Timor-Leste Legal News August 2007
llegitimate government attacks senior judge FRETILIN Media release 30 August 2007 – Timor Leste’s new illegitimate government has again struck at the independence of the judiciary with Minister for Justice Ms Lucia Lobato attempting to smear a UN appointed District Court judge who issued a court order she did not like.
FRETILIN Member of Parliament Jose Teixeira, an Australian-trained lawyer, said the Justice Minister deliberately lied to parliament about the actions of Justice Ivo Rosa who ordered that former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato be permitted to travel to Malaysia for medical treatment on the advice of three foreign doctors.
Teixeira today said Ms Lobato lied to parliament when she claimed Justice Rosa was at Dili airport on the same day the Minister interfered with the court order regarding Rogerio Lobato.
“Justice Rosa was not at the airport that day as the Minister for Justice well knows,” Teixeira said.
“She has tried to dishonestly imply that Justice Rosa somehow authorised her to prevent Rogerio Lobato leaving Timor Leste.
“This is a contemptible lie from a Minister who is trying to smear the name of a United Nations-appointed judge who issued a court order she did not agree with. In only one month the Minister has developed a reputation for having absolutely no respect for the independence of the judiciary.
“On the very first day of the new government, it illegally interfered with a court order by preventing Rogerio Lobato’s aircraft from taking off. Then the Justice Minister tried to insist that Rogerio Lobato’s two children remain in Timor Leste as virtual hostages pending his return from treatment.
government, President José Ramos- Horta reminded the PNTL members to remain neutral. “We met with President Horta to discuss the security plan preparations in order to avoid any political involvement by PNTL members,” said Mr. Afonso de Jesus, the PNTL Commander- designate on Tuesday (31/7). He said that the PNTL should remain a neutral institution that provides protection to all the Timorese people. (TP)
PRESIDÊNCIA DA REPÚBLICA
GABINETE DO PRESIDENTE MEDIA RELEASE Palacio das Cinzas, August 3, 2007
DECISION TO FREEZE ALL SECURITY AND POLICE ACTIONS AGAINST MR. ALFREDO REINADO AND HIS MEN REMAINS IN FORCE
At yesterday’s High Level meeting, chaired by H.E. the President, it was unanimously agreed that the decision taken by the Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, on June 18, 2007, remains in force.
In that meeting (June 19) it was agreed that all security and police actions aimed at arresting Mr. Alfredo Reinado and his armed elements be frozen in order to create the appropriate conditions for a meaningful dialogue leading to the surrender of all weapons in possession of Mr. Alfredo Reinado and his men and his surrender to justice.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by the newly elected President of National Parliament, Mr. Fernando Araujo Lasama; the Prime Minister, Eng Estanislau da Silva; the Minister for the Interior, Dr Alcino Baris; the Prosecutor General, Dr Longuinhos Monteiro; the Commander of the Armed Forces of Timor-Leste, F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak; the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Dr Atul Khare; the Deputy SRSG, Security Sector Support and Rule of Law, General Eric Tan; and the Commander of ISF (International Security Forces), Brigadier John Hutchinson.
In the course of the meeting H.E. the President of the Republic explained that he has given the green light to the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and MUNJ (Movimentu Unidade Nacional ba Justiça) in coordination with the Prosecutor General, Dr Longuinhos Monteiro, to continue to establish contacts with Mr. Alfredo Reinado.
H.E. Presidente Ramos-Horta added that he was ready to meet with Mr. Alfredo Reinado in the near future if such a meeting can be meaningful in order to expedite the resolution of this case.
The President explained his willingness to meet Mr Alfredo Reinado by stating: “It might be unusual for a Head of State to travel into the mountains to meet an individual but I’m always inspired by the lessons of humility and generosity of Jesus Christ who taught us that the sheppard must always go and look for the lost sheep.” – ends For further information please contact the Media Officer, Mr. Joel Pereira and Ms. Ana Mota on 7230160 (Kontaktu ho Media Presidente Horta ho: Joel ho Ana Mota iha Lusitania 670- 3339008 & 7230160)
“Justice Rosa had to issue a new direction saying the Justice Minister could be in contempt of court if she prevented Rogerio Lobato from travelling.
“FRETILIN in government never interfered with the justice system including when Rogerio Lobato, a senior FRETILIN figure, was arrested, tried, sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, and failed to win his appeal.”
Teixeira said the Justice Minister’s assault on the judiciary is just one of many examples of members of the illegitimate government showing contempt for judicial processes.
“During the recent parliamentary election campaign, the Gusmao-led CNRT party appointed disgraced former army sergeant Vicente de Conceicao (aka Railos) to head their campaign in Liquica district – despite Railos having been recommended for prosecution by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry last year for alleged murder.
“In July this year, Judge Rosa warned there was compelling evidence to launch a criminal investigation into the issuing of a letter of safe passage for the fugitive Alfredo Reinado who also was recommended for prosecution by the UN for his role in last year’s crisis, including for alleged murder. The letter of safe passage was issued by the Gusmao-appointed Prosecutor-General, Longhuinos Monteiro.”
Teixeira said there were clear signs that Timor Leste under the new regime was sliding towards a police state.
He pointed to demands reported recently in the local media for the arrest of top FRETILIN leaders made by two MPs whose parties hold positions in the illegitimate government, Pedro da Costa (CNRT party) and the President of ASDT, Francisco Xavier do Amaral.
Teixeira said, “Just as it was in Suharto’s time, they are choosing who to prosecute and who to persecute.”
UNMIT Daily Media Review 29 August 2007
5 PNTL members involved in Viqueque and Uatolari case – The Public Ministry has indicated that there are five members of PNTL among the suspects allegedly involved in arson in Uatolari, Viqueque district. Speaking to the journalists on Tuesday (28/8), the Attorney-general, Longuinhos Monteiro said that the five members of the PNTL are on duty in Uatolari, Viqueque district. “The Public Ministry will ask police in Viqueque to investigate, and if PNTL members are involved in this action, then a new team should be established for the purposes of further investigation,” said Mr. Monteiro. (STL)
Atul Khare: groups organized the violence in Viqueque and Baucau – The SRSG in Timor Leste, Atul Khare stated that the violence in Viqueque and Baucau districts was not spontaneous, but organized by some groups. “It happened due to the lack of knowledge on constitutional interpretation from the political leaders,” said Mr. Khare in a meeting with the political leaders in Baucau district on Thursday (23/8). He explained that the role of the leaders is to ensure the democratic process continue in the country. Mr. Khare also called on the political leaders to cooperate with each other to contribute to the country’s development. (STL)
Jailed police will not be activated – The PNTL Interim Commander, Afonso de Jesus, stated that based on the law governing the PNTL, the members of PNTL who are in jail due to violence will not be activated. “It is obviously that in the discipline law governing PNTL there is an article that allows PNTL officer to be on duty after fulfilling a sentence of more than about three years,” said Mr. Afonso on Tuesday (28/8) in Caicoli, Dili. Currently the secretary of state for defence affairs is looking at revising the law. (STL)
30 August, some ministries and state secretaries sworn in – The empty seats in the Alliance government will be filled on 30 August. According to the schedule, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao will swear in the Minister and secretary of state on 30 august in Nobre Palace Lahane, Dili. “The swearing in will be held on 30 August, in the afternoon,” said Mr. Gusmao after the meeting of the High Level Committee in the Presidential Palace Caicoli, Dili. (STL)
UNPol seizes weapons document – The joint team comprising the Attorney-general, Longuinhos Monteiro, UNPol and PNTL over the last two weeks seized secret documentation registering the purchase of weapons in Bazartete, Liquica district. “This document has been directly seized by Mr. Longuinhos, UNPol and PNTL” said an unknown source in last few days. According to the source there are also other goods together with the document such as three passports with one name from Mozambique, one pistol, a uniform of the URP and some other unidentified articles. Speaking to journalists on Friday (24/8) the Attorney-general Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro acknowledged that evidence had been seized and that they will conduct further investigation. (TP)
Alfredo’s status will be determined after the dialogue – The secretary of the State of Defence affairs, Julio Thomas Pinto affirmed that Alfredo’s status will be determined after having dialogue. “Alfredo’s status will discussed after dialogue, but talking about status it is the competency of the commander based on the law, not politicians,” said Mr. Pinto on Tuesday (28/8) in Memorial Hall Farol, Dili. According to Mr. Julio, the president’s position on Alfredo and the petitioners is to create a task force along with the national parliament. (TP)
Prosecutor identifies suspects of violence in Baucau and Viqueque – The Prosecutor-general has identified 11 suspects in Viqueque and 57 in Baucau following the violence that broke out in the eastern part of the country, resulting in many victims. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday (28/8) in Caicoli, Dili the Attorney-general, Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro stated that the prosecutor general has established a team for one week to conduct such activities. “We have identified 11 suspects in Viqueque and 57 in Baucau. The 23 suspects in Baucau have been put in preventive prison to enable the case to proceed promptly,” said Mr. Monteiro. (TP)
OJETIL: using force never solves conflicts – The Youth and Student Organisation of Timor-Leste (OJETIL/Organizasaun Juventude Estudantes Timor Leste) reportedly called on President JosÃ© Ramos-Horta not to use international forces as the instrument to solve the current conflict and disturbances in Timor-Leste. Speaking to journalists in a press conference on Tuesday (28/8) in Dili, Vice president of OJETIL, Liurai Tasi, affirmed that president should focus on dialogue to find a solution for such conflicts. Mr. Liurai Tasi added that President should immediately take measures against the Aussie soldiers that did not respect the Fretilin flag. (TP)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 28 August 2007
President should define Alfredo’s status to minimize confusion – The members of the parliament yesterday (27/8) called on the state, especially President José Ramos Horta to define Alfredo Reinado Alves’ status in order to minimize the confusion and avoid conflict. MPs from PSD, Fretilin and CNRT said that Alfredo’s status is unknown to Timor-Leste and requested clarification prior to having a dialogue. (TP)
Fretilin accused of corruption, ready to be investigated – The MP from Fretilin, Elizario Ferreira confirmed that Fretilin is not afraid of an investigation [Fretilin has been accused of corruption during the previous government]. Speaking to journalists on Monday (27/8) at the national parliament, Mr. Ferreira said that Fretilin is ready to be investigated by the national and international teams, including the Attorney-General. He also revealed that there is no evidence for this accusation. (DN)
Arsenio Bano: President’s declaration goes against constitution – The MP from Fretilin, Arsenio Paixão Bano reportedly objected to President José Ramos-Horta’s decision to take the IDPs out of the Metinaro camps. “The president’s decision goes against the universal principles of the Timorese constitution,” he said. (DN)
MUNJ submits report on Alfredo to Secretary of State for Defence and Security – The Movement of National Unity and Justice (MUNJ) reportedly submitted its preliminary report on Alfredo Reinado Alves and his men on Monday (27/8) to the Secretary of State for Defence, Julio Thomas Pinto. “We always give updates to those responsible for Alfredo’s case,” said Mr. Agostu. He added that such report is meant to assist in solving the case. (DN)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 27 August 2007
980 police officers to be active – The members of PNTL who completed their screening following last year’s crisis are now on active duty in Dili. The PNTL Commander-Designated, Afonso de Jesus said that 980 PNTL members are now on duty in Dili, this excludes members who in the process of being screened. (TP)
ISF to collaborate with the local authority in security escalation – The Chief Village of Afaloikai, Henrique de Carvalho has asked the International Stabilization Forces (ISF) that are allocated in Uatolari, Viqueque district to collaborate with the local authorities to secure the district. Speaking to the journalists on Friday (24/8) in his residence, Mr. Carvalho said that if ISF, UIR and F-FDTL withdraw from the region, the problems will reemerge. (TP)
Autonomist government, a rumor – Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said there does not need to be a law passed to check the background of parliamentarians because the accusations that the government is unconstitutional are based on rumours only. He said that rather than waste funding on this, which will have no benefit for the people, it is better to forget the past and come together to discuss the future of the people in this country. (TP)
President submit Alfredo and Petitioners’ case to Xanana – President José Ramos-Horta will submit the case of Alfredo Reinado Alves and petitioners officially on Tuesday (28/8) to the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão to try and solve both problems peacefully. “Alfredo is ready to have dialogue to solve this problem,” said President José Ramos-Horta on Friday (24/8) after meeting with students in the Presidential Palace in Caicoli, Dili. (STL)
Longuinhos, does not fulfill the criteria to be PNTL commander – The member of national parliament from Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão said that the Attorney –General Longuinhos Monteiro does not qualify to be the PNTL commander, even though he knows much about the police force. He revealed that the new PNTL commander should have a vision for reform to restore the reputation that was ruined in last year’s crisis and if a commander has no credibility the reform goals will not be achieved. “We should observe that during his roles as the Attorney-general he failed to resolve a lot of problems which remain controversial, such as the case of Alfredo Reinado,” said Mr. Mario. (STL) Furthermore, another MP from CNRT, Aderito Hugo da Costa said that to convinced people that the reform of the judiciary is and PNTL is solid, it needs a credible and knowledgeable figure.
“It is the competence of the president to nominate an attorney general, but he/she should be a credible figure to run the office,” said Mr. Hugo on Friday (24/8) in PNTL’s office, Dili. (STL)
President threats to take out IDPs from camps – The President José Ramos-Horta has threatened to remove the IDPs from Metinaro because of their ongoing provocation that resulted in house burnings on Thursday last week. Speaking to journalist on Friday (24/8) the President said that he will recommend the F-FDTL secure IDP camps Metinaro. “if they destroy people’s properties, the state will not recognize them as IDPs,” said President Horta. He added that he has heard that IDPs in Metinaro kill others’ livestock, loot properties and throw rocks at cars. “I call on radical members of Fretilin in the Airport, Metinaro, Jardim and Obrigado Barracks to stop the provocation,” said President Horta. (DN)
East Timor: Fretilin says no to joining government as calm returns to capital – Dili, 24 August (AKI) – As a veneer of calm descends on East Timor after Thursday’s clashes, the political tension remains high.
In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) Jose Texeira, an MP with the largest party, Fretilin, said that his party will not accept prime minister Xanana Gusmao’s invitation to join his government.
“Fretilin will not join the government. That is for sure,” he said. “We still consider the current government unconstitutional and we will have no part in it.”
The daily Timor Post quoted Gusmao as saying “there will be Fretilin people sitting in the government cabinet.”
The paper also cited deputy prime minister Jose Luis Guterres as saying “I know that the prime minister has sent several letters to a Fretilin leader to ask whether several party members can come into this government.”
Guterres is a former Fretilin member, who led a group of defectors into Gusmao’s camp prior to the election.
The alleged overture is widely seen as a gesture to appease Fretilin, who won the largest share of the vote in the June polls but was left out of government after president Jose Ramos-Horta decided to appoint Fretilin rival Gusmao as premier.
Gusmao leads a coalition of four minority parties that controls 37 of the 65 seats in parliament.
Gusmao’s appointment has been labelled as unconstitutional by Fretilin, which had also said to be willing to lead a government of national unity
Fretilin secretary general, Mari Alkatiri, has stated that Ramos-Horta should have allowed Fretilin to form a minority government and then let parliament decide whether to accept its programme.
Ramos-Horta refused on the ground that it would have led to more instability.
If a government’s programme is voted down twice by MPs, the president is left with little option but to dissolve the parliament and call for a new vote.
Gusmao’s appointment has also led to sporadic clashes between supporters of the two fronts.
Clashes were reported in several parts of the country on Thursday and two people have been confirmed dead.
Sources in Dili however reported the situation was calmer on Friday at least in the capital, where international peacekeepers and UN police are patrolling the territory.
The UN enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles in the country last year after clashes broadly between ethnic groups from the east and west of the country killed at least 37 people and forced 150,000 others to flee their homes.
Fretilin lately gained the lion share of its vote in the three eastern districts, where it is now seen as the defender of easterners’ rights.
AUSGOV: Defence Rejects Unfounded Timor Allegations Department of Defence Media Mail List CPA 268/07 Friday, 24 August 2007 – Defence rejects allegations reported by Rory Callinan in the online version of Time Australia magazine, relating to an incident in the village of Same (Timor Leste) on 4 March 2007.
The allegations are made by Alfredo Reinado, who is a fugitive from the Timorese criminal justice system and who has threatened the safety of Australian troops.
Defence spokesman, Brigadier Andrew Nikolic said Renaido’s allegations do not accurately reflect the events of 4 March 2007.
Brigadier Nikolic said the ADF has conducted a post operation investigation and it is clear that Australian personnel acted to defend themselves when shot at by armed members of Reinado’s group.
“In the early hours of 4 March 2007 during a confrontation with armed supporters of Alfredo Renaido, Australian soldiers acted in self
defence and returned fire resulting in the deaths of five of Reinado’s men.”
Brigadier Nikolic said the Australian soldiers were operating under the lawful direction of the Timor-Leste Government in attempting to apprehend Reinado and his armed associates.
“In a second incident on 4 March 2007, Defence can confirm that a Timorese man, detained on suspicion of association with the Reinado group, escaped. Neither this man, nor any detainee, Timorese national, unidentified civilian or ADF person was injured or killed as a result of this incident.”
The Timor-Leste authorities, including the Public Prosecutions Service, have also reviewed the circumstances of these incidents and decided not to conduct further investigations.
Media contact: Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664
UNMIT Daily Media Review 24 August 2007
26 houses were burnt in Metinaro – Twenty six houses were burnt in Metinaro on Thursday (23/8) morning by unidentified people from nearby IDP camps. Three young men alleged to be involved have been arrested by the Portugues FPU in IDPs camp of Metinaro and are being investigated for the arson. According to the UNPol Daily Security Briefing, there was a fight in Metinaro yesterday morning involving 100 – 300 people armed with machetes, steel darts and bows. Formed Police Units (FPUs) and the International Stabilization Force (ISF) managed to control the situation, but the market was almost completely destroyed in the fighting. Three people were arrested. Mr. Ananias Gonçalves, one of the victims the said that he did not know the reason behind the violence. “We totally lament this criminal action, we will not tolerate the damage done in Metinaro by displaced people. We as the population accept them but they do not consider what we have done for them,” said Mr. Gonçalves sadly. (TP and STL)
Humanitarian assistance distributed today – The Vice Prime Minister José Luis Guterres has announced that the Government will send 30 trucks of humanitarian assistance as emergency support to the victims of the eastern violence. “The assistance will got to people in Baucau and Viqueque districts especially in Uatolari sub-district,” said Mr. Jose Luis on Thursday (23/8) in Government Palace, Dili. (TP and STL)
Dudu: Alfredo is the defender of law – The Former Falintil Commander region IV, Ernesto Fernandes Dudu on Wednesday (22/8) in Fatubesi Ermera said that the current meeting between President José Ramos-Horta and Alfredo Reinado Alves and his men is the sign of willingness from the state and church to solve the problem. Mr. Dudu also said that Reinado will not run away from his responsibility to the judicial process. He said that Reinado should be responsible for his action through justice. (STL)
Timor-Leste, needs anti-corruption law – The head of the Public Administration of Political Science Faculty of UNTL, Tolentino de Araujo said that the by the new Prime Minister, Kayrala Xanana Gusmão to draft an anti-corruption, collusion and nepotism law is a strong step towards good governance. “I think it is the positive step that will combat corruption in the country,” said Mr. Araujo on Thursday (23/8) in national parliament. (STL)
Need time to solve Alfredo’s problem – The state and government of Timor-Leste need time to solve the case of Alfredo Reinado Alves and his followers as it is a serious case in the country according to the member of national parliament from CNRT party, Paulo Martins. He said that the problem could be solved when all parts have the same good will to seek the solution for Reinado’s case in the dialogue. He said that the problem will not be ended when all parties stand apart and do not accept each other. (STL)
Horta to presents Alfredo’s case to the government – President José Ramos-Horta reportedly will present the case of Alfredo Reinado Alves to the government on Tuesday next week. “Next week Reinado’s case will be presented to the High Level Committee,” said East Timor Prime Minister, Kayrala Xanana Gusmão on Thursday (23) after meeting with President José Ramos-Horta in Presidential Palace Caicoli, Dili. (TP)
Fund for health treatment, Rogerio rejects the accusation – The P former minister of interior, Rogerio Tiago Lobato has rejected the accusation that the Fretilin’s government gave him US$30.000 for his medical treatment. His lawyers Mr. Paulo Remedios and Nelson de Carvalho told journalists on Thursday (23/8) in Hotel Timor, Dili that Lobato did not receive the money. “Government should not accuse our client of receiving money from Fretilin. I ask the government to show the legal invoices, it is clear that Mr. Rogerio does not receive US$30.000 from Fretilin,” said Mr. Paulo Remedios, quoting Lobato’s words. (TP)
Arsenio Bano gets SMS threats – The Vice President of Fretilin party also the member of national parliament from Fretilin, Arsenio Paixão Bano said that he received threats of the Short Text Message (SMS) on Monday (20/8) via the overseas Mobile Number. “This is the first SMS I receive from Australian Mobile Number on Monday (20/8) at 1306 hours,” informed Mr. Bano on Thursday (23/8) in CCF Comoro, Dili. He said that he is totally concerned by the SMS that threatened him not to criticize East Timor’s new Prime Minister. “O lalika Kontra bebei-beik katuas Xanana, mas kuidadu buat ruma iha Dili halai mak biban se lae……” / “You should not go against Mr. Xanana, be aware if something happen in Dili manage to run if not……’ he quoted the SMS. (DN)
Joaquim dos Santos: If Alfredo loves stability – The Fretilin member of the national parliament Joaquim dos Santos said that if Alfredo Reinado honours his public word, he is ready to submit himself to the justice, to have dialogue and disarm. Speaking to the journalists on Thursday (23/8) Mr. dos Santos said that his actions will be based on his desire for stability in the country as a Timorese citizen. (DN)
NEW UNREST FLARES IN TIMOR-LESTE, UN POLICE REPORTS – New York, Aug 23 2007 12:00PM Fighting involving 100 to 300 people armed with machetes, steel darts and bows broke out in Timor-Leste today, almost completely destroying a market in the town of Metinaro in the latest violence following inconclusive elections two months ago, the United Nations Police reported today.
Latest reports indicate that trouble flared up again in the afternoon and 10 houses and a motorcycle were set on fire. The police and the fire brigade are in attendance. Three people were arrested. The International Stabilization Force (ISF) and other police units rushed to the scene, east of Dili, the capital.
Two people were also reported to have been killed in a confrontation in Ermera, another eastern region of the small South-East Asian country that the UN helped shepherd to independence from Indonesia in 2002, but no further details were available, UNPOL said.
In Dili, UNPOL attended to eight incidents, firing tear gas to control the crowds and arresting six people. Large groups engaged in sporadic fighting in the vicinity of Surik Mas and Bairo Pite.
Separately, a fire was also reported near the Comoro roundabout, which was extinguished with only minor damage. A small fight near Bebonuk primary school was also brought under control by police.
Timor-Leste has been shaken by unrest after the formation of a new government following the June elections, which failed to produce a single outright winner.
The UN enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles in the country last year after violence attributed to differences between eastern and western regions killed at least 37 people and forced 155,000 others, 15 per cent of the population, to flee their homes.
Youths go on rampage in East Timor, 2 dead – Associated Press August 23, 2007 – Dili, East Timor – Hundreds of rampaging youths torched dozens of houses and clashed across East Timor on Thursday, leaving at least two people dead, the U.N. said, in violence sparked by the appointment of independence hero Xanana Gusmao as prime minister.
Authorities fired tear gas and made at least 14 arrests as political rivals clashed in several parts of the country, including the capital, Dili. Some wielded machetes, steel darts and bows, while others set fires to buildings, police and witnesses said.
In one town near Dili, international peacekeepers “managed to control the situation, but the market was almost completely destroyed in the fighting,” the U.N. said. Two people were killed in violence in the central district of Ermera, the U.N. said, without providing further details.
Dozens of houses were set ablaze in the town of Metinaro, 15 miles east of the capital, police said.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, broke free from decades of Indonesian rule in 1999 and formally declared statehood three years later.
It descended into chaos last April when communal violence left 37 people dead and sent 155,000 people fleeing their homes. It is struggling to restore political stability amid extreme poverty and severe food shortages.
Unrest flared again on Aug. 6, after three rounds of elections, when Gusmao was named the head of a new government. The move angered supporters of the former ruling party, Fretilin, which won most votes in a parliamentary poll in June.
Hundreds clash in fresh ETimor unrest – 23 Aug 07 DILI (AFP) – Hundreds of machete-wielding youths clashed in an East Timorese town Thursday in the latest outbreak of violence following the appointment of a new government early this month, the UN and police said.
Up to 300 people armed with machetes as well as steel darts and bows brawled in the Metinaro market, leaving it almost totally destroyed, the UN mission here said in a statement.
International and local security forces brought the situation under control in the town about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Dili, it said, but later about 10 houses and a motorcycle were torched. Three people were arrested.
The police commander for the area, Mateus Fernandes, told AFP that 26 houses had been burned down.
In the capital, where sporadic violence has occurred since President Jose Ramos-Horta announced that the government would be headed by former president Xanana Gusmao, large groups also engaged in fighting, according to the UN.
“Police have been in attendance and have fired tear gas to control the crowds. Six people have been arrested so far,” the UN said.
The protests have apparently been stoked by sympathisers of the former ruling party Fretilin.
The party won the most votes in inconclusive June elections but not the absolute majority required to rule.
A coalition headed by Gusmao controlling a majority of parliamentary seats was instead asked to form a government, but Fretilin insists that it should have been approached.
Thousands of international peacekeepers and UN police are on patrol in restive East Timor, alongside local police.
The forces arrived in the wake of violence between local security force factions on Dili’s streets in April and May last year that left at least 37 people dead.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 23 August 2007
F-FDTL: ready to have dialogue with Petitioners and Alfredo – he Secretary of State and Military and Defence, Julio Thomas Pinto has confirmed that the F-FDTL is ready to have dialogue with the petitioners and Alfredo Reinado and his men. “F-FDTL is always open to have dialogue with petitioners and Alfredo Reinado Alves and his followers,” said Mr. Julio on Tuesday (21/8) in Government Palace, Dili. He said that the F-FDTL is ready to talk to try and solve the problems in the country. (TP)
Government to reform F-FDTL’s standpoint – The Secretary of State and Defence, Julio Thomas Pinto affirmed that government led by Prime Minister, Kayrala Xanana Gusmão will reform the F-FDTL to professional standards. “The reformation is not focused on the Falintil veterans; there are many veterans that have a vision for how to develop the military. It is very important to reform the mentality from that of a guerilla mentality to a professional mentality,” said Mr. Pinto. He added that government will also make a special study on the military’s ability to vote in elections. (TP)
RENETIL to monitor activities of the parliament – The Resistencia National do Estudantes Timor Leste/ National Resistance of Students of Timor Leste (RENETIL) has commended monitoring the new parliament. Speaking to journalists on Wednesday (22/8) in Dili RENETIL’s Coordinator, Eurico Nelson de Carvalho stated that the RENETIL’s role is to monitor things such as participation, quality of participation, decision making mechanisms and parliamentary ethics. Mr. Eurico said that the national parliament represents all Timorese people in the process of legislation, supervision and political decisions. (TP)
Xanana’s governmental cabinet not completed yet – Although the Alliance’s government was sworn in on 8 August, there still remains some ministry and state secretary positions that have not been filled. Speaking to journalist on Tuesday (21/8) in Government Palace, Dili the vice Prime Minister José Luis Guterres said that the Prime Minister Gusmão will find people to fill the positions but did not comment on who they would be. (STL)
ISF 20km away when dialogue with Alfredo held – Alfredo Reinado has told the Government that the International Stabilization Forces (ISF) should 20km away from where any talks may be held. Mr. Reinado has also called on the ISF not to conduct helicopter and ground patrols near the place of dialogue. Reinado’s lawyer, Benevides Correia Barros said on Wednesday (22/8) at the Hotel Timor in Dili said that it’s important that the ISF, UNPol and PNTL fulfill the president’s request in halting the operation against his client. He also said it should be guaranteed that when Reinado does come to talk, that he is not captured. (STL)
UN agencies condemn violence against children – The United Nations Agencies in Timor-Leste together with national and international NGO have condemned the violence against children in the country. The agencies include UNICEF, Catholic Relief Service (CRS), FORUM NGO Timor-Leste, IOM, European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), UNMIT, TIMOR AID and Care International.
The condemnation is done through the joint declaration which calls on all Timorese people including political parties, authorities and the members of community to protect children from the violence and physical threat and to promote childrens’ right to peace. These agencies note with concern the violence in the eastern part of the country that resulted in children becoming the victims during violent protests. The agencies also proposed to the authorities to arrest the perpetrators that have been violent. (STL)
Asia Foundation: From East Timor: Delivering Legal Aid – http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2007/08/22/from-east-timor-delivering-legal-aid/ By Tiago Sarmento Tiago Sarmento is the Law Program Officer for The Asia Foundation in East Timor.
In East Timor, the justice sector’s slow development, a largely remote and poor population, and multiple questions surrounding the new laws born from independence in 2002 have severely hampered everyday Timorese citizens from resolving their disputes. Left unresolved, disputes regarding land, divorce, robbery, minor injuries, and gender- based violence can spark violent conflict in communities, leading to more instability for this young country.
In early 2003, the National Mobile Legal Aid Network was launched. The program has aimed to enable Timorese legal aid NGOs to assist disadvantaged citizens in resolving their disputes through either court litigation and alternative dispute resolution in cooperation with local authorities. Since 2003, nearly 2,500 poor people in remote areas (28% women) have been assisted in resolving both criminal and civil disputes. An increase in women lawyers in the Timorese legal aid NGOs helps to encourage women to seek needed legal assistance.
The program, supported by The Asia Foundation, receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Due to a limited number of public defenders and the courts’ irregular operation, the Foundation’s legal aid partners handle many cases through mediation. Mediation has proven to be effective with land and property disputes, which dominate every region of East Timor. Traditional leaders have intimate knowledge of their communities’ history of land ownership. Utilizing traditional mechanisms and elders’ influence in rural areas, the legal aid program works closely with them in finding solutions for community disputes.
Visits to villages and sub-villages in remote areas of all East Timor’s 13 districts by the network’s legal aid partners also serve the purpose of educating communities about their options for resolving disputes either informally or through the courts. Legal aid partners often the only source of legal information for remote communities – also provide updated information on new laws, human rights provisions in the Constitution, and the laws ensuring that traditional procedures are respected.
A Timorese woman summed up her experience with the Mobile Legal Aid Network as this: “I know my rights. The meaning of a right for me is something that I have and other people cannot take from me.”
The Oecusse District Court convicts one defendant for manslaughter and acquits a separate defendant on charges of rape JSMP Press Release 22 August 2007 – On 14 August 2007, the Oecusse District Court handed down separate decisions in a murder case and a rape case. The hearings were presided over by a Panel of Judges comprising Victor Hugo (international judge), Antonio Helder do Carmo and Constancio Basmery (national judges). The Prosecution unit was represented by the Public Prosecutor Domingos Bareto and the defendants were both represented by João Ndun, a private lawyer from FFSO.
The first case involved a killing that took place on 14 December 2005. During the examination phase of the trial the defendant, Johanes Elo, admitted all of his actions and stated that he had killed the victim, named Petrus. The defendant had injured the victim and, and after sustaining these injuries, the victim died in the Oecusse hospital. The incident related to a debt between the defendant and the victim whereby it was alleged that the victim was unable to repay his debt to the defendant within the agreed time limit.
The Panel found that the defendant was responsible for the death of another, in violation of the laws of Timor Leste. The panel took into consideration that the defendant had not intended to kill the victim but had rather attacked and wounded him. Accordingly, the Oecusse District Court convicted the defendant under Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code, which states “whoever deliberately takes the life of another person shall be guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 years.”
Announcing the decision, the Panel explained, in accordance with Article 282 of the Criminal Procedure Code, that in passing sentence the court shall specify the grounds on which the choice and extent of the penalty applied are based, indicating where applicable when and how the sentence is going to be served. It was also noted that other duties imposed upon the convict, as well as any restrictive measures, must be made clear for the record.
The Panel decided to sentence the defendant to four years imprisonment after considering that he had co-operated during the trial, had no prior convictions and had pleaded guilty.
After reading out its sentence, the Court informed the convicted person that he shall remain out of custody awaiting the outcome of any appeal that must be submitted by his counsel or the public prosecutor within 15 days. If no appeal is lodged within the prescribed time limit, then the convicted person shall serve his term of imprisonment in accordance with the Court’s decision.
Leonidio Marques, a Legal Researcher from JSMP who observed the trial, is quite concerned about the flight risk posed by the convicted person. Given his residence is in Indonesia he may easily abscond beyond the jurisdiction of the Court if he does not wish to appear before the authorities in 15 days time.
In a separate case heard on the same day, the Oecusse District Court decided to fully acquit the defendant in a rape case given doubts about the facts established during the trial. The panel explained that the facts in evidence indicated that the defendant and the victim did actually engage in sexual intercourse, but that the defendant did not use any force against the victim. In the absence of what the Panel determined to be conclusive evidence of rape, the case was decided in accordance with the principle of ‘in dubio pro reo’ – doubt favours the accused.
As a result of their union, the victim gave birth to a baby who she is looking after. JSMP believes that although the defendant has now been acquitted, the victim may still pursue civil action under Article 72(2)a: “the victim can file a civil request separately, if he or she expressly declares his or her intention to do so”, in relation to liability for the child’s maintenance and education, as the defendant has admitted that he is the father.
2007 Judicial Vacation in Timor-Leste JSMP Press Release 21 August 2007 – Between 19 August and 1 September 2007 there will be a judicial vacation in Timor Leste. During this period there is likely to be a substantial decrease in judicial activities.
When JSMP sought clarification with the courts about this judicial vacation, the President of the Dili District Court, Judge Maria Natercia S.H. confirmed that during the aforementioned period all activities in the District Courts of Dili, Baucau, Oe-Cusse, Suai and the Court of Appeal will be suspended.
President of the Dili District Court, Judge Maria Natercia S.H. pointed out that review hearings and preliminary procedures would continue as per normal in cases that require immediate attention.
The court has arranged for judges and court officials to take their vacation in accordance with a rotating schedule to guarantee that judicial services will be available for urgent matters during the vacation period.
The judicial vacation in Timor Leste is important for court actors so they can refresh their minds while on vacation, because court actors require tireless concentration when they are carrying out their judicial activities in Timor Leste.
JSMP requests for all members of the community to understand the difficulties faced by court actors. They need time and space to get some respite and to ease their weariness as a result of dealing with the problems that have beset our nation.
Finally, JSMP hopes that all the court actors who are taking their 2007 judicial vacation will enjoy their holiday so they will be able to return to work with a different mindset to develop the justice system in Timor Leste.
We hope that all court actors in Timor Leste will use their vacation effectively so that when they return to work court actors will not need to take time off for a variety of reasons that sometimes can seem dubious in nature.
As the saying goes, “even when the world around us is collapsing, the law must be upheld”. Likewise, even in times of vacation, expectations about upholding, developing and perfecting the application of the law in Timor Leste should remain in the thoughts of all court actors. Upon their return from their vacation it is hoped that everyone will have rekindled their spirit to develop the judicial sector in Timor Leste.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 22 August 2007
Misusing state’s fund, needs investigation – The member of the national parliament from CNRT, Cicílio Caminha Freitas has called on the government to investigate the fund for medical treatment for Rogerio Lobato in Malaysia. “In the plenary session I propose that this matter needs to be investigated,” said Mr. Freitas on Tuesday (21/8) in his office. According to Mr. Freitas, the former Prime Minister and former ministers of justice, finance, and health need to be questioned on this issue. (STL)
Alfredo is ready to submit himself to the justice – President José Ramos-Horta reportedly met Alfredo Reinado Alves in Ermera district, to convince Reinado to submit himself to the justice when the process of dialogue concludes. According to the president, Reinado declared him that he wants to solve this problem, because there has not been a solution for one year. President Horta added that he understands the situation of Alfredo Reinado and his followers who abandoned F-FDTL. “I went there to show that I want to solve the problem peacefully and that Reinado has made many efforts to collaborate with this state in solving the situation,” said President Horta on Tuesday (21/8) in LABEH’s office Kampung Baru Comoro, Dili. The President said that he has asked government to create a task force to solve the problem. (STL and DN)
MPs congratulate the Alliance government – The members of the national parliament from the National Unity Party (PUN) through a plenary session on Tuesday (21/8) have endorsed the Alliance government led by the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão. However, Fretilin’s members are maintaining that the Alliance government is illegitimate because it is unconstitutional. (STL)
Alkatiri and Lu-Olo, asking temporal substitution – The Fretilin parliamentary members have submitted a letter for temporary substitution for the positions held by Mari Alkatiri and Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo.
The mandate of Mr. Alkatiri is temporarily delegated to Fretilin’s member Elizario Ferreira and Mr. Lu-Olo is temporarily delegated to Mr. Joaquim Amaral. (TP)
UNPOL, PNTL and F-FDTL are constantly in coordination – The UNMIT spokesperson Ms. Allison Cooper said that UNPol, PNTL and ISF always coordinate each other to maintain security situation in the country.
Speaking to journalist on Tuesday (21/8) Ms. Cooper said that police are coordinating with the ISF to prevent incidents across the country to avoid burning houses and destroying properties.
“The coordination between the security forces remains constant to prevent incidents of violence that occurred in Dili and the eastern districts in the recent weeks, said Ms. Cooper. (DN)
OCHA Situation Report No. 5 – 21 August 2007 Timor-Leste Civil Unrest
– 323 houses have been reported burnt and 52 damaged in Viqueque and Baucau districts.
– At least 4,000 persons are reportedly displaced at the moment in Viqueque and Baucau districts.
– Relief items from the Government of Timor-Leste have been delivered to the area and efforts are being undertaken to gain access to those displaced populations that are difficult to reach.
1. Civil unrest occurred in connection with the announcement of the new government on the 6th of August 2007 following the 30th of June parliamentary elections.
2. Viqueque and Baucau districts are most affected. The overall security situation in Timor-Leste is calm at the moment, while the situation remains tense in Viqueque district. United Nations Police Officers (UNPol) in conjunction with the national police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) remain fully deployed.
3. In Viqueque, around 270 houses had been burnt by violent groups. Several villages have been severly damaged in Watulari sub-district, while villages around Viqueque town have also been affected. The functioning of public transport and schools has been disrupted and food, water and medical supplies are becoming short on the market. Road travel within and between the districts of Baucau and Viqueque remains restricted at the moment due to security concerns especially after the ambush on a UN convoy on 10 August.
4. In Baucau district, 52 houses were destroyed in Venilale and Quelicai sub-districts. On 6 and 7 August, government, church, UN, and NGO facilities in Baucau district had been burnt or attacked. It is expected that schools and public transport will resume service in Baucau tomorrow.
5. At least 4,000 persons are reportedly displaced at the moment in Viqueque and Baucau districts. The displaced stay in the mountains around the affected areas, and in convents, schools and compounds that are considered safe. 323 houses have been reported burnt and 52 damaged in Viqueque and Baucau districts.
6. Schools and shops are closed, public transport have been disrupted. Health services are functioning normally. Access to the facilities is believed to be hampered by security concerns.
7. On 12 August, 4.7mt tons of rice from the Government of Timor-Leste had been delivered by United Nations helicopters along with kitchen sets and noodles.
8. On 13 August, the Government of Timor-Leste sent a convoy of 15 trucks carrying Government food and non-food relief items to Baucau and Viqueque districts. The humanitarian assistance was delivered to Watulari sub-district, Viqueque and Uatocarabau town in Viqueque district, and to Venilale in Baucau district. The accompanying civil servants of the Ministry of Social Solidarity concluded that in most of the locations more assistance was required, especially non-food items.
9. From 17-19 August a convoy with civil servants from various ministries delivered food and non-food items to Baucau and Quelicai and mosquito nets and urgently required medical supplies to Viqueque town. An assessment was undertaken at the same time and is expected to be released on 22 August.
10. Significant parts of the displaced population are reportedly scattered in forests and mountain areas, to which access is difficult. In order to gain access to these populations and provide assistance, an inter-agency assessment mission with United Nations helicopters to Watulari and Uatucarbau was scheduled to take place on Saturday, 18 August 2007. As heavy rains had made the roads in the area impassable, the assessment mission had to be rescheduled to Thursday, 23 August.
11. OCHA is in close contact with the national and international humanitarian aid organizations, the Government, the UN Country Team and UNMIT in Dili and will revert with further information as it becomes available. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int.
For detailed information please contact: OCHA Timor-Leste
UNMIT Daily Media Review 20 August 2007
Police should not be political activists – The President of the National Parliament, Fernando de Araujo Lasama states that members of the PNTL should not be the political activists in the future. “Police should not be the activist of the parties,” said Mr. Lasama after meeting with F-FDTL commander, Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak on Friday (17/8) in Dili. He revealed that PNTL’s members, as Timorese citizens have right to cast their vote in the general elections, however they ought to act impartially and neutrally in performing their duties. (STL)
Fretilin will not tolerate violence – Fretilin’s Aniceto Guterres has confirmed that Fretilin condemns the violence that broke out in the eastern part of the country, especially in Baucau and Viqueque districts. “Since the outset, Fretilin has not tolerated and has condemned the violence” said Mr. Guterres. He said that when the conflict broke out in Baucau and Uatolari, Fretilin’s member in national parliament proposed an investigation into the violence to the parliament. He said the violence in Baucau and Viqueque was the demonstration of discontent against the new government formation. “Fretilin condemns such because Fretilin’s leaders do not authorize Fretilin’s militants and sympathizers to act based violence. “If we authorize, it is our responsibility,” said Mr. Guterres. (STL)
Horta: “Demonstrators have not to be delirious” – In response to tdoay’s protest in Dili, the President José Ramos-Horta has called upon Fretilin supporters involved in the organization Movimento Libertação Povo Maubere (MOLNAPON)/Liberation Movement of Maubere People to be peaceful in their protest. Mr. Horta said it should be peaceful and remain within the confines expressed by the police. “If there is some violence, they will be arrested and transported to the Becora prison,” said Mr. Horta. (STL and TP)
ISF gives back Fretilin’s flags – The Commander of International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier John Hutcheson informed that ISF has returned the Fretilin flags they took in Bercoli in the Baucau district in last few days. He explained that on Saturday (18/8) 15:00 hours ISF’s soldiers took three Fretilin flags. “One of the three Fretilin’s flags has been given back to Bercoli’s chief of Suco whilst he was in Baucau at that time,” said Mr. Hutcheson at a press conference on Sunday (19/8) at Phoenix camp Caicoli, Dili. He added that the other two flags also have been given back through F-FDTL and UNPol to Bercoli village. “We are sincerely and sorry for taking the flags” the Brigadier said.. (STL)
Ramos Horta asking Fretilin to have reflection on the Falintil Day – On the Falintil Day, today (20/8), President José Ramos-Horta appeals to all Fretilin’s radicals reflect on the day. “I appeal to Fretilin’s radicals not to engage in violence as they will be arrested if they engage in violence. This state will not be held back because of someone’s threats to enact violence on people,” said Mr. Horta on Saturday (18/8) in GMT. (TP)
Timor-Leste-UN agree to reform security sector – The Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has outlined four key areas to address in working towards the reform of the security sector in the nation.
At a high level meeting in Dili this week, attended by senior leadership of the national military and police, the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, José Ramos-Horta and the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão both gave opening addresses welcoming the assistance of the United Nations in addressing the challenges facing the security sector.
Mr Atul Khare said he agreed with both the President and Prime Minister about the need to look at the road traveled to avoid pitfalls in the future.
Mr Khare listed the need to improve relations between the police and the army, strengthening the legal framework, increasing capacity and enhancing civil oversight as the four priority areas in building an effective and accountable security sector, that serves the needs of the people of Timor-Leste.
“UNMIT will assist the Timorese people and authorities in these four areas relating to the security sector.
“The strengthening of the army and police will be crucial to the development of Timor-Leste as a modernizing state and the United Nations will assist the government in achieving a security sector that is efficient, effective and accountable,” Mr Khare said.
In the course of discussions, participants agreed to have larger participation by civil society in the reform process, keep in mind the need to maximize scarce resources, avoid another crisis as experienced in 2006, and work towards closer cooperation between military and police, even as each of the security institutions strive for increased professionalism and enhanced capacities. (TP)
UNMIT Weekly Issue No. 4 – 17 August 2007 – Situation in Country Improves, But Security Forces Remain on High Alert
Although the security situation across Timor-Leste has improved after last week’s spike in violence, the situation remains volatile.
At a press conference on 15 August, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Eric Tan said UNPol, the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), the international stabilization forces and the Falintil Defense Force of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) continue to work together to control the security situation across the country.
“I’m satisfied that the security posture of our forces is correct and that the situation will continue to improve from the security angle,” he said. “While we have increased our presence in the eastern districts, we of course maintain significant resources in Dili and some in the western districts in case we need them. We are not leaving any area in the country vulnerable because we still consider the situation to be volatile.”
In the capital city Dili, the situation is relatively calm although sporadic incidents of rock throwing continue in some areas. In the past week almost 50 UN cars were damaged by rocks and four UNPol officers were injured.
Baucau and Viqueque Districts remain tense and security forces have been reinforced. Over 110 arrests have been made in Baucau district and 34 of the suspects have been charged.
On 11 August a three-car UN convoy traveling from Baucau to Viqueque was attacked. During the ambush, which involved stone throwing and reported gunshots at UN vehicles and personnel, one UNPol vehicle was set ablaze. All occupants managed to escape and no injuries were sustained. Seven arrests have been made in connection with the ambush.
DSRSG Tan said the UN strongly condemns all those behind the attack those involved in the incident and those who inspired and supported it.
Hundreds More Displaced in Civil Unrest
Hundreds more Timorese are now homeless as more than 150 houses across the country were destroyed in the past week alone.
According to DSRSG Tan, the UN family in Timor-Leste is providing security and logistical support to the Government to expedite delivery of urgently needed food and resources. Over the past weekend, two UNMIT helicopters delivered five tones of food and kitchen equipment to communities in Viqueque District. UNPol and PNTL are assisting on the ground to ensure the goods are securely off-loaded and delivered to the appropriate Government authorities.
Mr. Tan said that preparations were underway by the humanitarian community to respond more comprehensively to the affected populations as soon as the security situation permits.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at least 4,000 persons in Viqueque and Baucau districts have fled to the mountains around the affected areas, or are staying in convents, schools and compounds that are considered safe. So far, some 323 houses are reported burnt and 52 damaged in the two most heavily affected districts where schools and shops have been closed and public transport disrupted. While health services are functioning normally, access to the facilities is believed to be hampered by security concerns.
UNMIT Advises Citizens on Right to Demonstrate
The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right supported by the United Nations, and must be exercised in a peaceful manner and through the proper legal channels. Speaking in Dili, DSRSG Eric Tan, who oversees security sector reform and the rule of law, outlined the procedures required by the Government for any groups planning to carry out public demonstrations. According to National Parliament Law No. 01/2006, entitled “Freedom of Assembly and Demonstration:”
* At least four (4) days in advance, the organizers must notify local civil and police authorities in writing of their intention to hold a public demonstration.
* The notice must be signed by five (5) organizing members and include their names, addresses and professions, or in the case of corporate bodies, by the respective managing board.
* The notice must include the time, location and purpose of the event and indicate the route to use in the case of parade, procession or demonstration.
* Demonstrations are only allowed to take place between 8.00 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.
“There is nothing wrong with gathering to express your view,” Mr. Tan emphasized, “but it must be done in a proper manner with accordance of law without disrupting citizens in Dili or elsewhere.” He said the procedures are in place not only for planning purposes but also to ensure that proper security resources are in place to protect demonstrators as well as the public.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 17 August 2007
Ramos Horta: If the new Government is illegal, take it to Court – After meeting with national and international investors on Thursday (16/8) in Memorial Hall in Dili the President José Ramos-Horta said Fretilin should take its concerns to Court if it believes the new Government is unconstitutional and illegal. “In two weeks Fretilin has not brought the case to Court. There is no other mechanism, and the violence in the Eastern regions such Baucau, Viqueque and Lospalos will not solve the problem,” said Mr. Horta. (TP and TVTL)
Mario Viegas: “We should not arrest anyone through the allegation” – The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão said that he does not support the arrest of Mari Alkatiri regarding the violence in the Eastern districts. Speaking to journalist on Thursday at the national parliament Mr. Carrascalão revealed that a person should not be arrested without investigation. “Before we detain somebody we should prove there is a cause and Mari Alkatiri should not be arrested on accusation only,” said Mr Carrascalão. (DN)
Xanana: “Youth’s blood never flow again” – The Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão has told the National Congress of Youth in Timor-Leste that young people’s blood will never flow again. The Prime Minister also said that the youths’ parliament will be established by the government. (DN)
Arsenio Bano: “Xanana has no power, better to resign” – The Vice President of Fretilin Arsenio Paixão Bano said that if the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão can’t calm the situation, he should resign. In a press statement on Thursday Mr Bano said that Fretilin only authorizes its members to participate in peaceful demonstrations over the formation of the new government. (DN)
Rogerio Lobato to stay in Malaysia for 3 months – The Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that Rogerio Lobato will stay in Malaysia for three months efore returning to Timor-Leste to fulfill his seven and a half years sentenced. “They asked for three months for medical check,” the Prime Minister said. (DN)
Movement to boycotting the new government – Fretilin members involved in the organization Movimento Libertação Povo Maubere (MOLNAPON)/Liberation Movement of Maubere People have stated they will organize mass a boycott against the activities of the new government in the coming weeks. Speaking to journalists on Thursday the PNTL Interim Commander, Inspector Afonso de Jesus confirmed that there will be a manifestation organized by MOLNAPON on 20 – 21 August in the capital, Dili (Municipal Stadium).
He said the protest has been licensed by the PNTL and UNPol. He added that PNTL his calling on the protestors to cooperate with authorities to maintain law and order in the country. “We want the protest to be calm and peaceful manner. He said the PNTL has made preparations against any person who may choose not to follow peaceful guidelines. (STL)
Top officials meet over Security Sector Reform in East Timor – Dili, August 17, 2007 – The Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has outlined four key areas to address in working towards the reform of the security sector in the nation.
At a high level meeting in Dili this week, attended by senior leadership of the national military and police, the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, José Ramos-Horta and the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão both gave opening addresses welcoming the assistance of the United Nations in addressing the challenges facing the security sector.
Mr Atul Khare said he agreed with both the President and Prime Minister about the need to look at the road travelled to avoid pitfalls in the future.
Mr Khare listed the need to improve relations between the police and the army, strengthening the legal framework, increasing capacity and enhancing civil oversight as the four priority areas in building an effective and accountable security sector, that serves the needs of the people of Timor-Leste.
“UNMIT will assist the Timorese people and authorities in these four areas relating to the security sector.
“The strengthening of the army and police will be crucial to the development of Timor-Leste as a modernizing state and the United Nations will assist the government in achieving a security sector that is efficient, effective and accountable,” Mr Khare said.
In the course of discussions, participants agreed to have larger participation by civil society in the reform process, keep in mind the need to maximise scarce resources, avoid another crisis as experienced in 2006, and work towards closer cooperation between military and police, even as each of the security institutions strive for increased professionalism and enhanced capacities.
UNMIT is mandated through Security Council Resolution 1704 to “assist the government in conducting a comprehensive review of the future role and needs of the security sector, including the Falintil Armed Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL), the Ministry of Defence, the PNTL, and the Ministry of Interior with a view to supporting the government, through the provision of advisors and in cooperation and coordindation with other partners, in strengthening institutional capacity building as appropriate.”
For more information please call Allison Cooper on +670 723 0453.
JRH: The solution of the problems of the country requires stabile politics [via translation software from Portuguese.] – The solution of the problems of the country requires stability politics
The result of the legislative election of 30 of June disclosed a deep dispersion of the vote of the Timorese with no party winning a parliamentary representation large enough to be able to govern alone.
The Constitution gives to the President of the Republic the exclusive ability to nominate and install the Prime-Minister from the party or alliance of the parties with parliamentary majority, ears the political parties represented in the National Parliament.
Still in accordance with the Constitution, the President of the Republic nominates the Government but this only governs if the members of the house of representatives to approve the respective program presented in the National Parliament.
This means that, to form government, the parties must show the capacity of dialog and negotiation to assure a enough majority it supports that them in the National Parliament, guaranteed the governmental stability.
The President of the Republic heard the political parties and, during weeks, did everything to promote the dialog between the parties and to find a solution of widest possible government, where the biggest number of Timorese if felt represented.
This effort of dialog showed that it is not possible, at this moment, to overcome the animosities accumulated throughout years, in special independence, to form an inclusion government that congregates all the great parties.
In these circumstances, the President of the Republic had to consider other alternatives politics capable of obtaining a parliamentary majority enough to assure the governmental stability.
FRETILIN, the most voted party , elected 21 members of the house of representatives. However, an alliance formed by four parties congregates 37 members of the house of representatives, that is, the majority of the elected members of the house of representatives.
The election of the president of the National Parliament showed that the common candidate of the alliance of four parties obtained a comfortable majority of 41 votes, against the candidate of the FRETILIN and constituting a test on the real capacity of the parties to congregate majority parliamentary.
In face of the determining the feeling of the parties and the impasse in the negotiations between them, the President of the Republic understood that she would not be cautious, in the interest of the country and the governmental stability, to decide inside contrarily to the general feeling of the National Parliament.
The President of the Republic decided in conscience for the solution that better assures the stability of the share of the government and that more conditions congregate to concentrate themselves finally in the urgent solution of the problems of the development of the country and the fight against the poverty.
Government and opposition make part of the democratic life equally and it is important to our democracy to count on a strong party in the opposition. This, by the way, was recognized by some responsible politicians during the electoral campaign.
The President of the Republic recognizes the right of any party to disagree with its decisions. This is normal in democracy and the parties can use the applicable judicial constitutional mechanisms and to try to make valid its points of view.
The representatives chosen by the people in the legislative elections have the constitutional duty to assume its responsibilities in the National Parliament and from there to defend its positions politics, any that they are.
In its enormous wisdom, the people will know to judge, in the next electoral acts, the positions that are to be assumed by all. Until there, all the Timorese have the duty to contribute, to the measure of its different responsibilities, for the stability of the institutions and the solution of the problems that Timor-East has for the front.
Díli, 16 of August of 2007. END
Seven People Arrested in East Timor Over Convoy Attack, UN Says – By Michael Heath Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) — United Nations police said seven people were arrested in East Timor over an attack on a UN convoy in post-election violence sparked by the exclusion of the Fretilin party from government for the first time since independence.
Three UN vehicles were ambushed last week as they drove between Bacau, East Timor’s second-largest city, and Viqueque. Shots were fired and stones thrown, Allison Cooper, spokeswoman for the UN mission in the capital, Dili, said at the time.
UN agencies have boosted security and logistical support in East Timor to speed up the delivery of food and resources to areas affected by the unrest, the UN said on its Web site yesterday. The violence included cases of arson and rock throwing in which about 400 houses were burned or damaged, driving at least 4,000 people from their homes, it added.
Fretilin supporters rioted after the Aug. 6 appointment as prime minister of former President Xanana Gusmao, who assembled a three-party coalition with a parliamentary majority. Fretilin, which won the most votes at the June 30 election and has dominated East Timorese politics since independence from Indonesia five years ago, said Gusmao’s appointment is unconstitutional.
East Timor remains tense, particularly in the Viqueque, Baucau and Lautem districts to the east of the capital, the UN said. There are no reports of major incidents, it added.
Australian-led peacekeepers and UN police were deployed to the nation of 1 million people in May last year, after fighting between groups from the western and eastern regions killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes.
East Timor borders part of Indonesia on an island about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia.
Fretilin said the attack on the convoy was provoked by UN police destroying protesters’ banners and flags. It offered to help investigate the assault.
Gusmao, who led armed resistance against Indonesian occupation and was imprisoned for more than six years for his activities, pledged to unite the Southeast Asian nation when he was sworn in. The former Portuguese colony was occupied by Indonesia for 24 years.
Gusmao will run a country with a jobless rate of 50 percent, where about 42 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. While holding the rights to an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 300 million barrels of light oil, East Timor is one of the region’s poorest countries.
Alkatiri responsible for violence in the east – The MP from the UNDERTIM party, Mr. Faustino do Santos, on Tuesday (14/8) at the National Parliament said that Fretilin’s Secretary-General, Mari Alkatiri should take responsibility for the recent violence in the eastern districts. Mr. Faustino revealed that he objected to Alkatiri’s statement made on TVTL last Monday (13/8) explaining that the violence was a result of ethnic conflicts between Uatolari Nauweti and Makasae. “I object to his explanation as I personally witnessed Fretilin supporters threatening people and setting up road-blocks in Lautem,” informed Mr. Faustino. (TP)
Prime Minister meets with 13 District Administrators – The Timorese Prime Minister, Mr. Xanana Gusmão, on Tuesday (14/8) held a meeting with 13 District Administrators in the STAE office following the recent violence that broke out across the country. He called on the DAs to do their work properly and said “as District Administrators we should not permit others to burn people’s houses and properties.” (DN)
Fernando Lasama: “Military Police is important to the nation” – At the graduation ceremony of 43 Military Police officers on Wednesday (15/8) in Dili, the President of the National Parliament, Fernando de Araujo Lasama said that the role of the MPs is very important for the nation’s progress. Mr. Lasama also thanked and congratulated the Brazilian MPs for continuously supporting and cooperating with Timor-Leste’s MPs. (DN)
F-FDTL to recruit 600 soldiers – F-FDTL Commander Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak said that the F-FDTL has proposed to the government to recruit 600 soldiers in 2008 and another 600 in 2009. Speaking to journalists on Wednesday (15/8) in Dili, Brig.-Gen. Taur mentioned that out of the 1,450 soldiers in 2005, only 700 remain. He said some soldiers were discharged while others became petitioners. (DN)
Brig. Gen. Taur: “Situation in the east starting to calm down” – F-FDTL Commander, Brig.-Gen. Taur Matan Ruak said that the security situation across the country, specifically in Baucau, Viqueque and Lospalos Districts, is starting to calm down after his direct intervention (explaining the current situation to the Fretilin supporters). He added that Fretilin supporters guaranteed that they would not act violently but rather would conduct peaceful demonstrations requesting the President to come to the eastern regions to explain his decision to appoint the Alliance to form the new government. (DN)
PUN objects to establishment of NP’s investigative team – The NP member from the National Unity Party (PUN), Fernanda Borges said that she objects to the establishment of an investigative team from the national parliament to look into the causes of the recent conflict (following the formation of the new government). Speaking to journalists on Tuesday (14/8) at the parliament, she said that this case should be independently investigated by the police without any political interference. The current violence that broke out across the country – particularly in some eastern districts – involved criminal acts and human rights abuses. It is obviously not the responsibility of the national parliament to investigate; the police and general prosecutor should work on this,” said Ms. Borges. (STL)
Pedro da Costa: imprison Fretilin for national stability – The NP member from CNRT, Pedro da Costa called upon the government and UNPol to arrest Fretilin leaders, militants and supporters who were directly or indirectly involved in the violence that broke out across the country. The criminals should be imprisoned if we want to have national stability. We should not allow them to provoke and create further conflicts in the rural areas,” said Mr. da Costa during the plenary session at the National Parliament on Monday (13/8). (STL)
PNTL stabbed in Viqueque – The interim PNTL Commander, Insp. Afonso de Jesus said that a PNTL officer was stabbed by unidentified people while on duty in Viqueque District. He added that an ISF helicopter immediately transported the officer to the National Hospital in Dili. I have not received any official reports from the PNTL District Commander regarding to the incident, but I know that he was stabbed while conducting a foot-patrol,” Mr. Jesus said. (STL an TP)
Abel Ximenes replaces Alfredo – The Deputy Commander of the Military Police, Lt. Abel Ximenes was sworn in as the new MP Commander to replace Alfredo Reinado Alves. Lt. Ximenes and 43 new members of the Military Police were sworn in on Wednesday (15/8) at the F-FDTL HQ, in Tasi Tolu, Dili. Speaking to journalists, Lt. Ximenes said that it is a very important role, which he will conduct well. He also mentioned that there are currently 74 members of the Military Police, including one officer who is studying medicine in Cuba. (STL)
Planned challenge to E Timor Govt dropped 15 Aug 07 – East Timor’s former ruling party has abandoned plans for a court challenge to the legality of the Government sworn in last week, an official said.
But the party, Fretilin, still should be part of a unity government, its deputy president Arsenio Bano said amid continuing uncertainty following an inconclusive parliamentary election in June.
“We just need a political solution. We still need a ‘grand inclusion’ government involving all parties with a seat in parliament,” he said.
“We will not use a court trial. A trial through the courts is not on our minds.”
President Jose Ramos-Horta used his constitutional authority to install a coalition government led by Xanana Gusmao, the former president and one-time guerrilla fighter.
Fretilin won 21 seats in the polls, the highest number among all the parties, but Mr Gusmao’s party, which won 18, cobbled together a coalition with control of 37 seats.
The former ruling party had threatened to challenge the legality of Mr Gusmao’s government.
Fretilin supporters have protested violently against the administration, including during this week.
Dr Ramos-Horta had pushed for a unity government, but the major parties failed to reach an agreement on how to govern jointly.
Mr Gusmao has condemned Fretilin leaders for failing to halt the violence while in a separate statement released late on Tuesday, Mr Bano was critical of Mr Gusmao, saying many viewed him as “partly responsible for last year’s crisis”.
Unrest rocked the streets of Dili in April and May last year when security factions and youth gangs waged battle, leaving at least 37 dead.
International peacekeepers were deployed to restore calm and have been bolstered by some 1,600 UN police. – AFP
7 arrested over UN convoy attack in E Timor ABC News Online 15/08/07 By Anne Barker – United Nations police in East Timor have arrested seven people over an attack on a United Nations (UN) convoy near the eastern city of Baucau.
Ten UN and East Timorese police were ambushed on Friday as they travelled in three vehicles from Baucau to the south-east town of Viqueque.
One UN vehicle was set alight and gutted. The UN says seven people have now been arrested. Many more people were arrested last week over a spate of house fires between the Baucau and Viqueque.
The UN has confirmed more than 150 houses have been burnt. Local police say nearly 1,000 people fled their homes. UN helicopters have carried tonnes of food and kitchen supplies to the Viqueque district, to help communities in the area. Much of the violence has since calmed, but the security situation remains tense.
UN reinforces ETimor security forces ABC Radio Australia Last Updated 15/08/2007, 21:18:08 – Security forces are being reinforced in some areas of East Timor because of continuing violence in opposition to the new government. The deputy chief of the United Nation’s mission says the security situation across the country remains volatile. Erick Huck Gim Tan says sporadic incidents of rock-throwing are still occurring in Dili, and the situation in the two eastern districts of Baucau and Viqueque are tense. The towns are strongholds of the former ruling party Fretilin. Mr Tan says East Timorese and UN police in Viqueque have been reinforced. The Australian-led International Stabilisation Force has posted two platoons in the district, and reinforcements have also been sent to Baucau.
National Media Reports 15 August 2007
President concerned over the Fretilin’s allegations – In a press statement issued by the Presidential office on Monday (13/8), President José Ramos-Horta denied Fretilin’s allegations that officers involved in anti-government demonstrations would be discharged. A press release issued by Fretilin’s on 12/8/07 [attributed to Mr. Arsenio Bano and the members of National Political Commission of Fretilin] stated that the “President has sacked officers that took part in the demonstrations against the government. He has no right to control what the officers choose to do when they are off-duty.” President José Ramos-Horta said that he has no intentions to threaten or discharge the officers. (TP and DN)
Fretilin objects to F-FDTL presence in Eastern region – The NP representative from Fretilin, Mr. Osorio Florindo reportedly said that the state’s decision to deploy F-FDTL to the eastern region is an unfair decision, in favour of the Alliance-led government. “Fretilin does not accept F-FDTL’s presence as it is considered a political maneuver from an unconstitutional government,” said Mr. Florindo on Monday (13/8). He called on the F-FDTL not to be involved with the Alliance as it would only harm their reputation. (TP)
Fretilin to be involved in investigation process – The leaders of Fretilin have called on the police, especially UNPol, to include them [Fretilin] in the investigations surrounding the violence that broke out in the eastern part of the country. Speaking to journalists after meeting with President José Ramos-Horta on Monday (13/8) in Dili, Fretilin’s Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri said that Fretilin questioned the involvement of their supporters in the incidents. He said that other people could have used Fretilin’s name to harm its reputation. “We have asked the police to include Fretilin in the investigations in order to get some clarity. Fretilin supporters are disciplined; if their leaders say not to do it, they would not do it,” said Mr. Alkatiri. (TP and DN)
PR asks Fretilin to bring problems to the court – President José Ramos-Horta on Monday (13/8) asked Fretilin leaders to bring their objections to his decision [to appoint the Alliance to form the new government] before the court. (TP)
UNPol, PNTL and ISF arrested 34 suspects over last week’s violence – The UNMIT Spokesperson, Ms. Allison Cooper on Monday (13/8) said that the United Nations Police (UNPol) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) have arrested 34 people in relation to the attack in Baucau and Viqueque districts on Friday. Ms. Cooper added that the security situation last week was tense, however so far it has been calm. She said that ISF, UNPol, PNTL and F-FDTL have increased their forces to conduct a joint-operation in Baucau and Viqueque. (DN)
National Media Reports 14 August 2007
45 UN vehicles destroyed – At a press conference held on Thursday (8/8) at the UNMIT HQ in Dili, SRSG Atul Khare informed that the violence in Dili, Baucau and Viqueque has resulted in 45 UN vehicles being destroyed and the injuries of some UNPol and PNTL officers. According to Mr. Khare, the police have captured 50 people in Baucau, 20 in Dili and efforts are underway to capture suspects in Viqueque District. (DN)
Eduardo Barreto: “ISF, F-FDTL, UNPol and PNTL should perform a joint operation” – The chief member of the national parliament from CNRT, Eduardo Barreto said that President José Ramos-Horta should ask UNMIT to perform a joint operation involving the ISF, UNPol, PNTL and GNR. He added that the joint operation should also involve F-FDTL as it knows the terrain across the country. “We are worried about the violence in Baucau, Viqueque, Lospalos, Manufahi and Oecusse,” said Mr. Barreto. (DN)
Xavier Amaral: “Arrest Alkatiri” – The Alliance-led government and UNPol have received pressure to arrest Fretilin’s Secretary-General, Mari Alkatiri. The President of ASDT, Francisco Xavier do Amaral called on the Alliance and UNPol to immediately arrest Mr. Alkatiri for leading the violence across the country. “The security situation is tense; the youth is encouraged to act violently and the only solution is to arrest Mari Alkatiri and the other Fretilin leaders,” said Mr. Xavier on Saturday (11/8) in Dili. (STL)
Bishop Basilio condemns attack on orphanage, girl raped -A group of robbers attacked the São José orphanage in sub-district Baguia, Baucau District on Friday (10/7) evening. The assault resulted in damages to the orphanage and a primary school (SDK São José) building and the rape of a 16 year old girl. The Bishop of the Baucau Diocese, Fr. Basilio do Nascimento said that the victim is now under intensive treatment for trauma. “The rape of the young girl is a criminal action that must be dealt with,” said Fr. Basilio do Nascimento on Sunday. He condemned the immoral acts. (STL)
Judiciary should follow up ICI recommendations -In a press statement on Saturday (11/8), the Coordinator of the Judiciary System and Monitoring Programme (JSMP), Roberto da Costa Pacheco called on the judiciary and other relevant actors to proceed with the recommendations made by the International Commission of Inquiry (ICI) regarding those involved in last year’s crisis. (TP)
ETimor PM says former ruling party not stopping violence – DILI, Aug 14 (AFP) — East Timor’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on Tuesday accused the former ruling party of Fretilin of failing to halt ongoing outbreaks of violence in the tiny nation.
Fretilin won the largest number of votes at June 30 polls but not the majority needed to govern, while Gusmao’s party secured a coalition afterwards that holds 37 of the parliament’s 65 seats.
The announcement that it would sit in government last week triggered protests from Fretilin, which claims it is an illegal administration, and sporadic violence eruped in Dili and several eastern districts where the party is strongest.
“The politicians do not want to transmit their views to the bottom so as to curb the violence that arose because of their own defeat,” Gusmao told a gathering of district heads.
He said that he was aware several Fretilin leaders had travelled to their bases, but said they were not there to appease people.
Former Fretilin prime minister Mari Alkatiri, who is spearheading the party’s complaints, said on Monday that its leaders intended to tell their supporters to be calm.
“Their politics is that the people should suffer, that they mutually kill each other, that they mutually burn their houses, and mutually damage their possessions,” Gusmao said.
The premier said that he planned to summon the Fretilin central committee to ask them whether they wanted to see people in the impoverished nation, which obtained independence in 2002, continue to suffer.
“I will tell them that you (Fretilin members) are the ones that have brought damage to Fretilin, and it is you that have allowed the name of the Fretilin to be sullied,” Gusmao said.
Alkatiri said on Monday that others may have been masquerading as Fretilin supporters in an effort to damage the party’s reputation.
Many of the apparent instigators of the violence — which has included arson, at least one rape, and rock-throwing — have been shouting pro-Fretilin slogans and waving Fretilin flags, according to witnesses.
East Timor’s new government has a massive task healing the nation after unrest on Dili’s streets last year left at least 37 dead and forced some 155,000 people from their homes, most of whom are still sheltering in camps.
Fretilin violence claim dismissed as ‘lies’ by UN The Australian August 14, 2007 Tuesday Stephen Fitzpatrick WORLD; Pg. 10 – Dili: A FURIOUS United Nations chief in East Timor has rejected as ”lies” a claim by the former ruling Fretilin party that his staff was responsible for triggering recent violence, including an armed attack on a UN police convoy on Friday.
In a closed briefing in Dili yesterday, Indian diplomat Atul Khare told international security co-ordinators and embassy representatives that an offer by Fretilin to open a joint investigation into the past week of chaos was worthless.
Mr Khare is understood to have separately told Fretilin secretary-general Mari Alkatiri that he viewed the ambush on Friday as being ”well-timed and organised” and that if the rebel party had any information on the matter, this should be quickly made available.
”No one other than the police and the prosecutor general has the authority to investigate, therefore I would suggest any information be shared with the police,” Mr Khare is understood to have told the former prime minister, rejecting his offer to conduct a joint investigation.
However, Fretilin is dismissing as propaganda photographs showing its supporters, with Fretilin flags, at the scene of the attack. ”Anyone can use a party flag or symbol to commit an act of violence,” spokesman Arsenio Bano said yesterday.
Mr Bano claimed the incident was the result of an ”extremely provocative and illegal action by UN police” in ”destroying banners and flags of peaceful Fretilin supporters” who then retaliated.
Fretilin is refusing to acknowledge the coalition Government of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, insisting that as the single party with the most votes in recent national elections it should hold power. Fretilin gained 21 seats in the 65-seat assembly, well short of the absolute majority required to govern.
Mr Gusmao’s Parliamentary Majority Alliance has 37 seats.
Fretilin says it has tried to discourage its followers from violent protest but insists on its right ”to demonstrate politically and peacefully against this illegitimate government”.
Fearing further violence, Mr Khare has stepped up security conditions for his staff across the country but has resisted formally escalating the security alert under the UN’s operating rules from level two to level three.
He is understood to be trying to avoid the negative message such a move would send both within East Timor and internationally, but has in fact already engaged all of the key upgraded security conditions of the higher alert level. Staff movements have been severely restricted where not related to essential duties, non-essential staff has been relocated from Baucau, where last Friday’s attack occurred, and across the country UN vehicles are not permitted on the road after 8pm without good reason.
UN vehicles are prohibited from using the road between Baucau and Viqueque in the country’s far east, forcing agencies to fly aid supplies by helicopter from warehouses in the capital, Dili, to eastern centres.
The prohibition also means investigators have yet to visit the scene where the Toyota destroyed in the attack still sits.
They believe, however, that the ambush was ”a deliberate plan to snare a UN target”, one security source told The Australian.
ABILIO “MAUSOKO” SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS JAIL, CO-DEFENDANTS SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR SIX MONTHS JAIL JSMP Press release 13 August 2007 – On Wednesday 6 August 2007, the Dili District Court announced its final decision in the case of four defendants accused of attacking the residence of Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak on 24 and 25 May 2007 in Marabia, Lahane, Dili. This was the final hearing in the case of the defendant Abilio Mesquita (“Mausoko”) and others.
The Panel of Judges handling this case was composed of Presiding Judge Dra. Maria das Dores Gomes (International), Judge Dr. Vitor Hugo Perdal (International) and Judge Dr. Duarte Tilman (National). Public Prosecutors Dr. Bernardo Fernandes and Dr. Aderito Tilman submitted the recommendation of sentence against the defendants. Dr. Felismino Cardoso, who had been prosecuting the case against Abilio Mausoko and the others, did not attend the final hearing. The four defendants, Abilio Mesquita, Artur Avelar Borges, Almerindo da Costa and Valente de Araujo, were represented at the hearing by their team of lawyers, comprising Dr. Andre Fernandes (public) and Dr. Nelson de Carvalho (private). The other member of the defence team, Paulo dos Remedios (private), did not attend.
After opening the hearing, the Presiding Judge read out the Public Prosecutor’s indictment, which charged the defendants with criminal acts carrying a maximum sentence of nine to twelve years imprisonment. The Public Prosecutor accused the defendant Abilio Mesquita of committing more than one criminal act, including extortion committed against the victim Elizario da Silva (owner of Uanagua shop). Associated entries in the indictment were classified as violations of Article 362 of the Indonesian Penal Code on theft and Article 55 of the Indonesian Penal Code, which proscribes being ‘a principal of a criminal act’. Other acts related to the attack on the residence of Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak were contended to breach UNTAET Regulation No. 5/2001 4.4.7, as the defendant “Mausoko” was carrying a gun, having the effect of causing panic and disturbing public order.
A further entry in the indictment against the first defendant, Abilio Mesquita, was classified under Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code, which deals with acts constituting a ‘crime against life’. The Panel of Judges, led by international judge Dra. Maria das Dores Gomes, acquitted the defendant on this charge, as it was not proven that he had committed or attempted murder.
The punishment handed down against this defendant was a conjunction of sentences for violating Article 362 of the Indonesian Penal Code on theft and UNTAET Regulation No 5/2001 4.4.7, resulting in a total accumulated sentence of four years imprisonment.
JSMP notes that if the defendant Abilio Mesquita had been sentenced separately for each charge, then the total punishment would have been five years imprisonment. The Panel of Judges had regard to Article 65 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code, which states that “in a case involving a conjunction of multiple acts that may individually constitute crimes, or [where] similar basic punishments are mandated, one punishment shall be imposed.”
The sentence passed by the Panel of Judges appears to reflect a belief that the release of the defendant Mausoko would not be in accordance with the respect for life and dignity enshrined in the law. Mausoko was a police officer, and was supposed to provide a good example to the community – conversely, he caused disorder through the abuse of his authority. Additionally, the Panel felt that the defendant had not shown any regret for his actions.
The defendants Artur Avelar Borges, Almerindo da Costa, and Valente de Araujo, were each sentenced by the court to a maximum imprisonment of one year and six months, based on statements presented by the Public Prosecutor in the form of material evidence. This included witness testimony relating to the incident that occurred on 24-25 May 2007 in Marabia, Lahane. Their actions were charged under UNTAET Regulation No 5/2001 4.4.7 relating to the use of guns to cause public disorder.
Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak submitted a letter requesting that all the defendants be released and granted clemency. The Panel of Judges, however, did not accept the request, noting it had no legal validity. The court ultimately decided to return this letter to its author. Roberto da Costa Pacheco, Coordinator of Legal Research, JSMP, observed that the court took very seriously its handling of the trial against the defendant Abilio Mesquita, with the aim of improving community faith in the judicial system. JSMP believes that this is a positive step forward, especially in light of recent turmoil.
JSMP also requests that the authorities to do their utmost to follow up all cases that occurred during the crisis and to pursue the recommendations issued by the International Commission of Inquiry.
FRETILIN offers joint investigation into violence, denounces false rumours FRETILIN Media release 12 August 2007 – FRETILIN today offered to conduct a joint investigation with United Nations officials into reports of politically-motivated violence in Timor Leste (East Timor) including an attack on a UN convoy on Friday 10 August.
FRETILIN Vice President Arsenio Bano said the party would do all it could to assist the UN mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) in a joint investigation to determine the facts and prevent further violence.
‘We condemn all acts of violence and again call on our supporters and those of other parties to exercise their legal right to demonstrate by peaceful means,’ Bano said.
He said opponents of Fretilin were spreading
false rumours and exaggerations to damage FRETILIN’s image.
“In particular we denounce rumours reported in foreign media that FRETILIN members are distributing weapons in preparation for an armed insurrection. This is completely false.
“Similar false rumours were spread last year with the aim of subverting the FRETILIN government.”
Bano said it appeared Friday’s attack on UN vehicles was sparked when UN police set about destroying banners and flags of peaceful FRETILIN demonstrators.
“Despite this extremely provocative and illegal action by UN police, we urge our supporters to avoid any violent response,” he said.
“We have a legal right to demonstrate peacefully against this illegitimate government which excludes the biggest party in the country. We maintain our position that only a government representative of all parties in parliament, and headed by an independent prime minister, can bring stability to Timor Leste.”
Bano said UN police and foreign troops of the international Stabilisation Force were taking a much tougher stance against FRETILIN supporters than they did against FRETILIN’s opponents in the year leading up to recent elections.
“UNPOL and the ISF sat on their hands and did nothing to stop months of violent persecution of FRETILIN supporters in Ermera and other places last year,” he said.
“UNPOL and ISF have now surrounded all IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Dili in order to prevent them taking part in peaceful demonstrations against the illegitimate government.
“President Horta has threatened to sack civil servants who join anti-government demonstrations, despite the fact that the president has no constitutional right to do so and there is no law to stop civil servants taking part in peaceful protests in non-working time.”
Bano said FRETILIN was conducting its own investigation into media reports of an alleged rape of students at a convent on Friday.
“It seems that some form of abuse did take place in the Baguia area of Baucau district but it was a purely criminal act having nothing to do with political problems. It is slanderous to suggest this had anything to do with FRETILIN,” he said.
Contact: Arsénio Bano, Vice-President and member of FRETILIN National Political Commission, Tel. (+670) 733 9416 Jose Teixeira, FRETILIN parliamentarian (+670) 733 5060
UNMIT: Police Capture Alleged Rapist in Baucau – Dili, August 13, 2007 – United Nations Police (UNPol) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) have arrested a suspect in relation to an alleged rape in Baucau on Friday.
Reports so far indicate that an 11 year old girl was raped by a 16 year old male in an orphanage in Baguia.
The suspect was arrested on August 11 and then escaped but surrendered again to police later in the day.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Mr Atul Khare, said the suspect will now be dealt with by the judicial authorities of Timor-Leste.
He added that in developing a culture of human rights and respect for women and children in Timor-Leste, that such cases need to be strongly condemned and those who commit such crimes swiftly prosecuted.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL ALLISON COOPER ON +670 7230453
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE IN BAUCAU AND AGRICULTURE WAREHOUSE TORCHED BY MOB For Immediate Release: 09 August, 2007 – On 7 August 2007, at mid day, an organized gang of young men set fire to the ministry of agriculture office and warehouse in Baucau. The loss was total, the damage was devastating. No one was hurt, but the people of Timor lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is little chance the goods lost will be quickly replaced.
Staff of the ministry and the Seeds of Life program fled the office before the gangs set it on fire, salvaging little of value. The fire consumed records, documents, office equipment, and, of course, the building. With support from the government of Germany through the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), in 2003, the government reconstructed the office, at the cost of US$25,000. This was a gift from the people of Germany to the people of East Timor, now burned to
MAFF region I director, Justino dos Santos Silva explained the loss:
“All the people of East Timor have lost with this destruction. We have worked for six years, together with the German government and with the World Food Program (WFP), to build an infrastructure to support agricultural development. In one day, gangs destroyed it all.”
The warehouse was a cooperative effort, built with assistance by the World Food Program, for the use of various organizations. At the time of the destruction, GTZ, the World Food Program, Seeds of Life, and MAFF had everything from seeds to tractors in the warehouse, intended to help the people of East Timor. (See attached list of material lost.)
Of immediate concern is the loss of seed and food stores intended to help still-struggling farmers and displaced persons. Seed stock is now increasingly difficult to procure from Indonesia, and the second planting season for maize is starting currently.
Nicia Lay, an extension officer working in cooperation with MAFF and GTZ explained the situation: “Farmers are preparing to plant maize right now in the hills of Baucau and Viqueque. We had prepared improved varieties for them, but these are all burnt now. How can we get more in time?”
The equipment burnt was regularly used with farmers and other organizations to assist the development of rural areas. It is the rural people of the districts of Baucau and Viqueque who have now lost the use of such equipment as rice mills and road construction equipment.
Items destroyed and lost may eventually be replaced, but this means resources used to rebuild and replace will not be used to further advance society. It is the development process that suffers the largest set back by such acts of destruction.
Several items were stolen by the gang before they set fire to the warehouse; the police have been informed of the stolen items.
List of items burnt in the agricultural warehouse:
Hira Saida Valor
1.0 Hand Tractor G1000 $ 1,487.00
5.0 5 X Hand Tractor M1000 $ 7,435.00
3.0 3 X Rice Mill $ 6,600.00
1.0 Generator Yanmar 10 KVA DEM 6,605.54
1.0 POWER tresher $ 500.00
1.0 Flour mill + Engine
1.0 Rice Mill + engine
Material Halo Estrada
2.0 2 X Concrete Mixer Lightburn DEM 6,605.54
3.0 3 X CompactorVPH70 Honda Engine DEM 9,901.71
15.0 15 X Bronjong Jadi $ 375.00
62.0 Kawat BVG X 50KG $ 5,146.00
4.0 4 X Dos Cangkul
7.0 7 X Dos Parang
62.0 62 X Karpu
4.0 4 X Scop
87.0 87 X PVC Piping, oi-oin $ 20,074.00
2.0 Tons Kayu Cendana
8.1 Ton Tuwuti (Hare rai maran)
8.5 Ton Hare Nakroma
15.1 Ton Forai Keli
8.0 Ton Batar Arjuna
2.8 Ton Batar Sawan 5
2.0 Dos Sevin
3.0 Dos Basa
4.0 Dos Furadan
5.0 Dos Polar
6.4 Ton Mina Tein
5.0 5 X Motor Bike $ 7,500.00
2.0 Hand Sprayer
1.0 Color printing of 4 A1 -size poster ( Pres Of ESP) $
40.0 40 X Drum Mamuk $ 1,000.00
2.0 2 X Generator Yamaha EF 2800 $ 1,630.96
3.0 3 X Jonson Engine
3.0 3 X Radio Mobil
Total Liu Ona: $ 74,993.33
Inside MAFF Office: a map case sits ajar revealing destroyed maps previously used to organize agricultural projects.
Inside MAFF Warehouse: A destroyed rice mill sits in front of over 40 tons of destroyed seed. Tractors destined to help plow farmer fields are visible through smoke still rising off the wreckage. Over 6 tons of cooking oil helped fuel a fire that burned for two days.
MAFF Office: Burned to the ground, the MAFF office was rehabilitated in 2003 with a contribution of $25,000 from the German government.
MAFF Warehouse: Still burning after two days, the MAFF warehouse, rebuilt with assistance from WFP, was used by several different organizations to store seeds and agricultural equipment for the development of East Timor.
For more information, contact: Justino dos Santos Silva, MAFF Region I Director +670-723-2122
AFP: East Timor asks for outside help to monitor ill ex-minister JAKARTA 11-Aug-07 – EAST TIMOR asked Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for help monitoring a jailed former minister who was permitted to travel to Kuala Lumpur for medical treatment, the justice minister said yesterday.
Rogerio Lobato, a senior member of the former ruling party Fretilin, was imprisoned for distributing weapons to civilians during turmoil last year in East Timor that left 37 people dead.
But he flew to Malaysia via Indonesia and Singapore on Thursday for edical treatment after a day-long stand-off with the new government, which feared it would be criticised for allowing him to leave on its first day in office.
“Through our attorney-general… we asked Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to coordinate in monitoring Lobato’s travels on his chartered flight” through Indonesia’s Bali and Singapore, justice minister Lucia Lobato said.
“We made contact with all (the countries) to prevent the convict from escaping,” Lobato, who is a cousin of the former home affairs minister, told reporters.
The justice minister also said Fretilin had paid some US$30,000 ($45,327) to Lobato, the most senior government member jailed over last year’s unrest, to cover the costs of the treatment, a move she described as “regretful”.
The new government of Xanana Gusmao was sworn in on Wednesday, triggering sporadic violence in Dili and other East Timorese towns by youths sympathetic to Fretilin, which insists the administration is illegal.
Fretilin won the most votes in June elections.
However, it did not garner the majority required to govern, while Gusmao’s party formed a coalition holding 37 of 65 parliament seats in the wake of the polls. President Jose Ramos-Horta used his constitutional authority to rule that Gusmao’s coalition should be installed.
Lobato, who founded a guerrilla army that fought Indonesia’s 24-year occupation of East Timor which lasted until 1999, is suffering from liver, heart and kidney problems, although his precise ailments are unknown.
Claudio Ximenes: Rogerio has the right to medical treatment – The President of the Court of Appeals, Claudio Ximenes said that all Timorese citizens, including the former Interior Minister, Rogerio Tiago Lobato as a prisoner, have the right to receive medical treatment overseas if needed. Speaking to journalists after the new government was sworn in on Wednesday (8/8) in Dili, Mr. Ximenes said that medical treatment overseas is a fundamental right and nobody has the right to refuse that. (DN)
Interference in Rogerio Lobato’s case violates constitution – At a press conference held on Thursday (9/8) in the parliament, the Chief member of the national parliament from the Fretilin party, Aniceto da Silva Guterres said that the Minister of Justice’s interference in Lobato’s case goes against the Timorese constitution. ‘The decision of the Alliance ‘ through the Ministry of Justice ‘ to stop Mr. Lobato’s medical flight to Malaysia goes against the decision made by the other organs’ said Mr. Aniceto. He said that Lobato’s case was authorized by the former Minister of Justice and judges and was stopped by the new government. This violates the democratic principles of this country and is considered an attack towards a Fretilin member. (STL and DN)
Domingos: Fretilin will always consider the decision as unconstitutional – The former Minister of Justice, Mr. Domingos Sarmento said that the decision made by President José Ramos-Horta to give the Alliance power to form the new government is unjust and unconstitutional as it is not based on the will of the majority of the people. (DN)
Lobato allowed to travel overseas – After long negotiations with the government, Rogerio Tiago Lobato ‘ accompanied by his family (two children, wife and two cousins) – on Thursday (9/8) was allowed to travel to Malaysia to undergo medical treatment. (STL)
Xanana: the government did not impede Lobato – Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão on Thursday (9/8), after the weekly meeting with President José Ramos-Horta in Dili, said that the actions of government to stop Lobato’s medical flight to Malaysia were not meant to impede the process but rather to ensure that all proper procedures were met. Mr. Gusmão explained that the new government had just been sworn in and needed to get all the information regarding Lobato’s treatment. (TP)
Jose Luis: disregarding the ICI recommendations is undemocratic – The Director of the HAK Association, José Luis Oliveira said that the court’s decision to disregard the list of people recommended by the International Commission on Inquiry following last year’s crisis (including Mr. Paulo Martins, Mr. Leandro Isaac, Mr. Mari Alkatiri and others) goes against the Timorese constitution and democratic principles of the country. According to Mr. Oliveira, the court’s decision is meant to protect the political elite. (TP)
PM Xanana: If Rogerio flees, it is the responsibility of the former government – Speaking to journalists after meeting with President José Ramos-Horta on Thursday (9/8) in Dili, Prime Minister Xanana said that if Rogerio Lobato flees, it will be the responsibility of the former government. Lobato traveled to Malaysia for medical treatment. ‘We have seen all the documents from the former Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs. We want to make sure that after the treatment, Lobato returns to Becora prison,’ said the Prime Minister. (DN)
Atul Khare: ‘UNPol, PNTL and ISF will not tolerate any violence‘ – At a press conference held on Thursday (9/8) in Obrigado Barracks in Dili, SRSG Mr. Atul Khare said that UNPol, PNTL and ISF will not tolerate violent acts in the country.
He said that instead of showing their commitment to the development of their country, the Timorese people are destroying their own houses and properties and not giving their new nation a chance to develop.
‘I totally condemn the current actions done by Fretilin supporters in Viqueque, Baucau and Dili. I am disappointed to see that the Timorese are fighting each other. I am ashamed of their actions,’ said Mr. Khare. (DN)
UNMIT Daily Media Review: 9 August 2007
Former Interior Minister’s flight cancelled – The Government of the Alliance through the Ministry of Justice cancelled the medical flight to Malaysia that was arranged for the former Interior Minister Rogerio Tiago Lobato on Wednesday (8/8). Speaking to journalists, the Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato informed that she issued the order for security to bring Mr. Lobato back to the Becora prison. She said that there are no restrictions placed on prisoners that must get medical treatment overseas, however it is important that the prisoners follow the judicial system. (TP)
F-FDTL deployed in Venilale and Viqueque – The Commander of F-FDTL, Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak received an order from President José Ramos-Horta to deploy F-FDTL forces to Baucau district to control the situation. Speaking to journalists on Wednesday (8/8) in Dili, Mr. Ruak said that the Baucau and Viqueque cases are very complicated. ‘Mr Horta has ordered F-FDTL deployment in Baucau; the forces will be based in Venilale and Viqueque,’ informed Mr. Ruak. (TP)
New Justice Minister interferes with Court Order FRETILIN Media Release 10 August 2007 – FRETILIN today condemned the action of the new Justice Minister of Timor Leste, Ms Lucia Lobato, for her interference on Wednesday afternoon (8 August) to block a court order allowing for jailed former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato to go to Malaysia for heart surgery.
“FRETILIN in government never interfered with the justice system when Rogerio Lobato, a senior FRETILIN figure, was arrested, tried, sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, and failed to win his appeal,” said FRETILIN parliamentarian and Australian trained lawyer Jose Teixeira today.
“Yet on day one of the new government, there is gross abuse of the judiciary. The new government should continue the previous government’s practice of strict respect for the independence of the judiciary,” said Mr Teixeira.
“We also condemn international media reports that this court order was a ‘deal’ to allow Mr Lobato to ‘escape’. This spurious allegation continues the wild anti-FRETILIN spin in the international media this week.
“The media reports neglect the fact that the court order to allow Lobato to leave was handed by a judge, the very same judge who had convicted Lobato previously, after three international doctors, including an Australian doctor, had advised that he required heart surgery which is not available here in Timor-Leste.
“Mr Lobato is a prisoner in the jurisdiction of Timor Leste and must return after the heart surgery,” Mr Teixeria concluded.
For more information, please contact: Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080, FRETILIN Media (+670) 733 5060 or send an email to email@example.com, http://www.fretilin-rdtl.blogspot.com
Jailed ex minister may leave Timor Aug 9, 2007 10:03 PM – East Timor’s new government has allowed a jailed former minister to fly out of the country without an escort, after a 24-hour standoff on the tarmac at Dili airport.
A judge had given Rogerio Lobato permission to seek medical care in Malaysia, despite the fact that he was part way through serving a seven-year jail term over last year’s violence in East Timor.
When the new government learned that he was about to fly out, it blocked his departure amid fears he may not return to complete his sentence.
But later a Lear jet was allowed to take off, taking Lobato, his wife and lawyer to Malaysia after the government received guarantees he would return to East Timor.
Lobato was jailed last year for manslaughter and supplying arms to civilians involved in violence that wracked Dili throughout 2006.
He spent Wednesday night sleeping on the jet on the tarmac at Dili airport as authorities wrangled over the judge’s authorisation – obtained under the previous Fretilin government.
The disgraced former minister’s young cousin Lucia Lobato was subsequently sworn in as the new Justice Minister. She is also the deputy leader of the Social Democrat Party.
Earlier Lucia Lobato had said she would only allow her relative to leave once she had seen “requested guarantees that Lobato will return immediately after treatment” along with detailed information on his planned location.
There is no extradition treaty between East Timor and Malaysia.
The wrangle came as the United Nations said the security situation in Dili appeared to be improving.
However, violence – sparked by the appointment of the new government – continued in the eastern districts of Baucau and Viqueque.
UN police have fired rubber bullets and hundreds of tear gas shells to disperse mobs in the two districts.
In Viqueque, 45 people had been injured and dozens of homes destroyed, and it remained an area of “high alert”, said the head of the UN mission Atul Khare.
“In the last two days the situation in Dili is improving and incidents subsiding,” he said.
“However, the situation in Baucau … (has) deteriorated. At least seven buildings were set fire to.”
Khare, meanwhile, described Lobato’s legal situation as “complex”. “The UN doesn’t have any jurisdiction here but of course all matters of justice are a concern for us,” he said. “We are watching it closely.”
The move to allow Lobato to seek treatment overseas has been seen by critics as a possible strategy to flee East Timor before the new coalition government – led by resistance hero Xanana Gusmao – rejects amnesty proposals made by the previous government.
Early last week, he was taken from Dili’s Becora prison to the national hospital for treatment for his ailments, which are said to include heart and prostate problems.
Lobato’s lawyer Paulo Remedios told Lucia Lobato the hospital could not provide the specialised treatment he needed and that the previous government’s exit permit was backed by certificates from Cuban, Chinese and Australian doctors.
A special court hearing had agreed to his travel on the basis of these documents. Source: AAP
Lobato medical flight cancelled The Age August 9, 2007
A CHARTERED plane due to carry East Timor’s jailed former interior minister Rogerio Lobato was refused permission to take off at Dili international airport last night.
Lobato, cleared by Dili District Court last week to fly to Malaysia for medical treatment, was left sitting in the plane amid confusion over whether he could leave the country.
Only hours after being sworn in as minister for justice yesterday, Lucia Lobato Lobato’s cousin ordered authorities not to give the plane permission to take off.
President Jose Ramos Horta said last night that Ms Lobato did not want to be seen to be favouring her cousin. But he said that as far as he was concerned, Lobato could leave.
“I have seen the doctors’ reports stating that he needs urgent treatment in Malaysia and the court has given him permission,” Mr Ramos Horta said.
Lobato was sentenced to 7½ years’ jail earlier this year on charges including manslaughter that related to last year’s violent upheaval in Dili that left 37 people dead. LINDSAY MURDOCH
Jailed ex-minister tries to leave E Timor ABC News By Anne Barker
In East Timor, a former government minister jailed over last year’s outbreak of violence has sparked a legal row by trying to leave the country on a chartered plane.
It is the first big challenge facing the newly sworn-in Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Rogerio Lobato was jailed for seven years in April after being convicted for his role in last year’s violence.
He has been in hospital since last week, and the same court that jailed him has granted permission without any conditions for him to fly to Malaysia for urgent heart surgery.
Lobato’s family have chartered a plane from Singapore.
But his own cousin, Lucille Lobarto, sworn in today as the new Justice Minister, has intervened to stop him leaving.
The plane has been delayed on the tarmac for hours.
It is understood a prison van is being sent to Dili airport to take Lobato back into custody.
Trial Starts in Shooting Case involving Afonso “Kuda Lai” JSMP Press Release 3 August 2007 – On 3/8/2007, the Baucau District Court (operating out of the Dili District Court) conducted a hearing relating to the shooting of the victim Afonso Kuda Lai, which occurred on 3/6/2007 when parliamentary election campaigning was taking place in Viqueque District. This hearing was presided over by a Panel of Judges comprising Dra. Telma A. Fiquirido (International), Dra. Edite Palmira and Dra. Ana Paula F.M. de Jesus (National). The Prosecution Unit was represented by Flavio Borges and the defendant was represented by public defender Andre Fernandes.
At the commencement of the hearing, the Presiding Judge read out the Prosecutor’s indictment against the defendant which was based on contentions drawn from witness testimony, video footage and photos taken at the scene of the crime when the incident was taking place.
During the aforementioned hearing, the defendant Luis da Silva testified that the cause of the incident on 3 June 2007 was action taken by a group of people against political campaigning by the National Council for the Reconstruction of Timor Leste (CNRT). A group of youths approached the campaign area and were displaying CNRT party symbols, however when they reached that spot they stamped on the party symbols they had been carrying and burned them while yelling offensive words.
To stop the mob from running amok, the Viqueque District Police immediately came to the campaign area to deal with the problem. The defendant Luis da Silva was wearing civilian clothing when he arrived at the location, where members of the community were massing. He claimed that he was working as an intelligence officer for the police in the Viqueque region and that he had been told by his commander to monitor campaign activities. On arriving at the scene, it is claimed the protesting group suddenly attacked the defendant and struck him, ultimately causing him to lose consciousness.
In response to the actions of a group of youths (including the victim), the defendant at one point took out his pistol and fired shots directly at the victim, killing him instantly. The defendant stated that he fired 4 shots which were not preceded by a warning shot. He claimed that Police Regulation No. 21/2004 states that it is not necessary to fire a warning shot when a police officer is faced with an imminent threat to his life.
The defendant also cited self defense in his testimony, claiming that although he had intended to shoot the victim, he had only done so because he felt himself to have been faced with a serious threat. After the incident, it is claimed the defendant remained at the scene until UNPOL arrived. The defendant ran in the direction of his base after UNPOL fired tear gas.
In the course of the hearing, the court also summoned 4 witnesses. These were all police officers from Viqueque District. Two of the witnesses, namely Salvador de Jesus da Silva and Pedro Sarmento da Silva, did not, in fact, provide testimony, stating that they were not present at the scene of the crime. The other two witnesses, namely Francisco Soares Ximenes and Domingos Soares, provided testimony in support of the defendant. The witness Domingos Soares is a police commander from Uatu Lari Sub District who states he gave orders directly to the defendant to monitor the campaigning activities of CNRT.
At approximately 15:00, after the examination of witnesses had been completed, the public prosecutor submitted his sentencing recommendation in respect of the shooting of Afonso Kuda Lai, also known as the “Viqueque incident”. The Baucau District Court is, accordingly, now in a position to hand down its final decision.
In his sentencing recommendation, the public prosecutor asserted that the defendant had admitted his guilt and that the defendant’s actions were extremely aggressive. It was also noted that when the incident occurred the defendant was not wearing a PNTL uniform, and confusion over his identity may have led to the defendant being attacked. Also, the defendant did not fire a warning shot, and had a clear intent to kill the victim.
With these factors in mind, the public prosecutor restated his original charges against the defendant with reference to Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code.
Andre Fernandes, the defendant’s legal representative, argued that Article 49 of the Indonesian Penal Code should be applied to his client’s actions. He also stated that the medical report provided did not amount to satisfactory evidence and that the report had not been written in one of the official languages of Timor Leste, as prescribed in Article 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides that “under penalty of nullity, procedural acts shall be performed using an official language of Timor-Leste.” On these grounds the defence appealed for the defendant to be acquitted of all criminal charges.
After hearing the final recommendation of sentence and closing plea, the court decided that a decision on the charge of murder in this case would be announced on 17 August 2007 at 10:00 by the Baucau District Court.
Legal Observer Osorio de Deus observed that the trial of this case has progressed relatively smoothly and should serve as a model for future trials of a similar kind. The aforementioned legal observer also urges the Timor Leste Prosecution Unit to try all criminal cases relating to incidents that occurred during the campaigning period – not just the Viqueque case. Every case reported by CNE should be processed in accordance with the applicable law in Timor Leste.
For further information please contact: Osorio de Deus Legal Observer, JSMP Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
F-FDTL will be reformed – President José Ramos-Horta has decided that the Defence Force of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) should be reformed. “We have just been independent for six years so we need more time to modernize our defence forces,” said Mr. Taur on Tuesday (31/7) after meeting with the President in Dili. (STL)
Mal Rerden: Timorese leaders must resolve the Alfredo problem – At his last press conference in Dili, the Commander of the International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier-General Mal Rerden appealed to the Timorese Government to deal with the issue of fugitive Alfredo Reinado Alves and his men. “The issue of Alfredo Reinado Alves and his men is very important and the Timorese leaders must resolve it in order to create security and stability in the country,” said Mr. Rerden. (DN)
Rerden: “Good Bye Timor-Leste” – The Commander of the International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier-General Mal Rerden on Tuesday (31/7) handed over his role to the new Commander, Brigadier-general John Hutcheson. Mr. Rerden returned to Australia today (01/8) after leading the ISF for the past nine months. At his last press conference in Dili, Brig. Gen. Rerden thanked the Timorese people, who supported ISF during his mandate in Timor-Leste. “Good Bye Timor-Leste” he said. (TP and DN)