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.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Timor-Leste Legal News April 2008 (Part 2)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 08 April 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Alkatiri: Do not kill Salsinha or anybody else - Fretilin's Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri has asked the Apprehension Operation to not kill Gestao Salsinha or his men and to not take advantage of the State of Siege to kill anybody else. (TVTL)

Print Coverage
Joint Operation threatens to shoot MP - The Joint Operation Command force assigned in Bobonaro district, sub district Atabae, threatened to shoot an MP along with some judges on the way back to Dili at around 8pm yesterday evening. "Though we still had time to return to Dili, the forces did not allow us to continue our trip," said MP Fernando Gusmao. (STL)

The group had been stopped by the Joint Operation after having attended a funeral ceremony in Bobonaro. They were on their way back to Dili when the Joint Operation Command forces stopped them and prevented them from continuing their trip as it was already 8 pm. The Joint Operation Command force threatened to shoot them if they continued their journey. (STL)

Joint Operation will collect all illegal guns - The Joint Operation Command up till now has collected 8 guns from the rebels. The Joint Operation forces will not tolerate any group who wants to destroy the nation. (STL)

Don't discriminate against veterans - An MP has asked the government to not discriminate against veterans, particularly those who have served under five years. "This is discrimination, because they have also sacrificed their whole lives," said Mr. Adriano Nascimento from PD. (STL)

Horta grateful to soldier who shot Alfredo - President Jose Ramos Horta has said that he really appreciated the actions of the F-FDTL soldier who killed Alfredo Reinado Alves at his house on 11 February 2008.  "The soldier who shot Alfredo was doing his duty," said Mr. Horta. (TP)

Petitioners wait for a just decision - Petitioners in Aitarak Laran are waiting for a just decision from the Government. "The Government has the competency to resolve the petitioners' problems. The Government must make a balanced decision that will be accepted and satisfy all," said the Coordinator of the petitioners, Mr. Tara. (TP)

Lasama: No Pardon for Salsinha - State tolerance towards the rebel group led by Gastao Salsinha has ended. The Government announced that from this Wednesday, there would be no chances to pardon them. Acting President Lasama said that the rebels would be ambushed and arrested. "We have decided. The State tolerated him [Salsinha] for almost two months. Nevertheless, the Operation's orders are to capture Salsinha alive- the state does not want him dead," said Mr. Lasama. (TP and DN)

IDPs at National Hospital should be moved by next week - The Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernandes Alves, said that the IDPs who are currently living in the National Hospital compound should be moved as the rehabilitation of the transitional houses in Becora has finished. The Minister said that for health and security reasons, the IDPs have to move. She also said that the IDPs were impeding the rehabilitation of the National Hospital. (DN)

Police have set up 12 posts in Dili - The Commander of the Intervention Rapid Unit, Armando Monteiro, confirmed that the police have set up 12 posts in Dili to ensure the IDPs return home. "Up till now, the Intervention Rapid Unit is playing a role to ensure the implementation of the State of Siege and also to ensure the IDPs return home," said Mr Monteiro. (DN)
Decision in Baucau Sexual Assault Case JSMP Press Release 26 March 2007

Legal researchers from JSMP monitored three cases of violence against women that were heard at Baucau District Court on 10, 11 and 12 March 2008. One case involved domestic violence and two involved sexual assault. Two of these cases are still being processed - JSMP will monitor their progress.

The Court did issue a final decision in one case. This case involved two defendants. The first, the victim’s step-father, was found to have sexually assaulted her on two occasions.  On one occasion, before having sexual relations with the victim, this defendant used force against her and threatened to kill her if she told her mother about his actions. This incident occurred on 29 April 2002.  The judge sentenced this defendant to five years and six months imprisonment.

The second defendant, the victim’s uncle, was found to have sexually assaulted her on four occasions. On one occasion, before having sexual relations with the victim, the defendant struck her on the back and legs and threatened to kill her. This incident occurred on 10 May 2002.  The judge sentenced the second defendant to four years imprisonment.

JSMP will shortly publish an in-depth analysis of this case. As outlined above, the victim was related to the defendants.  She was also a minor. Such crimes occur in the context of a relationship of familial trust and are further aggravated by violence. JSMP continues to recommend that, when adjudicating matters of this kind, judges consider applying the maximum sentence available. 

The three gender-based violence cases that JSMP observed in the Baucau District Court  had been pending since 2002 and were only recently processed in 2008.  JSMP has observed that the court is processing more gender-based violence cases and that it is also addressing the backlog of cases.  It is hoped that a greater proportion of these pending cases will be processed during 2008.

JSMP has observed that the courts, especially the Baucau District Court, are dealing with an increasing number of cases of violence against women.. During court monitoring  this year, JSMP has seen  more regular hearings and decisions issued by the Baucau District Court in cases of sexual assault and domestic violence compared to previous years. This suggests that public understanding of the formal justice system may be increasing, and that women are more willing for their cases to be resolved through the courts. It also shows that courts are becoming more practiced at dealing with gender-based violence cases.

For more information please contact: Lola Soriano Menezes WJU, Legal Research, JSMP Email : lola@jsmp.minihub.org
Procedural Flaws in Baucau Domestic Violence Case JSMP Press Release 26-27 March 2008

Nine criminal cases were scheduled for hearing at the Baucau District Court during the last week of March 2008. Two of these cases, however, could not be heard due to the absence of defendants and witnesses. Three of the seven remaining cases related to domestic violence.

This press release will focus on one of these cases of domestic violence, due to an apparent procedural flaw in its prosecution and adjudication. The case involved a defendant who was found to have thrown an empty bottle at  the victim, his wife, causing her to bleed from the ear.

During the trial the defendant admitted his guilt and expressed remorse. The victim testified to the violence against her.  JSMP understands that, following mediation, the two are again living together as husband and wife.

During the recommendation of sentence, the prosecution proposed the defendant be found guilty for violating Article 351 (1) and Article 356 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code. The first of these clauses establishes an offence of maltreatment and the second clause indicates that where such an act is committed against a spouse the sentence should be increased by one third. The prosecutor accordingly requested the presiding judge to sentence the defendant to six months imprisonment with a probation period of one and a half years.

The court, however, acquitted the defendant on these charges, and instead issued its decision pursuant to Article 352 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code (amending the indictment and disregarding prosecutorial recommendations). Pursuant to Article 352 (1), which reflects a lesser charge of minor, or ‘light’ maltreatment, the court sentenced the defendant to two months imprisonment with a probation period of one year.

JSMP observed that the prosecutor was not present when the sentence was announced and so did not have an opportunity to interject or present an opposing viewpoint. The lawyer for the defendant, unsurprisingly, had no objection to the court'substituting a lesser charge.

Charges laid by the prosecutor can only be amended pursuant to Articles 273 and 275 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which state that if the court considers there are relevant facts not represented in the indictment, there remains a judicial discretion to put these facts to the prosecution and defence, giving them time to prepare their procedural position. JSMP contends that, in this instance, the court did not proceed in the manner established by law.

JSMP is generally concerned at the leniency displayed in sentencing on domestic violence matters. Whilst no direct critique is made of the judge’s finding of fact in this matter, the apparent lack of compliance with applicable domestic law suggests either disregard or a disturbing lack of awareness. Accordingly, JSMP calls for a review of judicial performance and for a more comprehensive program of training on criminal procedure to be extended to all officers of the court.

For more information please contact: Timotio de Deus, Director JSMP Email: timotio@jsmp.minihub.org Phone: 3323883
UNMIT Daily Media Review 07 April 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Fretilin demands police be punished for biting a civilian - MP Fretilin, Antonino Bianco, has demanded the State Secretary for Security to punish police officers for biting a man in Balide. The man had presented himself to the National Parliament with swelling and bruising on his face and eyes. The victim also asked the Apprehension Operation Command to take responsibility for his medical treatment.

Print Coverage

Two of Salsinha's men surrender - The Commander of the Apprehension Operation, Filomeno Paixao, has confirmed the surrender of two of Salsinha's men to the Apprehension Operation forces on Sunday (6/4). This was achieved through negotiations with the Prosecutor-General on Saturday (5/4). The former member of the Military Police, Filomeno Soares Menezes, surrendered himself with one pistol in Korluli, Maliana and the former member of the F-FDTL, Vitor de Deus, surrendered himself with no weapons in Goulolo, Ermera. The Vice Commander of the Apprehension Operation, Mateus Fernandes, said that: "Both of them were treated well by the Apprehension Operation," said Mr Fernandes. (DN & STL)

Apprehension Operation kill a man in Bobonaro - The Commander of the Apprehension Operation, Filomeno Paixao, confirmed that a member of the Apprehension Operation shot dead a man on Saturday (5/6) in the sub-district Atabae, Bobonaro. The man was shot in the stomach after he chased after an officer and cut off his whistle belt with a machete. The man's body has been taken to the National Hospital for an autopsy. The investigation is still underway. Locals from Atabae claimed that the victim was slightly mad. (DN/STL)

Bishop says Apprehension Operation should avoid bloodshed - The Bishop of Baucau, Basilio do Nascimento, has said that bloodshed should be avoided as the Apprehension Operation moves to implement the Government's four steps. These four steps are to secure the surrender of Salsinha and his men. The first step has been to criminalise any acts of support provided to the rebels. The second step is for the Apprehension Operation forces to carry out simultaneous operations in the bushes and in private homes. The third step is for the Operation to minimize people's movements in farms or coffee plantations, and lastly, the fourth step will be a use of force by the Operation. "I hope that the decisions made by the State will be right and not result in any more bloodshed in the country. Too many people have already suffered and died for the independence of this nation. It is now time for them to maintain calm and peace," said the Bishop. (DN)

Joint Operation should not engage in propaganda - The Member of Parliament from PUN, Ms. Fernanda Borge, had said that the Joint Operation should follow their mandate and not engage in any propaganda activity about the extension of the State of Siege. (STL)

People should be careful not to impede the return of IDPs - The Dili District PNTL Commander, Pedro Belo, said that people should be careful to not impede any IDP from returning home. He said this during a dialogue with a community in the Dili Sub-ditrict of Cristo Rei. The Police Commander said that the police are now very keen to facilitate the dialogue with communities aimed at addressing the return of IDPs. As such, he has appealed to all people to not interfere in the process of IDP repatriation. (DN) 

43 weapons still missing - The Commander of the Intervention Rapid Unit, Armando Monteiro, has confirmed that 43 weapons are still missing. Based on information he received from the police, the 43 weapons include 22 pistols, 20 AK33 rifles and one 12-calibre pistol. "We don't have any information about where these guns are. We insist that the people who have these weapons should return them to the Joint Operation Command either through the local authorities, youth representatives or their Aldeia or Suco chiefs," said Mr Monteiro. (DN)

Paixao: Salsinha and his men must surrender on April 9 - The Commander of the Apprehension Operation, Filomeno Paixao, has set the deadline for the surrender of Salsinha and his men as April 9. "We are now giving a chance to Gastao Salsinha and his men to surrender peacefully on April 9 2008. If they don't, the Apprehension Operation will intensify their home searches and begin to arrest people suspected of supporting Salsinha and his men. The Apprehension Operation will react if Salsinha and his men take any action against them" said the Commander on Sunday (6/4) in Memorial Hall, Dili. (DN)

TMR thanks ISF for bringing peace and stability to Timor-Leste - Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak has thanked ISF soldiers for bringing peace and stability to Timor-Leste during an awards ceremony for the Australian troops. The Brigadier-General presented ISF officers with the Australian Service Medal during the parade on Friday (04/03) evening. For many of the ISF officers, the presentation by the Brigadier-General marked the end of their six-month deployment to Timor-Leste (TP)

Victims in Liquica demand justice - The victims of the massacre which had taken place at the resident of Liquica Priest on 5 April, 1999 have demanded that the Government and the UN take action to help them achieve justice and reparations for what they suffered. (TP)

Fretilin accuses Government of hiding evidence - The Fretilin MP, Arsenio Bano, has accused the Government of trying to hide evidence related to the February 11 attacks. It is for this reason that Fretilin continues to demand that the Government create a Commission of Inquiry into the February 11 events. (TP)
Daily Media Review 04 April 2008

Print Coverage

Benevides to hand over Alfredo's secret documents - Alfredo's Defence Attorney, Benevides Correia Barros, will soon release Alfredo's secret documents to the State. These documents were provided by Alfredo's lawyer, Angelita Pires, in December 2007. Mr Barros did not clearly explain to the journalists what the documents contained, but he did reveal that there would be information about the February 11 attacks. (TP)

Pires had completely removed herself from Alfredo's case in December 2007 - "I had completely removed myself as a lawyer for Alfredo in December 2007. This is why I handed over the documents to Benevides Correia Barros who was his lawyer," said Pires. (TP)

Fretilin MP says all documents related to Alfredo should be given to PGR - Fretilin MP Arsenio Bano has said that any documents related to Alfredo's case should be handed to the Prosecutor-General. "If some of the documents have been kept by Alfredo's lawyer, the Prosecutor-General should have them to use as part of the investigation process." said Mr Bano. (TP)

TMR says no response from ISF on 11 February - Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak has said that on February 11, the F-FDTL had asked for security assistance from the ISF but received no response. Because of this, the F-FDTL had to send its patrol boat to the Aria Branka beach near Ramos-Horta's residence. TMR made these comments at a meeting with Timorese Ambassadors on Wednesday (03/04) at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. "There were no helicopters, no vehicles or movement from the ISF in response to the February 11 attacks, same as what they usually do for the IDPs," said the TMR. TMR did acknowledge that it was only the Portuguese Formed Police Units that gave timely assistance to the President. "At that time, we could not do much because the ISF had done nothing- there was no movement from the ISF. Only the Portuguese FPU were mobilised," he said. (TP)

Hens Klemm asks Salsinha to surrender - American Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Hens Klemm, said that Salsinha and his men have to surrender in order to appear as witnesses for the February 11 attacks. (STL)

Government classifies Petitioners - During this month, the Government has classified petitioners into groups of those who want to rejoin the military and those who want to return to civilian life. (STL)

Government forbids people to be armed - The Council of Ministers have approved a proposal set forth by the Government to forbid civilians from using any type of weaponry including guns, machetes, swords, arrows and sling shots. This has been approved under the proposed law created on Thursday (4/04) at the National parliament.

People ask the Government to prolong 'State of Siege' - During a dialogue carried out by the Apprehension Operation, people have asked that the State of Siege be prolonged in order to ensure the stability in the country.

Military Police Commander asks people to remain calm - The Military Police Commander, Abel da Costa, asked the people of Timor-Leste to remain calm and not to create problems if they don't want to be imprisoned. "Whoever creates problems will be taken to the free hotel [prison] in Becora. Therefore I beseech people not to create problems," said Mr da Costa. (STL)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 03 April 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Apprehension Operation to use force to capture Salsinha - The Vice Commander of the Apprehension Operation, Mateus Fernandes, said that were going use force to capture Salsinha and his men and that they would stop the leniency they had shown so far towards the rebels. The Vice Commander warned that serious action would be taken by the end of the week.

Judge: Court postpones trial for suspects in Fatu Ahi case - udge Ivo confirmed that the Dili District Court has postponed judicial proceedings against the suspects accused of being involved in the fighting led by the late Major Alfredo Reinado Alves against the F-FDTL in Fatu-Ahi on 23 May, 2006.  "The judicial proceedings against the suspects were postponed because three of the other suspects did not appear," said Judge Ivo.

RTL News Coverage
Pedro Belo: PNTL and F-FDTL won't tolerate criminals - The Dili District's PNTL Commander, Pedro Belo, said that Apprehension Operation commanders have no tolerance for any criminals who threaten or retaliate against any IDP who wants to return home. Mr Belo made this statement during a dialogue with community members in the village of Vila Verde, Dili. "The commanders of the Apprehension Operation will use their tactics to capture and seize weapons from people who engage in crimes," said Mr Belo.

Print Coverage

CNRT MP demands explanation from the Prosecutor-General - CNRT MP, Moises Romeo, has demanded an explanation from the Prosecutor-General regarding the results of the current investigation into February 11. The MP has called on him to present this explanation to the National Parliament. "I did not demand that he send a report to us, but I did demand that he present himself to the National Parliament with an explanation of the criminal investigation carried out by the Australian Federal Police, FBI and himself," said Mr Romeo. (STL)

Petitioners lack discipline - 'Piloto' Sejar Valente de Jesus, coordinator of the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran, has complained about the lack of discipline shown by some petitioners. "Five of the petitioners have decided to return home, saying that they don't want to stay with the other petitioners in Aitarak Laran because of what the government had decided," said Piloto. (STL)

Zero tolerance for medical officers who sexually violate patients - The Minister of Health, Rui Martins, has said that he will fire any of his staff who commit sexual violations. "The Health Ministry will not tolerate medical officers who sexually violates any patient," said the Minister after the issue was raised by Fretilin MP Ososrio Soares at the National Parliament on Wednesday (31/3). (STL)

Fretilin opposes PM's 'Fragile, not Failed State' statement - Fretilin MP Joaquim dos Santos has come out against the Prime Minter's statement that defined Timor-Leste in terms of a 'failed' or 'fragile' state. "According to me, Timor-Leste is a normal State. Not a failed or fragile State. Be weary of people who are trying to reduce Timor-Leste to the level of a failed State," said Mr dos Santos on Tuesday (1/4) at the National Parliament. (STL)

Judge: No law forbids PGR from negotiating surrender with rebels - Judge Ivor Roza Baptista has said that there is no law forbidding the Prosecutor-General from negotiating a surrender with the rebels. She said this in response to recent remarks condemning the Prosecutor-General's initiative to maintain contact with the rebels. (TP)

NRC hands over 137 houses to the Government - The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) today officially handed over 137 houses at Mercado Becora to the Government of Timor-Leste. These houses were built with the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the NGO, Triangle GH. These transitional houses are for IDPs currently staying at the National Hospital. (TP)

Fransico Guterres: PNTL petitioners receive full Government attention - The State's Secretary for Security, Francisco Guterres, said that two PNTL members currently gathered together with other petitioners in Aitarak Laran have already received the Government's full attention to solve their problems. "They had been given a choice by the Government, whether they want to rejoin the PNTL or become civilians," said Guterres. (TP)

PTT MP asks Government to suspend martial arts activities - PTT MP Jacob Xavier has asked the Government to temporarily suspend the activities of martial arts groups claiming that they cause too many problems. Mr Xavier argued that the activities could re-start once the Government had created regulations for the groups. (DN)

Compiled by Warren L. Wright BA LLB

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