Timor-Leste Legal News May 2007 (Part 3)
Four people injured in East Timor violence – DILI, May 30 (Reuters) – Four people were injured on Wednesday when a grenade exploded during gang fighting in East Timor’s capital as campaigning for next month’s parliamentary elections got underway, police and hospital staff said. Police fired tear gas and warning shots to separate two groups of youth fighting near the headquarters of the ruling Fretilin party in Dili.
An official at the National Hospital said one of those injured was in a coma.
Police operations chief Mateus Fernandes said 13 people were arrested after the fighting. “Police are still investigating the cause of the fighting. I cannot tell you what triggered the fighting for the moment,” Fernandes told reporters.
Separately, more than 20 houses have been burnt and almost 300 people have fled their homes in Ermera district over the past week in violence related to the June 30 legislative elections, Zudencio de Jesus of the district police said.
“In last week’s incident, 10 houses were burnt by members of political parties and another 12 houses were burnt … on Monday evening this week,” he said. Hundreds of people, mostly supporters of the ruling Fretilin party, have sought refuge in police stations and churches, the officer said.
Interim Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said the violence was the work of people who wanted to intimidate voters. Outgoing President Xanana Gusmao will run for the more hands-on post of prime minister in the parliamentary polls. Campaigning for the elections kicked off on Tuesday.
“Irresponsible people in that district want to destabilise the nation and prevent people from participating in the elections,” da Silva said. “We will take concrete action to strengthen security so that the elections can take place peacefully and democratically,” he said.
Gang clashes, often blamed on jobless and drunken youth, break out sporadically in East Timor and fighters are often armed with machetes and poisonous steel darts.
Divisions in East Timor’s security forces led to riots last year that spun into deadly violence in which about 30 people died. Foreign troops were sent in to quell the violence.
Indonesia annexed East Timor in 1975 after long-time colonial power Portugal had set it free. East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a violence-marred referendum in 1999. It became fully independent in 2002 after a period of U.N. administration. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/JAK106532.htm
UNMIT Daily Media Review 30 May 2007
All parties want to improve the PNTL’s professionalism – At a joint debate held by the prosecutor for human rights (PDHJ) on Tuesday (29/5) in GMT Dili, all political parties which will compete in the parliamentary elections declared commitment to improving the professionalism of the PNTL. All political parties declared that to improve domestic security for the people, the PNTL needs to become professional, independent, impartial, and act with integrity.
Meanwhile, the representatives from Congresso Nacional Reconstruao Timor Leste (CNRT), Cicilio Caminha and Carmelita Moniz stated that if CNRT wins in the upcoming parliamentary election, CNRT will separate the work of PNTL and ministry of interior. (STL and TP)
Ramos Horta is cheerless on the promulgation of the law of alteration – The president of republic, Jose Ramos Horta said that he is unhappy with some articles in the alteration laws. “I am unhappy about some articles that call for the removal of party logos, it is not acknowledging people’s wishes — which the ruling party Fretilin should learn,” said Mr. Horta on Tuesday (29/5) after promulgating the law in the Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli Dili. (TP)
Government: no tolerance for criminals – The third constitutional Prime Minister, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, guaranteed that IDPs can return home and his government pledged that will not tolerate nor give impunity to criminals regardless of their actions. “For the criminals specifically who have created this crisis, the government will not (seek) “reconciliation and dialogue with such people,” said Mr. da Silva on Tuesday (29/5) in MTRC Caicoli Dili. (TP)
44 Perpetrators involved in the riots of 20th May 2007 temporarily detained in becora prison JSMP Press Release 28 May 2007
The Dili District Court conducted a hearing in the case of the main perpetrators of the riots that occurred on the 20 May 2007 in front of the ASDT office which resulted in the death of one individual. These riots coincided with the anniversary of independence for the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste and the swearing in of a second president after Xanana Gusmao completed his five year tenure.
The hearing was presided over by international judge Ivo Nelson de Caires Rosa Batista, the prosecution was represented by international prosecutor Felismino Cardoso, and the defendants were represented by their respective public defenders, namely: Augosto dos Santos, Arlindo Sanches, Rozinda Tilman and Jose da Silva. The defendants were held under tight supervision by international police which included the Portuguese Rapid Response Unit (GNR) who were granted permission by the presiding judge to enter the court room with pistols at their sides.
The first session commenced at 11:00am and was adjourned at 12:30 pm. At this interval JSMP legal researcher Roberto Pacheco asked the international prosecutor Felismino Cardoso about the decision to permit the presence of armed GNR in the courtroom. In response, the aforementioned prosecutor stated that the presiding judge has exclusive authority to request that the police provide security to prevent any interruption to the hearing, considering the 47 defendants who are involved in this case.
It is clear that the presiding judge has exclusive authority to request that the police keep a tight watch over the hearing. However, this does not mean that it was necessary for them to enter the court room with pistols at their sides, as JSMP legal researcher Roberto believed that this would have a psychological effect by intimidating the defendants who were relatively young. Also, this could influence the way the defendants and the community perceive the interests of justice. The defence also expressed similar sentiments before the hearing began.
The second phase of the hearing commenced at 14:00 and continued until 20:30, and each defendant in turn was summoned by the presiding judge to his chambers to provide testimony about the case.
Recalling that the prevailing climate in the capital was one of instability, the judge decided to adjourn the hearing until the following day, scheduled for 9.30am sharp, to hear the testimony of approximately 8 defendants who were yet to be examined by the court.
After the hearing continued on Thursday 24 May 2007, the judge decided at 3:30pm that 44 defendants had been involved in the confrontation resulting in the death of one individual, injuries to several UNPOL members and serious damage to 7 UNPOL vehicles, and sentenced them to temporary detention in the Becora Prison. 3 defendants were released due to a lack of sufficient evidence to support the charges against them, as well as taking into account their young age.
The announcement of the decision was met with dissatisfaction by the families of the defendants who tried to protest against the judicial authorities, as they believed that their children or family members had not been involved in the confrontation, but rather had been working when they were arrested by UNPOL. This dissatisfaction culminated in an outburst of grief in front of the court, however after being advised by their lawyers that they had 15 days in which to lodge an appeal against the court’s decision, their demeanor changed to one of optimism in anticipation of having their case reheard in the near future.
JSMP hopes that all parties will respect the decision handed down by the judge in the aforementioned hearing. JSMP also advises those families that feel aggrieved to seek redress through the proper legal channels and lodge an appeal, rather than taking any action above the law that would have stern ramifications and would be to their own detriment.
For further information, please contact: Roberto Pacheco Coordinator of Legal Researchers, JSMP E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or contact the Director of JSMP: Timotio de Deus E-mail: email@example.com Landline: +670 3323883
Police ‘ambushed’ in East Timor – An East Timorese police officer has reportedly been shot and wounded in an ambush south-east of the capital, Dili. The officer was attacked in Alas, an area where police believe fugitive rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado and his men are hiding. He was airlifted to a hospital in the capital, where a nurse says he is in a stable condition. The nurse says several men with guns attacked the officer and his colleague on Saturday. “Several men with rifles and hand guns fired at them. He has three bullets in him,” she said.
Reinado has been on the run since he fled jail in a mass break-out in Dili in September. Australian-led troops hunting him down attacked his mountain hide-out in March, killing five of his armed supporters in the failed offensive. The fugitive has previously been blamed in part for last year’s unrest after he and others led 600 soldiers to desert the Army over claims of discrimination. The soldiers were sacked, sparking fire fights between factions of the military and police that degenerated into gang violence.
At least 37 people were killed, another 150,000 displaced and Australian-led foreign peacekeepers were dispatched to restore security. Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, elected President earlier this month, has pledged to restore security and unite the troubled nation. – AFP
Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Prime Minister’s Office Media release 28 May 2007 – Prime Minister Da Silva visits victims of violence in Ermera district – Timor-Leste (East Timor) Prime Minister Estanislau Da Silva has visited hundreds of victims of recent violence in Ermera district southwest of Dili and promised measures to boost security in the lead-up to the June 30 parliamentary election.
Da Silva, a leader of the majority Fretilin party, said the attacks on people and property in Ermera followed the May 9 presidential election and were aimed at intimidating the Ermera community.<br><br>”It is important for the government to know what is happening in Ermera district so we can take concrete measures to restore security and allow election campaigning to take place peacefully,” he said.
“The government will also make efforts to arrest the perpetrators of these attacks and bring them to justice. “The Fretilin government will not tolerate violent behaviour of any kind.”
During his weekend Saturday visit to Ermera, Da Silva visited 70 people from the suco (administrative region) of Orahu who have taken refuge in government buildings in the district capital of Gleno. “Their homes were torched by agitators that want to create instability in the area to prevent people from participating in election campaigning and the 30 June parliamentary elections,” Da Silva said.
He also visited about 200 people sheltering in coffee plantations in the suco of Poetete after their houses were burned or their families subjected to intimidation. Da Silva said Ermera district had been the target of anti-government activities for the past year.
“In early May 2006, a police officer was killed in Gleno when supporters of the army petitioners attacked members of the Rapid Intervention Unit who were protecting the Secretary of State for Region III on an official visit to Gleno,” he said. “In February 2007, Valente Soares, a 24-year-old orphan, and caretaker of Fretilin’s Ermera headquarters was murdered. “Incidents of harassment and intimidation of the local population have increased recently.”
For more information, please contact: Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fretilin: A Final Assault on Democracy – MediaNet Press Release Wire May 25, 2007 Friday 1:21 AM AEST MEDIA RELEASE 24 May 2007
DILI, 24 May 2007 – In the lead up to the legislative elections set for the end of June 2007, with the Fretilin party facing certain defeat, the Fretilin dominated National Parliament of East Timor launched its final assault on the people of East Timor and their constitutional rights to free speech and judicial due process.
The National Parliament was bitterly divided as debate began on the controversial amendment, resulting in all opposition parties walking out in a unilateral protest against the act. Fretilin, a fractured party led by disgraced former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, forced through legislation that imposes penal provisions, including heavy fines and jail terms, for offences that will prove impossible to defend.
With this amendment Fretilin has executed its final attack on the constitutional guarantee of free speech, acting yet again as a hostile government whose aversion to the democratic process is widely noted in their authoritarian rule of power over the last five years. This final attempt of parliamentary intimidation is yet another reminder to the East Timorese, and the wider international community, that an end to the Fretilin one party rule is a necessary step in re-establishing good government and law and order, in a country abused by the disgraced Mari-Alkatiri and his inner core of Fretilin members. In case we forget, it is the same small group of members who are responsible for the crisis in 2006 which has left the people of East Timor even more impoverished, and the country immobilised by a dysfunctional and incapable Fretilin parliamentary majority Government.
The legislation is an obvious and aggressive act in prohibiting and intimidating the citizens of East Timor from lodging complaints against Fretilin for its many alleged violations against the election code, the constitution, the justice system and the citizens. This is a last ditch effort in silencing the community and the opposition from unveiling the inevitable truths of their political corruption and disgraces.
The United Nations auspiced Special Inquiry Commission into the events of April-May 2006 recommended that Alkatiri be investigated further for his role in the transfer of weapons to civilians, an act that led to widespread violence and the subsequent breakdown of stability in the country and conflict between the Parliament and the church, the army, the police, and the citizens of East Timor.
In 2006 the church led their first demonstration in 500 years against the Government, stating that the country had lost faith in the ability of Alkatiri to lead the country. Alkatiri resigned shortly after, but continues to spearhead Fretilin, despite his unfavourable standing, even in the wider Fretilin community.
In this final legislative amendment, Fretilin did not even exempt the church, a sovereign entity in democratic nations, thus prohibiting their ability to speak freely.
Fretilin, a party of historic importance, has been hijacked by this small group and is self-destructing under its own inept governance. This is further demonstrated by its attempt to silence critics and coerce citizens from coming forward with evidential materials of election fraud and other offences. This act only serves as further verification of their continual indiscretion, disregard for democracy and abuse of power.
Alkatiri and his associates should be well advised that his harshest critics are protected under international law and will not and cannot be silenced against their self-serving amendments of legislation in East Timor, created to evade accountability. – ends – SOURCE: East Timor
Statement of Jose Lobato on behalf of the Lobato family – In the name of the Lobato family we would like to make the following statement:
1. We understand the judicial process which has been undertaken in relation to our uncle Rogerio Tiago Lobato and also understand that such a process of justice needs to be applied in a state where the rule of law prevails. We respect the decision of the court in relation to our uncle.
2. We understand that the law and justice should apply to all. In accordance with this principle we believe justice must also be delivered in the case of 6 members of our family (two adults and four children) who were murdered and burned in their house in Fomento, Dili on the 25th of May last year. It has been nearly a year since they were murdered and the process to find justice for them has not began.
3. In the case of our uncle Rogerio, we believe that justice should also apply to the criminal actor or actors of the crime who actually used weapons. The Prosecutor General’s office has made no real effort in regards to this case.
4. It is public knowledge that the international forces have seized more than a thousand police weapons. The justice system has only given attention to the 17 weapons distributed by our uncle, but have given almost no attention to the remaining police weapons.
We await that the Prosecutor General and Courts will make every effort to apply the law and justice equally to all concerned with independence and fairness.
Jose Lobato on behalf of the Lobato family 11 May 2007
UNMIT Daily Media Review 25 May 2007
Horta and F-FDTL seeking to solve petitioners’ problem – The president of republic, Jose Ramos Horta visited F-FDTL HQ on Thursday (24/5) in Tasi-Tolu Dili to observe. During his first visit as President of the country and also as the supreme commander of F-FDTL Dr Ramos Horta said his visit was also to consult with the commander of F-FDTL, Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak about the situation of the petitioners. “Now I am waiting for the spokesperson for the petitioners Gastao Salsinha and his colleagues. I want to meet them here next week for dialogue that will lead to a solution.” said Horta. (STL)
At the same occasion, speaking to the journalist Brig. Gen. Taur Matan Ruak said that F-FDTL keeps its position to solve Alfredo Reinado’s case through dialogue. “Since then we preoccupied that the problem of Alfredo should be solved. If we all know that it is important to be hand in hand, sitting together to look for reasons in togetherness,” said Matan Ruak. (TP)
The incident of 25 May 2006 is the reflection for PNTL and F-FDTL – The president of republic, Jose Manuel Ramos Horta has called on the F-FDTL and PNTL to reflect on the incident of 25 May 2006, which resulted in the death of PNTL and F- FDTL officers. Today is one year since the the massacre on the 25th of May last year; it is the bad image which should not be raised in the future. We should reflect upon it and examination it to ensure that such a problem does not happen again to either institutions, said Horta in his speech when visiting on Thursday (24/5) in F- FDTL HQ Tasi Tolu Dili. (STL)
UNPol denied the allegation of populations in Hudi Laran toward Malaysians – The intern commissioner of UNPol, Herman Prit denied to the allegation from the population in Hudi Laran which said that Malaysian Police collaborate with martial art PSHT. “It is the false allegation,” declared Mr. Prit at a press conference held by UNMIT on Thursday (24/5) in UNMIT HQ Obrigado Barracks Caicoli Dili. (STL)
Speech by the Prime Minister His Excellency Estanislau Da Silva on the Occasion of the Swearing-in of the Third Constitutional Government of RDTL – Lahane Palace 19 May 2007 (Translation from original Portuguese)
His Excellency President of the Republic, His Excellency President-elect of the Republic, His Excellency President of the National Parliament, His Excellency President of the Court of Appeal, Distinguished Members of the Government, Distinguished Members of the National Parliament, His Excellency the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN, Distinguished Ambassadors, Representatives of Diplomatic Missions, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with great pleasure that I accept my nomination by FRETILIN, the party which won the majority of seats in the National Parliament at the 2001 Elections supervised by the United Nations, for the position of Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor- Leste.
I accept the enormous responsibility my party has given me, and I promise to do everything to serve my country and my people in accordance with the Constitution. I will observe and respect the principle of the separation and interdependence of powers, which is the principal foundation for the harmonious development of the State of Timor-Leste, and consequently, of Timorese families and society.
I assume this position convinced that it will be possible to re-establish institutional cooperation, peace and stability in our country.
I accept the intrinsic challenges of this position because I know that I will continue to enjoy the invaluable support of my hardworking colleagues in the Government.
In nine days time, the campaign for the parliamentary elections will begin. The success of the next elections will depend vitally on the security situation. It is of great concern that some individuals and groups insist on causing trouble of various kinds in many places, aiming at pre-meditated targets. These crimes occur during the day, carried out by known individuals and groups. This situation is interpreted by many as a sign of a culture of impunity in our country, which is intolerable in a State based on the rule of law. .
The State must make every effort to put an end to this situation, so the citizens of Timor-Leste can regain their trust in our institutions.
In my view, the national and international security forces must act in a way which inspires trust in the population. Where there is a request to investigate an incident, an impartial investigation must take place to identify who is responsible, so there is not a perception that the security forces are taking sides. Another means of regaining trust is to create mechanisms for the rapid and just trial of those accused by the appropriate authorities.
The interests of the State as a whole must always prevail. Each person holding office must always act in the interests of the State. In no circumstances should an individual office holder put themselves above the State. The State must always speak with a collective voice, consolidating its authority through the application of laws which are recognized and respected by all citizens.
This is the way of doing things which the FRETILIN government has always defended, since our First Constitutional Government. In my brief term of office, which is less than two months, I will continue to defend this ideal.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman
The political crisis has forced us back many years, seriously affecting our security, and the relationships of trust among our people. The government which I will lead will concentrate its efforts on guaranteeing that the wishes of the people are freely expressed during the coming parliamentary elections on 30 June 2007. The Government of RDTL is counting on UNMIT and the International Stabilisation Force to guarantee security in the country. The Government of RDTL is counting also on our people, to denounce immediately anyone who dares to disrupt peace and order during the elections.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman
Timor-Leste is a young country with many successes but also with some failings. I am proud to say that our country has great human potential, in its unshakeable will to overcome the challenges of developing and consolidating our Maubere nation.
I think everyone shares with me this idea, that we should be proud of what we have achieved, but also that we must recognize we have areas of weakness, which need more attention, so we can better deliver services to our people. We are in an ongoing process of learning. We must learn from our recent experiences, so we can continue on our way towards the realization of the wishes and aspirations of our people, for a life of dignity, peace and economic prosperity.
Finally, I would like to thank the United Nations and the Donor Community for their continued assistance with the development of our Timor-Leste, which is helping the government to implement crucial programs for the benefit of our people.
To His Excellency, the President of RDTL, Sr. Xanana Gusmao, I express my appreciation for his services to the State and the people of Timor-Leste.
In the name of the Third Constitutional Government, I congratulate His Excellency Sr. Jose Ramos Horta for his victory in the presidential elections, and I wish him success in his new role which begins tomorrow.
I hope to earn the complete trust of Timor-Leste’s people, in particular the youth, who are the creative and inspiring force of Timorese society.
I and my colleagues will undertake our duties with loyalty to the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
Thank you very much.
Bishop Ricardo: Alfredo’s case is a very sensitive case – Bishop of Dili Diocese Mgr. Alberto Ricardo da Silva said that the Church is ready to be the mediator in solving Alfredo’s case knowing that both Alfredo’s lawyer and the Attorney General consider this a sensitive case.
“I am waiting for them [Alfredo’s lawyer and Prosecutor General] to organize and recommend that the church mediate a dialogue, yet until now neither Alfredo’s lawyers nor the Prosecutor General have consulted me on this,” said Bishop Ricardo on Wednesday (23/5) in his office on the first official visit of the President of Republic, Jose Ramos Horta.
After the meeting, Ramos Horta said that his visit focused on Alfredo’s case in an effort to solve it peacefully. He said that the principal case which should be solved is the problem of Alfredo Reinado Alves with his men and that of the petitioners. He said the church wants to contribute to any pacific solution.
Lawyers agree, replace the President of Court of Appeal and the Attorney General – The president of Association of Timor-Leste’s Lawyer (AATL), Benevides Correia Barros (also the lawyer for Alfredo Reinado) said on Wednesday (23/5) night that AATL agrees that to improve the judicial problems and systems in Timor the President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, and the Attorney General, Longuinhos Monteiro, should both be replaced. However, the lawyers from the Board of Law Support Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH), Arlindo Dias Sanches said that President Jose Ramos Horta has to extend Claudio Ximenes’ duty of work as the President of the Court of Appeal since no other Timorese has 20 years of experience as Mr. Claudio has in judicial matters. (DN and TP)
UN wants to show impartiality in Timor Leste – At a press conference held by UNMIT over the last few days in UNMIT HQ Obrigado Barracks Caicoli Dili, the Special Representative of Secretary-General for Timor Leste (SRSG) Mr. Atul Khare declared that the United Nations in Timor Leste (UNMIT) wants to show its impartiality to all the people of Timor-Leste as the democratic process is implemented in this country. He said that the UN, the ISF and UNPol in Timor Leste will show their impartiality to the people of Timor-Leste. He also appealed to all who are involved in criminal acts to stop the violence.
Horta will give his veto to the law of alteration – The president of republic Jose Ramos Horta questioned about the alteration of electoral law article 46. Mr. Ramos said that such alteration of the electoral law does not harmonize with the democratization of Timor Leste. Furthermore, Horta added that before promulgating such an alteration to the law, he will hear the opinions of CNE, STAE, the Church and all political parties. After his meeting with Bishop Dili Dom Alberto Ricardo da Silva on Wednesday (23/5) in Lecidere Dili, Horta said he will only make a decision after very careful judicial counsel. (STL and TP)
Fretilin accuses PD involved in Lecidere incidents – The spokesperson of Democratic Party (PD), Rui Menezes denied the accusation by Joaquim doSantos, member of national parliament from ruling party Fretilin, who accused members of PD of being involved in Lecidere incidents. “It is the false accusation; our members are not involve in such conflict,” said Mr. Menezes on Wednesday (23/5) in National Parliament. (STL)
Railos case is under investigation – After meeting with president of republic, Jose Ramos Horta on Tuesday (22/5) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli Dili, the Attorney General, Longuinhos Monteiro said that the case of former commander of secret armed force of Fretilin, Vicente da Conceiao Railos is now under investigation related to the accusation toward him for his involvement in Tibar incident last year. Longuinhos explained that last week the lawyers who hold this case had been told to take measures for Railos’ situation. (STL)
ISF ready to agree with decision of High Level Committee – The spokesperson of International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Major Ivan Benitez said that ISF is ready to agree with whatever decision made by the State of Timor-Leste either halting or continuing the operation on Alfredo Reinado and his men. According to the programme of president of republic, Jose Ramos Horta will hold a meeting with the High Level Committee today (24/5) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli Dili. ISF always is ready to agree with the decision made by the State because Timor Leste is a sovereign nation and the ISF is here to provide and ensure security to the people in the country, said Mr. Benites on Wednesday (23/5) via mobile. (TP)
Longuinhos: optimistic on the dialogue with Alfredo – Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro stated that he believes the manner of dialogue to resolve Alfredo’s case will be successful. The manner of dialogue has been opened and he is confident that a resolution can be reached, Longuinhos said after meeting with the President of the Republic Jose Ramos Horta on Tuesday (22/5) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli Dili. Mr. Monteiro added that President Jose Ramos Horta invited him to provide information about the role of the Public Ministry over the last five years. He also said that the President presented questions about the case of Alfredo and his men. (DN and TP)
Clash in Maliana, 3 injured and 1 murdered -The clash between two groups on Sunday (20/5) in Maliana district, sub-district Bobonaro resulted in three injured and one death. The spokesperson of UNMIT, Ms. Allison Cooper, on Tuesday (22/5) said that the clash happened at the time of rice distribution in Maliana district. Because of such confrontation, Ms. Allison said that PNTL and UNPol continue to maintain security in places of high risk. (DN)
Conflict in Lecidere: 3 UNPol injured and 49 people captured – The UNMIT spokesperson Ms. Allison Cooper said on Tuesday (22/5) in UNMIT HQ Obrigado Barracks Caicoli Dili that the clash between two groups on Sunday (20/5) in Lecidere Dili resulted in the injury of three members of UNPol and the capture of 49 people currently awaiting trial. Ms. Cooper said that UNPol did not know the motivation behind the confrontation but that UNPol quickly responded and brought the situation under control. (DN)
Claudio waits for the decision of the president of republic – The president of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, said that if the President of Republic (PR) Jose Ramos Horta allows him to maintain his role as the President of the Court of Appeal in the next period, he will remain but, he said, the ultimate decision will be determined by the President of the Republic. Mr. Claudio said that as a Timorese, he is already contributing within this role to the judicial system but should he change his position he will continue to contribute to the judicial process,” said Mr. Claudio after meeting with the President of Republic Jose Ramos Horta on Tuesday (22/5) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli Dili. (DN and TP)
Joaquim: Claudio deserves to be re-nominated – The member of national parliament from ruling party Fretilin, Joaquim do Santos said on Tuesday (22/5) in national parliament said Claudio Ximenes deserves to be re-nominated as the President of the Court of Appeal. (DN)
L-7 calls for Ramos Horta to solve the refugee problem – The president of UNDERTIM party, Cornelio Gama alias L-7, called on the President of Republic, Jose Manuel Ramos Horta to use his competencies to solve the refugee problem and to maintain and stabilize the national unity and security in the country. “Promptly we want to solve the refugees’ problem, so the population can return home,” said L-7 while participating in the fifth Timor-Leste’s restoration of Independence Day on Sunday (20/5) in government palace. (STL)
Government agrees with Ramos Horta in halting the operation on Alfredo – The third Prime Minister of Constitution, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, stated that Government agrees with the President of the Republic Jose Ramos Horta in halting the operations of International Stabilization Forces (ISF) to capture Alfredo Reinado Alves, if the decision benefits the people and the nation. (STL and TP)
Government will not force IDPs to return home – The coordinator of Emergency Programme of IDPs, Jose Asa, informed that the Government will not compel IDPs to return home. According to Mr. Asa, IDPs decided that they will not return home due to the conflict between martial arts groups. He said the IDPs feel strongly about this and that their security is not guaranteed. Those who have had their houses burned will return when their houses are rebuilt, said Mr. Asa on Tuesday (22/5) in his office in Caicoli Dili. (TP)
Legislative campaign will start on 27 of May – The spokesperson of CNE Fr. Martinho Gusmao reportedly stated that the electoral campaign of political parties for legislative election will be held for 30 days and will run from 27 of May until 27. Fr. Gusmao informed that before campaigning, all political parties have to provide a detailed schedule of the campaign itself and present it to CNE for acknowledgment. “Our tasks is not just to acknowledge and approve it; we also want to know the movement of the electoral supervision” said Fr. Martinho on Tuesday (21/5) in Lecidere Dili. (TP)
Threats to Alfredo’s lawyer: state has to provide protection – In relation with the declaration from Alfredo’s lawyer, Benevides Correa Barros, alleging threats received from some groups, the members of National Parliament from the Democratic party (PD) and PST, Rui Menezes and Pedro da Costa Martires told journalists on Tuesday (22/5) that the State has an obligation to provide protection to Alfredo’s lawyer. According to these members of Parliament, the State is responsible for providing protection for those lawyers who have a moral obligation to assist the State and Government in the judicial process to resolve crisis in the country. (TP)
The Parliament Election Amendment Law Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release – 18, May 2007 – Yesterday, 16th May, the National Parliament passed the Parliament Election Amendment Law in an extraordinary session and with just enough members present to achieve a quorum. The extraordinary session was necessary since the assembly lost quorum on Tuesday morning less than halfway through the bill, a scenario that seems to occur all too often, even when urgent and necessary bills are being discussed.
Most of the amendments were the logical result of lessons learned from the two rounds of Presidential elections, or technical amendments. However, a few changes stand out and must be brought to public attention.
JSMP would like first of all to congratulate the members of Parliament on repealing Art 5 of the Parliament Election law, which excluded prisoners and people identified as mentally ill on spurious grounds from exercising their right to vote. In addition to this, and in response to a request from JSMP, a provision for mobile voting was introduced into the Parliament electoral process. This means that people who are unable to go to a polling centre (either because they are in prison, especially those in preventive detention, or because they are in hospital for example) will benefit from mobile polling stations that come to them. Together, these two measures taken by Parliament have re-enfranchised a substantial number of people whose right to vote has so far been denied.
On the downside, two significant changes were made to the law, which may endanger the smooth running of the upcoming parliamentary elections. One is the removal of photographs from the ballot paper design, and the other is the alteration of the counting procedures.
Previously, the ballot papers were supposed to include the denomination, abbreviation, flag or emblem of the political party or coalition, as well as the photograph of the candidate appearing first on their list. However, yesterday Parliament removed any mention of a photograph on the ballot paper. JSMP feels strongly that this puts illiterate voters at an unfair disadvantage. It also stands in the way of voters easily identifying their chosen party or coalition since the first person on the lists will also be the most present in the public eye. It will therefore be more difficult to guarantee that voters express their true intention.
The second change is the most worrying. Due to security concerns deriving from the counting of votes at polling station level, the entire counting process is being shifted up to district level. This means that ballot boxes from each polling centre will be sealed and immediately brought to the district tabulation centre as soon as voting closes.
Defenders of this move argue that it will make the identification of voters’ choices more difficult for anyone who may want to harm them due to differing political opinions. However, JSMP feels that this is unlikely to help. In East Timor, voting takes place by secret ballot. Therefore anyone who harms or threatens another because they voted for a candidate or party that they disapprove of, is making an assumption. The change in the law will not stop people from making this kind of assumption about other people’s political opinions.
On a more technical level, the Electoral Administration Bodies, STAE and CNE, have just carried out two successful elections, with a marked improvement between round 1 and 2. The Parliament election should build on these improved capabilities rather than bring in massive changes that require huge logistical and procedural adaptation. Within the short time that is available before the vote for the National Parliament, STAE and CNE have to make completely new regulations, retrain staff and find an indoor space in each district that is large enough to accommodate the counting of 20,000 to 100,000 votes. Security concerns are also proportionally greater when so many ballots are being kept in the same place.
JSMP strongly regrets this change and feels that its purpose, though well meant, will not be fulfilled. If there is to be election-related violence, it will happen regardless of where the counting takes place, and we can only work together as a people to avoid it. We urge the people of Timor Leste to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner, and call upon all political actors to refrain from inflammatory or provocative language and actions. We are proud of the achievement of the two previous rounds of elections and hope that the next election can be even more successful.
Dra. Zoe Leffler International Volunteer at Legal Researcher Unit, JSMP Email : email@example.com Or Contact to Dr. Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Telephone: 332 3883 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ximenes ends mandate, no Timorese judge to replace him 22 May 2007 by Alberico Junior Timor Post, Translated from Tetun – Vice Director of monitoring NGO, the Justice Systems Monitoring Program (JSMP) Casimeiro dos Santos, said a judge must be found to replace outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes. Ximenes will finish his mandate on May 28, but Casimeiro said there were no Timorese with the necessary experience to replace Ximenes. He said candidates for the job should have 15 years active experience on the bench.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 22 May 2007
Political parties should act upon the alteration of electoral law – The members of national parliament from KOTA, Manuel Tilman said that the alteration of electoral law article 67 will be obeyed by all the political parties and any complaints will have to be investigated.Speaking to journalists on Monday in the national parliament, Mr. Tilman said that such articles, especially about the neutrality of administration indicate that all public officers and directors have to be neutral. Mr. Tilman also stated that all political parties have to act upon such electoral law morally. (STL)
Xanana Hands over the key of Palacio das Cinzas – Former president of republic Kayrala Xanana Gusmao handed the key of Palacio das Cinzas over to the new president of republic Jose Manuel Ramos Horta on Monday (21/5). It is the symbol of handing the role of president republic over Horta to commence his duty in Palacio das Cinzas as the president of republic Timor Leste. (DN, TP and STL)
Horta: Alfredo does not need to be afraid of submitting himself – The president of republic Jose Manuel Ramos Horta has called on Alfredo Reinado not to be afraid of the judicial process. Horta said that security will be guaranteed by the state to prepare dialogue to achieve any solution problems faced by him. (DN)
PD has no criminal militants – In relation to the clash in Hudi Laran, the information said that the conflict was done by the militants from Democratic Party (PD).In response to such information, the spokesperson of PD, Rui Menezes said on Friday (18/5) in national parliament that Pd has no criminal militants and sympathizers. Furthermore Menezes added that PD only has the militants who obey the rules of PD of peace and stability to contribute this tiny nation. (DN)
CPD-RDTL will collaborate with Horta – The president of the republic Jose Ramos Horta has received a letter of congratulation from CPD-RDTL last Thursday (17/5). The letter mentioned that CPD-RDTL will collaborate with new president of republic Jose Ramos Horta in the country. (DN)
Horta: as the chief of state, I should not contact Alfredo – The president of republic Jose Ramos Horta reportedly said that as the President, it is not his role to contact Alfredo Reinado Alves. “As a chief of state I should not contact with Reinado, however it should be done by the president of the court of appeal, bishops and Reinado’s lawyer” said Horta. Horta added that if Alfredo wants to contribute to justice he should respond to the letter of ex president republic Kayrala Xanana Gusmao. (DN)
Alfredo’s letter is prioritized in the 1st meeting of PR and Government – The letter from Alfredo Reinado Alves will be a priority in the first meeting between president of republic Jose Ramos Horta and the Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva. The meeting between the president of the republic and government was held today (22/5) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli Dili. “Tomorrow we will held a meeting with prime minister Estanislau da Silva and his vice Rui Maria de Araujo to discuss and response Alfredo’s letter and residence,” said Horta. (TP)
Alfredo’s lawyer is threatened – The lawyer of Alfredo Reinado Alves, Benevides Correia Barros reportedly said for the past two months he has felt threatened by some groups. Mr. Benevides suspected that such action related to the case of Alfredo Reinado including his declaration which published in newspapers about the group of “Maputo”. He added that even if he has not identified such group, he will seek the way and presenting to the public minister for any security guaranteed. (TP)
More Legal News from May 2007: