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.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Timor-Leste Legal News October 2007 (Part 2)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 31 October 2007

Police to hunt for the actors of violence in Dili - The State Secretary of Security Francisco Guterres said that he will give instructions to the police department to hunt for the actors involved in the violence in Dili. “The police will hunt for the actors or anyone else who was involved in violence. Now the PNTL will deploy the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) to work together with GNR in a joint patrol to attend to any violent activities,” said Mr. Guterres on Tuesday (30/10). Mr. Guterres also said that the Government has discussed with United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) to establish more police stations which will be functional in a short time. (STL)

May 25 2006 case: Paulo Martins to obey the decision of the court - Former General Commander of National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), Paulo Martins has agreed with the decision of Dili District Court to reject his written testimony in the case of May 25, 2006. “This is the competence of the court; I have to act upon it,” said Mr. Martins on Tuesday (30/10) Paulo was asked by the court to give his testimony directly or in written form, but the Court decided not to have his testimony in written form. (STL)

Claudio Ximenes: There is still no law for the private lawyer- President Court of Appeal Claudio Ximenes said that until now there is still no law for private lawyers to work on cases. Mr. Ximenes also said that there is no law to regulate the private lawyers in assisting their clients or suspects. The President of the Court of Appeal revealed that there should be more training for judges. (DN)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 30 October 2007

Hutcheson: “You asked, we came” - Brig. Gen. John Hutcheson, the commander of International Security Forces (ISF) asked the Timorese to understand that the presence of ISF in the nation is legal. “We have come because we were asked. Our presence here is constitutional and legal based upon the trilateral accord between Australia, Timor-Leste and United Nations at the time of President Xanana Gusmão, President of National Parliament Lu-Olo, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and Minister of Foreign Affair José Ramos-Horta,” said Mr. Hutcheson on Monday (29/10) at Heliport, Dili when President José Ramos-Horta visited the ISF medical center. Furthermore, Mr. Hutcheson said, the presence of ISF is to establish peace in Timor-Leste while working with UNMIT, UNPol, PNTL and F-FDTL. (STL and TP)

Judge of Court of Appeal to investigate Longuinhos - The President of Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes delegated judges from the Court of Appeal to investigate the General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro in the case of the telephone recording in which Fretilin has accused Mr. Monteiro as being involved in the 2006 crisis. “The process of the case is going on as requested by the General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, who wants to be investigated by the Court of Appeal, not the National Parliament,” said Mr. Ximenes. Mr. Ximenes also said that based on the Rule of Law, the General Prosecutor should be investigated by a judge from the Court of Appeal or a judge from the Attorney General in such cases. (STL)

IMF-WB refutes having published corruption report about Timor-Leste - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) refuted that they reported on the percentage of corruption in Timor-Leste since the first Government existed. IMF and WB said this in relation to a statement by the Minister of Economy and Development, João Gonçalves, who said that Timor-Leste lost its opportunity to get assistance from Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) from the United States of America because Timor-Leste has been identified as having a high rate of corruption. The Resident Representative of IMF, Tobias Nybo Rasmussen, on Monday (29/10) said that IMF has no relation to the MCC and that the MCC is a project of United States (USA).  He said that IMF has never published a report on corruption about Timor-Leste. On the other hand, former Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said that actually this is not about corruption, but rather about the process and difficulties being faced by the US related to its presence in Iraq and the amount of money being spent on the war. (TP)

Fretilin accuses the Alliance: there is impunity for some organs - The Fretilin  members of National Parliament have accused other members from the Alliance of having impunity from what they say is their clear involvement in crimes. Fretilin said that until now the case of telephone recording about the conversation between the General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, former Parliamentarian Leandro Isaac and former Chief of Presidential Cabinet Hermenegildo Pereira, is only  focused on the one who recorded the conversation and not the people who held the conversation. “Actually we have to find out why the conversation was held. As representatives of the people we should not try defend each other from justice,” said MP from Fretilin Antoninho Bianco. Fernanda Borges, MP from National Unity Party (PUN) also said that there should be a competent institution to find out who distributed the recorded conversation and a thorough investigation of Longuinhos Monteiro who might not be involved in any political conversation as an independent person. (TP)

President Ramos-Horta asking for thorough investigation into the TNI action - President José Ramos-Horta has asked for further investigation into the shooting incident at the border by National Military of Indonesia (TNI) who shot a Timorese to death. The President will call upon the Ambassador of Indonesia in Timor-Leste to provide clarification on the case; he is also waiting for more information from UN, PNTL and Border Police Unit (BPU). “There was also an incident last year when our police shot to death an Indonesian citizen and then clarified it,” said the President. The President said that the situation has been calm with the collaboration between BPU, UNPol, ISF and TNI. (TP)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 26 October 2007

More UN support needed for the justice sector - The Fretilin parliamentarian, Domingos Sarmento has called upon the United Nations to provide more assistance to Timor-Leste in the area of justice sector reform. Speaking to the journalists on Thursday (25/10) in the national parliament, Mr. Sarmento said that the UN needs to give its support, especially in the area of training Timorese judges and prosecutors. “The current support is not sufficient, as illustrated by the large number of pending legal cases,” said Mr. Sarmento. (DN)

High level commission: no decision on Reinado  - According to the Prime Minister, the High Level Commission, appointed to solve the issue of the former military commander, Alfredo Reinado, has not made a decision. Speaking to journalists, the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said several meetings have been held, although none have focused on the political principles at the heart of the problem. However, he said a major milestone happened last weekend when President José Ramos-Horta met Reinado along with a dialogue expert Joaquim Fonseca. According to Prime Minister Gusmão, the government with other representatives will meet the Petitioners in November. (TP)

Xanana: the government and Alfredo has commitment to end the crisis - The Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão said there are positive signs after a meeting between the State Secretary of Security Jose Guterres, the dialogue expert Joaquim Fonseca and Alfredo Reinado and his men in Suai district and Gleno. Mr. Gusmão said that both Reinado and the Government have commitment to solve the problem promptly. “We discussed all things including solving the issue with respect to political and legal principles as contained within Timorese law and the Constitution,” Mr Gusmão said.

PNTL members will be rotated  - The Interim Commander of the PNTL, Afonso de Jesus has announced that all PNTL officers will be rotated to different locations across the country. He added that the rotations will commence once the construction of six new barracks is completed. “So far there are six barracks of PNTL in the six different districts; this constructions means more barracks in more districts to facilitate PNTL duties,” said Mr. de Jesus. He added that these barracks also will be used by new members of PNTL and will mean that police officers can live within their districts, closer to their families. (STL)

Solving IDPsproblem, PM Gusmão leads the intermediary commission - The Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão will lead a Special Commission to oversee the fund that will administer the IDP problem. The announcement follows a meeting of Ministries on Thursday that met to discuss the IDP problem and how to prioritise a response across all Government departments. The State Secretary for Council Ministry Affairs, Agio Pereira said that the Government is looking for solutions for IDPs and will take advice from the Technical Team comprised on national and international advisors. (STL and DN)

The national parliament to revise the electoral law - The Commission A of the National Parliament has received a plan from the electoral specialist organization, IFES and UNMIT and how to revise the electoral law. The President of Commission A, Fernanda Borges said that the Commission now has a plan for how to assist in the area of electoral law revision. (STL)

PM Xanana Gusmão: “Never say that the presence of ISF is illegal” - The Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that never say that the presence of International Security Forces (ISF) is illegal as it was based on the request of a sovereign government. The statement follows concerns raised by Fretilin about the legality of ISF presence. Mr Gusmão added that the document authorizing the presence of the ISF was signed by the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, the President of the National Parliament Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo and himself as the former president of the republic. (DN, TP and TVTL).
UNMIT Daily Media Review 25 October 2007

The Alliance government does not want to have IDPs in 2008 - The Alliance government has prioritized solving the IDP problem and wants to see a solution by 2008. “I would say that in 2008 the IDP will be in a better place than where they are now as they will be home where they belong,” said the Minister of Finance, Emilia Pires at the Government Palace on Wednesday (24/10). Ms. Pires stated that there will need to be long and short term solutions to get the IDPs to leave their camps. (STL)

Jose Luis: preparing F-FDTL to participate in UN mission - The Vice Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres said that the Alliance government is beginning to prepare the Falintil Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) to take part in the United Nations mission if needed. “Our PNTL participated in UN Mission, so it needs to prepare our military forces F-FDTL to do the same to give stability and peace to other nations that may need the presence of a UN peacekeeping force,” said Mr. Guterres on Wednesday (24/10) on UN Day in Memorial Hall, Dili. On the same occasion, the President of National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araujo said that many Timorese people are involved in UN missions around the world. The participation could further enhance the development of Timor-Leste in the future. STL)

ISF apologizes for taking sand from a protected area - The case of some members of the International Security Forces (ISF) taking sand from a protected zone of Area Branca (White Sands) has been acknowledged by the ISF. “The ISF stated that the sand was used in their knapsacks and that there was no intention to destroy the environment of Timor-Leste,” as stated by ISF Press Communiqué signed by Lieutenant Col. Rob Barnes on Wednesday (24/10).  (STL) (TP)

Longuinhos to give annual report to the national parliament - The National Parliament will soon invite the Prosecutor-General, Longuinhos Monteiro, to give his annual report to the parliament. This will include details and clarification about any alleged cases relating to the nation’s security and how the judicial system may or may not have interfered. (TP)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 24 October 2007

Nuno Anaia’s testimony: PNTL disarmament had accord with Taur Matan Ruak - UNPol officer, Nuno Pasqual Anaia testified in the Dili District Court on Tuesday (23/10) that there was an accord between the Commander of the F-FDTL, Taur Matan Ruak, and UN Commander Reis and David Mann to disarm the PNTL officers. “I know that Commander Reis made an accord Commander Taur Matan Ruak at the F-FDTL Headquarters to disarm the PNTL before walking to Obrigado Barracks. The information was provided through radio by Reis,” testified Anaia. However, Commander Taur Matan Ruak told the Court on Tuesday (16/10) that he never made any accord with the UN Commander to disarm the PNTL. “The UN representative explained to me that PNTL would  surrender and wanted to evacuate to Obrigado Barracks. I replied that we didn’t need any more shootings or to attack F-FDTL headquarters. We ommanded the F-FDTL to stop shooting, and it stopped,” said Taur Matan Ruak. (STL and DN)

National Parliament recommends investigating Longuinhos - The National Parliament has recommended that the General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro be investigated in relation to an alleged political conversation with the former national parliament member Leandro Isaac. MPs from CNRT, Fretilin and the Democratic Party (PD) agreed that the conversation impacts upon Longuinhos’ judicial indepdence. “We need to pay attention to this case as Mr Longuinhos may or may not have had the conversation so we need to investigate,” said Cecilio Caminha from the CNRT.  “We feel sad that this issue is now before the National Parliament. We ask the Court to investigate the case thoroughly,” said Arsenio Bano from Fretilin. However Aderito Hugo a CNRT parliamentarian said that there is not strong enough evidence to investigate Mr Longuinhos. (TP)

Duet Salsinha-Alfredo will never solve the petitioners’ case - On Tuesday (23/10) Major Tara, an officer of the F-FDTL said that as long as Salsinha is still together with Alfredo Reinado, the problem of the Petitioners will not be resolved. “According to my point of view, Mr. Salsinha together with Alfredo Reinado will prolong the time needed to solve the case of 600 or more Petitioners,” said Major Tara. Major Tara also said that when President José Ramos-Horta was sworn in he stated that the problem  of  Salsinha, the Petitioners and Alfredo Reinado is different. He said that while Alfredo’s case should be solved through justice, that of the Petititioners should be solved through dialogue. (STL)
UN staff member testifies before Court in Timor-Leste for release on 23 October, 2007 - Today, the United Nations police officer, Nuno Anaia, will testify at the Dili District Court trial in the case of the shooting deaths of eight PNTL officers on the 25 May 2006.

The testimony has been made possible because the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, at the recommendation of his Special Representative for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, has waived the immunity that Mr Anaia enjoys as a staff member of the United Nations.

Mr Anaia was originally requested to testify before the Court on Tuesday of last week but his testimony was delayed due to the time needed for his immunity to be waived. In accordance with UN Conventions, the Secretary-General is the only person who is able to waive the immunity of UN personnel. The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) remains committed to strengthening the rule of law in Timor-Leste. The granting of the waiver of immunity, which allows the testimony, is yet another expression of this commitment.

"Effective and quick follow-up of all recommendations of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry report is essential to deal with the causes and consequences of the crisis of last year," Mr Khare said.
STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT BY FRETILIN MEMBERS ARSENIO BANO, CIPRIANA PEREIRA AND OSORIO FLORINDO - (Dili, 23rd of October 2007) Good Morning Mr. President and Distinguished Members one and all. We the following members undersigned wish to raise the following in relation to two issues:

A. With regard to the statements by the President of the Republic is response to FRETILIN statement to the parliament more than one week ago in relation to the call for the dismissal of the Prosecutor General of the Republic, Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro.

We are extremely concerned with His Excellency the President of the Republic, Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta's response to the Statement in the parliament by FRETILIN last week calling on the dismissal of Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro, Prosecutor General of the Republic. We believe that the National Parliament is obligated to continue to scrutinize this case, because we all want to ensure that justice moves along in our country with neutrality and free of political interference. We also accept the calls to initiate an investigation into the telephone recording which has been circulating in public and which the FRETILIN parliamentary group itself was also able to obtain a copy. It is not necessary to drag this issue of whether to investigate or not the circumstances of the making of the recording, and we want to make it clear that we support first of all an investigation of Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro, Leandro Isaac and Herminigildo Pereira as to which one of the three himself recorded the conversation and who initiated its distribution to the public, and to ascertain the extent of the involvement of Mr. Herminigildo Pereira and the former President of the Republic in this recording.

We also believe that the substance of this recording is extremely important and we express our disappointment that the President of the Republic has not given due importance to the substance of the recording of the conversation which is an issue being closely followed by the public itself. We believe that the moving forward of this issue should not be left with the Prosecutor General who is responsible for investigating criminal cases but who instead undertakes investigative services in the political interests of politicians as has been shown in the recorded conversation. It is because of this that the statement by the FRETILIN parliamentary group last week calling for the removal of Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro as Prosecutor General of the Republic remains valid. We ask that this parliament to second our urgings to the President of the Republic to dismiss Longuinhos Monteiro as Prosecutor General of the Republic in order to restore the credibility of the work of the Prosecutor General in our country.

B. Following we want to raise the case of Major Alfredo Reinado.

Mr. President and distinguished Members,

We all and the Timor-Leste people have constantly heard of the dialogue which this de facto government is engaging in with Major Alfredo Reinado in order to seek a just solution.

We hear that in the coming days the dialogue is going to occur, but until now we still do not know what options the de facto government will take with them to the dialogue with Major Alfredo. We want to ask the government whether it is seriously looking to resolve the case of Major Alfredo or not?

We know that some cases have been subjected to the justice process, some are still proceeding, such as the case of Abilio Mesquita who right now is serving his prison sentence for the attack on the home of Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak last year, as well as Rogerio Lobato for distributing arms. Railos is undergoing the justice process, some members of the F-FDTL who are undergoing the justice process for allegations of shooting police officers on 25 May 2006.

We want to ask the government to tell us whether in the eyes of Justice Major Alfredo's case differs from the other above mentioned cases or not?

We do not disagree with the dialogue which is about to commence with Major Alfredo and although not having heard what the government's position is regarding this issue, we want to put forward the following options to seek solutions to be used during the dialogue which the government is about to initiate with Major Alfredo so as that in future impunity is established as the practice for this illegal government;

1. Appoint Major Alfredo Minister for Defence and Security
2. Appoint Major Alfredo as Defence Attaché for some Timor-Leste embassy overseas
3. Appoint Major Alfredo as ambassador to Australia, Indonesia or Portugal
4. Appoint Major Alfredo as Ermera District Administrator
5. Appoint Major Alfredo as commander of PNTL (Timor-Leste National Police) Baucau District
6. Perhaps seek that Major Alfredo pays for his wrongs in the assault at Fato Ahi on 23 May 2007 or other wrongs with forced labour at Weberek for 15 years
7. Cantonement for him but with a free movement pass for his whole life as Railos was able to obtain from the former President of the Republic and former PNTL Commander
8. Ask other countries such as Australia, Portugal and Indonesia to give Major Alfredo political exile
9. Grant him an amnesty to give him full freedom
10. Ask other countries to give him a scholarship to study overseas for five years
11. The last option is to make Major Alfredo respond for his actions through justice, law and order as applies in our country, in the Dili District Court, as others such as Abilio Mesquita, Rogerio Lobato, the Members of the F-FDTL and Railos are through court proceedings in the Dili District Court.

Finally we also ask the President of the National Parliament to communicate our recommendations to the de facto government and the President of the Republic who are holding ongoing dialogue with Major Alfredo Reinado.

We await that Major Alfredo Reinado is able to obtain our recommendations of the options to seek a just solution for his case. We await that whatever solution is reached to resolve his case does not create impunity from justice in our country.

Thank you Mr. President.

We the undersigned make this statement;
Arsenio Bano
Cipriana Pereira
Osorio Florindo
Alola Foundation 22 Oct 2007 District Women Participate in training on Domestic Violence and Gender - Three day workshops in six districts. The District Support Worker team are flat chat between now and Christmas as they roll out training in response to requests made by women in the Districts. When our team visited all six districts in August and September the message was loud and clear - we need more information and resources about domestic violence, leadership, gender issues and group management and finance skills. So, in collaboration with Oxfam Australia and Pradet*, Alola is providing six, three day workshops in Ermera, Liquica, Manatuto, Baucau, Lospalos and Viqueque.

11 - 13 October 2007 Gleno, Ermera District

The first workshop was held in Ermera District in the town of Gleno and 30 women participated representing three groups from remote and local sub-districts of Ermera. Two police women from the Vulnerable Person's Unit (VPU) also participated in the workshop. Their contribution was most valuable. The opening of the workshop was covered by both community radio and Radio Timor-Leste.

Domestic Violence - Women in Timor-Leste remain vulnerable

Many of the women reported cases of domestic and sexual violence (or Gender Based Violence, 'GBV') in their communities and also raised concerns about sexual violence against young children. One woman reported that a young child had been attacked in March 2007 but had not received any followup support or intervention since then. Aware of this case, the VPU officers said that like many other GBV reports, cases can wait many months before the Prosecutor General gives the go ahead for an investigation to be carried out. By that stage it is difficult to collect evidence and bring a comprehensive case before the courts to prosecute the suspect.

The VPU police women also talked about the difficulties they face. Currently on very low salaries, they struggle to make ends meet but they often have to pay for fuel or telephone credit out of their own pocket. Prepared to be called out 24 hours a day, these women often go hungry on the long trips to Dili to court, or to investigate a case in remote areas as they cannot afford to buy meals along the way. Without access to a camera and other specialist investigative equipment, it is very difficult to collect evidence.

Too often, communities resort to the traditional justice because the criminal justice system is just too hard and too slow to negotiate. Traditional justice usually means negotiating some kind of compensation for the family of the child or woman who has been attacked. Invariably, that means the father, uncle or older brother receives compensation while the survivor of the attack receives nothing.

The first step is for women to know their rights and to support each other to exercise those rights. The introductory workshop helps women to understand their rights, explore gender issues, learn about support services and networks and to establish groups that will help strengthen their voice in the community and promote economic independence.

*Pradet provides mental health services and survivors of sexual assault.

Gender Awareness and Economic Independence

The following sessions helped women explore the relationship between leadership, advocacy, gender, culture and economic independence. But it wasn't all serious hard work!

We discussed the cultural practices that descriminate against women like the bride price. In areas where the bride price is high domestic violence rates are high too. The wise woman below suggested reducing the bride price to a much smaller symbolic amount. That way, the cultural tradition is protected but so are the rights of women.
UNMIT Daily Media Review - 19 October 2007

Timor Telecom is defending itself - The recording of the phone call is false: Timor Telecom Company (TT) reacted strongly to the recording of the conversation between the Prosecutor General, former Parliament member Liandro Izack and former Chief of Cabinet, Mr. Hermengildo Pereira. They rejected the issue, saying that TT does not have the kind of equipment needed to record phone calls. They added that if anyone has the evidence to the contrary it should be presented to the court.   (TP)

Massacre on 25 may 2006: the witnesses don't know who fired first - Three F-FDTL members, named Joao da Silva, Olderico da Silva, and Sabino dos Santos, who are the witnesses to the killing of eight PNTL members in front of Ministry of Justice office, gave their statement during the trial yesterday, 18 October. They all stated that no-one knows who first fired shots.

Horta authorizes foreigners to visit Atauro with a travel permit - The President of Republic Ramos Horta has authorized fishermen and Indonesian businessmen who work near the border to be able to come and do their business in Atauro with only a travel permit (TP)

National Parliament makes false accusation against Timor Telecom - The executive chief of Timor Telecom, Jose Berdao de Souza stated that MPs made false accusations against his company, because Timor Telecom doesn't have the equipment to record clients' conversations. (STL)

The Youth from Kintal Boot threatening to take the ISF to Court - Youth from Kintal Boot are threatening to take ISF to court if it does not present strong evidence in its defence regarding the alleged "torture" of victim Abilio Fatima (STL)

The Victim from Kintal Boot rejects the statement of the ISF - The community of Kintal Boot rejected the statement of the ISF in which they deny that they beat the two victims, Abilio and Januario. (DN)
Defence Dept denies Timor beating claim ABC News  Thu Oct 18, 2007 - The Australian Defence Department has rejected allegations that six Australian soldiers beat a civilian Timorese security guard in Dili last Sunday. A Fretilin party MP reportedly told East Timor's Parliament that the guard was beaten by the soldiers at a government warehouse. The MP also said two other people were assaulted by the Australian troops. Defence spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic says Australian soldiers did intervene in a fight between two of the men. "The patrol approached the men to stop them fighting and one of those men started to abuse the ISF [International Security Force] soldiers," he said. "There was a scuffle between the men trying to get to the ISF soldiers but at no time did the ISF soldiers touch the men or indeed at no stage did they assault anyone, and after the men left the ISF continued on its patrol. "Now we are obviously extremely disappointed that these allegations have been made. "I can tell you the allegations are totally false and misleading and we reject them.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 18 October 2007

Alkatiri: Xanana Did Conspiracy to Tackle Down Fretilin Government - The Fretilin Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri has alleged the former President of the Republic Xanana Gusmão  was actively involved in a political conspiracy to depose the Fretilin Government in 2006. “The conspiracy also involes the former Chief of the Presidential Office who was recorded in a  Timor Telecom conversation. Don’t hide your involvement and don’t accuse others,” said Mr. Mari Alkatiri. (STL)

Fretilin has Defamed Longuinhos - The Prosecutor General of the  Republic, Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro has stated that although Fretilin has defamed him, he will not take political action but he may take legal action. “Fretilin’s public statements about my involvement in a phone conversation are defamatory. I have a right to reclaim my good name through legal procedures.” said Mr. Longuinhos. (STL)

UNPOL Officer Not Allowed to Testify in Court - The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste will not allow a former UNPOL officers testify as a witness in case before the Dili District Court in relation to the events of  25 May 2006. “The absence of UNPOL officers as key witnesses in court could hinder the judicial process for this serious case. It means that the UN has showed no political will to comply with recommendation sof Independent Special Commission of Inquiry published on October 2006,” said Timotio De Deus, Director of Judicial System Monitoring Programme. (STL)

International Security Forces Reject Fretilin Allegation - ISF has rejected a statement from the Fretilin Party accusing the ISF of hitting and torturing two people in Dili on  Sunday night. ISF Commander, Mr. John Hutcheson, asked for local media to confirm first with ISF before publicising such claims. He said the accusation is not true and that the ISF presence in East Timor is to secure East Timorese people to allow them to resolve problems and differences. (STL)

Alkatiri Believes Xanana behind the tapping of phone conversation - The Secretary General of the Fretilin Party, Mari Alkatiri has stated that he believes the former President,  Xanana Gusmão, was behind the phone tapping of a conversation between the Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro and the former member of parliament Leandro Isac and  government staffer, Agio Pereira. “I believe that through Agio Pereira, who was part of the conversation, Xanana will have to face justice. As a President, he has always the knowledge of everything that Agio does”, Said Alkatiri. (TP)

Horta Ready to Have the Debate about the Presence of ISF - The President José Ramos Horta, is ready to have debate on the presence of International Security Forces in the country. “I am ready to go to the Parliament because the presence of the ISF should be with the consent of the Parliament.” said the President on Wednesday. (TP)

UNPOL Presence Gives Difficulty for PNTL’s Action - Timor Leste National Police (PNTL) is concerned about UNPol , which at times is complicating their policing tasks. “It is very difficult because everything is under an Agreement that states we need to go through a screening process and then continue work within a mentoring process. This creates difficulties within our jobs,” said Inspector Afonso de Jesus at his office yesterday. (TP)

Giving subsidy for the Petitioners according to the policy of old government - The Government’s plan pay a pension to the Petitioners will be administered by the Ministry of Social Solidarity, but will be paid according to old government policy. “We would like to pay the subsidy according to the old government policy. But we would also like to say that there is no change in the total amount of the subsidy,” said the Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Alves. (TP)

Too Early for the ISF  to leave - The President of the Republic, José Ramos-Horta, said there is no hurry to ask the ISF to return home because their presence is still needed until the reformation of the security sector. He also added that if the Fretilin party would like ISF to go, then they should argue this in the parliament because the parliament is the only entity able to legalise it. (DN)

No Law to Prohibit Prosecutor General’s Private conversations - The Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro, said Fretilin is engaging in cheap propaganda because there is no law against private phone conversations. “I see that the publication which is done by the FRETILIN leaders serves as a defamation for my credibility and to have concern on my private life which protected by the constitution”. (DN)

National Parliament Should Ratify ISF Mandate - The Chief of the ASDT Party in the National Parliament, Mr. Jose Manuel Carascalao stated that National Parliament should ratify the ISF mandate in order to give it legal force. “The ASDT is ready to support the presence of the  ISF in East Timor,” said Mr. Jose Manuel Carascalao. (DN)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 17 October 2007

Horta: If Timor Telecom Involved, It’s Serious Issue - The President José Mr. Ramos-Horta has stated that if Timor Telecom has been involved in tapping phone conversations, it is a serious matter.  “It is a serious issue if Timor Telecom had involved directly in recording conversation between the Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro, the former Member of National Parliament, Leandro Izaac and the former Chief of Xanana Gusmão’s Presidential Cabinet, Mr. Hermengildo Pereira.” (STL)

Fretilin: Send the International Security Forces (ISF) Home - The Fretilin Party bench in National Parliament has called for the ISF to leave Timor-Leste so as to stop the torture and violence against the East Timorese people. Fretilin also stated that the ISF has interfered in the internal politics of East Timor. Fretilin also considered that the ISF does not respect East Timor’s sovereignty and that they are illegally staying in East Timor. (STL)

International Security Forces Still Needed - Mr. Aderito Hugo, a member of the National Parliament, has opposed the Fretilin Party’s request to send the ISF home. “East Timor still has hidden agitators. They could be a member of government or from a parliamentary party. We declare that the security situation is back to normal; however people living in Dili still feel unrest. Dili is still under the control of hidden agitators. We mustn’t lie to ourselves, we still need International Stabilisation Forces,” said Mr. Aderito Hugo. (STL)

Taur Matan Ruak Ordered Lere Anan Timor for Self Defence - The F-FDTL General Commander, Taur Matan Ruak, has told Court for 2 that he ordered Colonel Lere Anan Timur to ambush the PNTL Headquarters in self defence so they could exit the F-FDTL Headquarter in Caicoli, Dili. The General Commander was giving his testimony in the case regarding the crisis on May 25, 2006. ( STL)

IDPs Concerned About Security Issue - The Minister for Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Alves said that internally displaced people refuse to go home due to security situation. IDPs are asking the Government to resolve the issues related to Alfredo Reinado, the Petitioners, martial arts groups and the Fretilin party flag hanging in IDP camps. (TP)

National Parliament Received the Formal Request from Court - The President of  the National Parliament, Mr. Fernando Lasama has declared he has received a formal Court request for the former PNTL Commander Paulo Martins to testify in front of court. “We received the formal letter days ago and we need to look at it and discuss in the plenary,” said the Chief of National Parliament. (TP)
Aussie soldiers accused of beating civilian guard Jane Bunce AAP October 18, 2007 01:28am - Allegations that six Australian soldiers beat a civilian Timorese security guard are baseless and false, the Defence Department says. Fretilin, an East Timorese political party that lost power earlier this year, today in the country's Parliament recounted the allegations of the beating that supposedly occurred last Sunday, October 14.

Fretilin MP Antoninho Bianco cited claims made by security guard Abilio Fatima, 41, that two ADF vehicles containing about 12 soldiers pulled up about 10.30pm at a Government warehouse in the Dili suburb of Kintal Bot.

Six soldiers got out and ordered Fatima and the neighbours he was speaking with to go inside, according to the allegations.

Fatima explained through the soldiers' interpreter that he was on duty and should stay at his post. He claimed he was attacked after he asked why the soldiers were concerned with ordinary citizens instead of fugitive rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado, who deserted the East Timorese military amid political unrest in 2006. "Mr Fatima alleged that after he mentioned Reinado he was immediately struck with rifle butts many times in the head, upper arms and back, and then bitten on the right upper arm by a soldier's guard dog," Fretilin said. "Two of his neighbours were also assaulted and fled to their homes, but Mr Fatima stayed at his post. "Next morning, Mr Fatima made a complaint to Fretilin MPs at Parliament House, and then went to the National Hospital for treatment, before going to the Dili Police Headquarters to register his complaint."

A defence spokesperson said the claims were not true. She said the commander of the Joint Task Force 631 in Timor, Brigadier John Hutcheson, had spoken to the local media to refute the allegations. "(He) has stepped out today to fully refute the claims," she said. "The allegations ... are completely baseless and false."

Fretilin used the allegations to call in Parliament today for a review of Australia's military presence. It claimed the incident was "one of a string of incidents of ADF maltreatment of civilians". According to Fretilin, the President of the Parliament, Fernando Lasama Araujo, referred the matter to a parliamentary committee.

Fretilin MP Estanislau da Silva said the time had come to re-evaluate the presence of Australian soldiers, to make sure a sentiment of hostility that was building against the defence force did not "manifest itself in negative ways". "We have to act to prevent this from occurring, as we have had a history of this occurring with occupying armies in the past," Mr da Silva said.
FRETILIN questions Australian military presence after civilian bashing complaint  FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE FRETILIN Media release October 17, 2007 - Reports that a Timorese security guard was severely beaten by six Australian soldiers opened up a parliamentary debate yesterday about the legal status, role, command structure and duration of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) presence in Timor Leste.

FRETILIN MP Antoninho Bianco presented parliament with a complaint by Mr Abilio Fatima, 41, who is employed by Maubere Security to protect the warehouse of the Ministry of Social Security in the Dili suburb of Kintal Bot.

In a complaint to the police, Mr Fatima alleged that at 10.30pm last Sunday, October 14, he was on duty, talking to some neighbours, when two ADF vehicles arrived, with about 12 soldiers, six of whom alighted and ordered Mr Fatima and the neighbours to disperse and go indoors.

Mr Fatima explained through a Tetum language interpreter attached to the soldiers that he was on duty, that regular police patrols never ordered him to leave his post, and asked why the soldiers were so concerned with ordinary civilians like him instead of with cases like Alfredo Reinado, the rebel soldier, and his armed group.

Mr Fatima alleged that after he mentioned Reinado he was immediately struck with rifle butts many times in the head, upper arms and back, and then bitten on the right upper arm by a soldiers’ guard dog. Two of his neighbours were also assaulted and fled to their homes, but Mr Fatima stayed at his post.

Next morning, Mr Fatima made a complaint to Fretilin MPs at Parliament House, and then went to the National Hospital for treatment, before going to the Dili Police Headquarters to register his complaint.

Many MPs including from the non-FRETILIN side of parliament supported a call for a full and thorough investigation into this incident as one of a string of incidents of ADF maltreatment of civilians.

The President of the Parliament, Fernando Lasama Araujo MP (Democratic Party), directed that the matter be referred to parliamentary Committee A (Constitution, Rights and Justice) so that the Secretaries of State for Defence and Security respectively could be requested to come to the parliament and respond to these issues raised regarding the ADF conduct.

FRETILIN MP Estanislau da Silva said the time had come to re-evaluate the presence of the ADF, to determine how many, for what purpose and for how long they should remain in Timor-Leste. He stressed that there was a sentiment of hostility building up because of some of the actions of the ADF and that the parliament should be careful that this sentiment did not become overwhelming and manifest itself in negative ways. “We have to act to prevent this from occurring, as we have had a history of this occurring with occupying armies in the past,” said Mr Da Silva.

These views were supported by CNRT MP Cecilio Caminha who called for transparency in dealing with cases of abuse of power by the ADF. FRETILIN MP Jose Teixeira called for the Australian military force to come under the UN command, to make it more accountable.

FRETILIN MP Francisco Branco argued that even if the presence of the ADF in Timor-Leste was ultimately ratified by the National Parliament, the officers who ordered operations, such as when ADF troops shot dead Timorese at the Dili Airport IDP Camp or in the attack on the Alfredo group in Same, should be investigated for the legality of their actions.

For further comment: Jose Teixeira MP +670 728 7080
Fretilin calls on Ramos Horta to sack prosecutor general Media release 16 October 2007 - Timor-Leste’s biggest political party FRETILIN has called on President Jose Ramos Horta to dismiss the Prosecutor General Mr Longuinhos Monteiro following new evidence that he conspired to bring down the former FRETILIN government.

The national parliament yesterday listened to a tape recording of a mobile telephone conversation between Monteiro and two anti-FRETILIN political figures. The recording was obtained by Dili newspaper Jornal Tempo Semanal which published the transcript on October 1.

Heard speaking with Monteiro were former member of parliament Mr Leandro Isaac, a close ally of army rebel Alfredo Reinado, and Mr Herminigildo Pereria, the former chief of staff to then president Xanana Gusmao who is now prime minister. Herminigildo Pereria is now Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers in the Gusmao government.

The United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry in October last year reported that Leandro Isaac –armed with a Steyr rifle – was present during an attack on the home of army commander Brigadier General Ruak on May 24 2006 and recommended the Prosecutor General investigate ‘whether Leandro Isaac had any culpable involvement in the crimes committed.’ (Page 49)

“Prosecutor General Monteiro ignored the UN recommendation to investigate Leandro Isaac, and now we understand why,” FRETILIN parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres said today.

Guterres told parliament yesterday the intercepted phone conversation revealed Monteiro, who was appointed by former president Gusmao, had “extremely close ties to politicians involved with the 2006 crisis aimed at bringing down the FRETILIN government and creating instability which resulted in almost 150,000 Timorese becoming internally displaced and nearly 6,000 homes destroyed, as well as deaths and injuries.”

“Mr Longuinhos Monteiro no longer has the requisite trust to continue to perform the functions of the prosecutor general with independence, in accordance with the law and without political interference,” Guterres said.

He told parliament President Ramos Horta must remove Monteiro and initiate an investigation into his role during the 2006 crisis.

He said the involvement of Herminigildo Pereria in the conversation “shows everyone that another institution of state sovereignty –the Presidency of the Republic through his Chief of Staff  – was involved with groups who took action to bring down the FRETILIN government.”

Guterres told parliament that following publication of the transcript of the phone conversation, Prosecutor General Monteiro had abused his power and position by threatening the journalist who wrote the story and also threatening to initiate an investigation into a non-government organization which accused Monteiro of corruption.

Guterres said Monteiro had taken no action on a formal complaint by FRETILIN of unlawful use of its party symbols during the recent parliamentary election.

“This case had grave consequences and prejudice for FRETILIN during the election campaign and created confusion amongst the voters.  But until this day, (our complaint) has not moved forward at all.  Is it because the case involved a complaint by FRETILIN, whom the Prosecutor General has been conspiring from the beginning to bring down?”

Contact: Fretilin spokesman Harold Moucho in Dili +670 725 2016 For transcript of intercepted phone conversation contact Peter Murphy in Sydney 0418 312 301
UNMIT Daily Media Review 16 October 2007

No Impunity for Mari Alkatiri if Involved in Crime - The Chief of Commission A for the National Parliament, Ms. Fernanda Borges has stated that if the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is named within the hearing for Vicente da Conceicao, alias Railos, then Mr Alkatiri should respond. “The impunity afforded to members of the National Parliament is invalid for personal criminal actions,” said Ms. Borges. (TP)

Fretilin Requests President of Republic to Discharge Longuinhos Monteiro - The Fretilin Party bench in National Parliament had officially requested the President of the Republic to discharge the Prosecutor General, Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro due to his alleged abuse of power in relation to last year’s crisis. “Based on a telephone transcript, the Fretilin Party condemns him without impartiality,” said the Fretilin Party spokesperson. (TP)

Xanana Should Have Conviction to Resolve Reinado Case - The Social Democrat Party’s parliamentary member, Mr. Mario Carascalao, said that President Xanana Gusmão should demonstrate his conviction to solve the Reinado issue to the public. (TP)

The PNTL Ready to Secure Government Sites if F-FDTL Return to Headquarters - The PNTL will secure the government sites if F-FDTL withdrew and returned to their headquarters. “The PNTL is still in process of screening and under UNPOL supervision therefore PNTL could not decide it alone. PNTL will coordinate with UNPOL,” said Mr. Afonso de Jesus, the PNTL Interim Commander. (TP)

President of Republic Sworn In State Counsellor Members - President of Republic, José Ramos Horta has sworn in 12 State Counsellor members, whom will defend the nation’s interests. “State Counsellor members will decide and make collective decisions to resolve the nation’s problems,” said the Chief of National Parliament. Mr. Fernando “Lasama” is one of the members. (TP)

Taur Matan Ruak Testifies In Court - The lawyer for both the F-FDTL General Commander, Taur Matan Ruak and Colonel Lere Anan Timor should have the opportunity to testify in court on 25 May 2006 case. “The Court had heard witnesses from the PNTL side and the families of those who died at the the entrance of the Ministry of Justice. The Court also needs to hear from Taur Matan Ruak, Lere Anan Timor and Maukalo”, said Arlindo Dias Sanches, the lawyer for F-FDTL officers. (DN)

Civil Society Asks for the Truth and Friendship Commission to be Dissolved - Civil society in Timor-Leste has asked for the Indonesian and East-Timorese Presidents to dissolve the Truth and Friendship Commission. Civil Society representative, Mr. Francisco Vasconcelhos, declared that National Parliament has not ratified the Commission’s budget for the 2008 to 2012 period. He said that the Commission’s does not meet the needs of victims in relation to justice for crimes against humanity. He said the Government is spending money only for political interest and to spread the impunity virus. (DN)
Timor president swears in state council From correspondents in Dili October 15, 2007 06:37pm Agence France-Presse - EAST Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta has sworn in the country's State Council, saying the advisory body faced the challenge of restoring stability to the young nation.

Speaking in Portuguese, one of the country's two official languages, Ramos-Horta said there were "many priorities which will soon have to be on the agenda of the state advisors.'' "We need to restore stability and guarantee security and peace,'' he told the council, which provides advice to the President when asked, and has the constitutional authority to announce the dissolution of the parliament or government and declare war.

Its 12 members include Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, House Speaker Fernando de Araujo, former health minister Rui Araujo, and former house speaker Fransisco Xavier do Amaral. Five members of the council are directly chosen by the President.

"Looking to the future, this council will work to advise the president when needed and will accord its attention... and make use of its competence to guarantee stability for Timor Leste,'' Mr Araujo said after the ceremony.

One member of the council, Merita de Jesus-Marques, did not attend the ceremony. No reason was given for her absence.
JSMP: Press Coverage and Witness Protection 11 October 2007 - Courtroom proceedings in the case of the May 2006 shooting of PNTL (National Police of East Timor) officers continued on Wednesday, 9 October 2007. As in previous sessions, Wednesday’s hearing at the Dili District Court was presided over by Chief Judge Ivo Rosa, accompanied by Assistant Judge Vitor Hugo Perdal and Assistant Judge Antoninho Goncalves. Many persons claiming to have been victims of the alleged criminal actions of the F-FDTL (East Timor Defence Force) on 25 May 2006 attended court at this time.

Six witnesses were called in the morning session, namely: Dinis Goncalves, Evaristo Lopes, Oliberto da Costa Marcal, Dan Rogerio, Inocencio da Costa Maria Freitas and Benjamin do Carmo Corte-Real. In the afternoon, a further four witnesses were heard, namely: Nelson Jose Maria E. S. Maia, Francisco Barros Gosmão, Geronimo Hei de Jesus Cristovão and Romana da Costa.

Prior to commencing proceedings, the Presiding Judge asked all of the witnesses whether they were apprehensive or had reservations about giving evidence. All of the witnesses said they held no such fears and were there just to tell the truth.

It was then explained that this case was open to the public and that there were journalists from TVTL and several national newspapers in attendance. When witnesses were asked whether they had any objection if the journalists took their photographs while they were giving evidence, all of them responded that they did not want to be photographed for reasons that were unclear.

Even though it is not clearly detailed in the Criminal Code or Criminal Procedure Code, it is understood that a witness has the right, administered by the Presiding Judge, to refuse journalists permission to take their photograph while they are participating in a trial. JSMP respects the right of witnesses to avail themselves of legal measures in protecting themselves and their families where necessary, and also supports legislative measures to ensure better security for those testifying.

The important role of journalists in providing accurate information to the community about court proceedings is, however, also noted. Accordingly, JSMP calls on the National Parliament to urgently discuss a Media Law that would promote an even more active and responsible media, and also to seek regulation of the practice of journalism through a Code of Ethics that would hold reporters to a high standard and provide firm guidelines for appropriate trial coverage.

For further information, please contact: Roberto da Costa Pacheco Coordinator, Legal Research Unit, JSMP Email: bebeto@jsmp.minihub.org Or contact: Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Email: timotio@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883
UNMIT's Daily Media Reivew 11 October 2007

Taur Matan Ruak Believes Situation Back to Normal - The F-FDTL Brigadier-General, Taur Matan Ruak said that the security situation in the country is returning to normal. He said that this is due to continued collaboration between all entitled including the government, UNMIT and the ISF. “The situation in eastern part is back to normal and due to this, the F-FDTL will be withdrawn and return to headquarters,” said the General. (DN)

“Jardim” Refugees Demand National Parliament - Ten representatives of the Internal Displaced Persons camp located in Jardim-Colmera-Dili have demanded the Government speed up solving the problems that are preventing them from returning home.  “Refugees are demanding that they want to leave the camps very soon,” said Fernanda Borges, member of Commission C. (STL)

Paulo Martins Ready to Be Witness for the  PNTL Massacre - Former PNTL Commander, Paulo de Fatima Martins, now as member of National Parliament said that he is ready to be witness in court regarding 25 May 2006 case. Mr Martins has been formally requested by the Court to be a witness. (TP)
VOA: More Than 100,000 Timorese Remain in Refugee Camps Voice of America By Marianne Kearney Dili 11 October 2007 - Almost 18 months after violence erupted in East Timor, more than 100,000 people are still living in camps or with relatives. As Marianne Kearney reports from the capital, Dili, only four houses have been built for those who fled the mayhem of early 2006.

At a camp behind the Lucidere Monastery in Dili, more than 50 families are crowded into what was once the monastery's garden.

Maria da Costa, a 23-year-old, has been living in a small tent with eight family members for a year and a half. Despite the cramped conditions, she says she cannot return to her home in Dili's northern suburbs.

"We can't return because we are still afraid, and we don't have a house: it was burned," she said.

Around a 150,000 people fled their homes in April and May of last year during street unrest that left at least 37 people dead.

Rival military and police factions waged battles against each other, and then youths began fighting in the streets. Since then, hundreds of international peacekeepers have patrolled Dili's streets alongside the Timorese police.

A government department has been trying to return refugees to their homes. But so far, the government and an aid agency have only managed to rebuild four of the 6,000 houses that were damaged or destroyed in last year's crisis.

Most of the refugees are from Timor's east. They say gang attacks on easterners were sparked by Army Major Alfredo Reinado, who claimed there was bias against westerners in the military.

Aderito da Sperada, a refugee, says even if his house had not been destroyed, it would not be safe for him to return.

Reinado escaped from prison last year, and fought off Australian peacekeepers attempting to arrest him. He and others responsible for the violence remain at large, and da Sperada wants the government to provide protection from them.

"We came here because of Reinado and Salsinha, who turned us into refugees," he said. "All us refugees in Dili want to return home, so we ask the government to guarantee the security and peace, so we can return to our houses and live normally, like we did before."

Armandio Freitas of the government's Mutual Acceptance Secretariat says it is not that easy. For one thing, there are 70,000 internally displaced people, or IDP's, in Dili alone, and an estimated 100,000 outside Dili trying to get into the capital.

"Basically right now, in Dili, each month, we are feeding 70,000 of IDP's," he said. "And … it's very hard for us to maintain the number, from one month to another month, because almost each month the number increases."

A second problem is that home ownership is not clear-cut. Disputes have arisen because many families moved to Dili and occupied vacant homes after thousands were killed in two major episodes of violence.

The first was in 1975, when Portugal gave East Timor its independence and Indonesia invaded the territory. The second came in 1999, when the Indonesian military and local militias fought to keep people from voting for independence from Indonesia.

Now many of the original owners have returned to Dili to claim their land.

Alfredo Zamudio with the Norwegian Refugee Council says it is essential for the displaced to gain community approval for their return, or they could spark more conflict. He says the only way to do this is negotiate with local communities in what he calls dialogue sessions. "You have 6,000 destroyed houses, so you need 6,000 sessions of dialogue for the return," he  said. "For the return you need to solve two things: you need to solve dialogue and you need to solve the land property thing. That will take time."

Zamudio says that given the difficulties, more temporary shelters are needed, such as the one called Becora, located behind a university. "Instead of being in emergency camp, these families are moved to the transitional site of Becora," said Zamudio. "Here you find 156 families living in small rooms of about 16-square meters. Two families, they share a bedroom and an individual communal kitchen. We've built up to now 472 of these shelters and we are finishing the construction of 500 and we are going to build, we think we need one thousand more."

At the temporary camp built by the Norwegian Refugee Council, residents have clean water, sanitation and - most importantly - security provided by United Nations police. But the council, the only aid agency currently building houses, says it can only build 300 houses a year. At that rate, East Timor's refugees could be stuck in camps and temporary shelters for many years to come.
UNMIT Daily Media Review - 10 October 2007

UNPOL Responsible for 25 May 2006 Crisis - Inocencio da Costa Maria, the PNTL logistics director, told a judge in court that UNPOL is responsible for the F-FDTL firing on them on 25 May 2006 because an UNPOL officer told him that UNPOL had coordinated with the F-FDTL, will escort the PNTL officers to Obrigado Barracks, and will not be responsible if any PNTL stay in the PNTL headquarters. (DN)
Testimony Heard in F-FDTL/PNTL Shooting Case  JSMP Press Release Date: 2/10/2007 Since the 18th September, the Dili District Court has been conducting a trial into a shooting incident that occurred on 25 May 2006 in front of the Ministry of Justice, which claimed the lives of a number of PNTL members.

Courtroom proceedings are anticipated to go on for some time in this matter, as there are approximately 73 witnesses providing testimony.

On 1 October these witnesses testified: Lieutenant Abel Ximenes Xavier (Military Police Commander), Afonso de Jesus (Acting PNTL Commander), Jose Soares (Marine Police) and Afonso Correia (PNTL).

The Court continued the next day, hearing testimony from the following witnesses: Abilio de Araujo Gonçalves (PNTL), Delfina da Silva Mesquita (PNTL) and Miguel Martins Monis (PNTL). During the second session, held in the afternoon, the court heard from Joaquim da Costa (PNTL), Jose de Jesus Nunes (PNTL), Henrique Costa de Lima (PNTL) and Clementina de Jesus Fatima (PNTL).

Proceedings were led by Presiding Judge Ivo Rosa, who was supported by Judge Vitor Hugo Perdal (International) and Judge Antonino Gonçalves (National). The Public Prosecution Unit was represented by Bernardo Fernandes (International) and Zelia Trindade (National).  The defendants were represented by various private lawyers, including Tome Jeronimo, Arlindo Dias Sanches and Jose Guterres.

Witnesses testified that on the morning of 25 May 2006 they heard shooting. There were minor discrepancies between those testifying as to the exact time this commenced.. Some witnesses claimed that the shooting continued for two or three hours.

Several witnesses claimed that at approximately 10am a red vehicle with tinted windows passed in front of the PNTL HQ at high speed, its occupants behaving provocatively. PNTL guards ordered that they immediately vacate the area, but the red vehicle did not move. The PNTL guards allegedly fired a warning shot in the air, but suddenly the sound of gunfire was heard from the F-FDTL HQ, appearing to the witnesses to have been directed at the PNTL. The PNTL returned fire and three PNTL members were injured during the incident, including the then Operational Commander, Afonso de Jesus (now Acting PNTL Commander).

After the incident, UNPOL came to PNTL HQ, ordering that all weapons be handed over. All PNTL members present were then marched toward Obrigado Barracks.

The judge asked the witnesses what happened when they passed in front of the Ministry of Justice building, and almost all of the witnesses gave the same response, to the effect that they saw F-FDTL members in uniform, standing in front of the building and carrying long barreled weapons. The witnesses gave different estimates on the exact number of F-FDTL members, varying between two and eight.

The witnesses also said that when they arrived in front of the Ministry of Justice building they had been accompanied by UNPOL members on both sides, and that UN and RDTL flags were being carried.

The Court heard that the situation rapidly deteriorated at this point, with eight PNTL members killed in shooting and more than twenty wounded.

Witnesses testified that they recognized the defendants present in the courtroom, claiming to have seen them when they passed the intersection in front of the Ministry of Justice. The names Madeira and Renilde were singled out for mention. Two of the defendants had allegedly been standing in front of the gate, armed and wearing F-FDTL uniforms. One witness said that it was the defendant Madeira who fired the first shot towards the line of PNTL members walking in front of them.

JSMP observed that witnesses gave clear and comprehensive testimony but, despite protestations to the contrary, appeared afraid when questions from the court forced them to face the defendants. JSMP calls on the relevant authorities to ensure appropriate measures are taken to ensure the safety and security of witnesses to these and other legal proceedings.

For further information please contact: Roberto da Costa Pacheco Coordinator, Legal Research Unit, JSMP Email: bebeto@jsmp.minihub.org or contact: Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Email: timotio@jsmp.minihub.org Telephone: 3323883
Timorese gangs paid to kill Courier Mail Marianne Kearney October 09, 2007 12:00am - EAST Timorese youths have been paid to kill people during periods of political unrest, a Catholic priest has alleged.

Father Martinho Gusmao has told The Courier-Mail that provocateurs have a graded scale of fees for for rock throwing, burning houses and murder. His information comes from hearing the confessions of dozens of youths. "According to estimations, they say if they throw a stone, they will get $20, if they burn a house: $50, if they kill a person: $100," Fr Gusmao says. "I think this is very terrible."

The Dili-based priest says he has a strong suspicion who has been paying the youths but refuses to name names. Young men were paid before and after the June national elections to commit acts of violence, he adds. Confessions relating to such acts were still being made as recently as last week. "They come to talk to us, they want to have counselling because they feel guilty," said the priest, who is also a member of the church's Justice and Peace Commission. There were outbreaks of rioting surrounding the June polls in which no single party won enough votes to form a government.

After much negotiating Xanana Gusmao formed a coalition government with smaller parties. However Fretilin, the former ruling party, initially argued that the new government was unconstitutional as Fretilin was the largest vote-winner.

While Fr Gusmao would not point a finger at who might still be stirring up unrest, Miguel Manetelo, the newly appointed State Secretary for Youth and Sports, does not hold back. "In Timor Leste, many youths if they receive some money from someone, some groups or some political parties, they make trouble and violence," he says. "It's because they don't have work, so it's very easy to politicise them."

Mr Manetelo says political parties have been manipulating the youths to create unrest. Unemployed young men loiter on Dili's hot and dusty streets and jump out at passing cars waving mobile phone card top-ups. Unruly youths are much feared. Taxi drivers say guarding their beaten up sedans is their first priority, and most refuse to drive after 5pm. "If I drive at night, I never know when I'll be hit, maybe there'll be someone down this road, or jump out here," said one driver

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