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Timor-Leste Legal News March 2008 (Part 1)

July 29, 2012

UNMIT Daily Media Review 11 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

PM: Surrender only option for Salsinha – In relation to Salsinha’s statement that he would only surrender to PR Ramos-Horta, the Prime Minister has reiterated the Government’s ultimatum that Salsinha must surrender to the Government. PM Xanana said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is continuing because of Salsinha’s refusal to surrender. “If he wrote that he will not submit himself, the operation will continue. The problem is that he needs to act on the demands of the Government, not wait for the President,” said PM Xanana on his arrival from Darwin, Australia on Monday (10/3) in Comoro Airport, Dili.

RTL News Coverage

No option for Salsinha if Govt ultimatum ignored – The General-Prosecutor of the Republic Longuinhos Monteiro said that he will no longer act as a facilitator for Salsinha and his thirty one members as the deadline for them to surrender ends this afternoon. Mr. Monteiro said that as agreed by Salsinha himself, he was supposed to surrender on Monday (10/03), but his letter stated that he would only surrender once PR Jose Ramos-Horta returns to Timor-Leste. Mr. Monteiro also said that he has made every effort to encourage Salsinha and his group to surrender in a peaceful manner, but the final responsibility falls on Salsinha.

F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation reaches Salsinha’s stronghold in Ermera – The Deputy Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Filomeno Paixão, said that the Joint Operation is about to reach the place where Salsinha and his group are located. “We know all of his [Salsinha] movements. The Joint Operation is in Ermera now and occupies thirty strategic points,” said Lieutenant Colonel Paixão at a press conference held in the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation HQ in Farol, Dili. Lieutenant Colonel Paixão also said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is aiming to pressure Salsinha and his group to surrender to them.

PM: Surrender only option for Salsinha – In relation to the Salsinha’s statement that he would only surrender to PR Ramos-Horta, the Prime Minister has reiterated the Government’s ultimatum that Salsinha must surrender to the Government. PM Xanana said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is continuing because of Salsinha’s refusal to surrender. “If he indeed wrote that he will not submit himself, the operation will continue. The problem is that he needs to act on the demands of the Government, not wait for the President,” said PM Xanana on his arrival from Darwin, Australia on Monday (10/3) in Comoro Airport, Dili.

SRSG welcomes IICI – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, has appealed to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves peacefully to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. “We believe that the situation in the country continues to remain calm. Someday Salsinha and his group will submit themselves. There is no other way,” said SRSG Khare on Monday (10/3) after his weekly meeting with Acting President of the Republic Fernando ‘Lasama’ de Araujo in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. Concerning the resolution of the National Parliament to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry for February 11, SRSG Khare said that he believed this to be a positive step.

Print Coverage

Joint Operation surrounds Salsinha and his group -The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is currently occupying thirty strategic points in Ermera and mobilizing 465 soldiers to surround the rebel group led by Salsinha. “We know all of his [Salsinha] movements. The Joint Operation is in Ermera now and occupies thirty strategic points,” said the Deputy Commander of the Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão at a press conference held in the Joint Operation HQ in Farol, Dili. The Joint Operation performs daily patrols and collaborates with the International Stabilization Forces (ISF) on operational tactics. The Joint Operation is continuing to appeal to Salsinha and his group to avoid violence and to respect the negotiations he has had with the General Prosecutor. (STL)

Salsinha to surrender to PR Horta – The rebel leader, Gastao Salsinha stated that he will surrender himself only upon the return of PR Ramos Horta to Timor-Leste. Salsinha directly gave his statement to the General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, through a letter sent to Mr. Monteiro on Sunday (9/3). “I don’t know why Salsinha doesn’t want to surrender and decided to cancel his planned submission,” said Mr. Monteiro on Monday (10/3) in Caicoli. Mr. Monteiro said that if Salsinha did not surrender, then he should face the consequences of his decision. “After Monday, the problem is not mine. This problem will belong to the military,” said Mr. Monteiro. (STL)

Carrascalao: Xanana leads without discrimination – The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Mario Viegas Carrascalao said that the Alliance Majority in Parliament’s Government, under the leadership of PM Xanana Gusmao, has not discriminated against any other party and is open to members of all parties, including Fretilin. “The Xanana-led Government is one that has allowed open participation in all processes. They have not discriminated the way that Fretilin did…. It’s very differennt with Dr. Mari Alkatiri,” said Mr. Carrascalao on Monday (10/3) in the National Parliament, Dili. (STL)

Petitioners incredulous over Xanana’s statement – The 671 petitioners who are now gathered in Aitarak Laran, Dili, are at incredulous over the Prime Minister’s statement that the petitioners cannot re-enter the military. Before the PM made this statement to the petitioners at Aitarak Laran, the Government had given the petitioners three options: first, to return to the military; second, to remain as civilians; and third, to be re-employed in other countries. The Coordinator of the petitioners in Aitarak Laran, Captain Caesar Valente de Jesus, said: “In his statement, the PM may state what he likes, but the process of resolving the petitioner’s problems is continuing as it was based on the Government’s options to the petitioners,” said Captain de Jesus on Monday (10/3) in Aitarak Laran, Dili. According to Captain de Jesus, the options offered by the Government would be considered by each petitioner to see which option was best for them.

Separately, a petitioner said that he accepts the options and is asking the Government to solve their problems as soon as possible. “Most of us accept the PM’s statement with sadness because we came here to discuss the three options. If we knew that there was no option to return to the military, many of us may not have come to Aitarak Laran,” said anonymous petitioner. (STL)

Horta: Salsinha has to surrender today -PR Jose Ramos-Horta is asking Gastao Salsinha to surrender himself to the state forces today (Tuesday) to face justice as there is no other option left. PR Ramos-Horta relayed this message during the visit of PM Xanana Gusmao in Darwin, Australia on Monday (10/3). “The President said that after the 10th (yesterday) and 11th (today), there would be no more options left [for Salsinha] and that the military operation would continue. The F-FDTL, PNTL and ISF are going to reach him … we want to show him that there is no way, annd no dialogue, left for him,” said PM Xanana. (TP)

Suspects of May 25: TMR should explain – The International Prosecutor Felismino Cardoso said that the F-FDTL Commander Taur Matan Ruak needs to confirm to the state why the four F-FDTL members who were involved in the case of May 25 had not as yet been imprisoned. “We could not execute the arrest warrants issued by the Public Ministry. That’s why we trusted UNPol to arrest them, but until now, this has not happened yet. Commander TMR needs to provide an explanation as to why his members have not been imprisoned yet,” said Prosecutor Cardoso. Prosecutor Cardoso also said that the Dili District Court had last year issued an arrest warrant to UNPol to arrest the four F-FDTL members to be imprisoned. (TP)

UNPOL Commissioner Tor: UNPol welcomes Salsinha – The UN Police Commissioner in Timor-Leste, Rodolfo Tor, said that UNPol continues to welcome Salsinha and his members who have still not surrendered the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. “We also offer two officers to work with the Joint Operation in the HQ of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation in Farol, Dili. Some are providing security to the petitioners in Aitarak Laran and also in the districts. About Salsinha, we continue to welcome them,” said Commissioner Tor. Commissioner Tor said that the security situation in Timor-Leste continues to be calm, even though some people were frightened by the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. (DN)

TMR: not surrender, face military forces – The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation does not want Salsinha’s death, but his surrender. Brigadier General TMR said that the Joint Operation is collaborating with the International Stabilization Forces to bring about Salsinha’s surrender and threatened military force if Salsinha and his group did not submit themselves voluntarily.

“We do not want him die. We will have a Joint Operation between PNTL, F-FDTL and ISF to use military forces if he does not submit himself,” said Brigadier General TMR. “Now we wait for Salsinha to cooperate,” said Commander TMR.  (DN)
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E Timor launches new hunt for rebels By Stephanie March 10 March 2008 – Australian military personnel are providing operational and tactical support to the Timorese forces (file photo). (AFP Photo: Ed Wray)

Audio: Ramos-Horta leaves hospital, meets with Gusmao (PM) Related Story: Ramos-Horta ‘making good progress’ East Timor’s military has started new operations to capture the rebels responsible for last month’s attack on the country’s leaders.

Australian and New Zealand military personnel are providing operational and tactical support to the Timorese forces.

Commander of the joint police and military operations, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixao, says 465 officers and soldiers have been deployed to 30 strategic checkpoints throughout the country as authorities wait for the remaining rebels to surrender.

Rebel leader Gastao Salsinha yesterday revoked a promise he made last week that he would surrender by the end of today.

Lieutenant Colonel Paixao said most of those responsible for the attacks on the President and Prime Minister have handed themselves in to authorities.

He said the man responsible for shooting the President has not yet surrendered, but the military know exactly where he is and are closely monitoring his location near the town of Atsabe, close to the Indonesian border.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/10/2185665.htm
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Fears for the future as East Timor simmers 8 March 2008 By Jill Jolliffe

Dili, March 7. United Nations officials and Australian troops have taken back-seats in East Timor’s nationwide sweep to arrest suspects in the assassination bids against President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, with the national FDTL army playing an increasingly powerful role. President Horta is recovering in a Darwin hospital from the critical wounds he received in the attack led by rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead at the scene.

In Dili streets massive portraits of him bear the inscription ”Mr President, Timor is praying for you and awaits your return”.

The UN was sidelined after an armed standoff between its police and the Timorese army in the last days of February, and is playing down criticisms of illegalities and human rights violations committed during Operation Halibur, a joint army and police operation which has been in full swing in the past week.

New Zealand and Australian troops from the International Stabilisation Force and UN police are playing a secondary role to the Timorese army, mainly escorting and guarding prisoners alongside Timorese counterparts. UN Police Commissioner Rodolfo Tor said on Thursday that the UN has ”full confidence in PNTL [the Timorese police] and FDTL [the army]”.

He denied that suspects were being interrogated by Timorese army and police without the presence of lawyers, but a UN legal source who asked not to be named said earlier that suspects were routinely being questioned without the presence of lawyers. Last Sunday Amaro da Costa, ”Susar”, reportedly the chief suspect in the President’s shooting, was brought by helicopter from the mountains and paraded before journalists 10 minutes after landing.

He made potentially incriminating statements, confessing he had been at Ramos Horta’s residence among the 12 armed men led by Alfredo Reinado and had been at the gateway during the principal shooting. Reinado was killed by a guard sometime before President Ramos Horta was wounded by another of his group. Da Costa posed and smiled with Prime Minister Gusmao and army and police chiefs, giving a carnival air to the proceedings.

Operation Halibur commanders later distributed a flyer in Dili with photos showing ”Susar” hugging army chief Taur Matan Ruak and police commander Alfonso de Jesus, and being accompanied by pretty girls. ”We recognise this practice the Indonesians did the same thing here during 24 years,” former parliamentarian and Reinado associate Leandro Isa’ac told The Canberra Times.

It was a busy week, which began with Da Costa’s surrender, followed by airlifts of scores of ex-soldiers who presented after mediation by priests. It was designed to end with that of their commander, former lieutenant Gastao Salsinha.

Salsinha was the alleged organiser of the separate attack on Gusmao’s convoy band the propaganda leaflet was directed largely at him. His descent from the mountains with 30 men and a pile of guns was announced by the army on successive days, but only occurred on Friday afternoon.

A ”Lieutenant Amaral” was the last of the 12 men involved in the attack on the President’s house to surrender, on Monday, and is in custody after a court hearing. In an internment camp in Dili Major Augusto de Araujo, code name ”Tara”, has a worried air. Officially he supports the operation as part of a political deal to give rebel soldiers known as ”petitioners” fair trials and an eventual new start in life.

But he is anxious. ”We have general faith in the negotiations, but still have some issues of concern,” he said. Tara is one of around 700 detained ex-soldiers, whose negotiated surrender predates ”Operation Halibur”. The drive to bring them in from the mountains was simply accelerated after the February 11 attacks.

They are concentrated under guard on a barren field known as Aitarak Laran, the place of thorns, an apt reminder of their situation. They are surrendering to commanders of the Falintil/FDTL army, former comrades who became their bitterest enemies after the petitioners mutinied over alleged racial discrimination in 2006.

The troubles began after FDTL was mobilised by then prime minister Mari Alkatiri to hunt down the unarmed petitioners after they rampaged through Dili torching buildings and attacking Timorese from the Melanesian-influenced east. The petitioners are now entirely in the hands of the same army commanders who hunted them.

They themselves were accused of crimes by the UN but have not surrendered to justice. ”I know FDTL is running the show,” Tara admits, ”but they are just one institution, whereas only the organs of sovereignty [president, prime minister, cabinet and parliament] can decide our fate, and we have confidence in the current Government.’

‘The sidelining of the UN dates from an incident at Dili airport on February 26 when FDTL soldiers surrounded a helicopter bringing wanted petitioner Anterilau Ribeiro Guterres from the western enclave of Oecusse.

They snatched him from UN police at gunpoint, leading to a crisis in the Timor mission led by the Secretary- General’s representative, Atul Khare. The UN seems to have lost interest in the capture operation since then. Major Tara said the interned petitioners had not been visited by any UN official.

More importantly, the mission’s human rights section has not taken a stand on the circus- like atmosphere in which the army is presenting surrendering prisoners. Almost a month after the assassination attempts, the mystery that remains is why Reinado chose to attack Ramos Horta, the man who had done most to offer benign conditions for his surrender and trial, even offering an eventual pardon.

There are two schools of thought: one that he was just plain bad and somewhat mad as a result of his tormented life during the Indonesian occupation period. Reinado’s detractors, principally from the Fretilin party, warned repeatedly that he was a danger until he was captured, denouncing the soft approach pursued by both President Ramos Horta and the Prime Minister.

The other is that he had been ”turned” by a third party and paid to attack the pair, with Salsinha, for a substantial sum of money. The prosecutor’s office has been pursuing a money trail involving a deposit of $1 million in the bank account of a close associate, while newspaper reports have stated that a sum of $US20,000 was found on his body.

Leandro Isa’ac lived in the mountains with Reinado for some months in 2007 and was instrumental in trying to persuade him to surrender. He parted company with him over what he saw as his refusal to face reality. He is a supporter of the second theory. He points out that neither Reinado nor Salsinha had anyone to put in the place of the nation’s top leaders if they killed them, constituting coup. ”Somebody paid!” he asserts, ”Alfredo became a mercenary.”

In Dili, citizens continue under the state of siege decreed after the attacks, now extended until late March, involving a strict curfew and limits on freedom of association. Unlike expatriates here who believe that after Gastao Salsinha’s surrender all problems will be solved, Timorese fear new violence and abuses of power. They point to abandonment of due legal process in the surrenders and to fears the army is seeking political influence.
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 10 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Rebel Leader and group to surrender – The General-Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro said at a press conference held in the Government Palace on Friday (7/3) that rebel leader Gastã o Salsinha was going to surrender on Monday (10/3) along with 30 of his group members to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. He would also surrender eighteen weapons. Mr. Monteiro said that Salsinha had intended to surrender on Friday last week but needed two extra days to gather his group in Ermera before surrendering themselves. Mr. Monteiro also said that the Government should ensure that all security and judicial procedures for Salsinha and his men were implemented in an appropriate and just manner.

F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation arrest 6 suspects in Kulau – The Command of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation arrested 6 suspects on Sunday (9/3) in Kulau, Dili for threatening IDPs. The Operational Commander of PNTL, Mateus Fernandes, said that the threats happened while the victims had returned to inspect their homes in the area of Kulau. Commander Fernandes said that the suspects are now being detained in the Dili Police Station for further investigation. “Today some young men are attempting to create difficulties for our friends who are returning to their homes, especially in Kulau,” said Commander Fernandes. “We have no tolerance with those who act solely on their own will.” Separately, the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation Command arrested twelve suspects who had tried to attack the Joint Operation in Kampung Tuti-Comoro, Dili.

Print Coverage

US Ambassador rejects claims of US relations with Alfredo – The Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) in Timor-Leste, Hans Klemm has rejected claims that the US had provided the uniform worn by Alfredo Reinado up until his death on February 11. “I reject by 100 or 110% rumours that the US had supported Alfredo by providing him with the military uniform,” said Ambassador Clemm on Wednesday (5/3) in STL office, Dili. According to Ambassador Clemm, the military uniform worn by Alfredo is similar to the uniform of the US Navy, but the uniform was not provided by the US Government to Alfredo. (STL)

Salsinha won’t surrender – A source close to Salsinha said via telephone on Sunday (9/3) that Salsinha had sent a letter to the General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro claiming that he would not surrender to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. The source admitted that while he was not privy to the contents of the letter, he was sure that Salsinha had stated in the letter that he would not surrender until PR Ramos Horta came back to Timor-Leste. General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro revealed that he had received a letter from Salsinha. “His planned surrender for today (Friday 07/03) has been postponed until Monday,” said Mr. Longuinhos on Friday (7/3) at a press conference in the Government Palace in Dili. Previously, the F-FDTL Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that the deadline for Salsinha to surrender had ended and that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation would now use military forces to capture him alive. (STL)

Alkatiri: TL’s democracy in jeopardy – The Secretary General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, has said that he believes if the questions around the events of February 11 are not clarified, then the democratic process in the country would be jeopardised. In an interview with the Portuguese News Network, Alkatiri said that reports on how the Prime Minister was ambushed were fake. Alkatiri said that Fretilin had immediately sent a person to the site of the ambush to take pictures and could thus verify that claims of multiple bullets to the PM’s car were false. Alkatiri said he believed the entire ‘ambush’ to be suspicious. “Why would Alfredo attack a person [Horta] who was trying to find a good resolution to his problems?” questioned Alkatiri. “Who was attacked first? Reinado or the President?” Alkatiri also said: “The 2006 crisis happened because Xanana wanted power because at the time, he had no power. After becoming Prime Minister, he still feels that he has no power.  He is a patriot, and I do not accept the accusations of him selling out this nation to Australia, but he does not act as a nationalist, he acts as a guerrilla. … He thiinks he is the only one who can mobilise the population,: said Mr. Alkatiri. Mr. Alkatiri further said that an end to the crisis would only come if the Government ended the ‘State of Siege’ as people did not now feel that they had the freedom to reveal the truth. He also called for early elections as another way to end the crisis. Finally, Alkatiri made the claim that Fretilin must be involved in leading the government. (STL)

Susar won’t stay in Becora prison – Because of security reasons, the rebel Susar is to be remanded to a building in an undisclosed location in the centre of Dili rather than in Becora prison. The Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro said that the decision was made by the Minster of Justice. “Because of security reasons, Susar has moved out from Becora prison and is placed in another location. The new ‘prison’ has the same system of security and management as in Becora prison. The house is secured by both the F-FDTL and PNTL,” said Mr. Monteiro on Friday (6/3) after meeting PM Xanana Gusmao in the Government Palace. Susar was imprisoned following his statement in the court last week that he was involved in the events of February 11. (TP)

Salsinha should surrender – The Former Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, has appealed to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves to justice, arguing that armed conflict never resolves anything. “We all hope that Salsinha and his group will come down to submit themselves to justice,” said Mr. Sarmento. During the same occasion, Acting President of the National Parliament Vicente Guterres also argued that the surrendering was the only thing for Salsinha and his group could do.  Separately, F-FDTL Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak is continuing to pressure Salsinha despite positive signs that Salsinha intends to surrender. “At any moment, we are going to have an operation with the F-FDTL, PNTL and ISF to use force, and they [Salsinha and his group] should prepare themselves,” warned Commander TMR. (TP)
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 07 March 08

TVTL News Coverage

The Petitioners will not return to the F-FDTL, but will seek ways to gain employment –  “In relation to the military … if you want to say that I can leave and tomorrow I will go back…… this doesn’t happen… nowhere in the world does this happen. In other countries, a person can leave if they have fulfilled their military obligations for two years…andd another thing is…discipline applies to everything… this is in accordance with justice…you can’t leave and then come back …this would make a mockery of the institutions of the military and the police …you can’t think it is so easy…to leave and then come back…leaveave and then come back, then we would be known as ‘revolving door’ that’s what we are going to tell them…” said Xanana. [verbatim]

Print Coverage

PM Xanana: Salsinha to surrender today –  PM Xanana Gusmão said that Salsinha is going to submit himself to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation by the end of the day (7/3). “It looks positive,” said PM Xanana after meeting with the Acting President Fernando ‘Lasama’ de Araujo on Thursday (6/3) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. The PM also said that he has reliable information that Salsinha is willing to surrender. (STL)

IDPs’ camps to close – PM Xanana Gusmão confirmed that the Government will close all IDP camps in Dili. PM Xanana regrets the attitudes of IDPs who have received recovery funds, but are still remaining in the camps. “I want to tell you that some people went back to the camps after receiving the Government’s subsidy. Do not take advantage of the Government as we are committed to solving the IDPs problem,” said PM Xanana. (STL)

‘State of Siege’ reduces violence – The Assistant to Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of UNTL, Antonio Gusmão, said that after the events of February 11, violence in the country has decreased. “At least after the ‘State of Siege’ was executed, the violence in the country was reduced. For some weeks now, people have been living in calm with no violence … it contributes significanntly to the security of the country,” said Mr. Gusmão on Thursday (6/3) in Caicoli, Dili. (STL)

UNMIT has program to empower rural women – The UNMIT Senior Gender Advisor, Rita Reddy, said that UNMIT will help Timorese women to know their rights. “I want to inform you about the celebration of Women’s Day in Timor-Leste and of the efforts made for the liberty of women during past years,” said Ms. Rita Reddy at the UNMIT weekly press briefing on Thursday (6/3) held at Obrigado Barrack Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

Vicente Guterres: “Salsinha should not be afraid to face justice” – The Acting President of the National Parliament, Vicente Guterres, has appealed to Gastão Salsinha to not be afraid to face justice as Susar has done. “There is no position better than when we collaborate with justice,” said Mr. Guterres on Thursday (6/3) in the National Parliament in Dili. (DN)

Hugo: IICI won’t make recommendations – The CNRT member of the NP, Aderito Hugo, has claimed that the International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI) will be worthless at it won’t be able to give recommendation to the State. “Conducting the investigations without being able to issue recommendations is pointless.” said Mr. Hugo in the National Parliament, Dili. (TP)
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JSMP JUSTICE UPDATE
Criminal Trials in the Baucau District Court
25 February -08 March 2008

During the last week of February 2008, the Baucau District Court held trials in 7 ‘ordinary crimes’ and one ‘serious crime’, which related to the rape of a minor. JSMP was unable to monitor the trial relating to the rape, as the hearing was closed to the public pursuant to Article 76 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

JSMP observed that almost all of these 8 trials related to outstanding cases (2001 – 2006) that have been delayed until 2008.  The only difference is that their registration numbers have been updated to 2007, whereas they are actually cases that have been in the system for some time. JSMP could not obtain any clear information about why cases that occurred 3 or 4 years ago are only now being heard in 2008.

JSMP believes, however, that the lengthy delays in processing these cases will have a negative impact on the memory of witnesses called to give testimony in court, because it is possible that the witnesses will forget facts relating to certain material incidents. The majority of cases heard during this monitoring period relate to maltreatment and theft.

Horacio da Cruz/Case No. 102/crm.s/07/TDB Case of Theft

The defendant was charged with Article 363 (3) of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to a theft, committed at nighttime. The incident allegedly occurred in August 2004, when the defendant entered the room of the victim and stole a Tais (traditional cloth) while the victim was attending church. The defendant sold the Tais and bought some cigarettes.

The defendant admitted in court that he took the Tais but he claimed that he later returned the item to the victim. The defendant also admitted that he had committed a similar act prior to this case.  No witnesses were examined during this trial because the defendant pleaded guilty. The trial was adjourned until 18 March 2008 for the announcement of the Court’s final decision.

Olinda da Costa Case No. 129/crm.s /07/TDB

The defendant was charged with maltreatment whereby she used a machete to twice strike the victim, which caused the victim to suffer blood loss and injury to her hand. The actions of the defendant were found to have violated Article 351 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code. A single judge pronounced the defendant guilty of the maltreatment charge and handed down a sentence of 3 months imprisonment to be suspended for a period of 8 months.

Brigida Manuel No. 133/crm.s/07/TDB

The defendant was charged under Article 351 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code, relating to maltreatment. The defendant told the court that he had no prior intent of stabbing the victim, however the prosecution claimed in the indictment that the the act was indeed premeditated.  Before this case reached the trial stage the defendant and victim reconciled in front of local elders in accordance with customary law.  The prosecution informed JSMP that witnesses were unable to attend the trial due to problems with transportation.  The court handed down a 1 year suspended sentence and ordered the defendant to pay the court US$20 within four months.

Filomeno Ximenes. Case No 117/crm.s/07/TDB

The defendant was charged under Article 351 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code, relating to maltreatment. The court examined the defendant, witnesses and the victim. The trial was adjourned until 5 March 08 for the announcement of the Court’s final decision.

Antonio Magno, No. 131/crm.s/07/TDB

In this case the defendant was charged with Article 351 (2) of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to maltreatment causing serious injury. The court examined the defendant and witnesses from the victim’s family. The victim could not be examined because he has since passed away. The alleged incident occurred on 24 September 2001 and the victim died on 25 November 2005. The defendant used a machete to strike the victim, causing 10 separate wounds to the victim’s head. Before the victim passed away, the defendant and the victim reached an amicable agreement (they were related) before traditional elders and a police investigator.  During the trial two different opinions were presented. The family of the victim claimed that the victim died because of head injuries caused by the defendant striking the victim. This was refuted by the defence. There was insufficient evidence (documentary) or witnesses to support this argument.

In this case, the court found the defendant guilty of committing a criminal act in conflict with Article 351 (2) of the Indonesian Penal Code and sentenced the defendant to 8 months imprisonment, which was suspended for 1 year and 6 months.

Carlos da Costa/No. 121/crm.s/07/TDB

In this case the defendant was accused of committing maltreatment by striking and throwing stones at the victim, which caused injury and bleeding to the victim’s temple. During the trial the defendant and victim gave contrasting statements, so the prosecution and defence requested the court to summon the witnesses listed in the indictment. The Court had actually summoned the witnesses but they were unable to attend due to problems with transportation. As a result, this trial was adjourned to the 12 March 2008 for the examination of witnesses.

Ijonio Afonso/No. 113/crm.s/07/TDB

In this case, the defendant was accused of committing maltreatment against the victim on 5 March 2004. During the trial the defendant stated that he had reconciled with the victim before traditional elders. The presiding judge, however, rejected a subsequent proposal to set aside the charge and decided to continue the hearing and to consider the reconciliation attempt as a factor for contemplation when issuing a final decision. The victims and witnesses were unable to attend this hearing so the trial was adjourned until 26 March 2008.

For further information please contact: Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Email: timotio@jsmp.minihub.org Phone No: 3323883
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 06 March 08

TVTL News Coverage

TMR happy over court decision – The Commander of the F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that he is content with the decision made by the court regarding the four F-FDTL members involved in the shooting case against PNTL members. “We are ready to let our members submit to justice.” said Commander TMR.

IDPs start returning home – Fifty one families at some of the IDP camps in Dili have received a Government incentive to return home. The subsidies range from USD 1,500 for partially destroyed homes, to USD 4,000 for totally destroyed homes. The Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Alves, said that the subsidies will only be provided once the recipient has undergone a survey, verification and re-verification process.  “I am really happy to have this subsidy. I think it is only fair given that we have lost so much” said Marcal, an IDP whose house was destroyed during the 2006 crisis. The Minister also said that the registration process would continue until all IDPs returned homes.

RTL News Coverage

Commander of F-FDTL/PNTL, asks Salsinha to surrender – The Commander of the F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, has said that the Joint Operation has identified the movement of Salsinha and his group along with the people who are providing them with support and food assistance. Salsinha has said that he is ready to submit himself if the military operation in Ermera is suspended. Separately, Acting President Fernando Lasama and PM Xanana said that the Joint F-FDTL/PNTL Operation will continue until all weapons are handed in.

Print Coverage

Carrascalao: Government must explain Susar’s imprisonment – The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão, said that the Government should explain the reasons why Susar has been imprisoned. “The Government should explain this … if they don’t, it will create a veery negative perception to the public,” said Mr. Carrascalao. Separately, former the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, said that the judicial process for Susar is a normal judicial process which all criminal suspects are exposed to. (TP)

Conditions prepared for Salsinha’s surrender – The F-FDTL and PNTL are preparing good conditions for Salsinha and his group to surrender. “We have prepared conditions for him to come. He is really cooperative. We expect him to come,” said Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak. (TP)
—–
UNMIT Daily Media Review 05 March 08

TVTL News Coverage

NP approves ICCI – The National Parliament approved on Monday (3/3) a resolution to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI). The resolution, proposed by Fretilin, KOTA, PPT and PD, will aim at uncovering the judicial and political responsibilities of the authors of February 11. Upon the agreement of MPs, IICI will work together with the judicial authorities. The National Parliament will recommend to the Government to work with the United Nations in establishing the IICI.

RTL News Coverage

Joint Operation of F-FDTL/PNTL – Related to rumours that the military operation has destroyed Christians statues in some houses, the Deputy Commander of F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Inspector Mateus Fernandes, said that the mission of the Joint Operation is only to seek the perpetrators of February 11, not to insult people’s beliefs. The Deputy Commander further appealed for people to not pay attention to such rumours.

Print Coverage

Mateus: Govt asks Salsinha to officially surrender – The Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation has made it clear that the Government needs Salsinha to surrender formally to the Government. “Salsinha has already made contact, but the Government wants him to formally surrender so that the public can know that he has submitted himself,” said Commander Fernandes. (TP)

Rebel jailed before trial – The Dili District Court has ordered that Susar be remanded to Becora Prison while he awaits trial. This precaution was taken given the severity of the crimes he is charged with. (TP)

Alfredo’s member surrenders. SRSG: good step for stability – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, considers the surrender of the Alfredo’s member to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation to be a positive step towards regaining stability. “I believe that the efforts of the state of Timor-Leste are moving forward to strengthen peace and stability,” said SRSG Khare after his regular weekly meeting with the Acting President Fernando ‘Lasama’ de Araujo on Tuesday (4/3) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. (STL)
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RDTL tax reform: public hearings and more 07 March 2008 La’o Hamutuk – The National Parliament of Timor-Leste has begun hearings on a major revision of the Timor-Leste tax law which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 20 February.  During 2008 alone, this reform would reduce receipts from domestic taxes from $30.3 million to $11.5 million, giving up $18.8 million that would have been collected under current laws. If the new law is enacted, approximately 97% of  the Timor-Leste government budget will be funded with transfers from the Petroleum Fund.  (More than 99% of government income will come from petroleum, but three-fourths of current petroleum receipts are saved in the Fund.)

Information on the proposed tax reform, including the 81-page text of the bill (in Portuguese), is available at http://www.laohamutuk.org/misc/AMPGovt/tax/TaxReform.htm.  So far, La’o Hamutuk has only been able to obtain the legislation in Portuguese. We continue to look for more accessible languages and formats, and welcome your help. Both we and the Parliament also welcome informed commentary and analysis of this important legislation.
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 04 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Alfredo’s man surrenders -A member of Alfredo Reinado’s group, Domingos Amaral, surrendered on Monday (3/3) in Maubisse, Ainaro District. He also surrendered one automatic weapon. Amaral said that the weapon was seized in Metiaut during the attack on PR Ramos-Horta’s residence.

The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation has confirmed the numbers of the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran has increased to 624.

Print Coverage

Lasama: military operation continues -Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo confirmed that the military operation against Salsinha’s group will not cease as the rebels are still in hiding. Acting PR Lasama congratulated group members who had surrendered themselves and their weapons. “There is no other way, they must surrender themselves and their weapons,” said Acting PR Lasama on Monday (3/3). (STL)

Early election possible – Early elections may happen if President José Ramos-Horta’s health does not allow him to continue as President. “If the Court of Appeals states that there is a permanent impediment to the Presidency within 90 days, then early elections should be called to elect a new President,†said Vital dos Santos, Democratic Party (PD) member of NP on Monday (3/3). (STL)

Salsinha wants to surrender in Gleno – The Spokesperson of the Petitioners, Gastão Salsinha, wants to surrender himself to his family and Father Adrianus Olan in Gleno, Ermera. PM Xanana Gusmão said that Salsinha is currently making preparations to come to Dili.  (DN)

IDPs want to return home – For two years now, people have been living as IDPs waiting for the problems of the petitioners to be solved. “We still have questions about the weapons they submitted. They ran away with many weapons and surrendered with only one or two. Where are the rest of the weapons? We are IDPs because we are afraid of the weapons, not the people,” said Domingos, an IDP in Farol Camp, Dili. (DN)

Maria Paixão: Salsinha surrenders, ‘State of Siege’ ends – The Vice President of the National Parliament, Maria Paixão, has said that they are waiting for Salsinha and his group to surrender in order to end the ‘State of Siege.’ Ms. Paixão has appealed for Salsinha to submit himself to justice. “I believe that in the short time Salsinha will surrender as a citizen who loves his country,” said Ms. Paixão on Monday (3/3) in the National Parliament.  (DN)
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TLGOV: AMP Government Announces Positive Developments with Petitioners Dili, 2 March, 2008

In a landmark announcement the AMP Government confirms that to date 612 petitioners, including six military police (some of whom were Reinado’s followers), have peacefully come forward and retreated to the safe haven of Aitarak Laran, a centre in Dili established to house the petitioners and discuss solutions to the problems.

The development has been a peaceful transition for the majority of former soldiers who, after filing a series of grievances in 2006 which included, amongst other issues, discrimination, were abruptly dismissed by the former government.

The dismissal of the soldiers combined with the decision by the former government to activate the armed forces to counter the petitioners’ demonstrations in 2006 caused widespread factionalism culminating in a series of riotous outbreaks that left more than six thousand homes destroyed and over one tenth of the population displaced.

Gusmao’s Government, who took office in August 2007, made reform and joint cooperation between the F-FDTL, East Timor’s Army and the PNTL, East Timor’s Police Force, a priority by re-establishing clear roles and responsibilities and encouraging collaborative unity as a means to national stability.

The latest developments in promoting peaceful resolutions with the petitioners are seen as a major step in addressing the country’s core issues, inherited by the Government six months ago, that were contributing to ongoing instability.

Thus far, the AMP Government has delivered their electoral promises in providing strong leadership by promoting dialogue, Government reforms and strong policies that support the restoration of the nation.

Gusmao said, “Our country is ready to move forward, to establish a cooperative state working for a unified vision. We have seen vast improvements and joint cooperation between Government, civil society, the Police Force, the Armed forces and now with the petitioners. These men and women have now become part of national solutions, using words over weapons; this is how a country evolves.’

‘In the last few weeks, our nation’s cooperation in maintaining law and order is the clearest message yet that we are on a new path of democratic solidarity.’ ENDS

For More Information please contact Joaquim Fonseca, Office of the Prime Minister +670 723 0053

SOURCE:  Republica Democratica De Timor-Leste Gabinete Do Primeiro-Ministro
—–
UNMIT Daily Media Review 03 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Rebel surrenders – The Commander of the Falintil-Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) Joint Operation, Filomeno Paixão, said that one of the rebels, Amaro ‘Susar’ da Costa, had surrendered to the F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation on Monday (02/03) in the sub-district of Turiscai, Same. Susar was presented to Prime Minister Gusmão in the Government Palace in Dili by the Joint Operation. Commander Paixão said that Susar was persuaded by the President of ASDT, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, along with the population of Turiscai, to surrender himself, his two weapons and some ammunition. “Our brother Susar has joined us since last night. The Joint Operation is very happy with this attitude,” said Commander Paixão. Commander Paixão also confirmed that the Joint Operation had directly contacted Gastão Salsinha and was urging him to surrender.

PM: Dialogue won’t solve problems – Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has said that the Government will not rely on dialogue to solve the problems faced by the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran, Dili. However, the PM did say that Government had another mechanism to resolve the issues and that this would be discussed with the petitioners later in the week. “I want you to know that now there is no dialogue. Before, we were asking for you to engage in dialogue with your leaders… but some of you thouught that you were more powerful than the State and made us lose two years …,” said the PM on Saturday (02/03)) in Aitarak Laran Dili.  The Prime Minister has also given one more week for the rest of the petitioners to come to Dili, saying that their continuing absence indicates that they don’t want to look for peaceful solutions.

Print Coverage

Susar: “I was involved in the attacks against the PR’s residence” –  Rebel member Amaro ‘Susar’ da Costa has surrendered to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation on Monday (02/03) in sub-district Turiscai, Same. During an F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation press conference held on Sunday (02/03), the former member of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) of PNTL, Susar, said that he was involved in the attacks against the residence of PR Ramos-Horta along with Alfredo Reinado. Susar has been presented to Prime Minister Gusmão in the Government Palace in Dili by the Joint Operation. (DN)

Carrascalão: February 11, an international political conspiracy – The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão, believes the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão to have been caused by an international political conspiracy. “Maybe the groups doing the attack were backed by some people. There were rumours that there was USD20000 found in Alfredo’s pocket when he died. Some people may have given him this money before he died, or put the money in his pocket after he died. His body may have been dumped in Metiaut after being shot in another place,” said Mr. Carrascalão. Carrascalão also reiterated his desire for Timor-Leste to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events shrouded in so much mystery. (DN)

Petitioners increase to 607 – The Spokesperson of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão, said that the numbers of petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran had increased to 607 by Sunday afternoon (02/03). Separately, F-FDTL Major Marcos Tilman said that the Government is showing its commitment to resolve the problems by providing security and other facilities for the gathering place. (DN)

TMR: Salsinha’s group don’t deserve weapons – The Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, has said that the Joint Operation is continuing in its efforts to urge Salsinha and his group to follow their friends and come to Aitarak Laran, Dili. “They know our position. We will still give them time to make a decision; a decision with no violence,” said TMR. (TP)
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TLGOV: “Susar” surrenders willingly and peacefully

REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE GABINETE DO PRIMEIRO-MINISTRO MEDIA RELEASE Dili, 2 March, 2008 – At 5:00 AM Dili time, Amaro Da Costa  commonly called “Susar”, willingly and peacefully surrendered to the National Police Force of Timor-Leste (PNTL) in Turiscai, a sub district of Aileu.

“Susar” was a member of the rebel group that attacked The President of the Republic, Jose Ramos Horta on February 11, 2008 and was thought to be Reinados’ most trusted confidante.

It has been confirmed that “Susar” rang Mr. Xavier do Amaral, President of the ASDT Party, part of the AMP government, to advise him of his decision to relinquish his weapons and submit to justice. Susar surrendered two rifles, an AK 33 and a FNC with 299 rounds of 5.56mm ammunitions.

Do Amaral immediately contacted the Commander of the PNTL, Mr. Afonso de Jesus, who dispatched two inspectors to escort Susar to Dili where he was met by the Prosecutor General, Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro. Susar was formally taken into custody for questioning and has offered his full cooperation to the authorities.

At 9:00 am, Susar requested to meet with the Prime Minister of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao, to offer his formal surrender to the state. He is quoted as saying to The Prime Minister, “I want Timor-Leste to be a peaceful and stable country. I want progress and development for Timor-Leste, I want to solve problems through talk rather than weapons and I now willingly submit to justice.”

In turn the Prime Minister appealed to Susar to encourage his colleagues to surrender in the same peaceful manner and praised the joint operation of the PNTL and F-FDTL (the Army of Timor-Leste), under the command of Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak.

This landmark development comes in tandem with the announcement by the AMP  Government that to date 602 petitioners, men and women from the army who took to the mountains after the violence in 2006, have peacefully come forward and retreated to the safe haven of Aitarak Laran over the last few weeks. The petitioners, mostly former veterans of the resistance, will be contained at the centre in Dili established to house and discuss solutions to their problems.

Prime Minister Gusmao said, “We are witness to what many thought could not be achieved. It is a  testament that our country is ready to move forward, to establish a cooperative state working for a collective vision of peace.’

‘I credit the AMP Government who has worked tirelessly over the last six months to establish law and order and to create positive solutions for the issues that plagued the nation. I praise civil society, the Police Force and the Armed forces for working cohesively towards positivenational solutions. We have established a Government that supports a new climate of accountability and transparency but above all, this Government is a trusted Government, which is why we have been able to deliver results.”

For more information please contact The Office of the Prime Minister: +670 723 0054
—–
TLPres: President Ramos-Horta forgives the deceased Alfredo Reinado and asks the Government to support Alfredo’s Family Darwin, 2nd of March 2008 Media Release – The President of Timor-Leste, DR Jose Ramos-Horta has received the visit of the Interim President Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo at the Royal Darwin Hospital. The two leaders met for almost two hours.

After the visit, the Interim President stated that the purpose of the visit was to see the good recovery of the President of the Republic, to inform him of the general situation in the country, and to convey the best wishes from the people of Timor-Leste.

The Interim President “Lasama” said that the Presidents recovery is progressing very well.

“The President is very lucid, showing his concern for the country and the responsibility of the Head of State.

“The President also express gratitude to the nation and to the church for their prayers and asked people to stop the violence,” said the Interim President.

“The President also express his trust in me as the Interim President, the National Parliament and the Government and asked everyone to continue working well for the good of the country.  The President also said that he forgives the deceased Alfredo Reinado Alves and asked the Government to support Alfredo’s family.” added the Interim President.

Interim President Lasama added that President Ramos-Horta had asked that a thorough investigation be conducted into the incidents on the 11th of February.

President Ramos-Horta also received visits from the United Nations Special Representative in Timor-Leste, DR Atul Khare, the former Prime Minister, Dr Mari Alkatiri, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva and Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah.

END

Media PR.: Joel Maria Pereira riko.joel@gmail.com or Luke Gosling : lukejgosling@gmail.com

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