesday following a meeting with all interested parties that they want peace for the country. The government has been given one week (12/9-19/9) to resolve the problems. He did not reveal what type of actions the group is planning.
STAE Violates Constitution – Cecilio Caminha Freitas, Chairperson of East Timor People Action (ETPA) said the census process launched by the Technical Services of the Electoral Administration (STAE) is against the constitution of RDTL. Freitas said according to the Constitution of RDTL , census can only be processed when an Independent Electoral Commission has been established in order to oversee the work of STAE. He said STAE must wait for the legislation on the electoral law and the Independent Electoral Commission, noting there would be some changes to STAE as per the new legislation. He recommends it would be better for STAE to wait until the legislation is approved by the Parliament and the President. (STL)
RTTL Headlines, 13 September 2006
Patients Leave Dili National Hospital as the result of the ongoing attacks – The Director of Dili National Hospital, Antonio C. Junior told the media that in the last three days, stone-throwing is still occurring near the national hospital which has resulted in at least 28 patients leaving the hospital. He said that the fighting is initiated by people who are outside the IDP camp, but enter the hospital compound. At a result of the fighting some IDPs have tried to protect themselves by hiding in the patients’ rooms traumatizing the patients and forcing them leave.
Daily Media Review Monday, 12 September 2006 National Media Reports
Major Alfredo Is Not The Only One Demanding Justice: Bishop Basilio – The Bishop of Baucau, Don Basilio do Nascimento said Major Alfredo is not the only one demanding justice, everybody is demanding it. The Bishop stated he doesn’t know whether the slowness of the justice process is due to the conditions or the lack of capacity and hopes there are no other interests preventing the process from taking place. Don Basilio is of the opinion there must be an explanation for the escape of the prisoners from Becora jail. He said the biggest threat is the loss of faith in the State institutions. He appealed to the community to fully understand the justice process because it is a fundamental that everybody demands justice and it is also important that that accused are provided a fair court hearing and should not be punished merely by public demands. The Bishop of Baucau said all citizens must obey the law regardless of whether they are ministers or from the majority party and each group should not make their own laws. In the meantime, MP Leandro Isac said the population would create a popular revolution if the International Forces and F-FDTL will join forces to recapture him.
STL reported Cecilio Caminha Freitas, Chairperson of East Timor Person’s Action (ETPA) NGO as saying that the joint patrol by Australian Military and F-FDTL is a mockery and like asking the people to kill each other. Freitas said the time is not appropriate yet to involve the Timorese on these activities, stressing F-FDTL and PNTL were in conflict four months ago and their involvement in patrolling should be delayed until the investigation process and evaluation is complete. He stressed that the fact that the President and the former Prime Minister requested international forces means that the two national forces can no longer provide security and stability.
The ETPA chairperson said the involvement of members of these two national institutions might have a negative impact on the community due to the recent conflict between the two institutions and it is not yet know who was involved in different cases. According to STL, in an interview with RTTL, Prime Minister Alkatiri rejected that there is a joint patrol between F-FDTL and the international forces explaining that the F-FDTL members are cooperating with the international forces under their guidance. (TP, STL)
Justice Is Progressing Well, Claudio Must Be Replaced: De Jesus – According to Aderito de Jesus, a human rights advocate, the justice in Timor-Leste is progressing well and in a fair manner but he wants to ask SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa to replace the President of the Court of Appeal for many mistakes that he has made, including the decision in favor of Fretilin’s second congress. De Jesus said Claudio Ximenes does not have the capacity to sit on the Court of Appeals as he is working in the capacity of a Timorese but earning an expatriate’s salary due to his contract as a foreigner while in charge of a sovereign body of Timor-Leste. He said SRSG Hasegawa must have the courage to expel Ximenes and replace him with an international judge that has the capacity and experience to carry out a judgment in an impartial manner in the country. The human rights lawyer says Claudio Ximenes must be replaced by a capable and experienced judge for Timor-Leste to get out of this crisis. He said the UN should not contract Timorese with Portuguese passports who do not have the capacity for this job because it only increases the problem in the country.
Aderito wants the UN to be responsible for the weakness of the justice system and not to wash their hands of it. On the judges from CPLP countries, Aderito de Jesus said their contribution had worsened the situation in Timor-Leste. But the President of the National Parliament, Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres said the justice system is functional in Timor-Leste therefore it should not be touched. He said it has been impartial and has achieved a lot for the Timorese including providing training, said Lu’Olo. On the question of Ximenes having a Portuguese passport, Lu’Olo said the constitution of Timor-Leste allows dual citizenship therefore he is not denied Timor-Leste citizen even though he holds a Portuguese passport.
In a separate article, Aderito de Jesus said Mari Alkatiri’s accusation stating that Ramos-Horta manipulated him to step down as Prime Minister is a political waste of time and there is no strong evidence to substantiate the accusation. MP Jose Nominado Buras (PD) said the leaders should not use political compromises to cover each other in relation to justice. MP Xavier do Amaral (ASDT) said the accusation by Mari Alkatiri against Ramos-Horta is a statement to shift the attention of the people from the allegations against Alkatiri alleging that he distributed guns to civilians and puts the blame on the current Prime Minister for the crisis that emerged.(TP, STL)
RTTL news headlines 11-09-2006
Airport IDPs laments about International Forces and PM Horta – Representatives of the IDPs at the airport met the National Parliament on Monday to protest the actions of Australian forces who reportedly broke into their camps and arrested and beat some IDPs including some security guards. Speaking to journalists after the meeting at NP, one of the IDPS also lamented about the attitude of PM Horta who had shown no interest in them. Horta had reportedly said that he had worked very hard but that the IDPs had made him suffer so. Replying to an IDP who said it was the leaders who had made them suffer, Horta reportedly replied that in 30 years he never taken a cent from the Timorese people.
CCF asked PM Horta not to promise too much – FRETILIN Central Committee, CCF, has reportedly decided to ask the Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta not to make too many promises. Speaking to journalists in Manatuto on Sunday, the Deputy Secretary General, Jose Reis, said that it has always been FRETILIN’s principal not to make any promises to the people, as they are sick of empty promises. Hence, by making too many undeliverable promises, the image of FRETILIN could be affected.
Daily Media Review Saturday 09 Sept, Monday 11 Sept 2006 National Media Reports
Mari Accuses Horta of Coup D’Etat – Former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has accused Ramos-Horta of staging a coup d’etat against Fretilin. In response to Horta’s statement that Fretilin needs leadership changes, Alkatiri said the current Prime Minister made every possible move to force him out of government and then pretended to present the names of candidates for the premiership knowing he was the one who would become Prime Minister. Speaking during a gathering with Fretilin’s Central Committee from the 13 districts on Saturday, Alkatiri clarified to members of his party that the reason he stepped down as Prime Minister was due to the manipulation by the current Prime Minister. Alkatiri further said Horta knew that Jose Luis Guterres did not have a chance to become Fretilin’s secretary general but used a way of dividing Fretilin by siding with the ‘Fretilin Group for Changes’. The Secretary General of Fretilin said all members of CCF have agreed to hold a dialogue with ‘Fretilin Group for Changes’ or suspend the group for no longer obeying the party’s rules. (TP, STL)
Commissioners Should Not Be Scared To Meet Us: Salsinha – Salsinha Gastão, the petitioner’s spokesperson asked members of the Notable Commission not to be scared of the petitioners stationed in Aileu and Ermera. Gastão said the petitioners would not harm anyone visiting them to carry out the investigation. He said since the establishment of the commission, no one has met with them and stressed that the petitioners are prepared to cooperate with the commissioners in order to settle the problem in a fair manner. Due to past experience with Alfredo, Salsinha said the group is concerned about traveling to Dili to participate in the investigation process and is happy that Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak has authorized investigation within the F-FDTL institution. In the meantime, the Commission’s spokesperson, Pedro da Costa has requested F-FDTL and the International Forces not to impede those petitioners wishing to travel to Dili to participate in the process. (TP)
AFP And GNR Beats Child And PNTL Member – Timor Post today reports that AFP and GNR forces have beaten a youth and one PNTL member in the area of Bidau Masau. According to Tomas Silva Pereira, the PNTL officer, the incident occurred on Saturday, around 22:00hrs when he woke up to knocks on his door and was then punched in the face with a torch by an Australian police officer when he opened the door. Angered by the behaviour of the Malaysian and Australian police, Pereira showed them his PNTL card. Upon seeing the card, the police stopped beating him and apologized but Pereira said the apologies were not welcome and warned that he would present his complaints to PNTL National Commanders, the Human Rights Commission, Commission for Social Affairs and Administrator of Dili Sub-District. He said when he presented his complaint to the human rights commission, they suggested that he process the case in court but he says he prefers to speak to the police commissioner and the international forces first regarding the incident.
The PNTL officer said the police beat him based on information which is unfounded – that he was involved in the conflict between Bidau Masau community and the IDPs. Another case involves 16-year old, Januario Pereira Soares whom GNR accused of being involved in the conflict between the IDPs and the community of Bidau Masau. According to Timor Post, Januario was not aware of the conflict when GNR went to his house and beat him.
Special Mass For Major Alfredo – The National Front for Justice and Peace is organizing a special mass for Major Alfredo Reinado in Gleno on Tuesday aiming to pray for his protection and courage to continue the fight against injustice in the country. An advisory notice sent to the media on Friday said the mass could be held on Tuesday at 2:00pm. Meanwhile, MP Manuel Tilman (KOTA) said according to juridical consciousness he disagrees with the population that wants to conceal Alfredo and his members because justice has not been processed. On the other hand, Tilman says in terms of politically consciousness he agrees with the pro-Alfredo, as usually the small people are the one’s that suffer the consequences. He cited as an example the cases of allegations involving Mari Alkatiri and Rogerio Lobato. Tilman said guns were found in the former Prime Minister’s house but he was not detained. But in the case of Alfredo, he came to Dili on the orders of President Gusmão and was arrested when police found guns in his house, adding that the whole situation has confused the people. He said the problem is not within the judiciary but with the political process which has not been going well. (TP)
JSMP PRESS RELEASE Training in the Laws of Criminal Procedure for Timor-Leste’s Lawyers Dili, 08 September 2006
On Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th September a two day workshop for private lawyers was held on the new Criminal Procedure Code for Timor-Leste. The workshop was organized as a collaboration beween the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Training Centre in Kaikoli, and the AATL (Asosiasi Advokat-Timor Leste or the Lawyers Association of Timor-Leste).
The day workshop was held at the Hotel-Turismo, Dili. The presenter, Dr.Luis Antonio Felqueiras, was formerly a senior prosecutor in
Portugal and now works as an advisor and trainer in the center for Judicial Training in Kaikoli, Dili. The training was presented in Portuguese with translation into Tetum.
On its first day the workshop was attended by 42 people, and on the second day by 34 people. JSMP believes that attendance was affected to some extent by the crisis situation.
JSMP welcomes this initiative. It notes in particular that it is useful for private lawyers and the AATL to work together with the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Training Centre. The Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Training Centre are to be commended for recognizing the need to assist in the training private lawyers in Timor-Leste. Such training is necessary to ensure a balance in the criminal justice system between public lawyers, who have received structured training from the Judicial Training Centre, and those in private practice.
JSMP hopes that this collaboration will continue and that training for private lawyers will become a regular event.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Tiago Sarmento Director, JSMP Telephone: 7233725 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Media Review Friday, 08 September 2006 National Media Reports
Commission Mandate Extended – The Notable Commission mandate has been extended until 30 October 2006 to complete their work. Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta made the decision to extend another 60 days to allow the Commission to complete its work, which had been stagnant since May due the crisis. According to Pedro da Costa, the Commission’s spokesperson the extension would help reactivate the contacts with the petitioners in order to get further information. He said the Commission would guarantee their safety for any information they wish to present, as they do not have sufficient information. He encourages anyone wishing to present their complaints on the issue of discrimination within F-FDTL to contact the Commission. (TP)
We Will Protect Major Alfredo: Eduardo – The community leader of Ermera District, Aduardo de Deus, also known as Dusae said the population will protect and conceal Major Alfredo Reinado until justice and truth are in place. Dusae said the youths from the 10 districts would protect Reinado and wait for the truth and justice of those involved in the crime adding they want a fair justice procedure. He said the youth in Ermera is holding a small activity in Gleno today (8/9) to ask the international forces not to proceed with their search for Alfredo and his members. They also do not want members of F-FDTL to travel to the 10 districts especially Ermera. The population has rejected the presence of three members of the national armed forces who visited that area with the international forces According to Timor Post, three members of F-FDTL are working with the international forces and went to Ermera to try to speak and win the sympathy of population but were asked to leave. Dusae said members of F-FDTL would be allowed to return to that district only after the problem of discrimination within the institution is resolved. (TP)
Four Injured Following GNR Attack – The population of Aldeia 30 Agosto in Comoro has expressed anger against the international forces, GNR, for attacking and shooting in that area right into the homes of the population. The incident occurred around midnight on Wednesday and according to Baltazar Bartolomeu, his younger brother was injured when GNR members shot into the house from the front door and hit his brothers. He said following knocks on his front door, he opened the door and was slapped on the face when he tried to question the presence of the police force. He said the loud noise scared all those inside the house including his pregnant wife who woke up crying not understanding what was happening. Barlolomeu said his two brothers who had come to Dili to sell coffee had their hands tied and were taking to the airport roundabout with other youths by the GNR who started interrogating and punching them. The two young men were later released. Baltazar Bartolomeu said his house door, window including his small shop were destroyed by the international force during the assault. Dismayed by this incident he went to GNR Headquarters in Caicoli to present his complaints but was told by a GNR sergeant to go and complain somewhere else. He is a pre-secondary teacher at in his village. (TP)
Appointment Of Acting Police Commissioner and DSRSG – Suara Timor Lorosae today (8/9) published the information released by UNMIT on the appointment of Acting Police Commissioner Antero Lopes and the nomination of DSRSG Reske-Nielsen. Both documents were release by UNMIT Public Information Office on Wednesday. (STL)
Daily Media Review Thursday, 07 September 2006 National Media Reports
Weakness Of Justice Is The Minister’s Fault: MP Corte-Real – The injustice process in the country is not due to political intervention but a result of the weakness of the Minister. MP Alexandre Corte-Real (UDT) said on several occasions the Public Ministry and the court have presented difficulties encountered, like lack of human resource, infrastructure, and finance but the Ministry has not taken any measures to respond to these concerns. Corte-Real said due to the lack of human resources and finances the court is non-functional and the Minister himself has not approached the Council of Ministers or the National Parliament to attend to these concerns, adding it only shows that the Minister does not have planning capacity. The MP stressed that the judiciary power must be reactivated urgently to allow the international police to capture and condemn the people committing crimes.
Tiago Sarmento, Director of NGO JSMP said the court cases of Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri are pending because the judges, prosecutors and defenders in charge of the process have all ended their contracts and left the country. Sarmento said the cases would proceed when the new judiciary personnel arrive this month. He points a finger at the UN and UNDP for stopping their contracts in a situation where the population is eagerly waiting for justice, adding that other international judges, prosecutors, and defenders should be on the ground and have the work transferred in order to determine justice in Timor-Leste. The Director of JSMP said the court has not processed any case since August. (TP)
I Had Guns To Protect Myself: Isaac – MP Cipriana Pereira (Fretilin) said any Member of Parliament in possession of guns and involved in the social crisis is an act of crime as it is against the Constitution. Pereira raised her concern with the media following MP Leandro Isac’s (Independent) statement during a television interview where he said he was in possession of a gun to defend himself. She said if a civilian caught in possession of a weapon is considered a crime and this also applies to any Member of Parliament. She said she would like the Parliament to take action and investigate all Members of Parliament in relation to the crisis. In the meantime, Leandro Isa said he had a gun on May 24 and 25 to protect himself, his family and about 300 people that took refuge in his house. Isac said he has evidence he was a target because on April 29 he came to Dili to get some food and was stopped and told not to proceed or he would be shot upon his return. (DN, TP, STL)
Women Returned to TL – Three women allegedly reported to have been abducted and taken to Atambua a few months ago have now returned to Timor-Leste via Mota’ain border on Tuesday, reported Diario Nacional Thursday. Jasti Norina, one of the three girls told DN, due to lack of employment opportunities in Timor-Leste they went to Indonesia with the intention to find work in Malaysia. (DN)
Canossa Balide IDPs camp attacked by unknown group – The IDPs in Canossa Balide were dismayed with an unknown group who perpetrated attacks three over the last three. IDPs have requested that the Government solve the fundamental problem of the petitioners otherwise the crises will never end. Meanwhile Camp Manager Sister Guilhermina said that the young peoples are tire of the situation are involved in clashes with rivals
because they have no jobs and are frustrated.
PRESS RELEASE First Judicial Questioning of a Suspect in the Shooting of Civilians in Kolmera Dili, 06 September 2006 – On Tuesday 5 September 2006 JSMP monitored a questioning held by Judge Dora Martins of the Dili District Court held of a suspect arrested in connection with a violent incident which occurred in the Kolmera Park area of Dili on Friday 1 September in which shooting occurred and a number of persons were injured, some seriously. The suspect was a member of the Dili PNTL.
According to the statement of the suspect which was obtained by JSMP the suspect was arrested by international police in the office of the Ministry of the Interior of Timor Leste on Friday 1 September 2006 in connection with the aforementioned incident. He stated that the international police arrested him without showing him a warrant of arrest.
The first judicial questioning in this case was first scheduled for Monday 4 September, within 72 hours of the arrest as required by the Criminal Procedure Code (articles 60(a) and 63(1)). However owing to the non-attendance of witnesses the Judge postponed the questioning until Tuesday 5 September. Unfortunately did not appear again at the second scheduled questioning. JSMP was informed that the reason for this was that the witnesses had received threats from certain (unnamed) persons.
Despite the non-appearance of witnesses, after consultation with the public prosecutor and defence counsel, the Judge decided to order the pre-trial detention of the defendant in Becora prison.
JSMP welcomes the proper application of judicial processes in such a significant case. However it notes two unwelcome developments which are evidenced by this case:
· JSMP is alarmed by the evidence of threats being made against witnesses in criminal proceedings. This phenomenon has the potential to seriously undermine the justice system.
· JSMP was also concerned by the presence in the courtroom of heavily armed security forces. JSMP believes that a balance needs to be found between ensuring the security of the proceedings and minimizing the intimidation of defendants during court processes.
UNMT Daily Media Review Wednesday, 06 September 2006 National Media Reports
STAE Launches Pilot Program – Secretariadu Tekniku Administrasaun Eleitoral (STAE) launched its electoral census pilot program on Monday with the aim of distributing voter photo ID cards. Director of STAE, Tomas Cabral said the pilot program will run until October 5 in Dili District and the cards are free. He further said the new card would replace the UNTAET voter registration cards thus making it also a legitimate ID card, as well as an official registration card as both are required in Timor-Leste. (TP)
Two Members of AFP Attacked – Two AFP members were hit by rocks while trying to stop attacks of rock throwing between two groups in Lurumata, next to the American Embassy in Dili. Two youths were injured including two Australian police and their car seriously damaged. According to Timor Post, youths staged the attack due to their discontentment with the way the Australian police have acted in arbitrary detention. One youth, who refused to give his name, told TP his friends attacked the police because instead of detaining the attackers at the scene they detain those defending themselves. He said they have been observing the international police and they are not performing their duties correctly, especially in stopping group fights.
In a separate article, it is reported that attacks of stone-throwing in the area of Balide resulted in the damage of 8 houses and one burning. The fight was between the youths from Mascarenhas Aldeia 1 Balide and Caicoli beginning on Sunday (3/9) night and lasting until Tuesday. Marcelino Martins, the head of the youth from Caicoli said the root of the problem started in Casossa Balide on Sunday following stone throwing at the IDP compound while they were praying.
In the meantime, the IDPs in Colmera, opposite Hotel Timor claim they have not received food from the government and NGOs for over a month. According to Celestino da Costa, camp coordinator, the stopping of assistance is not a concern for the people as all they want is for the government to focus on security in order to enable them to return home. (TP)
Judges Accused Of Influencing Court Decision – The debate on the court of appeal decision, ruling in favor of the result of Fretilin second congress continues to be an issue of debate in the Parliament. MP João Gonçalves (PSD) has accused two judges of influencing the decision of the court recently. Gonçalves said judges Maria Natercia Gusmão and Jacinta Correia were part of the panel that influenced the decision of the court, because their spouses are members of Fretilin Central Committee. Meanwhile, President of the Parliament, Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres said the accusation of Gonçalves must be presented with facts on how the court was influenced and whether the process was constitutional or not. Guterres also asked MPs not to meddle into areas not of their competence. (TP)
Lu’Olo Inconsistent With Statements – MP Leandro Isac said the President of the Parliament has been inconsistent with his statement adding that he says something on one day and the following day he says something different. In relation to the guns in Mari Alkatiri’s house, he first said it was false but later acknowledged during the Parliament’s plenary session on Tuesday that there were guns stored in Alkatiri’s house but the Minister of Interior has not had the time to collect them. In a separate article, Francisco Guterres said the pistols still in the former Prime Minister’s house belonged to his personal protection security and that Alkatiri himself did not want the guns stored there. The President of the Parliament said people should stop creating propaganda about international forces collecting weapons at Mari Alkatiri’s house and should provide the correct information. STL reported MP Juliao Mausiri (PD) as saying the Parliament is the root cause of the problem because on April 10, a resolution project was presented to the plenary to help resolve the issue of the petitioners. It was put on the agenda as the last issue but was ignored and never debated, he said. (STL)
UNMIT Daily Media Review Saturday 02 Sept, Monday 04 Sept 2006 National Media Reports
Prisoners Fled Due Injustice Process – Aniceto Neves the Program Manager of local NGO HAK said Major Alfredo’s escape is likely due to constant threats and attempts on his life, as confirmed by his lawyers. According to Neves the situation faced by Alfredo and his members in Becora jail showed that the security management is not safe for any citizen and that is precisely why the former Interior Minister Rogério Lobato and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri are under house arrest. Therefore, the government should not have detained Alfredo and his members in Becora jail. He further said, based on the monitoring from his organization, HAK, that there were various threats by the prisoners and guards alike to kill Alfredo and his members. For instance, a guard from the eastern part tried to kill him but a guard from the west intervened to stop the killing. The head of HAK said these are the reasons Lobato and Alkatiri are not in jail so why should Alfredo and his members be subject to it, adding everybody, from government officials to MPs have blamed the police and international forces for the prisoners getaway but have not looked at their own mistake. Aniceto Neves stressed that the international forces are doing their work based on the politics of the government not the forces’ politics. He further said he totally disagrees with the accusations by some MPs who express concerns with the international forces work but who, themselves, are not learning the legal process of the country created by them because all they do is sit and raise their hands without understanding the substances.
The escape of Alfredo and his members, said Aniceto Neves, is the responsibility of the government of Prime Minister Ramos-Horta because it has failed to establish a politics that guarantees justice, security and freedom of the prisoners, and the escape of the prisoners is an accumulation of protest to the problem of injustice that the people of Timor-Leste are currently facing. In an interview aired by the national radio and television, Alfredo Reinado appealed to the youth to stop the current actions and maintain calm and understand each other because the country now needs peace. He said he fled the jail because the trial detention had expired but he has not fled justice and is prepared to appear in court when the system is implemented impartially. (STL, TP)
Interference From Some Leaders on Justice Process: Mario Carrascalão – PSD President, Mario Carrascalão said the justice process to the former Minister of Interior and Prime Minister is in an impasse due to interference from some components in the country. On the getaway of the prisoners from Becora jail, Mario Carrascalão said Alfredo fled with the support of the population because if he did not have the support the population they would have announced his whereabouts. He said there has been lots of injustice therefore it is time for drastic measures to solve the problems and see what is best for the public. He further said the national dialogue proposed by the government is not enough, the important thing is to take measures, adding that no solution to the problem of kaladi (west) and firaku (east) has materialized. The president of PST stressed that one of the problems faced in Timor-Leste is the IDPs, and how to bring the people from the east and west to live together as there has been so much hatred created.
In a separate article, Aderito de Jesus, Timorese human rights advocate and lawyer said that the escape of Alfredo and his members are still under the judiciary system therefore the issue has become more complex and it needs political will to resolve it.
PNTL Must Establish Unity Among The Population: Hasegawa – Speaking at PNTL parade in Dili headquarters on Friday, Acting UNPOL Police Commissioner, Antero Lopes said PNTL must show its professionalism because PNTL has good capacity, respects human rights and can be part of other missions under the United Nations, noting the current PNTL officers working in Kosovo. He reminded PNTL officers to be happy, as there are many good PNTL officers. He stressed his sadness for the circumstances leading to his return but hopes to reorganize and develop PNTL capacity, loyalty and honesty to better the services and show greater professionalism. He appealed to PNTL to have faith in the UN police and asked for unity and cooperation to work together. He said the evaluation team is continuing to screen each PNTL officer’s availability, integrity and loyalty within the institution, in order for them to carry out their duty better, adding that the UN police will work together with PNTL. On the same occasion, SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa said PNTL must create unity among the population avoid past mistakes. He said many PNTL were involved in the crisis and appealed to them to reflect and to try to find an answer to the solution to end the violence that emerged in the country. (DN)
Nine Injured During Attack At IDPs Camp – Nine people were reported injured on Friday following rock attacks and shots at the IDP camp opposite Hotel Timor in Dili. According to Timor Post, a 12 year-old was seriously injured with gun shoots. According to an eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, an unknown group including some members of PNTL, one of them from Baucau, went to attack the camp with two big guns and pistols. The eyewitness said they recognized two of the attackers and PNTL officers. SRSG Hasegawa said the international police are investigating the case and the people involved in order to process them in the court. (STL)
CVA Not Transparent: Aderito de Jesus Soares – Aderito de Jesus, human rights lawyer, said the public is concerned with the transparency of the Comissão Verdade e Acolhemento (CVA) [Truth and Friendship Commission] that has been extended for another year to complete the work. De Jesus said the public must know the budget of CVA and the result of the work. He said right from the start CVA’s mandate has not been clear and transparent and its significance is unknown in Timor-Leste. He said relations can be implemented through other means and that money should not be wasted to establish negotiations for justice, adding he is also confused with the extension of the mandate because there has not been a public debate about it. (TP)
JSMP: Suco Chief sentenced for assault – On 1 September 2006 the Dili District Court held an expedited trial and handed down a 4 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 months, in the case of a Suco Chief (local government head) who was charged with committing maltreatment (assault) against a female victim. The defendant committed the crime against a member of his community at the end of August 2006 in the Marconi area of Dili.
JSMP received information from prosecutors and witnesses that the incident was related to an unpaid debt, where the suspect had defaulted on his obligation to pay an amount of money owing to the victim within a given time frame.
JSMP observed two important issues that require consideration:
The failure of a community leader to respect the law. A failure by any citizen to meet his/her obligations to adhere to the law will give rise to criminal acts that can damage the interests of others. For example, any person engaging in violence will cause others to feel insecure. JSMP notes that article 4(2) of the Law on the Election of Suco Chiefs and Suco Councils states that a Suco Chief who is sentenced by a court for a crime involving malicious aforethought and carrying a possible penalty of imprisonment, the Chief forfeits his or her position.
The handing down of an extremely light penalty against the defendant. JSMP was informed by judge that the decision was made based on the prosecutor’s proposal. JSMP believes that the proposal by the prosecutor for a short suspended sentence is not proportionate to Article 351(1), of the Indonesian Penal Code which carries a maximum penalty of two years and eight months imprisonment. The sentence in this case was not proportional to the act that victimized another person. JSMP notes that the victim was take to hospital following her injuries. In addition, the defendant was a community leader who is obliged to provide a good example and provide protection to his community members.
In relation to the two points mentioned above, JSMP hopes that community leaders will respect the law, so that communal living can be conducted in harmony and peace and a good example can be set for all other citizens. Also, a penalty for a criminal offence should be serious enough to act as a deterrent and should be proportional to penalties given in the Penal Code. JSMP PRESS RELEASE 05 September 2006 For More Information: Tiago Sarmento JSMP Director Phone: 7233725 Email: email@example.com
UN steps up its support to Public Prosecution 2 September 2006 – Referring to the parliamentary debate that took place on 31 August, Sukehiro Hasegawa, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste today stated that the UN is strengthening its support to the Judiciary.
UNDP has just recruited two additional prosecutors who have already assumed their duties at the Prosecutor-General’s Office. They are Mr. Bernardo Fernandes from Portugal and Mr. Baltazar Monteiro from Cape Verde. “Given the importance of an independent and impartial public prosecution service and the need to ensure that the courts can continue functioning, UNDP has taken every effort to expedite the arrival of the international prosecutors,” Hasegawa added.
In addition, UNMIT is making arrangements for three prosecutors – Marek Michon (Polish), Shyamala Alagendra (Malaysian) and Wambui Ngunya (Kenyan) – to be deployed on a temporary basis from international judiciary institutions located in other countries in order to sustain the rule of law in Timor-Leste. These prosecutors had earlier served in the Serious Crimes Unit. Hasegawa said, “Prosecutor-General, Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro also knew these prosecutors and welcomed their return.”
SRSG Hasegawa welcomed the indication of the Prosecutor-General, Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro that he would accept prosecutors from non-lusophone countries with a civil law system. “This approach will widen the pool of well-qualified prosecutors who are willing to serve in Timor-Leste and will enable the country to benefit from their legal service based on the civil law system,” said Hasegawa.
Such efforts will assist the Timorese judiciary institutions in not only handling the increased number of arrests by the UN Police and the international police as a result of continued unlawful acts of violence but also will benefit the national justice system in general through vast expertise and experiences from a range of different countries.
Hasegawa noted that once the additional prosecutors arrive, judicial proceedings will be stepped up to address not only the pending but also newly emerging cases. (JSMP)
UCAN: East Timor jailbreak result of failed judicial system, say Catholic Church leaders 9/1/2006 UCANews DILI, East Timor (UCAN) – Church leaders and other East Timorese say the escape of a rebel military leader and other prisoners from jail is the result of the government’s inability to administer justice in the country.
Fears are mounting that violence may flare up again in the capital after Major Alfredo Reinado, a key figure in the revolt that plunged East Timor into chaos in May, broke out of a jail near Dili on Aug. 30. Some of the 56 other prisoners who escaped with him were charged in incidents of looting and burning during the May violence.
Father Martinho Gusmao, head of the commission for justice and peace of Baucau diocese, suggests that some of those who escaped could have felt unjustly punished for their role in the recent violence.
He told UCA News Aug. 31 that these people could have been “accidentally involved” in the violence, “but those people like former interior minister Rogerio Lobato and former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, who should be held responsible … are still free.”
The priest added that the church is greatly concerned about how the jailbreak will affect national stability. “What the church can do now is to pray with the people for peace. Calling for peace is something the church has done many times, but violence still continues.”
In his view the recent violence springs from the “leadership crisis” in the country, and the best way to “solve it is to uphold and speed up the judicial process for the masterminds of the violence.”
Father Domingos Soares, spokesman for Dili Diocese, told the press Aug. 31 that the Jose Ramos-Horta government should ensure justice, because that is what people are seeking now for those involved in the recent violence. “If the government is not able to establish a good judicial system, then the consequence will be to lose the people’s trust,” he said.
Ramos-Horta, who was sworn in July 10 as prime Minister, was foreign affairs minister under Alkatiri, who resigned under pressure on June 26.
Minister of Justice Domingos Sarmento said at an Aug. 31 press conference in his office that the Aug. 30 jailbreak occurred when visiting hours ended. “One of (the escapees) threatened some guards near the gate with a grass cutter saying, ‘Open the door or you are dead.’ Then the guards could not do anything, they just opened it and the prisoners ran away,” Sarmento explained.
The minister added that he has asked the country’s general procurator to contact airport and immigration authorities to prevent the escapees from leaving the country.
At a separate press conference, United Nations police commander Antero Lopes said that U.N. police and international peacekeepers are working together to recapture the prisoners. Sukehiro Hasegawa, the U.N. secretary general’s special representative for Timor Leste (East Timor), called on the escaped prisoners to return to jail or turn themselves over to international peacekeeping forces.
East Timorese who spoke to UCA News say they fear the jailbreak will worsen the already tense situation in the country. “This has created fear in us, especially those still in refugee camps,” remarked Celestino da Costa Alves, 43, who is living in a refugee camp in Dili because of the past months of violence.
The businessman said the Ramos-Horta administration made many promises but has not delivered on them. “A promise to install international police in hotspots has not been realized. How can we go home?” he asked. “Now, another problem. … If something happens, we are all going to die for sure.”
Rita dos Santos, 42, a mother of four who has been living in a refugee camp near Dili, said the government appears to have forgotten what led people to flee to refugee camps in the first place. The latest incident, she said, should serve to “alert the government” to the serious problems in the country.
Dili suffered a series of protests that evolved into widespread violence in May after Alkatiri dismissed 600 of the 1,400 members of East Timor’s army. The 600 were protesting what they said was widespread discrimination against troops from the western part of the country. An estimated 150,000 people were displaced and at least 20 killed in the violence, which led to deployment of a 2,500-strong international peacekeeping force.
The United Nations agreed on Aug. 25 to deploy 1,608 more police in East Timor to shore up security. According to media reports, Ramos-Horta said he expects the mission to arrive in the fledgling nation within a month.
International media reported on Sept. 1 that gangs armed with stones and machetes clashed in Dili, and that at least eight people were wounded in the violence before international security forces arrived to restore order.
Daily Media Review Friday, 01 September 2006 NATIONAL MEDIA REPORTS
Minister of Justice Responsible for Prisoners Getaway – MPs have raised their concerns in relation to the prisoners that escaped from jail on Wednesday saying Minister of Justice is responsible. The President of the National Parliament, Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres lamented the incident noting that such an incident had not occurred in the past four years. Guterres considered the case to be serious for the trial process. He said the fundamental problem of the incident rests with the Ministers of Justice and Defence and the trainers. He added that the Minister for Justice should have looked into the security of the prison following the withdrawal of the international forces.
Some of the MPs were of the opinion that the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, should be asked to resign as a result of the prison escape; others raised the concern that the escape of Alfredo and other prisoners would have a negative impact on the elections in 2007 and some said it would stop the reconciliation process that has been organized by President Gusmão. In the meantime the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento said he is prepared to step down but it is up to the Prime Minister to decide.
In a separate article, the Director of NGO Yayasan Hak, Jose Luis Oliveira said the getaway of Alfredo and other prisoners would not only have an impact on the government but greatly on the population of Dili. Oliveira said it is likely that some people have already packed and left for the districts. According to Diario Nacional, Oliveira said another impact would be on the reconciliation process, which is part of the government program to resolve the recent crisis.
Still on the escape of the prisoners, Aniceto Neves, an observer from Hak said the government has given big expense salaries to the international judges to strengthen the judicial system in Timor-Leste but it continues to remain the same. He further said there are many people in the jails in Becora, Ermera and Baucau whose status has not been revised, adding he is of the opinion that the contract with the international prosecutors is not fortifying the Timorese justice. Neves is of the opinion the getaway of the prisoners on Wednesday is the government’s fault.
He pointed out that Alfredo and his group were on trial detention up until 28 August but did not receive a court justification. He questioned why they were detained beyond the set date and prolonged until the 30th to be the start of investigations which did not happen. He also said Alfredo received many threats while in detention, reported STL.
Diario Nacional reported Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento as saying that the prison guards were threatened with grass scissors when visiting time was coming to an end, adding that a team has been formed to work with the international police to investigate the 60 prison guards on duty.
Prime Minister Ramos-Horta appealed to the population not be concerned with Alfredo’s escape because he is not the “giant of Timor-Leste”, adding Major Alfredo was in detention for carrying illegal weapons. In relation to reports of F-FDTL in possession of weapons, the Minister told heads of villages and districts during the gathering in Maubara that the information gathered must be concrete in order to have these people detained. (TP, STL, DN)
UNPOL And International Police Would Detain Escapees: Antero – SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa said the UN together with the International Forces and International Police have the responsibility to locate and detain Major Alfredo and other prisoners that escaped from jail on Wednesday. Speaking during a press conference Thursday, Hasegawa said the new UN mission, UNMIT, had established a joint task force to maintain peace and stability in Timor-Leste and he has requested the police commissioner to head the task force. According to Diario Nacional SRSG Hasegawa said he has already requested the government to review the joint security arrangements for the prisoners especially during visiting hours. SRSG said security for the prison is the responsibility of the government, but the international forces would conduct frequent patrols to that area as agreed to by the military commander, Brigadier Mick Slater, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution which says the international forces were invited to support the implementation of the UNMIT mandate which includes provision of security to the public. On the same occasion, the Acting Police Commissioner, Antero Lopes said the international forces are working together to provide security for the population and are trying to bring Major Alfredo back to prison in order to process his case legally.
Australian Federal Police commander, Steve Lancaster said there are cooperation efforts from all the international forces in Timor-Leste including the UN to re-capture the getaway prisoners. Lancaster said the military had also set up checkpoints to search vehicles entering and leaving Dili as well as in the capital. He said he believes Alfredo is still around in Dili and appealed to anybody with information about the prisoners to alert the police. (STL)