« »

East Timor Legal New now on East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin

East Timor legal news continues on in the East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin. ETLJB covers the period from 2008 to the present. The archive and ETLB span almost a decade. It is by no means a comprehensive archive of legal news from East Timor but does cover many subjects and sources that have been of critical importance in the development of East Timor's legal culture since the catastrophic disintegration of the rule of law in 2006. Relates sources are East Timor Law Journal, East Timor Land Studies and United Nations Police in East Timor Security Reports for the period 2006-2008.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Timor-Leste Legal News May 2007 (Part 1)

One dead in E Timor clashes ABC News Online Sunday, May 20, 2007. 10:11pm (AEST) - One person has been killed after stone-throwing groups clashed in the East Timor capital, a United Nations spokeswoman said.

UN police fired teargas and warning shots to disperse the rival groups throwing rocks in the East Timor capital, Dili.

A spokeswoman for the UN mission in East Timor, Allison Cooper, said the fighting erupted just hours after Jose Ramos Horta was sworn in as President in a ceremony at nearby Parliament House.

"One person has been killed after fighting broke out between two groups outside the Chinese embassy," she said. "Forty two people have been arrested and three UN vehicles were damaged." She said details of how the person died were unclear.

An AFP reporter said about 50 UN police had arrested some 70 people, handcuffing them and putting them in vans.

The arrests enraged the fighting groups who then started pelting the police vans with stones, prompting the warning shots and tear gas.

"The glass panels of three UN police vehicles were broken by the stones and one female UN police member was hit on the arm by a stone," the reporter said.

It appeared the fighting was between youths from the east of the country supporting the ruling Fretilin party and supporters of a small political party supporting Dr Ramos Horta.

Earlier, as Dr Ramos Horta took the oath of office, he thanked those nations which came to his country's aid during unrest which broke out in May last year.

"I particularly wish to reiterate our appreciation for the commitment of Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia - four friendly countries that did not hestitate to land on our shores when we appealed to them for help," he said.

"They played a key role in helping us restoring law and order in our country and continue to do so under a new arrangement with the United Nations."
------
UNMIT's Daily Media Review 18 May 2007

Weapons disarmed when the dialogue is going - In response to the letter of the president of republic, Xanana Gusmão on 14 May, the former commander of the Military Police, Alfredo Reinado Alves has called on the state to provide time for dialogue to solve the national crisis. Reinado said that he will disarm for the talks and submit himself to the judicial procedure. Mr. Reinado also said that the military and political operation against him should be stopped. (TP)

Lu-Olo and Alkatiri visited Rogerio in the Prison - The president and secretary general of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo and Mari Alkatiri visited former Minister of the Interior, Rogerio Tiago Lobato yesterday in Becora prison Dili. Lu-Olo said the visit was to inspect the condition of Rogerio Lobato and other prisoners in Becora. (STL and TP)

Clashes between martial arts are the political games - The president of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), Antonio Ximenes has called on political leaders not to use martial arts gangs as part of their political games. Mr. Ximenes said that the clashes were not raised by PSHT, 77 and KORK, others created it on behalf of the martial arts groups. (TP)

UN concerned Gang violence in Bairo Pite - The UN’s top envoy in Timor-Leste has expressed his concern over signs of a resurgence of gang fighting in the nation’s capital following group violence in the past 24 hours the day before yesterday.

The fighting, which included rock-throwing and arson, occurred Wednesday (16/5) between 6.30 and 7pm between two groups of approximately 100 people in the Bairo Pite area of Dili. The fighting continued yesterday morning between 10 and 11 o’clock in the same area. A total of small four houses and a vehicle were burned.

Both yesterday and Wednesday, Malaysian and Portuguese Formed Police Units along with UNPol and the International Stabilization Force (ISF) attended and quickly brought the situation under control. Tear gas was fired.

So far there have been a total of 17 arrests. Nobody has been injured - The Special Representative of the Secretary General in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare visited the area yesterday morning to talk with residents affected by the violence. He was accompanied by the UNPol Commissioner Rodolfo Tor.

“While the police - with the assistance of the ISF - took control of the situation very quickly I am concerned to see fighting between groups of young people,” Mr Khare said. “People who commit criminal acts will be treated as criminals by the police. Claiming to act out of political motivation following last week’s election will not be tolerated” Mr Khare said. “In the past 24 hours I have told all political leaders in this country that violence justified as political is unacceptable and I have their agreement.

“Specifically I have been in contact with the President-Elect, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, the President of Fretilin, Dr Mari Alkatiri and the President of the Democratic Party (PD) Fernando Araujo Lasama. They all agreed that any persons committing criminal acts who claim to be party supporters should be put in jail.” (STL)
-----
Ramos-Horta sworn in as ETimor president Agence France Presse May 20, 2007 Sunday - DILI, May 20 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta was sworn in as East Timor's president on Sunday after winning a landslide election victory earlier this month.

Ramos-Horta took the oath of office during a ceremony at parliament house in the capital Dili, attended by Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and his Portuguese counterpart Luis Filipe Marques Amado.

"I swear to God, in the name of the people and for the sake of my honor, that I will duly exercise my functions, implement and abide by the constitution and the law and dedicate all my energy and capacity to the defence and consolidation of freedom and national unity," he said.

Ramos-Horta won 69 percent of the vote in the election, the first since East Timor gained its independence in 2002 following a bloody separation from Indonesia three years earlier.

The people of East Timor are hopeful that he will be able to usher in a new era of peace and stability for the impoverished former Portuguese colony.

During the ceremony, outgoing president and close ally Xanana Gusmao signed documents handing over power to the parliament before they were transferred to Ramos-Horta.

A declaration from East Timor's court of appeal that the May 9 election results were official was also read out. Guests then sang the national anthem "Patria Patria".

Gusmao, the popular former guerrilla leader, did not contest the election for the largely ceremonial job of president, and will instead run for the more powerful post of prime minister in next month's parliamentary polls.
-----
Statement on the Inauguration of the Presideint of East Timor 20 May 2007 The Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon - I extend my warmest congratulations to Dr. José Ramos-Horta on the occasion of his inauguration as President of Timor-Leste.

Dr. Ramos-Horta’s relationship with the United Nations is already solid and long-standing, and I look forward to working with him over the coming years.

Like the people of Timor-Leste, the United Nations looks to Dr. Ramos-Horta to lead the country in confronting the challenges ahead, from security reform and justice to development and governance.

My sincere congratulations also go to the people of Timor-Leste, who have so actively and peacefully embraced the democratic process in elections over the past six weeks.  I urge all political actors to sustain this democratic spirit and respect the free will of the people in the coming legislative elections.

The United Nations remains committed to supporting Timor-Leste as it strives to develop a stable and sustainable democracy in the years ahead.
-----
New ETimor PM sworn in - DILI (AFP) - Estanislau Aleixo da Silva was sworn in Saturday as East Timor's interim prime minister, succeeding Jose Ramos Horta, who was elected president of the tiny state in a landslide earlier this month.

Aleixo da Silva, a member of the ruling Fretilin party, will only serve until next month's parliamentary elecitons, in which outgoing president Xanana Gusmao is widely tipped to become the next prime minister.

"I feel honoured that I am trusted by my party as well as by President Xanana to hold the post of prime minister," he told reporters after a ceremony at the presidential palace, presided over by Gusmao. "I do not want to make many promises as it's only for a brief period. I only want to promise you that I'll work hard to create good conditions for the next election, to enable Timorese people to exercise their voting rights."

Aleixo da Silva previously served as deputy prime minister and agriculture minister

He confirmed rumours that foreign minister Luis Guterres had been sacked, without offering further details.
-----
East Timor Swears In Interim Prime Minister Reuters Published: May19, 200713:04h - Estanislau Aleixo da Silva was sworn in on Saturday as the tiny nation's interim prime minister. Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, a member of East Timor's ruling Fretilin party and a former deputy prime minister, was sworn in on Saturday as the tiny nation's interim prime minister until next month's parliamentary election.

Da Silva replaces Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta who was elected president after sweeping a run-off with nearly 70 percent of the votes. Ramos-Horta will be sworn in as the country's second president at a ceremony in Dili on Sunday.

Ramos-Horta's victory has raised hopes of greater stability in a nation still struggling to heal divisions five years after it won independence from Indonesia.

"This government has a short time ... I have no promises but during my leadership I will focus on security issue, and create conditions for the legislative election," da Silva told reporters after a swearing-in ceremony.

Outgoing President Xanana Gusmao will run for the more hands-on post of prime minister in parliamentary polls on June 30.

Violence erupts sporadically in East Timor, but the run-off between Ramos-Horta and parliament chief Francisco Guterres, president of the dominant Fretilin party, was peaceful.

Guterres conceded defeat and urged his supporters to accept the result.

Gang fights have broken out in East Timor in the past week, but officials say it is not clear if the violence was linked to the presidential run-off.

Local and U.N. police have stepped up patrols in and outside Dili to prevent further violence as tensions between rival political groups continue to simmer.

International observers said the presidential run-off was conducted freely and fairly, after the first round a month ago was marred by complaints of widespread irregularities.

East Timor voted for independence from Indonesian rule in a violence-marred referendum in 1999. It became fully independent in 2002 after a period of U.N. administration.
-----
Calm Returns Ahead Of Ramos Horta Swearing In - Dili, 18 May (AKI) - After days of scattered clashes, a semblance of calm has returned to the East Timorese capital Dili where the new president Jose Ramos-Horta is due to be sworn in as the second president of the tiny state in a ceremony on Sunday. The Nobel peace laureate who lived in exile for 24 years is one of the heroes of the struggle for independence from Indonesia. Ramos-Horta, 57, was foreign minister and then prime minister before winning the presidential run off on 9 May. He took nearly 70 percent of the vote in polls which international observers termed "free and fair."

The presidential vote came after a year of political tension and social violence which has polarised a large part of the local population, led to a change of government, forced 150,000 Timorese to abandon their homes and killed about 50 people.

Horta has promised to unite the country but the clashes of recent days - despite pleas for peace from the presidential loser Francisco Guterres - indicate that this will be no easy task.

One person was killed and at least 19 injured, houses were burnt and 20 people arrested according to the local police inspector Mateus Fernandesad, who admitted the local security forces had difficulty in curbing the violence.

"The gangs use firearms and it is extremely dangerous for us to intervene" he told Adnkronos International (AKI)

Calm was restored after joint intervention by the local police, the United Nations police and the Australian and New Zealand soldiers deployed a year ago as peacekeepers are violence

Sitting outside what remains of his house, in Bairopite district , Zeferino Maia, 45 cries and says he has no idea why he was a target. "I don't know why they attacked me and my family. I am just a normal person, I know nothing of politics or ideologies" he told AKI. "They burned my house and my car and now I do not have a place to sleep."

Zeferino will probably be forced to reach one of the refugee camps where there are still 37,000 of the 150,000 people forced to flee their homes as a result of serious fighting a year ago.

Among the residents of the camps, but also in many of East Timor's one million inhabitants, 67 percent of whom are under-20, there is growing disappointment at the realities of independence which cost so much bloodshed but which has not yet brought peace and prosperity.

East Timor continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world and is at the bottom of global UN rankings on key indicators. According to a 2006 UN report, nine percent of children die before they reach one year of age, half of the population does not have access to drinking water and 40 percent of people are unemployed or under employed.

Some sources say that more than 200,000 people died during the 24 years of resistance following the 1975 Indonesian invasion after colonial ruler Portugal pulled out. That concluded with a 1999 referendum in which 78.8 percent of Timorese voted for independence, which was officially declared in May 2002.

Horta takes over from Xanana Gusmao, the resistance leader and the first president of the tiny republic.
-----
ABC: Gang violence in Dili a week after elections http://www.abc.net.au/ra/asiapac/programs/s1925001.htm Last Updated 17/05/2007 3:28:56 PM

Gang related violence is breaking out again in East Timor, a week after elections for a new president. There were 17 arrests in a single incident in the capital Dili on Wednesday, prompting the UN's representative to call for calm. Atul Khare ventured into the trouble spot where four houses were torched and appealed for an end to the violence. He also sought assurances from political leaders that none of the recent attacks have been politically motivated.

Presenter/Interviewer: Karon Snowdon Speakers: Cipriano de Jesus, Dili resident; Jose Teixeira, Fretilin spokesman and Minister for Natural Resources; Alison Cooper UN spokeswoman

SNOWDON: The United Nation's Special Representative in East Timor, Atul Khare walked into a storm in a poor section of Dili, known as Baro Pitae.

Baro Pitae is not far from the centre of Dili, and is a collection of very poor houses.

In a second day of trouble there four houses were burnt down, many more were damaged and a car destroyed according to an eye witness and UN reports. Malaysian police fired their weapons to break up the fighting.

Baro Pitae has been targeted by gangs for about a year, but the almost daily trouble has tapered off during the international security crackdown since March for this year's election campaigns.

The last few days has seen a return of the gang warfare which resident Cipriano de Jesus believes is politically motivated and has the backing of the country's ruling party Fretilin.

de JESUS: In Baro Pitae the...fighting, in Baro, many people came to attack.

SNOWDON: How many people do you think were attacking your community?

de JESUS: Maybe 100 people, the group we call PFIT, they are supporters of Mr Lu Olo because they got money from Fretilin.

SNOWDON: Fretilin candidate Fransisco Lu Olo Gutterres lost the presidential election held a week ago to outgoing Prime Minister Jose
Ramos Horta who won in a land slide.

The Fretilin Party has consistently denied any involvement in the gang violence which started last year and devastated the capital.

Rather Fretilin spokesman and Minister for Natural Resources and Energy, Jose Teixeria says the last few days has seen several attacks
against Fretilin members in the outlying districts and in Dili itself.

TEIXERIA: Media always seem to be targetting unfairly Fretilin and how it might respond to the result of the election, and as we all know the elections were relatively peaceful. But consistently Fretilin supporters have been reporting violence against them, and hence actually election evening a house of a prominent Fretilin member was burnt and his family had to flee for their lives in the district of Ermera. I spoke today to people in the ministry of labour and community reinsertion, who are in charge of social affairs and they informed that they've had up to ten requests from people who lost their homes in the Ermera district of which Fretilin members comprise a large number of that. Yesterday evening saw a resurgence of violence in Baro PItae and members of one particular opposition party attacked and burnt four homes and a motor vehicle. This has been confirmed by UNPOL.

SNOWDON: And the other reports I'm hearing from Baro Pitae is that there are Fretilin supported gangs who are causing the violence, how do you respond to that?

TEIXERIA: That's incorrect. This is totally incorrect. The point is that all of this violence that's occurred is known to UNPOL, they know who the perpetrators are. I might also note that in some of these instances there is just thuggery from people related to some opposition parties.

SNOWDON: Which opposition parties? I'd like you to name these opposition parties which you say are creating this?

TEIXERIA: The Baro Pitae area the reports are that they are groups linked with PD, the Democratic Party. In the Ermera district the reports are the same.

SNOWDON: The UN says it investigated the claims and found some property damage but could not verify the attacks were politicially motivated.

UN Special Representative Atul Khare wasn't available for an interview. His spokeswoman Alison Cooper confirmed he was assured by the leaders of the Democratic and Fretilin Parties in the presence of President elect Jose Ramos Horta that none of the parties is behind the violence.

COOPER: Making sure that if there is any chance that the signs of a resurge in gang violence in Dili and the district is being attributed to political reason then that certainly won't be tolerated.
-----
FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE FRETILIN Media Release Friday 18 May 2007 Fretilin push to clean up elections - Fretilin has used its majority in the National Parliament to amend the Parliamentary Elections Law in an effort to prevent activities such as voter intimidation and vote buying.

The amendments, which include penalties of imprisonment and hefty fines, are aimed at “cleaning up negative electioneering of the type employed in the Presidential elections against Fretilin’s candidate,” said Francisco Branco MP, a Fretilin Central Committee member speaking in Dili today. “Once Lu Olo emerged with the highest vote in counting for the first round in April, there were continuous allegations against Fretilin of vote buying and voter intimidation, without evidence being produced.”

Parliament passed the amendments, introduced by Branco and fellow Fretilin MP Elizario Ferreira, on Tuesday 15 May 2007.

Branco said many national and international government and non-government bodies and observer groups had lobbied for such amendments. For example, the European Union Election Observer Mission recommended: “the Electoral Law needs to be amended to provide enforcement powers...for example to issue fines.”

Branco said: “We are certain the amended law will provide enough sanctions to clean up campaigning and create a level playing field for all, especially in the media – an area where Fretilin was extensively victimized without legal recourse.”

Members of Parliament from the Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party walked out of parliament when debate on these amendments began, raising doubts about their commitment to democratic electoral practices.

The amendments contain fines and jail terms for offences such as:

non-compliance by individuals with obligations set out in the law

improper use of names and symbols of other political parties by parties or candidates

undertaking campaign activities after the expiration of the official election campaign period

sale and consumption of alcohol within 100 meters of a voting centre

abuse of power by civil servants and/or state officials aimed at restricting voters from exercising their voting rights or inducing voters to vote for a particular candidate

threatening an employee with dismissal or other sanction, or refusing to grant employment, in order to influence a voter’s voting intention

offering, promising or giving public or private employment or some other advantage to one or more voters whether directly or indirectly to influence his or her vote – as well as accepting such a bribe

tampering with ballot papers

failure by the Chair of the voting centre to receive and process a complaint relating to the electoral process

failure by Police Officers to attend a voting centre when officially designated to do so

deliberately and willfully but falsely accusing another person of breaching the electoral law

lodging complaints made in bad faith and without foundation regarding the electoral authorities and their lawful decisions

being unlawfully armed with a weapon at a voting station.

For more information, please contact:  Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 (Dili) www.timortruth.com,  www.fretilin-rdtl.blogspot.com
-----
Party leaders visit former ETimor minister in jail Agence France Presse DILI, May 17 2007 Leaders of East Timor's ruling political party Thursday visited a former cabinet minister jailed for weapons offences.

Fretilin party president Francisco Guterres visited former home affairs minister Rogerio Lobato, who began his jail sentence last week after losing an appeal against his conviction for distributing weapons to civilians during last year's deadly unrest.

Guterres, who was accompanied by former prime minister Mari Alkatiri and other party leaders, said Lobato was in good health.

"Our comrade has shown that he is a good citizen by coming to this jail," he told journalists, adding that Lobato's position as deputy president of the party would be discussed at a party meeting on Saturday.

Alkatiri was forced to resign as premier over his role in the May unrest. At least 37 people were killed in the violence that gripped East Timor, forcing 150,000 people to flee their homes.

Incoming president Jose Ramos-Horta has pledged to unite the country and help restore security after winning this month's presidential election. He won as an independent candidate against former freedom fighter Guterres. Lobato was one of the founders of Fretilin, formed as a resistance movement against Indonesia's 24-year occupation of East Timor until its vote for independence in 1999.

Fretilin has dominated the fledgling nation's parliament since it gained independence in 2002, three years after the UN-sponsored vote.
-----
East Timor rebel Reinado wants speedy surrender Agence France Presse -- English May 17, 2007 Thursday 7:45 AM GMT DILI - A fugitive East Timor rebel leader, who has evaded a long-running manhunt by international troops, has agreed to most of the conditions for his surrender, his lawyer said Thursday.

Major Alfredo Reinado, criticised for his role in last year's deadly unrest in the troubled state, wants a permanent halt to military operations against him and his loyal band of followers, his lawyer said.

"Our client is ready to surrender his weapons and face justice but military and police operations on him should be ceased," Benevides Barros Correia told AFP. "Dialogue should start as soon as possible," he added.

Reinado has fine tuned the details of this surrender in another letter to outgoing president Xanana Gusmao who has been corresponding with the fugitive in an attempt to secure his surrender without bloodshed.

"A temporary cease to (military) operations should be changed to total cease," he said in the letter to Gusmao made available to AFP.

He also said he agreed to a suggestion to allow Dili Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva to mediate with authorities in the final steps to surrender.

It is unclear what would happen after he gave himself up, although he has said he is willing to face "justice".

Reinado has been on the run since Australian-led troops attacked his mountain hideout in March. Five of his armed supporters were killed during the failed offensive, which triggered protests by his supporters.

The fugitive has previously been blamed in part for last year's unrest, after he and others led 600 soldiers to desert the army over claims of discrimination.

The soldiers were sacked by the then prime minister, sparking firefights between factions of the military that degenerated into gang violence.

At least 37 people were killed, another 150,000 displaced and Australian-led international peacekeepers were dispatched to restore security.

The government approved the manhunt in February after Reinado attacked several border police outposts and fled with dozens of weapons.

Reinado had been central to fears that unrest could marr this month's presidential election, which Jose Ramos-Horta won in a runoff.

But the fugitive vowed not to disrupt polling, and instead requested, including in writing, a negotiated surrender.
-----
One dead in ETimor's second day of violence ABC Radio Australia Last Updated 16/05/2007, 22:45:06 The United Nations envoy in East Timor has expressed concern over a resurgence of gang fighting in the capital, Dili.

Atul Khare has asked for assurances from political leaders that none of the violence has links to their parties after last week's election.

Our reporter, Karon Snowdon, says UN security forces in Dili arrested 17 people after a second day of street fighting which left at least four houses burnt down. The area was visited by the head of the UN mission, Atul Khare. He later met with the leaders of the ruling Fretilin and opposition Democratic parties and President-Elect Jose Ramos Horta to seek their support for the arrest of any party supporters involved.

Hospital officials say there have also been clashes this week in the Ermera district, west of the capital, resulting in the death of one man.

East Timor's presidential election campaign ending last week was relatively peaceful.

The UN is concerned violence might be on the rise leading into the third election in as many months when the parliamentary poll is held in June.

Ramos Horta resigns prime ministership

Meanwhile, Dr Ramos Horta has tendered his resignation, in order to take over the presidency from next Sunday. He will replace Xanana Gusmao after an official swearing in ceremony in East Timor's parliament. His resignation as prime minister is expected to take effect later this week. The majority Fretilin party is yet to name a replacement prime minister to act in the job until parliamentary elections on June 30. Mr Gusmao will be running for prime ministership in those polls.
-----
Clashes in Timor continue REUTERS 16.5.2007. 19:38:46 Political clashes between rival gangs in East Timor have left one person dead and injured more than 20 people less than a week after a presidential run-off.

The director of the national hospital in Dili, Antonio Caleres Junior says one East Timorese was killed and two were injured in clashes involving political supporters in the Ermera district on Monday.

But it was not clear if they were linked to the two candidates contesting last week's second round of presidential elections.

The district is about six hours' drive west from Dili.

Violence erupts sporadically in the tiny nation, but the run-off between Nobel peace prize winner and current prime minister Jose Ramos Horta and parliament chief Francisco Guterres, president of the dominant Fretilin party, was peaceful.

Mr Ramos Horta swept the run-off with nearly 70 per cent of the votes, raising hopes of greater stability in a nation still struggling to heal divisions five years after it won independence from Indonesia.

Mr Guterres conceded defeat and urged his supporters to accept the result.

In a separate incident yesterday, gang clashes involving martial arts groups left 19 people injured, but the fighting did not appear to be related to the elections, Mr Junior said.

East Timor's police operations commander, Mateus Fernandes, said rival political supporters also clashed in Liquica district late yesterday, but there were no casualties.

"There was fighting among supporters of presidential candidates Jose Ramos Horta and Francisco Guterres ... but no one was injured," Mr Fernandes said.

Mr Fernandes said local and UN police had stepped up patrols in and outside Dili to prevent further violence.

International observers said the presidential run-off was conducted freely and fairly, after the first round a month ago was marred by complaints of widespread irregularities.

East Timor voted for independence from Indonesian rule in a violence-marred referendum in 1999. It became fully independent in 2002 after a period of UN administration. Outgoing President Xanana Gusmao will now run for the more hands-on post of prime minister in parliamentary polls on June 30.
-----
UNMIT: UN says it won’t tolerate violence - 16 May 2007, Dili: The UN’s top envoy in Timor-Leste has expressed his concern over signs of a resurgence of gang fighting and mob violence in the nation’s capital, Dili, in the past 24 hours.

The fighting, which included rock-throwing and arson, occurred yesterday between 6.30 and 7pm between two groups of approximately 100 people in the Bairro Pite area of Dili.

The fighting continued this morning between 10 and 11 o’clock in the same area. Four small houses and a vehicle were burned.

Both today and yesterday, Malaysian and Portuguese Formed Police Units along with UNPol and the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) attended and quickly brought the situation under control.

Nobody has been injured and 17 people have been arrested.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare visited the area this morning to talk with residents affected by the violence. He was accompanied by the UNPol Commissioner Rodolfo Tor.

“While the police - with the assistance of the ISF - took control of the situation very quickly I am concerned to see fighting between groups of young people,” Mr Khare said.

“People who commit criminal acts will be treated as criminals by the police. Claiming to act out of political motivation following last week’s election will not be tolerated” Mr Khare said.

“In the past 24 hours I have told all political leaders in this country that violence justified as political is unacceptable and I have their agreement.

Specifically I have been in contact with the President-Elect, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, the Secretary-General of Fretilin, Dr Mari Alkatiri and the President of the Democratic Party (PD) Fernando Araujo Lasama. They all agreed that any persons committing criminal acts who claim to be party supporters should be put in jail,” Mr Khare added.

UNMIT is mandated through Resolution 1704 to “ensure, through the presence of United Nations police, the restoration and maintenance of public security in Timor-Leste through the provision of support to the Timorese national police (PNTL) … which includes interim law enforcement and public security until PNTL is reconstituted…”

For more information please call UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper on  +670 7230453

-----
Daily Media Review: 15 May 2007

F-FDTL is ready to have a dialogue with petitioners - After meeting with the F-FDTL commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, on Monday (14/5) at the government palace, the Vice Prime Minister, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, said that F-FDTL is ready for a dialogue with petitioners to look at a peaceful manner to resolve the problem. Mr. Estanislau said that the meeting would be an important and positive step to solve the petitioners' case.  (DN, TP and STL)

Alfredo's case is an alternative of justice - Alfredo Reinado Alves' lawyer, Benevides Correia Barros, said that Alfredo Reinado's case is the alternative for people who are hungry for justice during this national crisis. Mr. Barros also said that his client is 100% willing to engage in dialogue to come to a solution. "Our client Reinado is willing to engage in a dialogue, however conditions need to be created"said Benevides on Monday (14/5) when assisting the plenary at the national parliament. (DN, TP and STL)

Mal Rerden: situation remains in calm - The commander of International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier Gen. Mal Rerden, reportedly said that the situation across the country remains calm after the poll last week. According to Rerden, the people of Timor-Leste have accepted the results of a democratic process in a peaceful and calm manner. Rerden added that even though the situation remains calm, ISF maintains its position to guarantee the security until the completion of the upcoming parliamentary elections. (DN)

Railos asks Rogerio to tell the truth about Alkatiri - Vicente da Conceicao Railos was pleased with the imprisonment of former Interior Minister Rogerio Tiago Lobato. However, he is disgruntled that Rogerio did not disclose information on the people who ordered him. Railos called on Rogerio to tell the truth about the former Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri and his involvement in that case. "I am very happy Rogerio is imprisoned, but I call on him to disclose Mari's involvement in the weapons distribution case,† said Railos on Monday (14/5) via Mobile Phone. (TP)

STAE Director is ready to step down - STAE Director Thomas Cabral directly contacted the Vice Minister of State, Valentim Ximenes, on Monday (14/5) to say that he is ready to be discharged from his role as the STAE director. In response to the declaration made by the Vice Minister of state Valentim Ximenes to investigate the STAE Director on charges of manipulation in Lautem district during the run-off presidential elections, Mr. Cabral declared that he challenged such declaration as the person to be investigated should be the electoral coordinator of Lautem district. (TP)
-----
Fretilin welcomes government initiatives for the solution of the Petitioners' issue FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE FRETILIN Media Release Tuesday 15 May 2007 Fretilin today welcomed the government initiatives for the solution to the issue of the Petitioners- the group of 591 F-FDTL soldiers who were dismissed from the army in March 2006 after they abandoned their barracks following claims of discrimination.

Secretary general Dr Mari Alkatiri said, "The report with the recommendations from the Commission of Notables has been released to and debated by the Council of the Ministers.

"The Council of Ministers have now authorized the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste to begin negotiating with the representatives of the Petitioners to find a lasting solution to this important issue."

The Commission of Notables, chaired by Minister Ana Pessoa, was appointed by former PM Alkatiri in April 2006. It undertook a detailed investigation of the allegations made by the Petitioners over several months.

"It is important that the petitioners' issue be resolved within the legal framework to avoid setting a bad precedent that will make it difficult to manage identical situations that may arise in the future. Respect for the existing institutions is very important. However, a political solution is needed without compromising the existing laws and regulations.

"Fretilin will continue to support the resolution of this issue through institutional channels," Alkatiri added.

For more information, please contact: Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 (Dili, Timor-Leste) Paulo Araujo (+61) 424 413 525 (Darwin, Australia) www.fretilin-rdtl.blogspot.com, www.timortruth.com
-----
UNMIT's Daily Media Review Saturday 12 and Monday 14 May 2007

Alfredo intends to submit himself - After Rogerio Lobato was sentenced last week fugitive Alfredo Reinado said in his letter to president of republic, Xanana Gusmao that he intends to submit to justice and proceed along the existing lines of law and order that prevail in Timor Leste.

The letter was received recently by Xanana Gusmao in Dili.

“Alfredo wants to negotiate in submitting himself to justice” said Ramos Horta quoting Alfredo’s letter.

The president-elect said that Reinado’s surrender would be welcomed.  (STL)
-----
Uatolari: police off duty – people fled to church - The run-off presidential election has passed and the result shows that presidential candidate Jose Manuel Ramos Horta is elected to be the new president of republic. However some supporters of the losing presidential candidate Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo in Uatolari Viqueque district are not accepting the election’s result. After announcing the result of presidential election, Fretilin militants in Uatolari allegedly threatened and intimidated people and caused people to flee to the church and to PNTL HQ in Uatolari, Viqueque district. (STL)

PNTL using operational system in conflict prevention - UNPol has worked closely with the PNTL to prevent any public disturbance  that may have been created during the second round of the presidential election. The intern commander of PNTL Afonso de Jesus made the comments to journalists at a press conference last Wednesday.

“We will use the same system as previous during the campaign, election day and result announcement in responding to the conflicts,” said Afonso. (STL)

Rogerio Lobato treated as other prisoners - The lawyer of former Minister of Interior, Rogerio Tiago Lobato; Paul Remedios said on Friday (11/4) at Rogerio’s residence Farol Dili said that Rogerio will be treated equally as other prisoners in Becora jail. (STL)

UNMIT praises Rogerio Lobato submit himself to justice - UNMIT has appreciated the orderly unfolding of the judicial process over the past few months in the ongoing case of the Former Minister for Interior, Rogerio Lobato. Justice is a pre-requisite for reconciliation and stability.

Lobato was one of number of individuals who were recommended for investigation and possible prosecution by the Commission of Inquiry Report for his role in the violence that besieged Timor-Leste in April and May last year.

He was sentenced by the Dili District Court on March 7, 2007 to seven and a half years in prison. Immediately following the decision, lawyers for Lobato filed an appeal which was yesterday dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The head of the United Nations Mission in Timor Leste, Atul Khare has commended all relevant parties involved in the trial of the former Minister for the Interior noting that Lobato submitted voluntarily and peacefully to justice.

Mr Khare expressed his hope that that others including Alfredo Reinado would follow this example.

Mr Khare added that the observation of both prosecution and defence to the fundamental principles of the rule of the law bodes well for the future of justice and reconciliation in Timor Leste.

Yesterday’s decision shows that a culture of impunity will not be tolerated in Timor-Leste and that respect for the legal process will lead to the longer term goals of national reconciliation and unity

United Nations police officers (UNPol) provided security at the Court of Appeal in Dili yesterday and also assisted in the transfer of Lobato to Becora Prison later in the day.

UNMIT looks forward to working with the national authorities to ensuring that all recommendations set forward in the COI report are implemented.

UNMIT is mandated through Resolution 1704 to “assist in further strengthening the national institutional and societal capacity and mechanisms for the monitoring, promoting and protecting of human rights and for promoting justice and reconciliation. (TP)
-----
If Alfredo replies to Xanana’s letter,  the state will halt the operation officially - The state will officially halt the operation of International Stabilization Forces (ISF) on Alfredo Reinado if he replies to Xanana’s letter promptly. “If Reinado replies Xanana’s letter promptly, it will make the official suspension,” said Ramos Horta on Friday (11/5) in his office. RH said Xanana Gusmão will send a letter in next few days in responding to the letter of Alfredo last week. Horta revealed that Alfredo’s letter was asking for a dialogue, that would be making him to submit himself to the justice, but the ISF operation should be halted. (TP)
-----
UNMIT’s road safety awareness campaign continues As part of an ongoing road safety awareness campaign, UNPol has moved to remind people about the rules regarding appropriate documentation when driving vehicles anywhere in Timor Leste. In accordance with the applicable laws vehicle drivers should have a driver’s license, a valid identification card and an insurance certificate. The driver must also be in possession of a vehicle registration card and a vehicle identification card, which proves that there has been periodic inspections of the vehicle.

Drivers not in possession of the appropriate documentation risk a series of penalties ranging from warnings to disqualification, which may include confiscation of vehicles.

The Code also applies to all government-owned vehicles and appropriate actions will be taken.

UNMIT is mandated through Resolution 1704 to “ensure, through the presence of United Nations police, the restoration and maintenance of public security in Timor-Leste through the provision of support to the Timorese national police (PNTL) … which includes interim law enforcement and public security until PNTL is reconstituted…”

Statement attributable to UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper. For more information please call +670 7230453.
-----
Anti-Corruption Specialist Assists Provedor’s Office in Reviewing Cases (MAY 7, 2007) - USAID, through its partner Management Sciences for Development (MSD), recently enlisted the expertise of an anti-corruption investigation specialist to assist the Provedor’s Office in reviewing its backlog of cases for appropriate action and in the process improve the skills of the staff to conduct preliminary reviews. Technical assistance by Mr. Nasir Hadi, formerly with both the Human Rights and the Anti-Corruption Commissions of Malaysia, enabled the Office to conduct a preliminary evaluation of 30 cases in the anti-corruption and good governance units. The Provedor is an independent institution established by the Constitution with three mandates­human rights, anti-corruption and good governance. USAID, through MSD, has supported the office since it was established in 2005.
-----
The Absence of a Procedure on Electoral Complaints in the first round of the Presidential Election JSMP 11 May 2007 The first round of the presidential elections, on 9th April 2007, was deemed mostly free and fair by international observers; national observers have presented mixed findings. JSMP is proud to congratulate the Timorese people on the smooth running of their very first independent presidential election.

JSMP would like to note, however, that one of the basic components of a free and fair electoral process is that voters and candidate representatives are able to make complaints on electoral irregularities and challenge poll results. This procedure must be laid down in law as well as being widely publicised and known. JSMP is therefore concerned that the Procedure on Electoral Complaints[1] was only approved four days after Election Day and was not published in the National Gazette until 19th April, the day that CNE handed over the preliminary results to the Court of Appeal.

A very large proportion of the complaints submitted to the CNE during the first round of the Presidential election had to be rejected on the grounds that they provided insufficient information or that they did not present sufficient evidence. Many did not include contact details for CNE to respond to the complaint. Had the Complaints Procedure been adequately publicised beforehand, requirements might have been better understood and the complaints system could have been better utilised by aggrieved voters or candidates.

The delay seems to have been due mostly to differing interpretations of the legal provisions governing the competencies of the Secretariado Técnico da Admistração Eleitoral (STAE) and the Comissão Nacional de Eleições (CNE), as well a lack of cooperation between these two bodies. It is urgent for these provisions to be clarified and for information on the electoral complaints process to be disseminated before next elections.

I Law on electoral complaints

The complaints procedure in its broad form can be pieced together from various existing laws. Laws 5/2006 on Electoral Administration Bodies, 6/2006 on the Election of the National Parliament and 7/2006 on the Election of the President of the Republic, as well as regulations such as that on Electoral Campaigns[2], and Polling and Counting Procedures[3], all contain elements detailing parts of the complaints procedure. However, until the publication of the Complaints Procedure, there was no single document that provided a clear overview of all the steps involved in filing and following up an electoral complaint or protest. This made it difficult for STAE to train voting officials in how to deal with complaints, and virtually impossible for voters and candidates to understand their right to protest or complain about an electoral misdemeanour.

Art 13 of the Complaints Procedure states that it enters into force upon publication, which means that it was not in force at the time of submission for any of the claims which arose during the first round of the presidential elections. Indeed, the Constitution states that legislation must be published and failure to do so results in it being null and void[4]. Additionally, according to Law 1/2002, the earliest that a piece of legislation can enter into force is the day after its publication.[5] Consequently, the earliest date that the Complaints Procedure could have entered into force is 20th April. The final results were announced the next day.

The delay in formalising this piece of legislation stems from the poor cooperation between STAE and CNE. As JSMP understands it, regulations on electoral matters are normally made by STAE submitting the regulation to CNE for approval. However STAE refused to submit the draft Complaints Regulation to CNE, arguing that complaints do not enter into its competencies and that it cannot therefore submit a proposal to CNE. Meanwhile, CNE lacked the confidence in its own competencies to go ahead with the procedures, without passing them through STAE (although it ultimately did go ahead with them alone). JSMP would therefore like to explore the judicial ties between these two institutions.

II Mandate of the CNE

The CNE’s structure and mandate are set out in Law 5/2006 on Electoral Administration Bodies. It is established as an independent body “to supervise the electoral acts referred to by the present law [Law 5/2006] and regulations enforcing electoral or referenda laws”.[6]

Amongst other things, CNE has the competency to:

*        Ensure the enforcement of constitutional and legal provisions relating to the electoral process[7]

*        Approve the enforcing regulations provided for in the present law and other electoral laws (…)[8]

*        Perform other functions assigned to it by law[9]

Above all however, Art 10 of Law 5/2006 lays down the obligation of collaboration between electoral administration bodies:

“1. In the exercise of its competencies, CNE shall receive all the necessary support from the bodies and staff of the Public Administration to enable it to carry out its functions.

2. For the purposes of item 1 above, STAE shall provide CNE with the support and collaboration requested by the latter.”

Finally, Art 11 of Law 5/2006 provides that “CNE shall prepare and approve its own rules of procedure”.

With regard to its more specific role in the complaints process, Art 35 of the Regulation on Electoral Campaigns[10] states that candidates, parties and coalitions whose campaign rights are affected may present claims to the CNE. More importantly, Art 35 (2) reads:

“The CNE shall establish a system to assess claims, based on a regulation of procedures approved by the CNE”

This is the clearest wording of any provision governing CNE’s role in passing procedures for the resolution of complaints. Its function in the complaints process during other stages of the electoral process are dealt with in Law 7/2006 (Art 43-47), in Law 6/2006 (Art 25, 45, 46 and 49) and in Regulation 035/STAE/II/07[11] (Art 13 and 23).

In summary, STAE and CNE share the responsibility for the lawful running of elections and referenda, including ensuring voters’ rights are respected. One of these is their right to file complaints on electoral matters since the right to a remedy for the violation of a right is also a fundamental human right.

III STAE’s Competencies

STAE is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Administration and is mandated to see to the practical organisation and execution of electoral processes, referenda and electoral registration, as well as to support, consult and disseminate reports and other data in the field of elections.[12]

Art 6 of the Organic Statute of STAE describes the more specific duties of STAE, in particular:

*         Art 6 (c), “to ensure and execute the necessary actions for the timely implementation of electoral acts (…)”

*         Art 6 (d), to “propose adequate means of clarification, training, and information for the participation of citizens in electoral acts, as well as to ensure the correct performance of the different agents of the electoral administration and the functioning of the services”

*         Art 6 (e), to “plan, execute and technically support the carrying out of elections and referenda, (…)”

*         Art 6 (h), to “support and collaborate with the (…) CNE, within the terms of the relevant applicable law” [13]

With regard to the preparation of regulations pertaining to the electoral process, the relevant provisions are in Art 65 (1) of Law 6/2006, and 67 (1) of Law 7/2006, the wording being identical:

“1. The norms of procedure relating to presentation of candidacies, electoral campaign, the functioning of polling stations and the counting of votes and tabulation of results shall be contained in regulations prepared by STAE and approved by the CNE.”

STAE has presented this section as an exhaustive list of its competencies. However, in JSMP’s view, it should be interpreted in the spirit of the whole body of law surrounding the elections as examined above. Taking into consideration that STAE has a duty to cooperate with CNE and underscoring the fact that the complaints process is an intrinsic and inseparable part of the electoral process, it is very difficult to understand STAE’s refusal to cooperate on the enactment of the Procedure for Complaints.

Conclusion

It appears then that the delay in enacting the Complaints Procedure was unnecessary. STAE should have submitted the Procedure for approval by CNE, and when they refused to do so, CNE should approved the procedures itself, prior to the first found of Presidential elections. The absence of a complaints procedure deprived the election legal framework of one of its most important components. JSMP finds it regrettable that STAE refused to fulfil its duty of cooperation with CNE, when it is responsible for ensuring all the practical aspects of running free and fair elections. JSMP also regrets that CNE, in the face of this refusal, did not take swifter action and pass and publish the Procedure before Election Day.

JSMP appreciates the magnitude of both STAE’s and CNE’s tasks, but would recommend that they adopt a less narrow interpretation of their duties. They share the same goal of organising and supervising free, fair and transparent elections and should acquit themselves of this task in close cooperation. JSMP would further welcome a revision of the Procedure before the Parliamentary Elections to make it more detailed. Amongst other things, we would like to see deadlines being lengthened to take into consideration the practical constraints on submission and consideration of complaints in light of East Timor’s topography and infrastructure, as well as the small number of staff available for treating complaints. JSMP would be happy to discuss this further with either institution.

[1] Procedimento para Reclamações (Complaints Procedure), Jornal da República, 19th April 2007
[2] STAE/III/2007, Jornal da República, 16 March 2007
[3] Regulamento sobre o Processo de Votação e apuramento dos Resultados para a Eleição de Presidente da República (Regulation on Voting and Counting Procedures for the Election of the President of the Republic) 131/CNE/II/07, Jornal da República, 4 April 2007, updated by 160/CNE/IV/07
[4] Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, Art 73(1) and 73(2)
[5] Law 1/2002, Publicação dos actos, Jornal da República, 4 June 2003
[6] Art 4, Law 5/2006, Jornal da República, 28 December 2006
[7] Art 8(b), Law 5/2006
[8] Art 8(c), Law 5/2006
[9] Art 8(j), Law 5/2006
[10] STAE/III/2007, Jornal da República, 16 March 2007
[11] Regulamento sobre Apresentação de Candidaturas para Eleição do Presidente da República e dos Deputados ao Parlamento Nacional (Regulation on the Presentation of Candidacies for the Election of the President of the Republic and of Deputies of the National Parliament 035/STAE/II/07, Jornal da República, 16 February 2007
[12] Art 5, Decree-Law 1/2007, Estatuto Orgânico do Secreteriado Técnico da Adminstração Eleitoral, (Organic Statute of the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration), Jornal da República, 18 January 2007 (“The Organic Statute”)
[13] Ibid.

Continued at Timor-Leste Legal News May 2007 (Part 2)

No comments:

Post a Comment