Timor-Leste Legal News January 2007
UNMIT Daily Media Review 31 January 2007
Conflict Left Property Damaged And Burnt – Following the recent violence, on Monday three small shops and a house was burnt in Bairro Pite around 23 hrs, reported STL today. According to this daily, it is not yet known which groups are involved in the destruction and whether it is related to martial arts groups. The house set on fire belonged to Joaquim Pereira who according to an eyewitness is a member of PSHT but gets on well with the neighbourhood.
The fire spread from Joaquim’s house to the three kiosks. Joaquim told STL he is not sure why his house was targeted because he has not made enemies with anyone. He said his house was set on fire following a gun shot in Maloa Bridge and the people involved fled the scene when police arrived. Timor Post reported that five people sought medical assistance at the national hospital on Monday evening from the same area but none were in serious condition. (STL, TP)
STAE Updates Census – The Technical Secretariat for the Electoral Administration, started to update its electoral registration, on Monday, targeting specific age group between 17-18 and those who have lost their electoral registration cards. Director of STAE, Tomas Cabral said registration will close on 16 March 2007, just before the elections. He said this activity would allow his department to estimate the numbers of voters registered.
In relation to the elections, President Gusmao reportedly said that around 50 international observers are scheduled to take part in the elections at the government’s invitation and if everything goes well, the European Union would also send observers. (TP)
Ramos-Horta Refuses To Meet Protesters – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta has refused to meet members of the MUNJ group protesting in front of the government palace and has reportedly asked them to go home and rest. He also asked them not to waste their time and to stop making noise in that area as he would keep his door closed. In the meantime, MUNJ coordinator, Agosto Junior Trindade said Prime Minister Ramos-Horta is cultivating a culture of dictatorship in Timor-Leste by given a mandate to UIR as well as using the word ‘those animals’, [referring to people involved in crimes] which was broadcast on TVTL on 29 January and not welcomed by some members of the population. (STL)
Public Hearing In Indonesia – Commissao Verdade e Amizade (CVA) is planning to hold a public hearing in Indonesia, starting in the month of February. Former Indonesian General Wiranto is scheduled to testify in relation to the violence of 1999. President Xanana is also expected to participate in the hearing as well. According to Dionisio Babo, head of the Commission, witnesses and victims will also participate. The Commission plans to hold hearings in Dili as well. (TP)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 30 January 2007
MPs Ask PM To Resign – Francisco Xavier do Amaral (ASDT) and Pedro da Costa (PST) have called for Prime Minister Ramos-Horta’s resignation for failing to resolve the political military crisis and the confrontation between martial arts groups, reported STL Tuesday. According to both MPs, since taking the role as Prime Minister, Ramos-Horta promised many things and made decisions without taking proper measures. Xavier do Amaral further said that the Ramos-Horta government has remained silent during the violence between rival groups and therefore he considers â€˜this government’ ill fated and thinks that Ramos-Horta has compromised with some people in maintaining the country destabilized. Pedro da Costa said the violence in Timor-Leste derives from various interests; from having political leaders that want to run the country for a long term to those with international interests that want to maintain that presence in the country. (STL)
PM Do Not Accept Protest Demands – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said he does not accept the protesters putting pressure on the judiciary system currently in process, adding that the court, which is carrying out its role independently and impartially has to be respected. He said the people holding the demonstration are wrong and he is not going to allow it to happen, stressing that the court would be the one to make a decision even if it takes a month or two. The Minister said the justice processes are in the hands of the court and he does not agree that any group should pressure the courts. He refuse to further comment on the judiciary system noting that the UN is providing assistance and one must not forget that Timor-Leste is a new nation. MUNJ spokesperson, Nino Pereira said if Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri are not confined the protest will continue. (STL)
UIR Entitle To Use Big Weapons – In a ceremony held on Monday for the reactivation of 38 members of UIR, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta told the officers not to be scared to act against the people creating violence and destabilizing the country for fear of human rights abuse accusations. Ramos-Horta said if anyone criticizes them of human rights abuse they should directly speak to him. He added that he personally requested UNMIT to speed up the re-integration of UIR and that the officers would be entitled to carry big weapons and pistols.
Minister of Interior Alcino Barris also informed that soon PNTL Transit Unit would be reactivated. In relation to the MUNJ protest, he said his Ministry received a letter from the organization that was unclear. Some of the population from Raihun, Ailoklaran and Matadouro claimed they had to flee their homes following the violence between rival groups as well as receiving threats from unknown groups with guns, rama ambons, grenades and machetes. The population sought refuge in the IDPs camps. Two sisters who fled to the nuns’ compound in Balide said they were threatened by the groups from Dare who told them to leave their crop plantation, not to take anything from their houses or they would burn it and seek refuge in the camps. A girl from Manumeta Raihun said the Australian forces did not act to the groups that threatened the population there because they had guns. (STL)
UNMIT Hopes Alfredo’s Case Will Be Resolved Soon – Speaking to the media following the high level meeting in the Presidential Palace on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said UNMITs DSRSJ Eric Tan is working to find a solution to Major Alfredo’s case before the elections. Da Silva said the high level meeting focused on many
issues including election preparations. (TP)
Government Will Compensate Information Required – The Government will establish a decree law to compensate Timorese who wishes to collaborate with the police and the State with information on criminals. Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said if anyone provides accurate information, which will lead to the detention of the criminals, these people would be awarded with materials worth between US$25-and US$25,000. He further said the government he is leading would request the Parliament to establish legislations to authorize the police to enter and inspect houses hiding weapons, stressing that all means must be used to detain the criminals who are trying to challenge the government’s strength. (TP)
RTTL news headlines
Elections Will Proceed Successfully: PM Ramos-Horta – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said despite the use of illegal guns by some groups, he has faith in the UN deployed here to provide maximum security for the 2007 elections and believes it will be a success. According to Ramos-Horta the UN has had many experiences in assisting the elections process in countries in far more difficult situations than that of Timor-Leste such as Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq. He reiterated that the elections will not be postponed. The Prime Minister appealed to groups in possession of illegal weapons to voluntarily hand them in to the authorities.
Rogerio Lobato Trial: Martins Aware Of Distributions Of Equipments – Former PNTL Commissioner Paulo de Fatima Martins stated during the trial today that he did not know about the distribution of guns and uniforms by the then Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato. Although he was the commander and in charge of the police force warehouse, Martins said he was not aware of the distribution of equipment. According to him in 2005 he met with the former Minister to recruit civilian or former combatants that were part of the civil protection group with the aim to act on the militia infiltration in the borders. He said the recruitment did not include Railos group. He said he continued to receive orders from the Minister via telephone to react to the situation following the petitioners’ protest which resulted in damages to the government palace building and cars. To try and resolve the situation, former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri called a meeting at his house which was attended by himself, the Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, Minister of Defence Roque Rodriques, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta and F-FDTL Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak after Major Alfredo had defected from the army.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Ramos-Horta questioned Minister Rogerio Lobato about the distribution of guns but he did not give a clear answer, stated Paulo Martins. The former PNTL Commissioner further stated that the crisis was neither his nor Rogerio’s Lobato fault. It was the government failure for not dealing sooner with the petitioners’ problems. Paulo Martins will give more statements Tuesday. Witness Felix Da Costa, Administrator of Maubara also testified on Monday and said claims by Railos on the allege distribution of guns by Rogerio Lobato to civilians is false.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 27 – 29 January 2007
Lobato’s Trial-Vicente Heard Railos Speak To Xanana – Rogerio Lobato’s trial continued Friday with statements from Liquica District Administrator, Vicente dos Santos and Agosto Pereira, the Bazartete Administrator. In his statement, Do Santos said Railos told and showed him the telephone number to confirm President Xanana had called. He also said he heard Railos speak to President Xanana Gusmao during the crisis, adding that Railos himself instigated the problem that occurred in Liquica. Former police commander Paulo de Fatima Martins is scheduled to testify today.
President Xanana Gusmao has stated that he is ready to respond to the court at any time regarding the crisis. (STL, DN, TP)
MUNJ Organizes Protest – Movimento Nacional ba Justisa no Paz (MUNJ) is planning a demonstration in Dili today, 29/1 with the aim to ‘shake’ the prosecutor general and the judges to work better and to support the judiciary body and to clearly look into the problems. Nino Pereira, MUNJ spokesperson said justice is progressing well but the court should note the evidence, provided so far which he considers sufficient to take to court. In the case of Rogerio Lobato, Pereira said the witnesses have all stated that the former Minister of Interior distributed guns, hence the court must make a decision rather than prolonging the case. He informed that the protest would involve people from all the districts on the second or third day with the youth and the population of the capital, Dili, attending the first day of the event.
The spokesperson of MUNG also informed that a total of up to 1000 are expected to join in the activity, which is scheduled to take place in front of Hotel Dili, stressing that it will be a peace protest in cooperation with UNPOL. In the meantime, Major Alfredo has appealed to the people to support the protest adding MUNJ is the organisation that guarantees unity to overcome the problem of ‘Lorosae-Loromonu’ (STL, TP)
Government And UN Discusses UIR Reactivation – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta is currently discussing with the UN and UNPOL the possibility of reactivating UIR, stressing that ‘terrorists group’ like the martial arts group that continue to create violence in Dili will be dealt with soon. Ramos-Horta warned that the State is not playing around anymore with anyone who wants to continue with the violence. When questioned what type of measures the government was taking to deal with the problem, the Prime Minister said the government continues to observe the Constitution and the international conventions signed by the State. But in order to be able to operate on the ground, Ramos-Horta said the Parliament must pass legislation required by the government to give power to the
police to act. (TP)
Fretilin Will Win Both Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: Alkatiri – Fretilin Secretary General Mari Alkatiri stated during a speech on the party’s consolidation gathering as well as at the swearing-in of a member of the Organizing Electoral Commission in Baucau that his party would win the Presidential and the Parliamentary elections in 2007 with greater numbers and that peace and stability would be re-established. He said Fretilin would respect the small and big parties, that the party rejects reconciliation but does not hold hatred or revenge. Regarding the candidates for the Presidential seat, Alkatiri said his party would present the candidate when the election dates are announced, noting that its prerequisites for the candidate for the Presidential Elections include 24 years involvement in the struggle, a roots connection with Fretilin, a respect for the Constitution and they should be neutral. He also said that some Majors running around with guns shows that they are scared of the population and that they do not have power.
He said in a democratic environment one does not need guns to win the popularity. Francisco Guterres ‘Lu-Olo’, also reiterated that Fretilin would easily win the elections. He said the swearing-in of the party members from region 1 is to monitor the campaign and elections of 2007 to ensure that Fretilin wins. (STL, TP, DN)
Signing Of Trilateral Agreement – Following the trilateral signing agreement between Timor-Leste, the UN and Australia on Friday, January 26, Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Luis Guterres said the signing of the agreement is important for Timor-Leste as it refers to the sovereignty of the country, the Constitution, the government and it recognizes F-FDTL and PNTL as the defences of Timor-Leste. The Agreement also established a coordination trilateral forum, presided over by Prime Minister Ramos-Horta in the security sector. The Forum would also include Timor-Leste Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of Defence, Interior, and Permanente Secretary for Defence, Commander F-FDTL, UNMIT representative, UNPOL Commissioner and Commander ofInternational Forces. (DN)
JSMP PRESS RELEASE THROUGH THE WITNESS STATEMENT, THE COURT ORDERED THE OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR TO LAUNCH A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AGAINST RAILOS AND LIQUIÇA DISTRICT PNTL COMMANDER 27 January 2007 – On 26 January 2007, the Dili District Court held a judicial hearing for the witness Vicente da Conceição Pereira dos Santos (LECO), the Liquiça District Administrator and Augusto Pereira de Araujo (LETAMANE), Basartete Sub-district Administrator at the Court of Appeal. At the hearing, the two witnesses used Portuguese as the medium of instruction in answering all the questions asked to them by the court actors.
There was something interesting at the hearing for witness. The witness Augusto Pereira de Araújo recognized that previously RAILOS had sent three of his members to Basartete in order to capture him on 26 May 2006. Feeling that security under threat at that time, the witness Augusto decided to simply do as he was told because two men from RAILOS group brought sharp weapons such as machetes, big knives and pistols. The witness Augusto was then locked up in the Liquiça District Police cell for two days. The witness Augusto was released on 29 Mei 2006, at around 18.00 after RAILOS returned from Dili to Liquiça. JSMP knew from the statement made by the witness that, till present day, nothing is known about the motive behind his detention.
Based on the statement from this witness and prior to the closure of the hearing, the Court, through the panel of judges ordered the Office of the Prosecutor to launch a criminal investigation against RAILOS and MARIANO SOARES (Liquiça District PNTL Commander).
JSMP fully accepted the issuance of the judicial order by the court. JSMP is of the opinion that the court order is lawful according to the applicable law. JSMP recommends that all Timorese obey the law because all this time everyone always accuses and criticizes the judicial or legal system for not functioning as it should be in accordance with the law. If we have courage to criticize, we should also be responsible individually for appearing before the trial when notified or summoned by the court. JSMP wants to stress that although we are brought before the court, our presence is not to be interpreted as a guilt. Although facing the trial, the presumption of innocence remains applicable until such a time as the court decides whether or not a person is innocent. The court is the only competent judicial organ that has the force of law to decide whether or not a person is innocent.
JSMP observes that currently the Court is just beginning with its judicial authority (only in the Dili District Court). It is hoped that such a good and conducive step continues and covers all the District Courts in Timor-Leste. This applies not only to the case against Lobato, but also to everyone as demanded by all the people up till now. Let us join together in one commitment to trust the court actors for processing all cases in a transparent manner.
We should not merely trust the court actors in exercising their power and simply leave them on their own. It would be better for us to go to the court where trial is conducted so that everything occurring during the judicial proceeding can be seen or observed. Also we can know how the judicial proceeding takes place in the court. If we have witnessed it by ourselves, we may criticize and it will lead to improvement of the justice system. If we merely criticize the court actors without sufficient ground because we hear from the others, it will not be a good step or way. According to JSMP, such criticism does not help restore justice system and uphold the Human Rights, and will just fuel confusion to others with our comments and expressions that contradict the reality of what occurs in the court.
UNMIT Daily Media Review Friday, 26 January 2007
Lobato’s Lawyer’s Acknowledges Distribution of Guns – Rogerio Lobato’s lawyer, Paulo Remedios has acknowledged that his client distributed 18 HK33 guns, police uniforms and two cars to Railos group to help the police and not to kill members of the opposition parties and the petitioners as claimed by both Labadain and Railos. Remedios said Railos misused the intention and his group to attack F-FDTL in Tasitolu hence Lobato is only responsible for the distribution of weapons. The lawyer also said former PNTL commander Paulo Martins is a key witness as he was aware of the crisis and knew of the movement of weapons. He said Martins must explain to the court the many guns in civilians hands.
Remedios further said that Lobato distributed guns because the commander of PNTL under Paulo Martins was falling apart. In a separate article, Paulo Remedios threatened to complain to the International Court about Dili District Court violations of citizens’ rights if they continue to detain former PNTL officer Abilio Mesquita ‘Mausoko’. (TP)
TL Adopts Portugal and Brazil Justice System – Justice Minister, Domingos Sarmento has acknowledged that Timor-Leste is adopting the civil justice system of Portugal and Brazil, adding that Timor-Leste would continue to cooperate with Portugal to finalize the civil code. He said the government continues to ask Portugal for advisors to assist in the drafting of the legislation and support ministry, the court and the prosecutor’s office. Sarmento said technical training is also required in the registry and public notary and that Timor-Leste has been using the civil system since the Portuguese and Indonesian periods and must continue with the same system. Critics claim that Timor-Leste has a weak justice system.
The Minister said the country has just established its civil system and Timorese lawyers are still undergoing training and therefore international assistance is still required. He said some times people make comments of a weak court system because the decision of the court is contrary to their wishes.
In a separate article, Minister Sarmento said the government still considers Alfredo Reinado and those that fled with him as escapees and that the case is now under judicial process, adding that they should return to jail and respond to their acts in the court. In Alfredo’s case, he said it was up to the UN and the Minister of Interior to decide to capture him. Also in relation to Alfredo’s case, Deputy SRSG Eric Tan said during the two meetings the UN, Government representatives and the International Forces held with Alfredo, they appealed to him to give himself up and follow the legal court procedures. (TP)
TL-Australia-UN Sign Cooperation Agreement – In order to increase the security cooperation in the country, a trilateral accord was expected to be signed by the governments of Timor-Leste, Australia and the UN today, reported Timor Post. The accord was scheduled to be signed by Timor-Leste Foreign Affairs Minister and Cooperation JosÃ Luis Guterres, Government of Australia and Head of UNMIT, Dr. Atul Khare. In New York the agreement was also to be signed by the Australian government and the UN. According to Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, currently in New York, and the UN Secretary General, Dr. Ban Ki Moon will sign the document. According to TP, Alexander Downer has told the UN Secretary General that the he thinks the UN should continue to play an important role in monitoring and providing advice to Timorese leaders. (TP,STL)
Incidents Reduced From 151 To 88: SRSG Atul – SRSG Atul Khare said during UNMIT’s press conference on Thursday that incidents of violence in the capital Dili have decreased from 151 to 88 when compared to the month of December 2006. Mr. Khare said in January the incidents have dropped to 38 and increased to 88 during last week violence. He said the reduction is due to the cooperation between the Timorese people and the UN, hence he classifies the situation as less dangerous now but acknowledges that the community concerns have increased.
Following the violence in five areas, especially Ailoklaran, SRSG said that, together with his UNMIT colleagues, he immediately visited the areas to speak to the population and hear from them directly the reasons that led to the violence, adding that based on concrete information the police can set strategies to counter the violence. Mr. Khare said the UNPOL Commissioner, Rudolfo Tor had informed him the police had detained a few people involved in the disturbances. At the same press conference, DSRSG Eric Tan said the leaders of Martial Arts groups must be responsible and stop their members from becoming involved in the violence. Mr. Tan said he recently met with leaders of five groups namely, PSHT, 77, KORKA, Tae Dwon Do and Kung Fu Masters.
Present at the meeting were representatives from Forum Komunikasaun Arate Marsais TL (KAMIL) and from the Ministry of Labor and Community Reinsertion. DSRSG said a summary was done during the meeting that mainly two groups, 77 and PSHT were involved in the violence and he appealed to them to stop the cycle of violence. He said they also made a plan to meet Dili District Administrator and Sub-Administrators in the Dili area to discuss security issues and to set up static posts in addition to the 13 police posts already established. DSRSG said UNPOL would like to support the sub-districts administrator to organize dialogue between rival groups, adding UNPOL will continue to investigate and target those involved in crimes. (TP, STL)
NGO Presents Evidence Of Corruption in Ministry – NGO LABEH (Organizasaun Lalenok Ba Ema Hotu) officially presented a document to the Office of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice which indicates corruption in 5 ministries. In presenting the document, Christopher Samson, Director of LABEH requested that the Office of the Provedor’s open an investigation into the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Health, Planning and Finance, Justice, Labor and Community Reinsertion and the Timor Sea. Samson appealed for the ministries to respect LABEH as an independent NGO and that it not be seen as an enemy. He said his organization obtained most of the information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation on the practice of nepotism in the recruitment process of staff, the loss of equipment such as computers donated from various countries and the purchase of equipment. He said according to the investigation there exists mismanagement in others ministries.
Provedor Sebastiao Diaz welcomed the document and stated that people should not be scared to present their complaints as his office is here to protect and promote human rights and fight against corruption and promote good governance. The Office of the Provedor so far received 200 complaints. (STL)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 25 January 2007
Violence Resulted in Deaths And Injured – The violence during the past week left five people dead and 24 injured, said Antonio Caleres Junior, Director of the national hospital. According to Caleres, between 15 and 22 January the hospital registered 5 deaths and 24 injured from violence in Dili and the districts. He said many of the people were injured from blows, rocks, darts, machetes, knives and gun shots, noting that some were seriously injured and the majority were from the area of Fatuhada, Bairro Pite, Hudilaran and Ailoklaran and mainly male under the age of 35.
President of the Partido Milenium Democrata, Hermenegildo Lopez “Kupa” believes some political parties are behind the groups involved in the violence due to their discontentment with the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Ramos-Horta.
Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris said PNTL members involved in groups and violence must be responsible for their acts and would be detained, adding that the government plans for 40 UIR members to join UNPOL on the grounds.
Vice President of the National Parliament, Jacob Fernandes reportedly said the international forces have the capacity to stop the violence but are not doing it to obtain some advantages out of it, stressing that the presence of the UN is like a project in which the forces want to maintain a long term stay. Fernandez said the UN police are not providing good results due to the unprofessional work of the international forces and if both cannot perform well they should allow the government to activate PNTL and F-FDTL. He further said the security situation must be guaranteed in order for the elections to proceed
with the participation of the people. (TP, STL)
Presidential Elections Scheduled For May – The Office of the President has issued a letter to the public on the opinion and analysis of the President of the Republic that the presidential election will take place before May 20 in order to allow the new president to start the mandate before May 20. The parliamentary election should take place between May 20 and September 15 to allow the new elected MPs to start their mandate on 15 September.(DN)
I’ll Undo Some Political Parties: Fernanda Borges – Fernanda Borges, founder of the new political party, Partido Unidade Nacional (PUN) stated at the opening of the party’s congress that she will undo the old behaviour that some political party leaders are still holding on to. Borges said PUN would establish a new political model to serve the people, noting that the country needs many changes and it can only achieve them with the trust of the people. She said PUN can achieve the changes because it is based on the Christian democracy principles. (TP)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 24 January 2007
UN Police Do Not Know The Authors Of Crime: Lu-Olo – President of the National Parliament, Francisco Guterres, ‘Lu-Olo’ said the International Police has informed the Parliament on the detention of two people in relation to the crimes in Perunmas, Bairro Pite but the rest of people involved in the crime have all vanished. Lu-Olo said that according to information he received, when the international police arrived in the disturbance areas, the people all withdrew to their houses and remained quiet but as soon as the police drove off the groups resumed the violence. He says that this shows that the international police do not really know the authors of the crime.
The President of the Parliament suggests that those Timor-Leste police that have passed the screening test, work together with UNPOL to detain those involved in the violence, adding he already discussed this with the Minister of Interior and soon 40 members of UIR will be actively working with UNPOL.
Speaking at Monday’s plenary session, MP Juliao Mausiri (PD) said the international police together with PNTL and F-FDTL are not able to detect the groups involved in crimes in the capital Dili. He said that during the Indonesian period the same youth were the ones working together but now they see each other like “mouse and cat”. Mausiri said the government is not acting on it even with the offer of many people who want to support in stopping the violence. He said if the government is not doing anything than the independence of this country is only for the leaders because they’re the only ones who have security. MP Manuel Tilman (KOTA) stated that if the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and the Minister of Interior are only seeking popularity then they may as well quit their jobs.
He said that in many other countries people with such characters would resign due to the lack of capacity to resolve the internal problems. He said in the case of the PM Ramos-Horta, he should not have left the capital to bring humanitarian assistance to Oecussi during times of violent disturbances, adding that it is not the role of the Prime Minister to take the assistance via road to Oecussi as that is the role of the Secretary of Region for that enclave and the Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion. Tilman also said that the time is not appropriate for the President of the Republic to go to the USA to receive an honorary degree as it is not important since it will not resolve the problem of the youth in this country.
Meanwhile UNPOL Commissioner Rudolfo Ase Tor said that two people have been identified in relation to the killing of PNTL officer Joao do Carmo. Carmo’s relatives said they want the culprits to be jailed or they will directly deal with the problem since they know the person who committed the crime. (DN, TP)
Notables Commission Report – Member of the Notable Commission, Pedro Costa, said the role of the commission is to investigate whether claims of discrimination within F-FDTL are concrete. Costa said the report has been drafted and required further reading to avoid any problems. He stressed that due to the complexity of the situation the commissioners wants the report to be a credible one following so much work and time spent on it, noting that it is not the commission’s responsibility to resolve the problem. (STL)
RTTL news headlines
New Lawyer of Marcos Labadain – Marcos Piedade, ‘Labadain’ has appointed Benevides Correia Barros to be his new lawyer and replace the Portuguese lawyer. The decision to replace his lawyer is due to a language barrier. Labadain said he does not speak Portuguese therefore he could not express his points to the lawyer, adding that he changed lawyers for the sake of truth and justice. Benevides Barros has expressed willingness to be Labadain’s lawyer, stressing that person has the fundamental rights to choose their lawyers.
The Church and NGOs – The Church and the National NGOs have joined forces during a conference yesterday to form a team to monitor the up-coming national presidential and parliamentary elections. Speaking to the participants of the conference, the Bishop said the election is very important for the country for the people to elect their leaders hence conditions must be created for a free and credible election. The monitoring program of this joint commission will be in the districts throughout the country, said the Bishop, appealing to the people to stop violence and criminal acts and work together for the development of the country.
JSMP PRESS RELEASE MAJORITY OF THE TOP OFFICIALS OF THE TIMOR-LESTE’S GOVERNMENT ASKED TO BE PRESENT AS WITNESSES IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT ROGÉRIO F. T. LOBATO 23 January 2007 – On 22 January 2007, the Dili District Court continued to hear the witnesses at the Timor-Leste’s Court of Appeal. The hearing was held by the same panel of judges presided by the judge Ivo Nelson de Caires Baptista Rosa from Portugal who was assisted by the judge Antonino Gonçalves and judge Teresa. Meanwhile, the prosecutor Bernardo C. Fernandes represented the Office of the Prosecutor.
In this session of hearing, the lawyer makes some changes. The new lawyer for the defendant Marcos Piedade, also known as Labadaen, as mentioned in the JSMP Press Release issued on 16 January 2007 regarding the replacement of his Legal Adviser for this case, whose official power of attorney was read out by the presiding judge at the hearing. The new lawyers are Benevides Correia Barros and José Camões. Both lawyers are from AATL (Asosiasi Advokat Timor-Leste). Consequently, Benevides C. Barros, SH and José Camões, SH officially became the lawyers for Labadaen replacing lawyer Pedro Monteiro Andrade from Cabo Verde and Zeni Alves Arndt. Whereas the defense lawyers for Lobato and the other co-accused consist of Luís Mendonça Freitas, Francisco Nicolau, Paulo dos Remédios and Nelson de Carvalho.
The reason why the defendant had his lawyer replaced was because the lawyer had no contact with the defendant most of the time during the process of the trial. Besides that, another difficulty that the defendant had was in relation to language. On one hand, both international lawyers who had ever assisted the case of the defendant Labadaen could not speak Tetum, on the other hand, the defendant could not speak Portuguese.
It needs to be mentioned that the witnesses brought before the trial were Eusébio Salsinha from Ministry of Interior and Mateus dos Santos Pereira, also known as ARAKAT and Leandro Lobato, also known as GREY HARANA from the FRETILIN Secret Security Force recruited by the defendant Rogério Tiago Lobato. During the trial proceeding, JSMP (Judicial Monitoring System Program) observed that statements made by the three witnesses were related to the background and purpose of forming the FRETILIN Secret Security Force as well as the facts concerning the 18 HK33 rifles received by the witness RAILOS and his co-witnesses in Liquiça.
The defense lawyers for the defendants Lobato, Francisco Salsinha and Francisco Viegas Xavier proposed 34 names to be notified by the court as their witnesses. George Barbosa da Silva, the international court clerk who assisted the trial proceeding informed JSMP that 21 of the 34 witnesses had been notified by the court. As the names were mentioned by the panel of judges, JSMP noted that the persons to appear at the court hearing were mostly the top officials of the Timor-Leste’s Government.
The top officials in this case were among others the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta, the Minister of Interior Alcino Barris and José Reis from CCF (Comité Central de FRETILIN = FRETILIN Central Committee), etc. Whereas another witness to appear before the court was Brigadier Michael Slatter from Australia, the Stabilization Force Commander who arrived in Timor-Leste on 25 May 2006 in order to restore security situation.
In principle, JSMP welcomes the presence of the Timor-Leste’s top officials at the court hearing to give their testimony relating to criminal case of the alleged arming of Timorese civilians which brought charges against the defendants. JSMP fully understands the judicial process in accordance with Title V of the Criminal Procedure Code on Proof currently applicable in Timor-Leste. However, JSMP is very much hopeful that the presence of those top officials will blow fresh air into the law enforcement and justice in Timor-Leste. Thus, the whole community thirsty for law enforcement and justice will turn out to be sympathized with their collaborative attitude. Otherwise, Timor-Leste and International community will become hateful and antipathetic towards them if their collaborative attitude with the court turns into an attitude of supporting and defending each other. If this happens, JSMP is of the opinion that new conflicts will more likely arise in Timor-Leste.
New Judges Recruited – UNDP News Monthly February 2007 On January 23, the President of the Court of Appeals, Cláudio Ximenes, swore-in new international judges Jaime Ferdinando de Castro Pestana and Vitor Hugo Veloso Dias Morale Pardal to perform functions as judges in the district courts of Timor-Leste and at the Court of appeal. The Portuguese judges were recruited by the UNDP Justice System Program to support Timor-Leste Judiciary System. They will join six international judges already working in the country. They have extensive experience as acting judges in their country. “At this time, when Timor-Leste is going through a still far from over crises, it is necessary that the national institutions work, that the judiciary system works, that the courts work. It is necessary that the courts continue to decide only in accordance with the law, in an independent and impartial manner”, said the President of the Court of Appeals during the swearing-in ceremony.
EAST TIMOR: NO ARREST WARRANT FOR MAJOR, CHIEF PROSECUTOR
Dili, 23 Jan. (AKI) – The office of East Timor’s prosecutor-general has not issued a warrant to arrest fugitive Major Alfredo Alves Reinado. In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) chief prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, said that the news circulated in the last few days is just a rumor and that Major Reinado has showed willingness to solve the standoff. “Those people spreading these rumors are the ones creating rouble and confusion among the people in the country,” Monteiro told Adnkronos International (AKI) Tuesday.
“Any arrest must be based on the penal code and on the Constitution of East Timor. And Major Alfredo has shown good intentions to improve the judicial system of this country,” he added, without elaborating.
The rumors of a warrant of arrest against Major Reinado spread in Dili after East Timor’s minister of justice, Domingos Sarmento, told AKI that the renegade soldier is considered a criminal and will be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, contacted via phone, Major Reinado said that he will resist arrest and that he will consider discussing the accusations levied against him, only after the authorities resolve the case of April 28, 2006.
“The authorities must find those accountable for the April 28’s case, before trying to catch me,” Major Reinado told AdnKronos International from his hideout in the district of Ermera.
On April 28 former East Timor Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, ordered the Army to quash a protest that was taking place in front of the government palace. Five civilians were killed in the clashes that ensued.
Major Reinado abandoned the army on 4 May 2006 to join approximately 600 former soldiers who had been dismissed two months before, after complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions. He was then arrested for his role in the violence. He escaped from prison on 30 August, 2006.
The authorities want to question him in particular for the facts of May 23, 2006 when Major Reinado, and other renegade soldiers, confronted members of the regular army and police in Fatuahi hill, near Dili. The clash left two soldiers and one police officer dead.
Major Reinado’s stance is supported by The National United Movement for Justice [Muvimento Unidade National ba Justicia MUNJ], a powerful lobbyist group established by Major Augusto “Tara” de Araujo and which counts on the support of part of the country’s intellectual community. The MUNJ was very active in protesting against Alkatiri, last June.
“The Prosecutor-General should not arrest Major Reinado. Instead he should arrest Alkatiri and [former interior minister] Rogerio Lobato,” MUNJ spokesperson Augusto Junior said, during a press conference held in Dili on Tuesday.
“If he [the Prosecutor-General] will not arrest Alkatiri and Lobato, then the people will have to hold popular justice against these two former leaders,” he added.
(Fsc/Ner/Aki) Jan-23-07 11:57
UNMIT Daily Media Review 23 January 2007
Weapons Handed Distributed To Strengthen PNTL: Salsinha – Testifying in the court on Monday in relation to Rogerio Lobato’s case, Eusebio Salsinha chief of staff to former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, stated he received orders from Lobato at the time to take guns to Labadain and his group in Manutali with the intention to strengthen PNTL, especially the Reserve Police during the emergency situation and not to kill the petitioners. Salsinha said the weapons were given to Labadain for being a former guerrilla with experience on the use of heavy weapons. The testimony of Paulo Martins, former PNTL Commander had been adjourned to 31 January. STL quoted Eusebio Salsinha acknowledging that he handed over HK33 guns to civilian by order of the former Minister of Interior.
In a separate article, Marcos Piedade, Labadain said many illegal weapons are still in circulation in Ermera Districts. Labadain said 12 out of 32 distributed to the civilians included himself, by Eusebio Salsinha, have been handed over to the authorities. He said he would also like to see justice to Fretilin as members of this political party were involved in the distribution of guns within the party. (DN, STL)
IDPs Increase Following Weekend Disturbances – About 441 people sought refuge in various camps in Dili following the weekend disturbances. Meanwhile 254 IDPs have decided to return to their homes and will continue to receive assistance from the government, said Minister of Labor and Community Reinsertion, Arsenio Bano. (DN, TP)
UN Forces Come To Spend Time At The Beach: MP Branco – MP Francisco Miranda Branco (Fretilin) said he is starting to question the presence of the international forces and UNPOL in Timor-Leste as they are more concerned with spending time at the beach than responding to the crisis situation. Branco told the media Monday that many people have complained to him that security in Dili is at a minimum because the presence of the international forces and UNPOL are more visible on the beaches than seen performing their duties in troubled areas in Dili. He further said that if the referred forces are spending more time doing tourism on the beaches it is better for them to pass the security responsibility onto the national police. The MP said that with minimal security he doubts that the population would participate in the general elections. In the meantime, the Speaker of the Parliament, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, said the international forces and UNPOL must detain and take measures against anyone breaking the law. Director of East Timor Institute of Security (ETIS), Julio Tomas Pinto is critical of the UN Police saying it lacks maximum capacity and the Ministry of Interior should be more aggressive to attend to the problems.
Pinto pointed as an example the killings in Ailoklaran on the weekend where he said the UN Police only observed and did not react to the problem. He said this behavior shows that the UN Police can not act and do not have the strength to do so therefore he is of the opinion, the problem of Timor-Leste must be resolved by the Timorese to completely stop the violence. The Director of ETIS suggests the government and UNPOL work together to urgently look into measures to respond to the current situation. The President of the Republican Party, Joao Saldanha said the situation in Dili as it is now is the failure of the Ministry of Interior and the UN but his party would contribute to the security by working together with the government and the UN to speed up a solution to the problems.
Saldanha stressed that one main factor is the collection of illegal weapons before the elections as it can be a threat to the population. He further said if the Ministry of Interior will not work seriously with the UN the situation in the country may explode. He appealed to the UN and the Ministry to adopt different measures to pacify the situation. (TP)
RTTL news headlines
Changing Lawyer – Witness Marcus Piedade also known as Labadain wants to change his present lawyer who is of Portuguese nationality to a Timorese Lawyer due to language problems. He explained that he cannot speak Portuguese and he does not feel comfortable telling all his problems to the lawyer. Both Labadain and Railos are willing to face the court at anytime and anywhere as long as their presence will facilitate the justice in the country, said Labadain.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 20 – 22 January 2007
Three Youths Injured During Disturbances – It is reported that three youths were injured during disturbances last Thursday evening in the area of Tuanalaran and Matadouro. Two youths, one with the initial IDS were shot with an automatic long rifle by an unknown group and the other was hit by a sling shot. The three were all injured in the leg. According to IDS, the person who shot them with the rifle is a former member of UIR. On Monday TP reported that violences and killings continued in the area of Perumnas, Matadouro, Tuanalaran, Ailoklaran and Bairopité by rival groups. A member of PNTL was killed and a youth called João died from gunshots. UNPol responded to the situation but has not identified the groups carrying illegal weapons or detain those responsible for the killings. Military and political analyst, Julio Tomas Pinto said the retraction of all weapons are now in the hands of UNPol, adding that the security situation in the country under the UN must change or face being accused of being behind the problems. Pinto is of the opinion the UN must be more active in preventing the violence that has occurred in the past week between rival groups which has left many people seriously injured from guns, rama ambons [sling shots] and machetes. (TP)
Resolve The Case of 28 April Before Catching Me: Alfredo – Alfredo Reinado said he would not come to Dili to answer questions about why he fled prison. But he is prepared to come and talk about the case of 23 May with the condition that the case of 28 April must first be resolved. Reinado stressed that he would defend himself from anyone trying to arrest him and hoped it would not happen without going through the justice process. Major Alfredo says he supports the plans of the MUNJ protest in relation to the current justice in Timor-Leste. In a press conference also held on Friday, MUNJ calls on the Public Ministry to immediately release Abilio Mesquita and Oan Kiak as their preventive detention had expired. The group calls on the speed process to members of F-FDTL and PNTL currently in preventive detention to avoid the same experience as Mesquita and Oan Kiak. MUNJ demands the Public Ministry to urgently detain Mari Alkatiri and Rogerio Lobato in a reclusive preventive detention and rejects any suggestion or plans to capture Major Alfredo Reinado.
MUNJ is strongly against UNMIT’s and the government plans to make disappear the justice in Timor-Leste. The group would like to remind the Australian and New Zealand troops to defend the people and not groups of interest, especially the ones in charge of the government, adding that if theses demands are not met, MUNJ would put into actions through the popular actions. (TP)
Elections Calendar – Based on the electoral decree law, the government plans to hold elections in the month of April and before May 20, said the Deputy Minister of State, Valentim Ximenes, adding the final decision would be from the President of the Republic. He said the electoral campaign would start as soon as the dates are announced. Ximenes also informed that the government has allocated a total of US$510,000 for political parties campaign and for the presidential candidates, noting that each presidential candidate is entitled to US$10,000. He said there are also bilateral subsidies, which will be managed by the UNDP with a total of US$677,050, adding to an overall total of US$1, 187 for the electoral campaign.
Speaking during a visit to the IDPs camp in Metinaro to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, Ramos-Horta said it is imperative for the elections, to proceed in a stable and peaceful manner in order for the people to elect the president and the political party they want to govern this nation. (DN, TP)
Lobato Court Proceedings Continue – The trial of former Minister of Interior, Rogerio Lobato continues today in Dili at the Court of Appeal with Paulo Martins, former PNTL Commander General testifying. Today is the fifth hearing. According to Diario Nacional various people have testified and their statements are more or less the same and that they acted under the directive of the then Minister of Interior, Rogerio Lobato to distribute and obtain guns from civilians. (DN, TP)
Border Demarcation Almost Complete – The border demarcation between Indonesia and Timor-Leste is still not complete as the people living along both sides of the borders are relatives and have used the land for farming. According to the Indonesia Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Ahmed Bey Sofwan the demarcation would have been completed by now but the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia do not want to force the people out of the lands from the demarcation lines. Senior Indonesian Liaison Officer, Colonel Minton Mariaty has completed her mission in Timor-Leste and is being replaced by Colonel Sofyan Lubis. During the handover ceremony in the Embassy residence, Ambassador Sofwan said the new officer will work together with PNTL and UNPOL to prevent trans-national crimes.
Minton Mariaty said during her time in Timor-Leste she worked closely with PNTL resulting in one PNTL officer presently studying in Indonesia on leadership and training 100 PNTL officers in traffic, investigation and intelligence in 2005. She said the leadership training for PNTL for 2006 was cancelled due to the crisis. Timor-Leste Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Luis Guterres said the delay in the demarcation is due to technical impediment but both governments are determined to complete the negotiation to avoid future problems. (DN, STL)
Commission Responsible For Changes: Salsinha – Gastão Salsinha, the ‘petitioners’ spokesperson said if the Notable Commission is not releasing the result of the investigation in relation to the petitioners, they will be creating a new situation in the country. Salsinha reiterated that he represents 591 petitioners who have demanded the Commission to release the result sooner or later as they all want to contribute to the stability and peace in the country in order for the people to live in a peaceful environment. He says the group is trying to understand the delay of the release of the report. Salsinha Gastão, together with Labadain, Railos and Alfredo Reinado were together during a press conference held in Aifu, Ermera District on Friday (19/1) where Alfredo Reinado stated that if the petitioners problem is not resolved before the elections it is likely there might not be elections. (STL)
RTTL news headlines
MUNJ calls on Prosecutor General not to capture Major Renado – The National United Movement for Justice has called upon the Persecutor-General Longuinos Montero to refrain from trying to arrest Major Alfredo Reinado. At a press conference, the spokesperson of MUNJ (Muvimento Unidade National ba Justicia) has demanded the office of the Prosecutor-General to arrest the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and the former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato and remand them both in preventive detention. They stressed that if the Prosecutor-General will not arrest Mr. Alkatiri and Lobato then the people have to hold popular justice against these two former leaders.
Deputy of PG rejects rumors of issued an arrest warant to capture Major Renado – Deputy Persecutor-General, Ivo Valentino has rejected rumors that the Office of the Prosecutor-General had issued an arrest warrant for Major Alfredo Reinado. Mr. Valentino said those people creating these type of rumours are the ones creating trouble and confusion among the people in the country. He stressed that any arrest must be based on the penal code and constitution of RDTL. Ivo Valentino also said that Major Alfredo has good intentions to improve the judicial system of this country.
Law for Defense and Security – President of Commission B of the National Parliament, Faustino da Costa said that the bill for defense and security had been approved at the Commission level and forwarded to the Speaker of the Parliament. A date would be set in the parliamentary session for approval of the document and presented to the President of the Republic to promulgate. A public audience and consultation meeting with Brigadier-General Taur is being scheduled for further debate on the bill before final approval.
ABC Radio Australia Timor rebel leader warns on Australian troops Last Updated 21/01/2007, 18:24:05 – East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has warned that Australian troops will be killed if they try to force him to surrender. He was speaking to the media on Friday at his camp in a village west of Dili, where he is under restricted movement.
Australian soldiers have set up roadblocks to the area to limit his movements. Alfredo Reinado cancelled a meeting with the United Nations last week because earlier he says UN and Australian troops were trying to arrest him.
Violence kills two in East Timor Agence France Presse January 21, 2007
DILI, Jan 21 2007 Two youths were hacked to death in Dili Sunday as violence involving disciples from rival martial art schools erupted, witnesses said.
The youths, one of whom was a member of the national police, were killed as they walked home from church in the East Timor capital, a witness said. “They were attacked while on their way home. One youth died on the spot and slumped on the road,” said witness Crispin Lopez.
“The police member was slashed in the neck and died as he attempted to run home, while the other was seriously wounded in an attack at his home.”
A third youth suffered from slash wounds in a separate attack not far away, he added. Violence was also reported near the UN mission in Caicoli. A mob attacked the house of a martial art trainer and injured four youths but the rapid intervention of a Portuguese police unit prevented more violence. Shots were fired into the air, witnesses said.
Stone-throwing between youths from rival groups was also reported in the Kolmera commercial district, but a strong UN police presence quickly put an end to the violence, they added. An outbreak of violence in Dili in May 2006 saw 37 killed when clashes between security force factions degenerated into street violence, pitting members of street gangs and rival martial art schools against eachother.
More people have since been killed in sporadic violence in Dili and surrounding districts. The violence prompted the fledgling nation to seek the deployment of foreign peacekeepers and UN police, and the installation of a new government in July headed by Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Aust, UN to sign security agreement with E Timor Australia, the United Nations (UN) and East Timor will soon sign a memorandum of understanding on security cooperation in East Timor. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has met with new UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon in New York. He says the two discussed a new security agreement covering Australian and international forces operating in East Timor. “It doesn’t change the nature of the force, but what it does is it puts on to a more formal setting the relationship between that force and the East Timorese and the United Nations, so I think that gives people greater comfort about how it’ll all work, he said. Mr Downer says he also discussed Iraq and encouraged the United Nation to mount a renewed effort to bring about political reconciliation in the war-torn country. ABC News Online Last Update: Saturday, January 20, 2007. 1:01pm (AEDT)
JSMP PRESS RELEASE THE COMMISSION OF TRUTH AND FRIENDSHIP (CTF) WILL MAKES A BIG MISTAKE, IF IT RECOMMENDS AN AMNESTY TO THE CRIMES PERPETRATORS IN TIMOR-LESTE – 20 January 2007 The Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) established by the Government of Indonesia and Timor-Leste has agreed to recommend an amnesty for those committing crime against humanity within the period of the popular consultation where majority of the Timorese people, that is 78%, voted overwhelmingly for separation from Indonesia.
The separation desired the Timorese, in fact, brought destruction to all the people. Prior to the popular consultation, the Government of Indonesia formed groups of pro-Indonesia militiamen who were ready to destroy Timor-Leste with full support from Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI = Tentara Nasional Indonesia).
As it has been said by Lieutenant General Agus Widjojo to the press, in particular The Jakarta Post that an amnesty will be given to those allegedly involved in the crime if they cooperate with the party holding inquiry namely CFT.
JSMP noted that if CTF recommends the an amnesty with the aims of improving bilateral relationship as the main priority, it is no longer considered a commission whose mission is to reveal the truth in relation to Human Rights violation. Giving an amnesty is identical to justification of the violation, thus adding to the culture of impunity by undermining the rights of the victims of the human rights violation. If this really happens, the Government of Timor-Leste and Indonesia will face a merely serious self-destructing state. This will also become a bad image to the international community because the international community will view all the events occurring within the period of the popular consultation from the human rights perspective. The international community will no longer trust the two governments for having degraded human dignity.
It was estimated by a most credible organ such as the UN that, within the period of the popular consultation in 1999, there were as many as 1.500 people killed either by the pro-Indonesia militiamen or by the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). It is questioned as to whether such a huge number of victims have yet to be justified as a human rights violation worthy of justice, and is it necessary to give an amnesty to the perpetrators?
JSMP finds that the decision to give an amnesty to the crimes perpetrators will be more likely be a high level political conspiracy from between the Government of Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Therefore, the two governments have agreed to simply give an amnesty, and it is evident that the international community will consider it peculiar and scrutinize how far the way we have been to give respect to the victims of the killing.
The international agencies have, of course, agreed with the victims of Timor-Leste that the perpetrators should have been judged and imprisoned as the result of their acts. Although including General Wiranto and other Indonesian high military officials, JSMP very much regrets the CTF attitude to recommend an amnesty to the crimes perpetrators.
According to JSMP, if the recommendation of CTF has the effect of giving an amnesty to the serious crimes perpetrators, the Government of Indonesia and Timor-Leste will lose credibility in the international forum. The other thing is that the giving an amnesty to the crimes perpetrators will just reinforce their immunity or culture of impunity in Indonesia, particularly in the provinces currently under military regime such as Aceh and Irian Jaya.
JSMP finds that the only organ with the competence to give an amnesty in Timor-Leste is the National Parliament pursuant to article 95(3.g) of the Constitution of RDTL. Therefore, the National Parliament must study carefully the recommendation of CTF (Commission of Truth and Friendship) in relation to the amnesty to be given to the perpetrators before the approval of the constitutional competence. The National Parliament, as the people’s representatives, must observe and defend the people’s interest and rights, especially the victims of the crime. JSMP is of the opinion that if the rights of the victims of the human right violation are undermined, there will be more violations against human rights extending and arising throughout the world particularly in Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
EAST TIMOR: FUGITIVE MAJOR WILL GO TO JAIL, SAYS JUSTICE MINISTER
Dili, 19 Jan. (AKI) – East Timor’s minister of justice, Domingos Sarmento, has brushed off rumours of a possible ‘peaceful deal’ to end the saga of renegade Major Alfredo Alves Reinado, who led an uprising and is wanted by the authorities in connection with murder charges but lives peacefully in the district of Ermera, surrounded by a group of armed associates. In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) Sarmento said that Major Reinado, and the other 55 inmates who escaped from Dili’s Becora prison, are fugitives that must be arrested and jailed.
Major Reinado is a fugitive and the government considers him a criminal and will bring him to justice,” Sarmento told Adnkronos International on Friday. “If he is a gentleman, I appeal for him to surrender and face justice. If not, he will be captured one day. There is no mercy for him and the other inmates who escaped from
prison,” he added.
Sarmento’s outburst follows weeks of semi-clandestine meetings that have seen Major Reinado talking with government representatives and members of the United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor [UNMIT] on ways to solve the standoff peacefully.
Reached on the phone by AKI, Major Reinado rejected Justice Minister Sarmento’s conclusions and advised him to brush his knowledge of the law. It is better if he [Minister of Justice Domingos Sarmento] studies more about the law. His statement shows that he is not well educated. There has not been a tribunal decision on my case, so I cannot be considered a criminal,” he said from his hideout, on Friday. “As I have said repeatedly: I am innocent as long as the tribunal does not say otherwise. I have not been found guilty of murdering any one,” he added.
Major Reinado abandoned the army on 4 May 2006 to join approximately 600 former soldiers who had been dismissed two months before, after complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions. He was then arrested for his role in the violence that ensued and accused in conjunction of the murder of five people. He escaped from prison on 30 August, 2006. Major Reinado has stated several times that he will one day face justice for his part in the violence which has rocked the tiny Southeast Asian country since May. However, he has also stated that he does not want to be a “scapegoat” or considered the “only guilty party.”
UNMIT Daily Media Review 19 January 2007
Candidacy of Military A Political Manoeuvre: Pinto – Political and military observer, Julio Tomas Pinto reportedly said the proposals of Prime Minister Ramos-Horta and MP Leandro Isac for two militaries to be candidates for the presidential elections can be interpreted as a political campaign to obtain votes for the upcoming elections. Pinto said both F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak and Alfredo Reinado must be left in their positions and focus on their problems, stressing that Ruak must focus on the military issue of this country which needs to be resolved and Alfredo on his case with the judicial process. (TP)
Salsinha Responsible For 28 April – MPs Alexandre Corte-Real (UDT) and Manuel Tilman (KOTA) have stated that Salsinha Gastão, the ‘petitioners’ spokesperson must be responsible for the disturbances of April 28 last year because some of his members were involved in the damages of government cars and buildings. Both were responding to the Provedor of Justice and Human Rights, Ximenes Dias who stated that Salsinha had no connection with the violence and damages of 28 April 2006. (TP)
RTTL news headlines
No amnesty for the criminals – Francisco Guterres “Lu-Olo” , Speaker of the House, said amnesty should not be given to people involved in crimes in April and May 2006, adding there might clemency but not for those who took the lives of others. Lu-Olo affirmed that such people must face a proper justice proceeding in accordance with the law of RDTL.
EAST TIMOR: I WILL NOT MEET RENEGADE MAJOR RENAIDO, SAYS PRIME MINISTER Dili, 18 Jan. (AKI) – East Timor prime minister Jose Ramos-Horta said that he will not meet renegade Major Alfredo Reinado Alves as he does not want the people to think that he protects a criminal. In a spot-interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) the Nobel peace prize laureate said that he will only shake hands with Reinado once the legal procedure against him are completed.
“For the moment I do not have any plans or time to meet with Alfredo Reinado. I let this case to be handled by the judicial process. Then we will see. I do not want my people to offend me and tell me that I am protecting a criminal,” said Ramos-Horta.
Major Reinado abandoned the army on 4 May 2006 to join approximately 600 former soldiers who had been fired in March 2006 after complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions.
The sacking sparked nationwide clashes in a crisis that left 37 people dead, forced 155,000 to flee their homes, brought down the government of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, and resulted in Australia-led peacekeeping troops being deployed to the tiny Southeast Asian nation. Arrested for his role in the violence and accused in conjunction of the murder of five people, Reinado escaped from prison on 30 August.
Horta has repeatedly stated that he wants to solve the “Reinado issue” peacefully. In this regard, various meetings have already taken place. Reinado met Army Chief Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak for a 30-minute, closed door meeting on 21 December.
Also, reached on the phone by AKI, Reinado confirmed that he has met representatives of the United Nation Integrated Mission in East Timor [UNMIT], the National Parliament, the government and representatives of region III in Ermera, the district where he currently resides.
“The meetings were focused on finding a solution to the crisis that emerged in the country,” Reinado told AKI. “What I really want and thirsty for is to search the truth and justice,” he added. Asking if he plans to meet with Horta, Major Reinado said that he really would like to. “There was a plan for me to come down to Dili and meet our Prime Minister Horta a few days ago but, unfortunately, it did not happen as the prime minister has no time. So, I am still waiting for a signal from Horta’s office,” he said. (Fsc/Ner/Aki) Jan-18-07 10:40
UNMIT Daily Media Review 18 January 2007
Electoral Team Meets President – Members of the UN Electoral Team who met with President Xanana Gusmão on Wednesday refused to speak to the media. The President’s Chief of Staff said issues discussed between the team and the President cannot be revealed as it is related to the elections. He said the President has put together his suggestions and the dates for the elections, which would be presented to the National Parliament and then made public. (TP)
Conditional Liberty Foa Oan Kiak – The Dili District Court, has released Frederico Florindo de Jesus, who is also known as Oan Kiak, on Wednesday on conditional liberty. Oan Kiak has to report to Hera police station once a week, on Mondays. He has been in detention since August 2006 following accusations he was involved in the crisis last May. (TP)
PM Rejects Recommendation on F-FDTL – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta has rejected recommendations by an UNMIT evaluation on F-FDTL before becoming active, as was the case with the PNTL. Ramos-Horta said the National Armed Forces had an evaluation about two years ago, before the crisis and did not have to wait for UNMIT recommendations. He spoke to the media following his meeting with the Parliamentarians to discuss the crisis of the country and how the government, the National Parliament and other institutions can work to overcome this problem. (STL)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 17 January 2007
I Do Not Accept TT’s Monopoly System: PM Horta – Prime Minister Ramos-Horta has affirmed he does not accept Timor Telecom’s (TT) monopoly system, hence is waiting on the result of a study by the World Bank and further discuss this matter in the Council of Ministers.
Ramos-Horta said the Parliament should establish a law in relation to this issue. The Minister touched upon this matter following concerns raised by the Director of East Timor Development Agency (ETDA) Palmira Pires during the inauguration of the ETDA Trading Centre, that it is expensive to use internet in Timor-Leste.
PM Horta said the agreement between the government and TT five years ago was under different circumstances. And since he is not in favour of monopolies he has requested the World Bank to do a study on this matter as well as the current taxation system. (DN)
MP Isac Testifies – On Tuesay MP Leandro Isac had to testify in the Public Prosecutor’s Office in relation to the attach on F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak residence in Lahane on May 24, 2007 He said he had to answer to all the 10 questions according to what he witnessed and felt at the time. Isac also said he does not accept accusations made against him and that the court would make the final decision. (DN, TP)
Some Weapons Still In Alfredo Hands: Monteiro – Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro said that not all the weapons have been collect and about 15 pistols and 9 long weapons are still in the hands of Major Alfredo. Monteiro added that the Minister of Interior is starting to identify the whereabouts of the weapons and there has been progress and big reduction on illegal weapons. In the meantime, Longuinhos Monteiro said the case of Oan Kiak, who had been on preventive detention for the past six months has not yet been registered in the court because it is related to the May 25 and 26 crises. (STL)
UNMIT Delegation Meet With Alfredo – Following his meeting with F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak in December, on 12/1 Major Alfredo met with a delegation from UNMIT, F-FDTL, NP, Government and representatives of region III in Ermera. Carlos da Conceicao de Deus said the meeting was a follow up to previous meeting as proposed by PM Ramos-Horta to try and find a solution to the crisis that emerged in the country. De Deus said Major Alfredo has asked for a decision to be made about his status and in order to resolve the problem Alfredo wants all the parties to search the truth and justice. (TP)
If Court Permits It’s Not A Problem: Minister Sarmento – In response to concerns about the presence of some members of the National Defence Forces in the court in uniform and armed, Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento defended that it was normal and the court did not raise any problems about it. Sarmento said if the court, the judges and the President of the Court did not raise any problem why should the citizens make it a problem. He further said when the court made the decision on preventive detention for 3 members of the Defence Force, they were escorted by their own colleagues to the prison and this type of gesture shows that F-FDTL has goodwill in cooperating with the court to honour justice in the country.
Today Alfredo Will Come Down to Dili to Meet with Prime Minister Horta (Timor Post, 16 January 2007) – According to the plan, today (Tuesday, 16 January) Major Alfredo Alves Reinado, currently residing in Aifu, Potete village, Ermera Disrtrict, will come down to Dili to meet with Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta.
Major Alfredo Alves Reinado released this information to Timor Post through a phone interview on Monday, 15 January. In the meeting [with the Prime Minister], Major Alfredo said, there would be a discussion on how to resolve the crises.
Even though there has been a plan to come down to Dili to meet with Prime Minister Horta today, Major Alfredo said, it has not been clear whether it would be confirmed or not. This was due to the fact that he himself still waited for the confirmation from Minister who had just arrived from Philippines yesterday.
“It is not clear whether it is positive or not [about the meeting]. This is because Prime Minister has just arrived from Philippines, therefore I am waiting for his confirmation,” Alfredo said. When asked about the transport means to be used to travel to Dili and with whom he would come, Alfredo stressed that he had not been clear on the matter since he still waited for the confirmation from Prime Minister Horta.
He added that the meeting would be as a follow-up of many meetings that had been held before. When asked about what would be the agenda of the meeting, Alfredo commented that there has not been any clarification on that. Therefore, [he said], he would know about it when the meeting was about to start.
Alfredo also underlined that after the meeting with Prime Minister Horta, he would also try to meet again with President of Republic, Xanana Gusmao.
On the other part, speaking to the journalists during a press conference, Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta who had just returned from Philippines yesterday said that he did not want to talk about other matters including the case of Major Alfredo. He only talked about the matters related to his visit.
Admitting the meeting with Xanana
On the other part, Major Alfredo admitted that he and President of Republic, Xanana Gusmao meet with each other last December.
According to Major Alfredo, he and President Xanana briefly met with each other. The meeting was not part of the agenda which had been scheduled. However, [he said], the two met with each other when the President participated in the “Halot Meik” Program in Same.
Through the mobile phone, yesterday the Military Commander said that he could not elaborate on the matters which he discussed [with the President] in the meeting at the time, since they only had a brief meeting, and there were not many items [to discuss].
When Timor Post confirmed [the information] with the Chief of Staff for the President of Republic, Agio Pereira, he said that it was not true. According to Agio, it was merely a rumor since President Xanana Gusmao never had a meeting with Major Alfredo Alves Reinado at the time. “I am still having a meeting, but I just want to say that it is merely a rumor. President Xanana never had any meeting with Major Alfredo Alves Reinado at the time,” Agio told Timor Post through a media officer of the Office of President at the Palace of Ashes, Caicoli, Dili yesterday. He added that Major Alfredo and President Xanana Gusmao never had a meeting in December [last year]. Major Alfredo Reinado, [he said], only had the meeting with Commander of F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak at the HQ of F-FDTL in Tasitolu, Dili at the time.
RTTL news headlines
Stop Subsidy to the Petitioners – The Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion has stopped the government subsidy to the petitioners due to the lack of cooperation by using knife to intimidate some staff of his department. Based on these facts the Council of Ministers decided to stop the subsidies for them. On December 26, the petitioners spokesperson, Salsinha Gastao sent a letter to the Minister of Labour and Community Reinsertion asking to stop the subsidy program.
Rumors of Political Interference on the judicial process – Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro rejects rumors of political interference on the judicial process case of Abilio Mausoko and Oankiak. Monteiro said there is no political intervention and the case of Mausoko and Oankiak is in process with Mausoko’s case had already been sent to the Court. He added that further investigation is needed for Oankiak as he was involved in the shootings of some members of PNTL in front of the Office of the Ministry of Justice on May 25 2006,said Monteiro.
REPUBLICA DEMOCRATICA DE TIMOR LESTE GABINETE DO PRIMEIRO MINISTRO Dili, 17 January 2007 Media Alert
The Inspector General will conduct a Press Conference – The Inspector General of RDTL, Manuel C.C Bucar Corte Real, will conduct a press conference in his office on Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 3 pm. In this press conference, the Inspector General will explain some important points such as: Order from HE Prime Minister Dr Jose Ramos-Horta to the office of Inspector General to investigate the use of the government vehicles, investigation on government properties, and investigation regarding uncontrolled use of electricity and telephone facilities in the government’s institution. At the same time, the Inspector General will explain the underway investigation towards the airport tax, and finally, with a view of decentralizing the activities of Inspector General, he will discuss the national visit program to the districts. Therefore, we would like to invite all media to participate in this press conference. Thank you.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 16 January 2007
Swearing-In Of Members of Commission – Members of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) were sworn-in yesterday in a ceremony held at the National Parliament. Dr. Faustino Cardoso Gomes, who was elected as the President of the Commission, told the media that the team is composed of people with elevated capacity that can carry the work effectively. One of the topics the commission would discuss, is its own budget, said Gomes. Addressing the ceremony, Speaker of the House, Francisco Guterres “Lu-Olo” reminded members of the commission that the role of the NEC is to also assure equal treatment of the citizens in the census and electoral process as well as equal opportunities and the freedom for the candidates to campaign during the elections. A total of 27 people, 15 effectives and 12 substitutes are part of NEC. Bishop Basilio do Nascimento said the swearing-in of the NEC members is a positive step towards the democracy process in Timor-Leste. (DN, TP)
KOTA Doubts Fretilin’s Win – The Statement of Fretilin’s Secretary General, Mari Alkatiri affirming that his party will win the 2007 elections with absolute majority has been rejected by opposition parties like PSD, KOTA and UDT. Clementino do Amaral of KOTA said he doubts Fretilin will win with the majority of the voting, noting that politically, members of the parties can make such statement provided that they do not distribute guns to destroy their own people. Amaral further said the Timorese people have woken up and are aware of the developments of the government in the country in the past five years. (DN)
MPs Rejects CVA Recommendations – The recommendation of Comissao Verdade e Acolhimento, (CVA) for amnesty to the authors of human rights violations in Timor-Leste has been rejected by MPs Cipriana Pereira (Fretilin) and Maria Paixao (PSD). Both are of the opinion that the sufferings of the victims should be considered and that the authors must face justice. Pereira stated that the last decision would be from the Parliament following consultation with the Timorese people on the recommendation. Paixao said the justice process is the solution to identify who had been right or wrong. (DN)
Court Proceedings – The presence of armed F-FDTL members in the court can be interpreted that militarism is on the rise, said MP Clementino Amaral of KOTA. He said solidarity shown to the three members of F-FDTL on their preliminary court hearings by their colleagues in uniforms and armed, would give a bad image to the country, hence appealed to Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak and other officials of the Defence Force not to allow the same attitude to be repeated.
Fr. Martinho Gusmao said the presence of armed members of the Timorese Defence Forces in the court has violated the public services ethics. Jose Luis Oliveira, Director of Hak Association is of the opinion that the presence of some members of F-FDTL in the court last Friday in uniform and armed, gives a negative impact to the country.
Three members of F-FDTL who had been on preventive detention requested the Deputy Minister of Justice, Isabel Ferreira to speed up their case and not to delay it like the case of Oan Kiak and Abilio Mausoko, following a visiting meeting with them. The three have expressed that their detention would serve as an example to better the justice system in the country and want to seek the truth. Following the meeting with the three military members, Isabel Ferreira informed them that Brigadier General Ruak have asked two layers, Sanches and Jose Guterres to take overt and focus on their case since lawyer Paulo Remedios has a very tight agenda.
Timor Post reported that the court would call all the people whose name has been mentioned during the trial in relation to allegations of distribution of guns. Paulo Martins and police agent Pascoal Ximenes are some of the people scheduled to appear in court. (TP, DN, STL)
Alfredo Schedule To Meet PM – Major Reinado Alfredo told Timor Post that he was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Ramos-Horta on Tuesday as a continuation to previous meeting to try and resolve the current crisis. He did not reveal the agenda of the meeting, saying he was still waiting confirmation from the Prime Minister’s office. Questions have also been raised on the bazooka in Alfredo’s possession. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 14/1, the Australian Defence Force has lost a similar type of weapon from its security centre and there are doubts it might have falling into the hands of the terrorists. (TP)
Majority Of IDP’s Are From The East – Based on the data from the Public Works Ministry, the majority of a total of 3000 IDPs who have decided to return to the districts, are from the eastern part of the territory, said Deputy Minister of Public Works, Raul Mousaco. He said those who have returned included public servants who hold jobs in the capital, adding the reason for their return is due to the security situation. He said the government is working to strengthen security in the neighborhoods.
Meanwhile Bishop Basilio asked why there continues to be the lack of capacity to maintain law and order in Dili, despite the increasing number of international forces and PNTL officers. Basilio said that in the districts it has been peaceful but in Dili only four or five neighborhoods has kept the capital awake. He added that many people have questioned that if there are so many numbers of police including PNTL why can’t they contain the situation in Dili. (TP)
RTTL news headlines
Two witnesses present their testimony in the court – Rogerio Lobato, the former Minister of Interior cour proceedings continued with statements from two members of PNTL namely Carlos da Costa and Afonso do Santos as new witnesses. According to TVTL, Da Costa was asked by Lobato to distribute the uniform and cars to the group of Railos. Do Santos was questioned by the judge on how he handled the petitioners during the demonstration and the incident in front of the office of Minister of Justice on 25 May 2006. At the time, Carlos da Costa was serving as the messenger of Rogerio Lobato while Afonso do Santos was responsible for PNTL Operational Command in handling the demonstration held by the petitioners in front of the Palace of Government from 23 – 28 October 2006.
Preventive Prison for Lobato – The National Movement for Peace and Justice, expressed their discontentment on how the court is handling the trial of Rogerio Lobato. They lamented that why can’t the court change the status of Lobato from suspect to accused. The Movement spokesperson, wants the court to change the status of Lobato from suspect to accused and put him in a preventive prison in order to avoid manipulations of facts and other maneuvers as well as protecting the evidence for truth and justice. They also demand the court to immediately bring in the new witnesses like Mr. Mari Alkatiri and Paulo Martins. The same movement suggested to the court to have a professional translator in order to ensure clear translation message to the victims, the accused, witnesses and those presence in the court proceeding room.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 13 – 15 January
Three members of F-FDTL and one PNTL officer sent to Bekora prison (STL and TP, 15 January 2007, p1) – Eleven members of the F-FDTL and one member from PNTL have appeared in the Dili District Court in relation to the massacre on the 25 May 2006. Following the hearing three members of the F-FDTL and one member of the PNTL were detained temporarily at the Bekora prison for 15 days. Another eight members must report once a week to the F-FDTL HQ. Col. Lere Anan Timor said that F-FDTL as national institution is willing to cooperate with justice and the F-FDTL will respect any decision of court.
FNJP will not organize demonstration in a short time (STL, 13 January 2007, p1) – Secretary General of National Front for Justice and Peace (FNJP), Vital dos Santos said that FNJP will not organize demonstrations in the near future. He said FNJP has just transformed into a new organization named “Movement for National Unity Justice and Peace (MUNJP)”. MUNJP is now preparing members to fill the structure of the new movement.
PMD candidate Alfredo Reinado to be President of Republic ( JN Diario, 15 Janeiro 2007, p12) – President PMD, Hermengildo Cupa said that PMD is ready to candidate Major Alfredo Reinado for President of the Republic. He said that during the crisis Major Reinado managed to ensure that the people of Loromonu or Lorosae were not divided. Mr. Cupa said that Alfredo is right person to be next President of Republic.
Police arrest 3 suspects over Liquica case: Rodrigues – The Spokesperson for the UN Police, Monica Rodrigues, stated on Friday that the police had arrested three suspects over the case of three women burned to death inside their house in Maubara in the Liquica district. She added the suspects are currently in detention awaiting their trial. On another matter, Rodrigues confirmed that the Martial Arts Groups confrontation in Covalima district over the previous weekend had resulted in two deaths. She said that police intervened to calm the situation and that investigations are underway into the cases.
PNTL General Commander and his Deputies tendered their resignations
Interior Minister, Alcino Barris, has confirmed on Friday that the PNTL General Commander, Superintendent Paulo Fatima Martins and his two Deputies, the Operational Deputy, Inspector Ismael Babo and the Administration Deputy, Inspector Lino Saldanha had submitted their
resignation. Barris explained further that the three resigned from their posts but retained their ranks as Superintendent and Inspectors respectively. Without further elaboration on the candidates to replace the three, the Minister said restructuring of the PNTL was required. On a different matter, the Minister rejected the claim about many weapons still being at large saying only 31 PNTL pistols had yet to be returned.
Government to compensate the victims of crisis – The Government, through the Ministry of Labor and Community Reinsertion has started compensating the victims of the crisis. Speaking to journalists at the Ministry, the Director of the National Social Services. Carmen da Cruz, said that the social assistance is in accordance with the Government Resolution No. 9 dated 13 December, and a Ministerial Dispatch, which rules that the victims of crisis from 28 April through to 30 September would be compensated. Da Cruz detailed assistance as the Deaths receive $1000; Serious Injuries receive $500 while Light Injuries will received over $200 each.
Arrest closer for E Timor rebel The Australian Mark Dodd January 16, 2007 THE arrest of East Timor army rebel Major Alfredo Reinado has moved a step closer with the jailing of four members of the country’s security forces involved in last year’s political violence.
Major Reinado faces murder charges linked to a May 23 gun battle on Dili’s outskirts in which two people were killed. He has been on the run since August 30 after leading a mass breakout from Becora prison, an escape he justified on the grounds that he was being unfairly singled out. But on Friday, a court jailed three soldiers and a senior police intelligence officer in connection with two incidents of deadly violence last year. The closed hearing in Dili District Court involved 12 people – 11 F-FDTL (East Timor defence force) soldiers, six of whom had been recommended for prosecution by a UN Commission of Inquiry into the bloody mayhem, and a senior national police intelligence officer.
More than 100 East Timorese soldiers, some armed, stood outside the court in a show of force to support their colleagues. Witnesses said Australian peacekeepers, nominally responsible for security involving members of the ethnically divided defence force, did not intervene.
Western diplomatic sources in Dili said the court action could be a prelude to Reinado’s arrest. The proceedings came as East Timor police chief Paulo Martins, cited by the UN commission for “operational failings”, and his two deputies resigned without reason.
The commission also recommended that criminal action be taken against Reinado, claiming: “Evidence establishes that Major Reinado and his men who comprised his group are reasonably suspected of having committed crimes against life and person during the armed
confrontation in Fatu Ahi.”
Friday’s proceedings were in connection with the May 25 massacre of eight unarmed East Timor police officers, gunned down in cold blood by army assailants while under UN escort from their barracks. It was the worst single incident of bloodshed during weeks of mayhem that brought the country to the brink of civil war and left entire suburbs in ruins. It is understood one of the soldiers, Mau Kana, a former bodyguard to defence chief Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak, was remanded for his role in a separate incident on May 28 involving the killing of civilians.
The presence of a large number of East Timorese soldiers outside the court raises concerns about due process and the UN’s ability to oversee an impartial investigation. “If that is not political pressure or intimidation, I do not know what is,” a senior Western legal analyst said.
At least 37 people were killed and scores injured when violence erupted in Dili last year, triggered by simmering ethnic rivalry in the defence force. The violence led to the collapse of the Alkatiri government, and an Australian-led peacekeeping force was deployed to restore law and order.
JSMP PRESS RELEASE – THE FOURTH HEARING OF EVIDENCE IN THE TRIAL OF ROGÉRIO TIAGO LOBATO AND THE OTHER CO-ACCUSED DID NOT AGGRAVATE ACCUSATION AGAINST THE DEFENDANTS 16 January 2007 – On 15 January 2007, the Court of Appeal of Timor-Leste held the fourth hearing of evidence in the case of allegedly arming of civilians involving the defendant Rogério Tiago Lobato and his co-accused. All the questions asked by the court actors to the witnesses in the trial were around the crisis which occurred on 24, 28 and 29 April and 23, 24 and 25 May 2006. It was known from the statements made by the two witnesses that their testimony did not aggravate the accusation against the defendant.
The witnesses appearing at the court for the trial are both members of PNTL who knew, saw and heard about the incidents that took place with the involvement of the defendant Rogério Tiago Lobato. Regarding the the three other co-defendants namely Francisco Salsinha Francisco Viegas Xavier and Marcos Piedade, the witnesses said that they did not know any related case involving the abovementioned co-accused.
In his testimony, Afonso de Jesus stated that it was him who led members of PNTL to take control of the demonstrators in from of the Government Palace (Palácio do Governo) of Timor-Leste on 28 April and also 24 and 25 May 2006. He also added that he saw the incident that took place in front of Ministry of Justice on 25 May 2006 where eight members of PNTL were shot dead by members of F-FDTL and more than thirty suffered serious and light firearm injuries including him.
As it has been explained before that all statements given by the witnesses in trial did not aggravate the accusation against the defendants. Nevertheless, pursuant to article 114 item (2) of Criminal Procedure Code, it is incumbent on the Public Prosecutor to verify the indictment in the trial by producing any evidences needed to reveal the truth and making appropriate decision, in particular that relating to the civil responsibility of the defendants.
On the other hand, after the trial, the defendant Marcos Piedade told JSMP showing a letter of request for replacement of his lawyer that he wanted to request to the court for the replacement. In the letter of request as showed to JSMP, it was evident that the defendant had contacted two private lawyers from AATL (Asosiasi Advokat Timor-Leste) to replace his public defender who assisted his legal representation all this time. The defendant Marcos Piedade was unsatisfied with the service and advocacy his lawyer could provide as expected. The defendant complained that he mostly missed contact with his lawyer.
According to JSMP, the initiative of the defendant Marcos Piedade to have his lawyer replaced is a good legal faith, because the right of the defendant to choose a lawyer to represent him or her in every trial process has been guaranteed in article 34 item (2) of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. It is provided in article 60(f) of Criminal Procedure Code that: A defendant has the right to freely communicate with the defender, even where the defendant is under arrest or detention. According to JSMP, the reason why the defendant wanted to have his lawyer replaced was because his right to do so as guaranteed in the Criminal Procedure Code of Timor-Leste was not fulfilled. JSMP considers that such an initiative of the defendant could be realized for the sake of his legal representation.
Although the request for replacement made by the defendant was an appropriate step, JSMP recommended that every lawyer who represents both criminal and civil case must improve the legal service in order to satisfy their clients in accordance with the Advocates Code of Ethics. JSMP is of the opinion that the replacement of the lawyer might result in inefficient service that will cause violations against the rights of the client.
JSMP PRESS RELEASE – FIRST JUDICIAL INQUIRY FOR ELEVEN MEMBERS OF F-FDTL AND ONE OF PNTL HELD IN THE DILI DISTRICT COURT 13 Januay 2007 – On 12 January 2007, The Dili District Court, through the judge Ivo nelson de Caires Baptista Rosa, held the first judicial inquiry for 11 members of F-FDTL (Falintil-Força Defesa de Timor-Leste) and 1 member of PNTL (Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste). This first closed inquiry was attended by the Prosecutor Bernardo C. Fernandes. These twelve defendants were defended by the lawyers Pedro Andrade and Sebastião Amado de Almeida, both of which were from the Office of the Public Advocacy of Timor-Leste.
This first closed inquiry began at 15:00 and ended at 19:00. However, the defendants had been present at the court at 14:26. After the inquiry, JSMP (Judicial System Monitoring Program) received information from F-FDTL Chief of Staff that the court had decided to impose on four of the twelve defendants heard in the inquiry a temporary detention at the Becora Prison. Meanwhile the eight other defendants, in accordance with the court decision, had to comply with a restrictive measure by signing their obligatory presence once every seven days at the F-FDTL Headquarter. Of the four defendants under temporarily detention, three of them are members of F-FDTL and one of PNTL.
From the beginning, JSMP observed the hearing process from outside the court and security was extremely tightened both inside and outside the court. JSMP observed that some members of F-FDTL were tasked for maintaining security surrounding of the court armed with automatic rifles and wearing military uniform. Besides that, JSMP observed that UNPOL officers were only armed with handgun as they were deployed to support the security during the hearing. It was not only the F-FDTL soldiers who were present at the court but also mostly all F-FDTL commanders including the Chief of Staff Colonel Lere Anang Timur to watch closely the whole proceeding till the end. However, as aforementioned, only the defendants were allowed to enter the court because the hearing was closed to public audience.
Before leaving the court, Colonel Lere Anang Timur told the journalists that F-FDTL respected the court decisions. The defendants should obey the court decisions to serve the temporary detention at the Becora Prison. It was also required that those whom the court ordered a restrictive measures by signing their obligatory presence at the F-FDTL Headquarters await until the investigation process initiated by the Office of the Prosecutor of Timor-Leste.
JSMP welcomed the district court decision. The restrictive measure applied by the court is provided in article 191 and 194 of Criminal Procedure Code. On the other hand, JSMP had respect for military chief of staff and all his personnel who were present at the court for the hearing where some members of F-FDTL had faced charges of committing criminal act by shooting members of PNTL in front of the Ministry of Justice of Timor-Leste on 25 May 2006.
JSMP recognizes that, till present day, Military Courts have yet to be established. Therefore, in accordance with the applicable law, it is the exclusive competence of the Dili District Court to try criminal case involving those members of the defense force. JSMP is of the opinion, however, that it did not deem really necessary for the force commanders to come to the court, because the presence of the F-FDTL commanders and their armed personnel in military uniform at the court would be an indication for the whole community that they were in solidarity with the defendants. Although it was done with good faith, Timorese civilians would have a view that their presence was to pose threat or put pressure on the court actors who conducted the judicial inquiry.
JSMP PRESS RELEASE – THE COURT ORDERED THE TIMOR-LESTE’S MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND UNPOL TO PROVIDE PHYSICAL PROTECTION MEASURES FOR THE WITNESSES IN THE CASE OF THE DEFENDANT ROGÉRIO LOBATO AND HIS CO-ACCUSED 12 January 2007 – On 11 January 2007, the third hearing of evidence in the case of arming of civilians involving the defendants Rogério Lobato, Francisco Salsinha, Francisco Xavier Viegas and Marcos Piedade, also known as Labadaen, was held at the same place, the Court of Appeal of Timor-Leste.
To prove whether it is true or not the defendants committed or were involved in the criminal act as established in the indictments, the Timor-Leste’s Office of the Prosecutor, through the International Prosecutor Bernardo C. Fernandes, proposed five members of PNTL and RAILOS as the witnesses in the case of arming of Timorese civilians involving the defendant. Of the six abovementioned witnesses, four of them had been heard by the Court. Apart from the six witnesses, the Dili District Court, through the panel of judges examining this case, found it necessary to present six more witnesses whose names were mentioned by the defendant and by the witnesses who had been heard at the court.
This hearing of evidence will be held again on 15 January 2007 to hear the testimony from two more witnesses being members of PNTL. The continued hearing of evidence will be conducted on 22 January 2007 at the same court to hear the testimony from the six witnesses who will be notified by the court.
In relation to the physical protection measure for the witnesses, and whereas a law to apply such measure has not been made, the panel of judges officially ordered the Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Police (UNPOL) to provide security protection for the witnesses and the defendant including their families. Such a physical protection measure is to ensure the smooth process of trial in the case of the defendant Rogério Lobato and his co-accused. The need for this protection arose as some of the witnesses felt that their physical security was threatened.
JSMP welcomed such an order and preventive measure required by the court. While attending the whole proceeding, JSMP observed that physical protection for the witnesses was threatened indeed. In Timor-Leste’s Legislation, till present day, any law regarding physical protection measure for the witnesses both inside and outside the court has yet to be made. According to JSMP, this is a hindrance for the court actors to try cases in the court. As there is no protection provided, the witnesses to testify before the court often feel insecure in giving their testimony at the hearing.
JSMP recommends that the Government and the National Parliament of Timor-Leste observe this issue without delay. JSMP is of the opinion that law regulating the physical protection for the witnesses is very essential in Timor-Leste’s justice system. This is to ease and help court actors process or try both civil case and criminal case. Thus, everyone who is brought before the court as witness in either civil case or criminal case will feel secure and free to give testimony regarding the circumstances to their knowledge.
JSMP PRESS RELEASE
Hearing of Evidence in the Trial of the Defandant Rogerio Lobato and the Other Co-accused 11 Januari 2007 – On 10 January 2007, the Dili District Court, represented by the same Panel of Judges mentioned in our Press Release dated 10 January 2007 continued the hearing of evidence in the case against the defendant Rogerio Lobato and the other co-accused at the Court of Appeal located in Kaikoli-Dili. The hearing that was scheduled for 9am local time began at 9.15am due to the late arrival of Rogerio Lobato and the other co-accused. The witness Railos and defendant Marcos Piedade arrived at the premises of the Court of Appeal prior to 9am.
This hearing was held over two sessions.The first session took place between 9.15am and 12.23pm and the second session began at 14.15pm and finished at 17.53pm.
The hearing of evidence in the case of Rogerio Lobato and the other co-accused saw the court actors concentrating on the testimony of the witness Railos. JSMP observed that Railos was a witness for the prosecution, and this witness gave testimony on the illegal distribution of weapons to civilians in Timor Leste.
The legal representative of Lobato and the other co-accused claimed that the testimony given by the witness Railos before the court was invalid as it contradicted the statement he made in his written declaration that was sent to the President of the Republic. The prosecution responded by stating that the testimony provided by the witness in court is valid and beneficial as it was made pursuant to evidence presented by the witness during the trial. After the examination of the witness was complete the presiding judge announced that the witness may leave the court room. Before the witness departed, the presiding judge reminded him that he would have to return to the court if and when summoned to do so.
JSMP observed that those witnesses who failed to appear on the 9 January 2007, after having been duly notified by the court, did in fact attend court on 10 January. They appeared at the court in accordance with the schedule previously determined by the court. As there was insufficient time to continue the examination, at the close of the day’s session the panel of judges reminded the witnesses present in the court room to return the following day to provide their testimony as the trial continued.
JSMP applauds those witnesses who appeared at the court with the purpose of participating in the trial. JSMP observed that these witnesses always arrived at court in accordance with the schedule set by the court. Although by the close of the day’s proceedings they had yet to be given an opportunity to testify, they were still ready and willing to return to the court when required.
JSMP applauds the actions of the court actors who have concentrated their efforts in this case. JSMP believes that by hearing this case, namely one that relates to the illegal distribution of weapons to civilians, the court can alter the perception of the public who have lost their faith in the judicial system of Timor Leste. The community can regain its faith and confidence in the rule of law and justice in Timor Leste. JSMP is optimistic that this trial represents a positive step forward. JSMP hopes that such positive actions can be maintained and developed to alter the perception, confidence and faith of the community towards the applicable law in our beloved country.
FOR FURTHER INFORAMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Maria deVasconcelos Acting Director, JSMP Telephone: 332 3883 Email: email@example.com
Amnesty offer over East Timor – January 15, 2007 Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta A joint Indonesian and East Timorese commission will recommend amnesty for people responsible for atrocities in East Timor in 1999 if they admit their involvement and apologise to their victims.
The Commission of Truth and Friendship plans to invite 70 people, including top Indonesian military officers and political leaders from the two countries, to tell what they know about the atrocities at hearings in Indonesia and East Timor over the next six months.
People who refuse or are not considered by the commission to have told the truth would not be among those the commission would recommend to the East Timor and Indonesian governments for amnesty, commission members said.
More than 1200 people were killed, most of East Timor’s infrastructure was destroyed and more than 250,000 people were forced into refugee camps in Indonesian West Timor after East Timorese voted for independence in a United Nations-supervised ballot in August 1999. The UN blamed militias directed by Indonesia’s military for atrocities that included rapes, torture and mass executions. Militia commander Eurico Guterres is the only person serving a jail term in Indonesia for involvement in the violence, despite demands by
former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and human rights groups for perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Achmad Ali, an Indonesian member of the commission, said that to receive an amnesty recommendation a person must give their full co-operation to the commission and express regrets and apologise for their actions. “For instance, it is impossible for us to recommend amnesty if they refuse to come (to a hearing),” he said. Professor Ali said it was important to invite people to testify from both Indonesia and East Timor to “avoid the impression that the commission merely corners Indonesia instead of seeking the truth”.
Among the invitees will be former Indonesian president B. J. Habibie and East Timor President Xanana Gusmao. Indonesia’s former military commander Wiranto, who this month formed a political party in Jakarta, has indicated he will testify before the commission, which was set up in 2005 along similar lines to South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Ali said that the Indonesian-East Timor commission had no judicial powers and could only make recommendations to the
governments in Dili and Jakarta.
“We will not be able to guarantee that amnesties will be accepted by the heads of governments,” he said. But Benjamin Mangkoedilaga, the Indonesian co-chairman of the commission, said amnesties were a recognised part of Indonesia’s legal system. “The important thing is to give trust to the invitees that our invitation will not lead to any trial or the setting up of any tribunal,” Mr Mangkoedilaga said.
East Timor member and co-chairman Dionisio Soares said the commission’s aim was to “get all the facts from the people who know what happened”. He said that in South Africa’s case amnesties were accepted by the world community because its Truth and Reconciliation Commission was considered credible.
Several of East Timor’s representatives on the Indonesian-East Timorese commission also sat on East Timor’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. This recommended in a report last year that the UN Security Council set up a tribunal to try those responsible for the atrocities “should other measures be deemed to have failed to deliver a sufficient measure of justice and Indonesia persists in obstructing justice”.
The East Timor commission was set up by the UN in 2001.
East Timor rebels obtain rocket launcher Sydney Morning HeraldTom Hyland – January 14, 2007 EAST Timor’s fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, wanted for attempted murder and armed rebellion, has been photographed with a rocket launcher of the same type as those stolen from the Australian Army. The picture was taken late last year, about the time Reinado attended a seminar in the presence of Australian troops, who have close and cordial relations with him, despite his fugitive status.
The launcher on Reinado’s shoulder is a light anti-armour weapon (LAW), of the same type issued to Australian troops in East Timor. The weapons have been at the centre of a security scare in Australia, where stolen rockets are alleged to have fallen into the hands of terrorists. The news that Reinado, who escaped from a Dili jail in August, has a missile capable of disabling a tank or bringing down a helicopter has raised alarm. A security expert said it was possible the missile had been obtained from criminal sources in Australia.
If Reinado had more than one of the rockets, there would be serious issues for Australian forces if they tried to move against him, the expert said.
A spokesman for Defence Minister Brendan Nelson denied Australian troops in contact with Reinado had let him pose with an Australian LAW. Nor had the Australian Defence Force supplied such weapons to the East Timorese Defence Force, from which Reinado deserted in May as East Timor’s security forces disintegrated and the country descended into political chaos. The spokesman said all LAWs issued to Australian troops in Timor were accounted for.
This month a Sydney man was charged with possessing stolen rockets. Police said the weapons were in the hands of a terrorist group that planned to use them to attack targets in Sydney, including the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.
The Reinado photo was taken in late November, when the rebel leader spoke at a seminar in the town of Suai, also attended by government and church leaders and aimed at promoting reconciliation. In interviews at the time, Reinado boasted he had no intention of surrendering himself or his weapons.
Australian officers also defended their decision not to arrest him, saying they were acting on the advice of the Dili Government, which
hopes to entice the former major to surrender and avoid more bloodshed.
Speculation abounds as to where Reinado obtained the weapon. It was unclear from the photo whether the launcher was armed. LAWs are a one-shot weapon, and the one in Reinado’s hands could have been fired and now useless. But if the weapon was armed, “it’s pretty serious”, the expert said.
UN envoy in Timor-Leste welcomes ‘peaceful’ response to ex-Interior Minister’s trial UN New Service 11 Jan 2007 The United Nations envoy in Timor-Leste today welcomed the peaceful response by the population to the trial of former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato and his co-defendants, who are being tried for allegedly arming civilians during the deadly violence that erupted last year, which led to the deaths of at least 37 people and forced 155,000 others from their homes.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Atul Khare, heads the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and he told reporters at a press conference in the capital Dili that UN Police (UNPOL) officers are providing security for the trial, which began on Tuesday, and also protection for both the witnesses and the accused.
First and foremost, I would like to stress that I do not have any opinion on Mr. Lobato’s guilt or innocence. He has four charges against him and it will now be up to the judicial system the Courts of Timor-Leste to preside over the trial and to decide upon the outcome.”
UNPOL… was requested to provide security for this trial around the courtroom and of course to provide protection for the witnesses, as well as the accused. We have of course provided the security support and also the protection for the witnesses and the accused,” Mr. Khare said.
I am particularly delighted that the Timorese people have maintained calm and there has been no violence. I would like to take this occasion to underline that while of course every citizen has a right to an opinion… no citizen here or in any other country has the right to violence. The peaceful manner in which the trial is proceeding is a very encouraging sign.”
An Independent Special Commission of Inquiry, set up to investigate the violence of April and May 2006, found among other things that both police and defence force weapons were distributed to civilians and that there was an absence of systematic control over weapons and ammunition within the security sector, particularly the police.
It found Mr. Lobato and General Commander Paulo Martins bypassed institutional procedures by transferring irregularly weapons within the institution. It also found that Mr. Lobato, Defence Minister Roque Rodrigues and Defence Force Chief Taur Matan Ruak acted without lawful authority, created a situation of significant potential danger and should be held accountable for illegal transfer of weapons.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 12, January 2007 NATIONAL NEWS HEADLINES
PR Xanana Gusmão and PM Ramos Horta discuss the elections – Speaking to the journalists, the chief of the presidential cabinet, Agio Pereira reportedly informed that both President Gusmão and Prime Minister Ramos-Horta discussed the government’s policy and the situation of Timor-Leste towards both presidential and parliamentary elections. The PR Gusmão informed that he had summoned the Director of STAE to discuss the preparation of the elections and meet with some of the political parties to discuss the same matter. Similarly, the PM Horta shared the information on the plan of Timor-Leste to be the member of ASEAN, which the government of Timor-Leste would sign soon. Hence, as part of this plan, PM Horta and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Luis Guterres reportedly would attend the ASEAN summit in the Philippines next week. (DN, TP, and STL).
The Case of Rogerio Lobato is considered to be a crime: Pe. Martinho Gusmão – Speaking to journalists about Rogerio’s trial, Pr. Martinho Gusmao, the Director of the Commission of Justice and Peace in the Baucau Diocese said that the case of Mr. Lobato was considered a crime against human rights and against humanity. Pe. Gusmão said the judiciary system in Timor Leste did not work well and Lobato’s case would be the benchmark for justice in the country adding that putting Mr. Lobato in jail would be a miracle. He emphasized that justice should be implemented not only for common people but also for the leaders. Furthermore, if Mr. Lobato was sentenced, it meant justice was in place already. So, we should not extend our support for someone like Rogerio Tiago Lobato, he said and adding that Fretilin supporters who came to support Mr. Lobato should not defend any perpetrator like Lobato. (TP)
Implementation of Military Compulsory Law is too early in Timor-Leste: Pe. Gusmão – Pe. Marinho Gusmão, Director of Commission of Peace and Justice of the Baucau Diocese said that compulsory military service would regulate the individual or groups that want to violate the law and order in this country. However, Pe. Gumão proposed that such a law was not yet sustainable and requested the Parliament to delay the aforementioned law. In addition, Julio Tomas Pinto, an East Timorese military and political analyst also reportedly suggested to the Parliament to take a consensus on the law of military service, military disciplinary, and Law of Defense Policy instead of discussing the Military Compulsory Law. (STL, DN, and TP)
The weekly meeting of the President of the Republic and Prime Minister
Preparation for the coming national election was the main agenda item for the weekly meeting of the President Republic Xanana Gusmao and the Prime Minister Dr. Ramos-Horta. The two leaders of RDTL are trying to agree the date for the National Election for the President of Republic and members of Parliament before Mr. Xanana will hold a consultative meeting with other leaders of the country, said Mr. Agio Perreira the Chief Cabinet of President Republic. Mr. Agio stressed that the President of Republic has the constitutional right to determine the date for the national election but he also has a constitutional obligation to consult with members of the Council of State as well as the leaders of Political parties in the country. At the same meeting the two leaders have discussed the development of the political situation and other priority programs for the nation.
The Third day of Lobatos’ Trial – On the third day of Lobatos’ trial, the court presented the witness named Antonio da Cruz. Mr. Da Cruz supplied evidence to support the position of Mr. Railos and accused Mr Lobato of distributing weapons to the civilians. Mr Da Cruz sited dates and places where he was ordered by Mr. Lobato the former Minister of Interior to deliver weapons to the civilian groups. He said, on 20 August 2006, he received an order to deliver 10 weapons to one civilian group in the Indonesian Cemetry at Liquica. Mr. Lobato also asked Da Cruz to keep it a secrete from others including the commander of the PNTL Paulo Martins.
Timor police chief resigns, no replacement lined up – Source: Agence France Presse January 12, 2007 East Timor’s police chief and his two deputies have resigned but no reason was given, the interior minister of the troubled nation said Friday. Interior Minister Alcino Barris said police commissioner Paulo Fatima Martins would however continue to work in the force.
“(Martins) resigned as general commissioner but will still be working as a superintendent,” Barris told reporters. Deputy police chiefs Ismail Babo and Nuno Saldanha also resigned their posts but remained as inspectors. “Even though they submitted resignation letters, they are still members of the police force and will still receive their salaries,” Barris explained.
The minister said he had no candidates lined up to replace the three. East Timor’s police force was pulled from the streets following violence in April and May last year after clashes between security force factions which quickly degenerated into street violence. A commission has been reevaluating all police officers to see whether they should resume duty or face disciplinary or judicial action in relation to the violence.
The second Day of Lobato’s Trial
Yesterday was the second day of the trial of Mr. Lobato who is charged with heavy weapons distribution to the civilians. On the same day, witness Vicente Railos was asked to give his testimony. Railos’ declaration was considered to be true, based on the prevailing concrete evidences that the judges have. One such evidence is the text mesage of Mr. Lobato sent to Railos asking him to organize 2.000 people come to Dili to demonstrate their support to depose the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. The 3 hour court proceedings were guarded well by UNPol and the National Police of Timor-Leste. In general everything went well, with the supporters of Lobato standing near the court building.
The Approval of Organic Law of STAE – The Council of Ministers approved the Law of STAE yesterday in a meeting of Ministers. This Organic Law of STAE was presented by Minister Statal and Dr. Ana Pesoa. This organic law will empower the STAE to work according to the following orientations: STAE will organize the registration process before the election, STAE will organize the process of Election and to support the National Commission of Election of Timor-Leste to run the election.
Source: RTTL and TVTL news headlines UNMIT Daily Media Review 11 January 2007
Three suspects arrested for killing of Timorese “witches” – AFP 10/01/2007: East Timor police have arrested three people on suspicion of the murder and burning of three women accused of being witches, officials say. The three women, aged 70, 50 and about 25, were killed and their house torched on Saturday evening in Liquica, about 40 kilometres west of the capital Dili.
“Regarding the Liquica incident where three women were killed … police have arrested three suspects,” United Nations (UN) police spokeswoman Monica Rodrigues told AFP. Police say the victims had been accused of being witches and were attacked by unknown people. “The forensics team from the national investigation department attended the scene and the victims’ bodies were removed to Dili Hospital mortuary for autopsies,” Ms Rodrigues said, adding the investigation was continuing.
There were spates of arson attacks during unrest in 2006 but this is elieved to be the first such case involving witchcraft accusations in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
Unrest in April and May last year led to the deaths of at least 37 people and forced about 15 per cent of East Timor’s population to flee their homes. Stability has largely returned to the fledgling nation following the arrival of foreign peacekeepers at Dili’s request and the installation of a new government in July headed by Prime Minister Dr Jose Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Security forces on alert in Dili as trial starts Former East Timor minister goes on trial 9/01/2007 AP: East Timor’s former interior minister went on trial on Tuesday on charges of gunrunning and treason for allegedly setting up political hit squads during unrest in the tiny nation last year. Proceedings against Rogerio Lobato and three co-defendants began two months late at a high-security courthouse in the capital, Dili, amid ongoing clashes between rival gangs that have killed more than a dozen in recent weeks.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs warned in a statement that protests could turn violent and foreign peacekeepers were put on full alert. Australian citizens were advised not to travel to East Timor, a former Portuguese colony occupied by Indonesia until 1999. Outside court, about 3,000 of Lobato’s supporters arrived from across the nation, unfurling a large banner saying: “Don’t ever try to punish Lobato. Otherwise there is no hope for East Timor.”
About 35 witnesses from East Timor, Australia, the United States, Portugal and Macau, are expected to testify. The four could face a maximum 47-year prison sentence if convicted.
Violence in April and May was triggered by the dismissal of a third of the army by then-Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, one of Lobato’s close political allies. Clashes between rival security force factions in Dili later spilled into gang warfare, looting and arson attacks.
Lobato has claimed he was acting on the orders of Alkatiri, who resigned in June after 37 people had died and 155,000 were driven from their homes. In recent weeks, incidents have spread to cities across East Timor and UN police forces have been posted in all of the country’s 13 districts, a UN official has said. The number of foreign police will be increased ahead of May elections.
06 January 2007 Timor-Leste What Happened? How did Alfredo Reinado get his hands on the LAW M72 rocket launcher? Alfredo Reinado’s connection to Rui Lopes and Australia’s criminal underworld explained. http://frenterevolucionaria.blogspot.com/2007/01/how-did-alfredo-reinado-get-his-hands.html
UNMIT Daily Media Review 5 January 2007
National Parliament (NP)has not debated anything on the Ad-hoc Commission because they want to protect each other: Oliveira – Speaking to journalists, the Director of Association of Human Rights and Justice, Jose Luis Oliveira reportedly said that East Timor National Parliament (NP) had not yet held a discussion on the Ad-hoc Commission [Eventual Commission established by the NP to follow up on the findings of the COI report] because they would like to protect each other. Mr. Oliveira emphasized on the role of the National Parliament, saying that it aims to serve the public and not individual colleagues, groups, or parties and added that the NP’s attitude was already seen by every East Timorese during the Indonesian occupation. In this era, under the Soeharto regime, Golkar [one of the biggest Indonesian political parties] was the only one that frequently did this. Then, he asked whether or not the ruling party, Fretilin would like to be another ‘Golkar’ in Timor-Leste. Mr. Oliveira considers the act of the NP as a political manipulation that has already committed serious violence against Human Rights in Timor-Leste. He stressed that this political manipulation also occurred in the judiciary sector. He affirmed that there were other ways for people to find justice even though constitutional ways were blocked and manipulated. (STL)
Ultimatum given to IDPs to return home is against the law – Speaking to journalists after attending a meeting between IDP representatives, the coordinator of the Airport IDP camp, Jose da Costa Gumao, reportedly said that the ultimatum from the government to ask IDPs to move from their camps and to stop providing humanitarian aid was against the law of human rights, particularly the right of IDPs. He added that the current government did not have any sentiments for its people who were suffering under tents in every camp. He criticized PM Ramos-Horta for being very slow in ending the crisis. Hence, the representatives of the IDPs agreed to remain in their camps until they obtain a clear policy from the government on internal security, civilians who are in possession of weapons, and criminal proceedings. (STL)
RTTL news headlines
Autopsy to establish the truth – UNMIT Deputy SRSG Mr. Eric Tan yesterday at the weekly UNMIT Press Conference said that an autopsy on the body of Mr. Sebastian is one of the important steps to reveal the truth for the family of the victim and the people of Timor-Leste. The autopsy is necessary for justice and the people who want justice. Mr. Tan also said that UNMIT will be responsible to take care of the body from exhumation until re-burial. SRSG Mr. Khare added that the autopsy would be completed within 24 hrs. At the same press conference SRSG Khare convey to the people of Timor-Leste UNMIT’s position on the report of the Commission of Inquiry. SRSG Khare stressed that UNMIT will not support any efforts for amnesty or impunity for those people who committed crimes against humanity.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 4 January 2007
Provedor interview Rogerio Lobato – The Deputy Provedor for Human Rights and Justice, Silverio Pinto, yesterday visited former Minister of Interior, Rogerio Lobato at his residence to provide information regarding cases that happened on 28-29 April 2006. After the meeting, Mr. Pinot reportedly told journalists that the objective of his visit was to provide information regarding the incidents to Mr. Lobato. He also added that the reason why the Provedor did not call Mr. Lobato to his office is because it will take too much time since the Provedor must follow rules and procedures at the Prosecutor-General’s Office. Meanwhile Lobato’s lawyer Mr. Paulo Remedios said that his client was collaborating and responding to all questions that come from the Provedor. (STL, TP)
FNJP will realize demonstration in a short time – On Saturday, FNJP, youths, academics and political parties met at SKB hall in Villa-Verde to gather opinions and ideas to accelerate the judicial process which is very slow and seems to be unjust for the people of Timor Leste. The results of the meeting was to prepare a new structure for preparing demonstrations that will take place on 5th of January and also change the name of FNJP to MUNJ with the objective of counting all peoples of Timor Leste. (TP)
RTTL news headlines
Appeal for cooperation between people and UNPol – UNPol Spokesperson Ms. Monica Rodrigues appealed to all people to collaborate with UNPol in handling security problems in the city and to refrain from giving incorrect information to the Police. She also called upon people to use the free telephone line 112 properly and wisely and not to use it for fun and games. Ms. Rodrigues also said that UNPol have arrested several suspects who were involved in the recent incidents at Comoro bridge and Kampun Alor last month, which resulted in one death.
Extra-ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers – Yesterday the Council of Ministers had an extra-ordinary meeting to decide on the members of the effective commission for the elections. Mr. Joao Alves, Spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, said that the Ministers have appointed four persons to hold the post of the Effective Commission for the Election. There are three permanent members and one reserve member. These four men were elected unanimously by the ministers, added Mr. Joao.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 3 January 2007
Justice – The National Front for Justice and Peace has lamented on the Judiciary System of Timor-Leste. They said that the Government of Timor-Leste does not pay any attention anymore to justice in the Country. It seems the effort of the Government to bring justice to the people is going backward and becoming more and more silenced by the leaders. This was the main concern for the one day workshop of NFJP on Saturday, 30 December 2006. The participants of the workshop came from 13 districts, leaders of Political Parties and some members of NGOs. The aim of the workshop was to evaluate the justice system in Timor-Leste, and the office of the Prosecutor-General.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 29 December 2006/2 January 2007
PM Ramos Horta will candidate TMR to be the next President – Speaking to journalists after attending a Christmas party at the Ministry of Education, PM Ramos-Horta reportedly said that he would support the candidature of the commander of F-FDTL, Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak (TMR), to be the next President if the current President of the Republic, Xanana Gusmão, refuses to run for re-election in 2007. Questioning the reasons for the candidacy of TMR, PM Ramos Horta said that TMR was the proper leader to be in the president¡¯s post. He said TMR has good leadership from the 24 years during the resistance period, and also since 1999, until we faced the East Timor ongoing crisis. TMR has shown a lot of courage during these three periods. Nobody has such courage as he does, stressed PM Ramos Horta. However, questioning on whether or not PM Ramos Horta would declare himself as a candidate, he said that he would not even though the people want him. (DN, TP, STL)
The forthcoming elections will be held prior to the end of the NP mandate: Lu Olo – President of the National Parliament, Francisco Guterres Lu¡¯Olo, was quoted recently in Diario Nacional as saying that the 2007 General Elections will be held before the end of the mandate of the National Parliament – 20 May 2007. He added that some political parties tried to hold the NP regiment [which said the mandate of NP ends on 15 September] to interpret the constitution which obviously stated that 20 May 2007 is the end of the NP mandate. (DN)
Police Members who are now with Fugitive Major Alfredo Reinaldo have not given any response to return to PNTL HQ – Speaking to journalists after visiting the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) HQ in Fatu-hada, the Vice Minister of Interior, Agustinho “Somoco¡” Sequeira reportedly said that he had issued a called-letter for the second time to the members of PNTL who are now still with the fugitive Major Alfredo, but, as yet, there has been no response. The letter was sent twice to request those police members to present themselves to the Ministry of Interior and follow up on the process to re-activate.