Timor-Leste Legal News October 2007 (Part 1)
Minister threatens to sack foreign judges FRETILIN media release: Friday 5 October 2007 – Timor Leste’s new government has renewed its attack on the independence of the judiciary, with Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato threatening to terminate the contracts of United Nations-appointed foreign judges ‘who are not performing well.’
FRETILIN Member of Parliament Domingos Sarmento today called on Lobato to withdraw her threat and apologise to the judiciary. “If she refuses to apologise then Prime Minister Gusmao must dismiss her from the ministry,” said Sarmento, a former Justice Minister and liberation fighter.
In an interview with Timor Leste television TVTL on 3 October, Minister Lobato said her government would ‘evaluate the performance’ of foreign judges and terminate the contracts of those who were not performing well.
Domingos Sarmento said: “It is not the government’s role to pass judgement on the work of the judiciary. That is the job of the Superior Council for the Judiciary mandated as an independent body under the constitution.”
Sarmento said Lobato appeared determined to interfere with the judicial process relating to Alfredo Reinado, the army mutineer and prison escapee who led an armed band in a violent coup attempt against the FRETILIN government last year.
The Dili newspaper Suara Timor Lorosae on 3 October reported Lobato as saying the government had ‘formed a task force to find a solution acceptable to all parties, including Alfredo Reinado.’
A United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry in October 2006 recommended Reinado be prosecuted for his role in leading an attack on government troops in which five people were killed and 10 seriously injured. Reinado remains at large but he and his co-accused have been indicted and are scheduled to be tried in December this year.
Domingos Sarmento said:” Minister Lucia Lobato appears to understand nothing about the separation of powers and shows no respect for the independence of the judiciary.
“Reinado’s case ought to be judged according to law and proper judicial procedure and not by a process of negotiation between the fugitive and politicians who have benefited from his support.”
Sarmento said Minister Lobato took her first swipe at the judiciary on the first day of the new government, 8 August, when she blocked a judge’s order allowing a jailed former minister to travel abroad for medical treatment.
“Minister Lucia Lobato prevented the former minister’s aircraft from leaving Dili and then tried to insist that the former minister’s two children remain in Timor Leste as virtual hostages pending his return from treatment.
“The judge who issued the order, Justice Ivo Rosa had to issue a new direction saying the Justice Minister could be in contempt of court if she prevented the former minister from travelling.
“The new government’s actions are in sharp contrast to the former FRETILIN government which scrupulously avoided interfering with the justice system,” Sarmento said.
For more information, please contact: Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080
A transitional budget in East Timor ABC Radio Australia 06/10/2007 20:07:47 – East Timor’s parliament has passed a transitional period budget proposal of 112 million US dollars. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao says its priorities are helping refugees, reducing poverty and the modernisation of the police force. Fretilin Secretary-general Mari Alkatiri says the party voted against the budget because it didn’t agree with the government’s and the budget commission’s answers in the debate. The budget was passed with 36 votes for, 21 against and six abstaining. It is proposed to cover the six months, from July to December 2007.
UNMIT Daily Media Review – 5 October 2007
Alfredo is still the target of UNPol and the ISF -Alfredo Reinado is still being tracked by the United Nations Police (UNPol) and International Security Forces (ISF) as his arrest warrant is still valid. “The arrest warrant of Mr. Reinado is still valid. And UNPol is ready to do its job when needed,” said Allison Cooper, United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in the UNMIT regular press briefing in Obrigado Barracks, Dili, on Thursday (04/10).
Separately, the spokesperson of the Youth Movement of National Unity (MUNJ), Augusto Junior Trindade said a few days ago that the arrest warrant issued by Judge Ivo should be withdrawn – if not, this will be an obstacle for the dialogue. (STL, DN and TP)
Railos to have initial hearings in the court – Railos, who is alleged to have led armed civilians in attacks against East Timor’s military in Tasi Tolu on May 24th last year, appeared in the Court of Appeal yesterday afternoon (4/10). The hearing was well-secured by UNPol and FPU from Portugal. On the first day of the hearing, Mr. Railos was not accompanied by his lawyer. The hearing was related to the Tasi Tolu incidents on May 24 2006 which resulted in one F-FDTL member being killed. Railos has been charged with violating Articles 338 and 55 of the Penal Code, related to homicide. (DN)
National Parliament: if you break the law, you will go to court – Commenting on Railos – who is alleged to have led armed civilians in attacks against East Timor’s military in Tasi Tolu on 24 May 2006, and was arrested on Wednesday (3/10) – MPs of the National Parliament said that all citizens should respect the law. Aniceto Guterres from Fretilin said that in a democratic state, all people must obey the rule of law, if not then they should face trial. (DN)
Alkatiri does not believe that the Alliance government will last five years – The secretary general of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, said that he does not believe that the Xanana-led government will last five years as Xanana only got 24% of the votes. “They do not know how to execute the budget, their programs or how to act capably”, said Mr. Alkatiri on Monday (1/10) at the Embassy of China, Dili. Mr. Alkatiri also said that to make the government fall down, there will be opposition to everything to counter the programs of the government – but not using violence (DN)
Grenade blast near Australian embassy in East Timor 05 Oct 2007 10:15:35 GMT Source: Reuters More DILI, Oct 5 (Reuters) – A grenade exploded outside a building adjacent to the Australian embassy in East Timor, but no one was hurt, police said on Friday. The blast on Thursday night damaged the building and two cars, said East Timor’s police operations commander, Mateus Fernandes. One person was arrested after the incident, he said, declining to provide further details. About 850 Australian troops are in East Timor as part of an international peacekeeping force deployed to restore order following factional bloodshed last year killed 37 people.
UNMIT Media Monitoring 4 Oct 07
GNR and ISF to capture Railos – The GNR and International Security Forces (ISF) captured Mr. Vicente da Conceicao alias ‘Railos’ on Tuesday in Liquica district. Mr. Railos is alleged to have led armed civilians in an attack on the F-FDTL in Tasi Tolu during last year’s military and political crisis. Mr. Railos is now in the preventive prison of Dili district with other five young men. Longuinhos Monteiro, the Attorney General reportedly said that the arrest made by ISF and GNR based on evidence relating to the alleged trading of illegal weapons during last year;s crisis. “The process of justice will be executed quickly” said Mr. Monteiro. (DN and STL) MR. Railos was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant issued on September 13, 2007 for his alleged role in the events of the 24th and 25th of May last year in Tasi Tolu.
UN, considers Railos arrest has legal base – The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has confirmed that Vicente do Conceicao, alias “Railos” was arrested early this morning at his residence near Liquiça. He was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant issued on September 13, 2007 for his alleged role in the events of the 24th and 25th of May last year. Railos has been charged for violating Articles 338 and 55 of the Penal Code, related to homicide, and are expected to appear in Court in Dili later today. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Mr Atul Khare, welcomed the arrest as a continued sign of the continued strong commitment of the authorities of Timor-Leste to implement recommendations of the UN Special Commission of Inquiry Report issued in October last year. UN police officers, assisted by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the International Security Forces (ISF) have been positioned in sensitive locations to maintain a calm situation. (DN)
Benevides: withdrawal of mandate to capture of Alfredo does not mean Alfredo will not submit himself to the justice – The Lawyer for Alfredo Reinado, Benevides Correia Barros said on Wednesday that the declaration of the president of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes calling upon all authorities to obey the law regarding to the mandate of capturing Alfredo Reinado, is incorrect. According to Mr. Barros Mr Ximenes has misunderstood the situation because the withdrawal of the arrest warrant for Reinado does not mean that Reinado will not submit himself to the justice. President José Ramos-Horta has stated that to solve the Reinado problem, military operations should be halted and the arrest warrant should be withdrawn. (TP)
UN spokeswoman welcomes Timor rebel’s arrest – BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific 3 Oct 07 Source: Radio Australia, Melbourne, in English 1100 gmt 3 Oct 07 Text of report by Radio Australia on 3 October
[Newsreader] A former East Timorese soldier has been arrested and charged in connection with the deadly unrest which erupted in the country last year. Vicente da Conciecao is alleged to have led armed civilians in attacks against East Timor’s security forces in May. Karon Snowden reports.
[Snowdon] Conciecao, who goes by the alias Railos, has been charged in relation to attacks on 24 and 25 May in which at least five people died. His role was documented in a special UN commission of inquiry report in October last year which resulted in the jailing of the former interior minister Rogerio Lobato [sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in March for distributing weapons and ammunition to civilians]. The violence, over several months, caused a total of 38 deaths and contributed to the resignation of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri for his handling of the crisis.
UN spokeswoman Alison Cooper says despite the delay, other arrests will follow. [Cooper] There are still other cases within the report that the UN would like to see followed up. We’re confident that they will be followed up. So today’s arrest is significant and is very much welcomed.
Commission of Truth & Friendship Hearings in Dili JSMP Press Release 2 October 2007 – The fifth and final public hearing of the Commission of Truth and Friendship Indonesia-Timor Leste (CTF) occurred recently in Dili. Sessions took place at the former Comarca building in Balide between 25 and 27 September 2007. Despite reasonable attendance on the first day of proceedings, these sessions were not well attended by the public. Additionally, though it was claimed an ambassadorial presence was lending credibility to the process, there was in fact not a large diplomatic contingent consistently in attendance.
Six individuals testified publicly as part of this process. The first of these, Tomas Aquino Goncalves, spoke of his role as a leader of the APODETI pro-integration party, and of his meetings with Indonesian officials regarding the supply of arms to Timorese militias. Goncalves notably claimed he was withholding certain documents in order to ensure his own security, and would only release these if called upon by an international tribunal.
Next, Sancho Ramos de Reisoreicao, detailed his abuse by soldiers he identified as members of Battalion 745. Despite repeated questioning by Commission panelists, the witness maintained his position that those who attacked him were not Timorese.
Convicted militia commander Jhony Marques, released from Becora Prison to attend the hearing, gave evidence of his actions around the time of the Popular Consultation. Marques, understanding that the panelists did not have power to compel him to answer, refused several times to provide details of his Indonesian superiors. Under questioning, though, he revealed previously unheard details of supposed sexual violence in Lospalos.
Francisco de Carvalho Lopes, invited to speak about his pre-independence political involvement, disregarded the attempts of the panel to curtail his lengthy testimony, and spoke critically of the CTF, suggesting its hands were tied and people were not wrong to demonstrate in favour of a legal resolution. Accompanied by applause from the audience, Carvalho called for Indonesian reparations, and for an apology to the Timorese people.
An account of killings in Oecusse, and of his own torture, was given by Marcus Baquin, a pro-independence activist. Notwithstanding the suggestion of panelists that such events may have been provoked by personal grudges, the witness stated his belief the violence was politically motivated and supported by pro-autonomy figures in Indonesia.
Mario Goncalves, a member of the pro-independence movement, spoke of his detention and torture by militia members including Jhony Franca. Franca had been scheduled to speak at the hearing himself, but was reportedly ill. With the non-attendance of another invited witness, UDT member Rui Lopes, the public hearings were drawn to a close.
JSMP considers that the panelists admitted little distinction in their questioning of victims and perpetrators. Furthermore, clarification of witness testimony often entailed a number of unconnected queries that did not allow for specific elements of the various accounts to be effectively scrutinised. Given the narrow mandate of the CTF, several witnesses evaded questioning on salient issues, some citing a lack of confidence in the proceedings.
The lack of publicity surrounding the CTF no doubt explains in part the poor attendance at the public hearings. Considering also the participation of fewer than ten individuals in the Commission’s explanatory workshop, it seems reasonable to conclude also that there is a lack of support for the process within civil society. This was most visibly expressed by a demonstration outside the CTF venue on 25 and 26 September. Protestors representing a coalition of NGOs carried banners decrying the Commission as a political compromise and calling for a tribunal process to deliver justice.
JSMP is equally skeptical about the prospects for the CTF to comprehensively address Timor-Leste’s legacy of violence. Apart from our concerns over its objectives, we note that substantial questions remain about the Commission’s Constitutional validity. As well as diminishing the transparency and inclusiveness of proceedings, the use of closed hearings and the non-attendance of some witnesses both point to uneven or deficient security arrangements for those testifying, some of whom may reasonably fear reprisals.
In order to contribute to a more comprehensive historical record of the turmoil surrounding Timorese independence, JSMP helped to organise an alternative public hearing, with sessions held on 28 and 29 September 2007. This event drew a crowd of civil society representatives and interested members of the public. A number of witnesses from districts across Timor-Leste spoke freely and at length about their experiences of violence and their perspectives on the political machinations of the recent past. JSMP hopes that this has provided a constructive forum, and a counterpoint to the CTF process.
For further information please contact: Osorio de Deus Legal Researcher, JSMP E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Landline: +670 3323883 Andrew Marriott Legal Adviser, JSMP E-mail: email@example.com Landline: +670 3323883
FRETILIN demands an end to political interference in Railos case FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE Media release 4 October 2007 – FRETILIN today welcomed the arrest of a key figure in last year’s violent coup attempt against the former FRETILIN government and demanded that the new government allow the judiciary to conduct the investigation and trial without further political interference.
FRETILIN’s parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres said he hoped a thorough investigation and trial of Vicente da Conceicao, alias Railos, would identify other key players in the coup attempt.
United Nations (UNPOL) and Timorese police arrested Railos yesterday after FRETILIN General Secretary Mari Alkatiri told the UNPOL commander last Friday that if UNPOL did not arrest Railos then FRETILIN militants would do so and hand him over to UNPOL unharmed.
A United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry in October last year recommended Railos be prosecuted for his role in leading an attack on an army barracks on 24 May 2006 in which as many as nine people were killed, and for “the illegal possession, use and movement” of weapons.
Aniceto Guterres said today Railos was arrested on a warrant issued on 13 September 2007.
Guterres said: “Railos has been allowed to go free for a year thanks to protection from senior politicians including (former President and now Prime Minister) Jose Alexandre Gusmao .
“Gusmao openly used Railos as his party’s campaign co-ordinator in the recent parliamentary elections where Railos intimidated voters in the Liquica and Ermera districts.”
Guterres pointed to a report by the European Union Election Observation Mission on the parliamentary election in June this year which stated that: As already stated in the preliminary statement issued after the second round of the presidential elections, the EU EOM is concerned with the involvement of Vicente da Conceição, a.k.a. Rai Los, as CNRT campaign coordinator in the district of Liquiçá, despite having been recommended for prosecution on criminal charges by the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, created to investigate the events that led to the May 2006 crisis (http://www.eueomtimorleste.org/parl/PDF/EUEOM%20TL%20Parliamentary%20Elections%20FINAL.pdf)
Guterres said: “FRETILIN believes a thorough investigation and trial of Railos will help reveal those behind the armed coup against the FRETILIN government. It was Railos’ attack on the TimorLeste army, along with attacks against the State by army fugitive Alfredo Reinado and Deputy Police Commander Abilio Mesquita which helped bring the government down.
“On the 27th of September 2007 FRETILIN tabled in parliament a copy of a letter from then President Gusmao and then police commander Paulo Martins, now a Gusmao-aligned member of parliament, dated 29 May 2006 which stated that as Railos and his group were undertaking “official duties”, they were to be allowed to move unimpeded throughout Timor Leste.
“At the time, Railos and his group were armed and had just participated in the attack against the Timor-Leste army on 23-24 May 2006.
“The signed letter allowed Railos to possess firearms despite then President Gusmao having signed an agreement inviting international forces into Timor-Leste on the basis that all groups be disarmed including the police.
“It shows that Gusmao was using Railos for his own unlawful purposes because as President of the Republic he had no authority to allow Railos to be armed. This is another example of blatant contempt of the rule of law by Gusmao.
“This letter of safe passage allowed Railos to systematically intimidate voters in the Liquica, Ermera and Bobonaro Districts. He was also able to meet with an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television crew and participate in a Four Corners program, which was used to broadcast false and defamatory allegations that former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri had armed civilians to eliminate political opponents.
“As we now know, Railos’ allegations were false. The investigation found no evidence against Dr Alkatiri and the trial of Rogerio Lobato found that while he did arm civilians, his purpose was to support the police when the institutions of state were under attack from armed rebels.”
For more information, please contact: Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080
UNMIT: “Railos” arrested in Timor-Leste UNMIT Press Release 3 October 2007 – Dili, October 3, 2007 – The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has confirmed that Vicente do Conceicao, alias “Railos” was arrested early this morning at his residence near Liquica.
He was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant issued on September 13, 2007 for his alleged role in the events of the 25th and 26th of May last year.
Railos has been charged for violating Articles 338 and 55 of the Penal Code, related to homicide, and is expected to appear in Court in Dili later today.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Mr Atul Khare, welcomed the arrest as a continued sign of the continued strong commitment of the authorities of Timor-Leste to implement recommendations of the UN Special Commission of Inquiry Report issued in October last year.
UN police officers, assisted by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the International Security Forces (ISF) have been positioned in sensitive locations to maintain a calm situation.
For more information please call UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper on +670 7230453
UNMIT Daily Media Review – 3 October 2007
Mario Carrascalao: we need a military court to process the F-FDTL case – The MP from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) of the national parliament, Mario Viegas Carrascalao, said that there should be a military court to solve F-FDTL cases. “The military case that is currently in the court is a military crime that should be brought before a military court, not a civil court,” said Mr. Mario on Tuesday (02/10) in Dili. He added that the military’s case has to be judged in a military court based on the military’s law. (TP)
Claudio Ximenes: “The law doesn’t allow me to give a statement” – The President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, said that the law gives him no room to give any statement about the letter issued by the judges with regards to the capture Alfredo Reinado Alves. “I am not allowed to give any statements on cases already in the court process, because the court will make decision based on law; the court should not make a political decision,” said Mr. Claudio on Tuesday (02/10) in his office Caicoli, Dili. (TP)
Jose Neto Moc: UNPol should present facts to the court – The intelligent director of the PNTL, Inspector Jose Maria Neto Moc called on United Nations and UNPol to provide facts to the court following the incidents of 25 May 2006. According to Mr. Neto, UN and UNPol have some facts regarding such incidents as UNPol members disarming PNTL. “I am also a victim of the PNTL institution, so the UN and UNPol should state the facts,” said Mr. Neto on Tuesday (02/10) through a letter to the press. (STL and DN)
Alfredo has the right to insist on justice – Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato said that as a citizen, Alfredo Reinado has the right to insist upon justice for himself. Ms. Lobato said that Reinado’s case has already been submitted to the government, and the government has also formed a task force to find a solution acceptable to all parties, including Alfredo Reinado. Upon the request of Alfredo that his case should be judged by Timorese judges, Ms. Lobato said that at the present Timor-Leste does not have enough suitable Timorese judges to fill all of the judicial system. (STL)
East Timor arrests alleged hit squad leader 03 Oct 2007 08:14:01 GMT Source: Reuters – DILI, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Police in East Timor arrested on Wednesday the suspected head of a hit squad linked with a former interior minister convicted of giving weapons to civilians during a wave of violence last year, the United Nations and police said.
Vicente “Railos” da Conciecao was arrested at his home in Liquica district and charges against him were related to homicide, the United Nations mission in East Timor said in a statement. He has been linked with former interior minister Rogerio Lobato who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in March for distributing weapons and ammunition to civilians.
Violence broke out in the impoverished tiny country in May last year after the government sacked 600 mutinous members of East Timor’s 1,400-strong army. At least 37 people were killed. The chaos drove more than 100,000 people from their homes and led to the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.
Railos was expected to appear in court in the capital, Dili, later on Wednesday. “Railos and five of his members are in preventive prison now,” police operations commander Mateus Fernandes told Reuters.
Julio da Silva, a relative of Railos, said the arrest was illegal because police did not have a warrant.
East Timor voted in a 1999 referendum for independence from Indonesia, which annexed it after Portugal ended its colonial rule in 1975. The country became fully independent in 2002 after a period of U.N. administration.
UCAN: Former militia leader admits killing two nuns, priest 02 October 2007 – DILI, East Timor (UCAN) – A former pro-Indonesian militia chief admits killing a priest and two nuns, among others, in 1999 after East Timor voted for independence, but he blames the Indonesian government and military for the bloodshed.
The Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF), set up by Indonesia and East Timor to promote reconciliation between the neighboring nations, held final hearings Sept. 26-27 in Dili to try to establish the truth about the killings.
The CTF was set up in August 2005 to investigate human rights violations by Indonesia and its armed forces during the occupation of East Timor, including the turbulent aftermath of the independence referendum on Aug. 30, 1999.
At the hearing on Sept. 26, Joni Marquez confessed that he had killed Canossian Sisters Herminia Cazzaniga and Celeste de Carvalho and a Catholic priest, as well as a Japanese journalist, in Lautem district, 250 kilometers (about 155 miles) east of Dili, on Sept. 25, 1999. After killing them, he and other members of the Alpha militia he headed threw the bodies into a lake, he revealed.
Marquez, now in his 40s, told the hearing that at the time of the killings, he was under the influence of a drug an Indonesian military officer gave him.
Marquez said he was told the drug would relieve a headache, but he lost his sense of judgment after taking it. “It was like killing animals. I did not see the sisters, the priest and the journalist as human beings,” he testified.
Marquez also said he ordered his men to attack the convoy in which the victims traveled. He is now serving a 33-year jail sentence in independent East Timor (Timor Leste in Portuguese) for his role in the violence.
He admitted that his men and other militiamen killed eight people in separate attacks, and that women also were sexually assaulted. However, he blamed Indonesia for the bloodshed surrounding the independence vote.
He specifically accused Indonesia’s then President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie and General Feisal Tanjung, the chief security minister, as most responsible for what happened. “All policies were made by the central government and the military chief in Jakarta,” the former militia chief told the commission.
Meanwhile, on the streets outside the hearing, an estimated 500 protesters demanded justice for the people killed in the violence. Claiming the CTF has ignored the sentiments of those who lost family members, they called for the dissolution of the commission. The CTF is powerless to punish persons found responsible for abuses, and the United Nations has refused to support it.
After the hearing, Father Martinho Gusmao, director of the Justice and Peace Commission of Baucau diocese, told journalists that the Catholic Church rejects the CTF for failing to value the rights of victims, and the Church regards the CTF hearings as providing impunity to those who committed crimes.
He asserted that Indonesian military personnel did not tell the truth during commission hearings in Indonesia, and said: “All of the Indonesian generals blame everything on the militia. Well then, who formed and armed the militia? If none of the Indonesian military claimed involvement, this is a lie.”
He insisted that those responsible be tried in court before any amnesty is given, and warned that the justice and peace commissions of Dili and Baucau dioceses would accept amnesty only if it also includes justice. Otherwise, Father Gusmao pledged, the Church will not collaborate with the CTF.
Cisto dos Santos, a relative of one victim of an Indonesia-formed militia, told UCA News on Sept. 26 he is disappointed with the CTF because he feels it has ignored the rights of victims but protected people who committed crimes.
The victims’ families will collaborate with civil society, dos Santos said, to tell the government of Timor Leste and the world that they want justice. “There is no peace without justice!” he declared.
Marquez is one of just a few people tried in court for involvement in the violence surrounding the referendum, when hundreds died and great damage was inflicted on East Timor’s infrastructure.
East Timor became independent on May 20, 2002, after more than two years of transitional rule by the United Nations. The former Portuguese colony had been under Indonesian control from 1975 to 1999.
Training on Decree-Law No. 13/2005 on the Criminal Procedure Code from the Perspective of the victim/aggrieved person JSMP Press Release 1 October 2007
The Timor Leste Criminal Procedure Code
At the start of 2006, the Timor Leste judicial system made a positive step forward. This development related to the promulgation and the entering into force of Decree-Law 13/2005 on the Criminal Procedure Code.
This Decree-Law has been in force for nearly two years, however a large number of judicial actors don’t have a good understanding of this law in relation to the fundamental procedural principles outlined within the code. This can be attributed to the fact that many of the legal terms have been adopted from Portuguese, including much of the technical detail of the code.
In order to introduce and explain this law to the public, the VSS organized a training session on 27 September 2007 to examine and identify each of the articles within this Decree that protect and guarantee the interests of victims. This training was facilitated by representatives from the Dili District Public Prosecution Unit and Judges from the Dili District Court.
A number of judicial actors have attempted to approach this code on the basis of their individual experiences of legal practice. This approach, though, potentially neglects the philosophy that underlines each of its articles. In the absence of accompanying explanations from the drafters (as are commonly used in other countries) further consideration of its legal interpretation may also be needed.
We note that some jurists in Timor Leste have completed their juridical training at the Judicial Training Centre in Kaikoli and have been sworn in. They have gained some practical experience over the last few years and certainly have a good understanding of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Many Timorese jurists from outside government were not, however, given the opportunity to take part in this training, as organized by the former administration, due to a lack of human resources, or for some other reason. However, these legal actors form an integral part of the domestic legal structure.
A number of legally trained members of the community, as well as students studying law at university and through human rights organizations, have understandably sought a more comprehensive explanation from qualified graduates of the Centre. VSS, as one of these interested parties, is fully committed to strengthening our judicial system and defending the rule of law.
The position of Aggrieved Person/Victim in the Formal Judicial Process
In many countries, including Timor Leste, it sometimes appears that more importance is given to the rights of the accused in comparison to the rights of victims of crime. Our system often ignores the importance of the aggrieved person/victim in the formal judicial process, seeing their input to courtroom proceedings as of little consequence.
These perceptions originate from a number of legal principles and concepts relating to procedural principals and prerequisites of criminal jurisdiction. These principles include the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, and the right to representation, among others. As members of the legal community, we ought to have a clear understanding of the meaning and substance of the aforementioned principles. We must, however, seek to have them applied in a way that accords with the comparable rights of victims in a legal context.
The VSS (Victim Support Service), which provides legal assistance to female and underage victims of sexual and domestic violence, is now endeavoring to organize a workshop or training session focused on the interests of victims in relation to the Criminal Procedure Code. We hope that this will encourage judicial actors and all members of the community who work towards the protection of human rights to give proper consideration to the importance and involvement of the victim/aggrieved person, so that their concerns and perspectives are more fully addressed.
VSS will work not only to promote better understanding of the aforementioned law and its procedural principles, but also to examine the operation of the law to ensure that is equally just for everyone, both the alleged perpetrators of criminal acts and aggrieved persons/victims.
For further information please contact: Luis de Oliveira Coordinator, Victim Support Service (VSS) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 7295795
UNMIT Daily Media Review 01 October 2007
Alfredo should also submit himself to the justice – The 12 accused members of the F-FDTL in relation to the crisis in May last year, who have participated in justice through their lawyers Tommy Zeronimo and Arlindo Dias Sanches, have said Alfredo Reinado should do the same. “The collaboration of F-FDTL shows that the military respects the law and not just dialogue. For me, crimes could not be solved through dialogue alone,” said Mr. Sanches. Mr. Sanches also said that the state and government are giving every opportunity to Alfredo Reinado to solve the problem. (TP)
Ratify the presence of ISF, PN to find reference from the state of TL – The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Paulo Martins has confirmed that the presence of International Security Forces (ISF) will agreed between the Governments of Timor-Leste and Australia. “We are not taking any decision yet to have ratify the continued presence of the ISF. That will be decided between Timor-Leste and Australia,” said Mr. Martins. Mr. Martins said without that decision, it does not mean that the presence is illegal as there is already an agreement signed by the sovereign organs of Timor-Leste in place. (TP, DN and STL)
Tempo Semanal: Transcript – Translation of transcript of mobile telephone conversation between Longuinhos Monteiro (LM), Leandro Isaac (LI) and Agio Pereira – http://timor-online.blogspot.com/2007/10/o-que-o-procurador-geral-da-repblica.html Tempo Semanal
The following transcript in Tetum and Portuguese was published as well as three articles of interviews on page 6 of Tempo Semanal of 1.10.07. The recording is now available to all and sundry around Dili. It is hard to email a copy of the sound bit because of the slowness of the Internet server.
1. Translation of transcript of mobile telephone conversation between Longuinhos Monteiro (LM), Leandro Isaac (LI) and Herminigildo Pereira, also known as “Agio” Pereira; on an unknown date but during the first or second round of the presidential election campaign.
LM: They found it amusing, so they asked me to ring you and ask you to try read out the document, its contents, what it says. They said “heck” this is too much this F letter to Alfredo.
LI: Ah. Ah. Ah (laughing)
LM: Yes. Now. Now. The two of us are speaking right now but the old man is listening.
LI: Oh! Is that right? Give him my compliments, my good morning, my big embrace, but an embrace with the heart, not with a hot head. Tell him. Tell him from the heart.
LI: Not with a hot head!
LM: So read out the, what’s its name, that letter’s contents and what it says, that one from F.
LI: Ah. Its like this. Major Alfredo is our, our hero.
LM: Yes. Yes.
LI: Hero. Aahh……because of this we have to respect him.
LM: Hm. Hm.
LI: Ahhmm. Major Alfredo has already said that the people should not select Ramos Horta.
LM: Here the old man is laughing right now. Aha….speak on.
LI: Because of this the people have to give him maximum protection to this our hero. They should not let him fall into Ramos Horta’s hook.
LM: Hm. Hm.
LI: He should stay put, because if he comes down and falls into Ramos Horta’s hook then Ramos Horta will hand him over to the Australian Forces to kill him.
LM: Ok. Ok. Ok.
LI: Ah…This is their propaganda that they are now putting out.
LM: Ok. Alright. Alright.
LI: Ah. Ah. Yes.
LM: Alright. Alright. So this is the nucleus of it?
LI: This is the nucleus. This is the nucleus.
LI: Sending also one to me. Later today I will possibly receive it. Later it will be with me.
LM: Then you receive it, canalise one in turn to me.
LI: Oh with certainty. Certainly. Certainly.
LM: Alright. Alright, brother…then thank you, that’s all brother.
LI: Big thank you! Big thank you! A big embrace from me to the President, with a red heart, not a heart….not black.
(Voice of HP could be overheard in the background conversing with a third party, though unintelligible)
LI: Still red! So, thank you.
LM: Brother. Wait on a little. Don’t hang up yet. Don’t hang up yet. I am going to pass the phone, wait on. I am passing the phone to the Second, Second. Wait on.
LI: Ah. Good.
LI: Aih. My brother! So!
HP: Now you are the Clandestine Parliamentarian pah!
LI: No. Not a Parliamentarian. I ceased being one.
LI: It’s Leandro Isaac. It’s true.
HP: The fight continues on all fronts.
LI: Its true. Its true.
HP: Brother, later, later send me your new number.
LI: Alright, alright. I will send it. I will send it.
HP: Or I will take it from brother Long here.
LI: Yes. But you know what? Today I said to the Prime Minister. I said to many, that, from today the 14th I will do what the President, our older brother Xanana Gusmão said at the time in 92, “let us leave the politics of the bedroom and go out onto the veranda”.
HP: Yes. Yes.
LI: Let’s go out onto the veranda. I am already on the veranda. Today I said to the Prime Minister, all the old numbers which I previously used, I am going to switch them on. They can catch me wherever they want to catch me, or they can …. can detect me wherever I am and fire a shot at me and I can die. But from today, I am going out onto the veranda.
LI: That which the old man said in 92.
HP: Later I will call you. I will call you again later.
HP: Here is Long.
LM: So. We will leave it this way brother.
LI: Ready. Ready, Brother.
LM: Ready. I have already given the number.
LI: Have you told them that? Hello?
LM: Ah. Yes, yes.
LI: Have you told them of that decision yesterday, the day before yesterday, that the Central Committee took?
LM: Aahh. Regarding!?
LI: The three. The three resigned. The three.
LM: Ah. Ah. Yes. Yes. Yes.
LI: The three resigned. They have handed the party over to the younger ones.
LM: Ok. Alright. Alright.
LI: Tell them about that. Tell them about that. It is really cute that.
LM: Ok. Alright. Alright.
LI: We had our, our intelligence at the meeting and they informed us this morning.
LM: Alright. Alright. Alright.
LI: Tell them about that. It is very cute.
LM: Alright. Alright. Thank you. Thank you
LI: Thank you. Thank you.
2. PROSECUTOR GENERAL STUMBLING, JUSTICE WALKS LAMELY
The Vice President of FRETILIN after recently hearing this recording, was harsh in his criticism against the Prosecutor General, alleging that with this evidence it shows that the highest levels of the Prosecutor General’s Office in this country are not neutral and demanded that it is better for Longuinhos Monteiro to resign from his position, otherwise doubts will continue to emerge concerning justice in this country because it is not functioning properly.
When this newspaper referred to the example of results from some of the concrete cases undertaken by the Prosecutor General’s Office, such as the case involving the 12 F-FDTL members accused of being involved in a shootout with the PNTL in front of the Ministry of Justice on 25/05/06, Arsenio Bano said that it was a case involving arbitrary unilateral decisions on the part of the Prosecutor General himself.
The recording which has been disseminated by Bluetooth of a telephone conversation between former member of the national parliament Leandro Isaac and Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro has raised doubts regarding the independence of this Prosecutor General. “We will raise this issue in the National Parliament sometime soon in the coming days. Perhaps if the budget plan is not debated on Monday then we will raise this case”, informed Arsenio.
When asked the reasons why the Prosecutor General has to arrest these people whom he had named, Arsenio asked journalists to go and read the International Commission of Inquiry report established by the UN to investigate the violent events of April and May 2006.
According to the Commission of Inquiry the Railos Group suspected of attacking the F-FDTL Headquarters at Tasi Tolu on 25/5/06, the Prosecutor General’s Office should prosecute Railos and some of his members. “I know that an arrest warrant has been issued for Railos but why has not been arrested yet?” asked Arsenio.
Leandro Isaac who appeared in a film with a Steir rifle hanging off his back walking around the residence of Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak in Lahane whom the Commission also recommended be investigated. “In relation to Leandro Isaac it was clearly shown on the television that he was carrying a rifle but we see they are clearly befriended with one another,” he stated.
According to details which this newspaper possesses, Leandro Isaac has already given some testimony to the investigators.
During this conversation it shows clearly that Longuinhos Monteiro asked Leandro Isaac to inform him of the contents of a letter which is alleged to have been sent by FRETILIN to former Military Police commander Major Alfredo Reinado Alves which related to the second Presidential election campaign.
“As Vice President of the party I greatly resent these actions because from that which has been disseminated and which I have already heard, it shows that the Prosecutor General is not neutral, and very much because of this that he has no interest in arresting some suspects such as Mr. Railos,” said the FRETILIN Vice President, Arsenio Bano, successor to Rogerio Lobato.
3. Longuinhos Monteiro: I am unaware of it.
When this newspaper asked the Prosecutor General of the Republic for his comments by mobile telephone on Friday (28/09) at approximately 17:30 hours, he denied knowing anything regarding this conversation. “In the first place I receive complaints everyday from many sources about this case (red: recorded conversation) but I am unaware of this issue”, said Longuinhos.
Longuinhos Monteiro who is Prosecutor General of the State of Timor-Leste said he still remains always independent, arguing that if he had not remained independent then some cases which have been prosecuted would not have been.
Longuinhos Monteiro showed his discontentment during this interview regarding this case and he threatened to bring legal action. “I will take up this case in accordance with the criminal process,” said Long, saying also that he would reopen cases which had previously arisen including “yours”. The word “yours” that Mr. Longuinhos mentioned above, perhaps refers to this newspaper when it was still Diario Tempo which previously published the case of Akui Leon and his allegations of KKN (Collusion, Corruption, Nepotism) also involving Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro. Some years ago Dr. Longuinhos commenced legal action against Yayasan HAK and the newspaper Diario Tempo relating to the case of Akui Leon.
4. Leandro: I am not scared.
Leandro Isaac who partook in the conversation which someone has recorded and divulged by mobile telephone said he was not shaken: “I am no scared because I don’t want to be near a buffalo which is in internal agony,” said Isaac firmly.
In this mobile telephone conversation, Leandro Isaac informed Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro of the contents of a letter, which FRETILIN had sent to former Military Police Commander Alfredo Reinado Alves, but to this newspaper the former parliamentarian of the National Parliament, also expressed doubts regarding this recording that referred also to the campaign process for candidate Ramos Horta for President.
“This recording is full of manipulations because I am unaware of it and have never known about it,’ said Leandro.
But he added that during that time he did campaign for Ramos Horta’s candidacy. “I supported Dr. Ramos Horta and I campaigned for him,” said Leandro.