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 March 2008 (Part 4)

UNHQ: Press Briefing - UNMIT to Conduct Internal Review of response to shooting of President Ramos Horta

Office of the Secretary-General Conducts Daily Press Briefing 28 March 2008 - Question: President [Ramos-]Horta of East Timor, now that he's recuperating in Australia, has again raised this issue that he believes that the UN police didn't come to his aid and obstructed those who tried to help him. He said it on Australian television. So the UN at the time said it was looking into it. What has the UN concluded about its actions on the day of the attack?

Spokesperson: Let me first say that we don't respond to statements made by leaders of Timor-Leste, whom we respect greatly. The comments attributed to President Ramos-Horta are taken seriously and would be investigated in the context of an internal review exercise of dealing with the incident. However, we would state also that trilateral coordination forum that brings together ISF, UN and Timor-Leste, under the leadership of Timor-Leste, is the mechanism that coordinates responses in such cases. An immediate meeting of that triangular coordination forum was held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister within a few hours of the attacks, and appropriate decisions were taken and implemented at that time. That's all I can say, really, at this point.

Question: I just have one follow up to that. By saying it's an internal review, does that mean that whenever the conclusions are reached they will be announced publicly?

Spokesperson: It's going to be an internal review within UNMIT.

Question: Right, but then there'll be an external result, they'll say, here's what we found, we found that we did the right thing or we found we didn't?

Spokesperson: I don't know at this point, I cannot tell you at this point. It was to be done in coordination with the Timor-Leste Government, of course.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 28 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Acting President asks PNTL to be impartial - The Acting PR, Fernando de Araujo Lasama has asked the PNTL to be impartial in order to better serve the people. "It is very important for the PNTL to maintain law and order as the number one priority. It is now time to learn, and one day the time will be to serve," said Mr Lasama. The Acting President also said that the PNTL institution does not belong to one person, or to one group, but is there for all people, and that this institution should provide protection for all. "I would like to thank the PNTL and F-FDTL, which are led by both Acting Commander of the PNTL Afonso de Jesus and Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak. During the Apprehension Operation, you have shown your dedication and sense of responsibility," he said.

RTL News Coverage

PM asks PNTL to strengthen national unity - "Strengthening the spirit and professionalism within the PNTL institution will help maintain unity," said Prime Minister Gusmao. "There is still a long way to go, but I believe that through the PNTL's improvement programs, the officers will make an effort to improve their service to the nation," said the PM. "The Government also believes that the PNTL will continue to work together with UNPOL to professionalism."   The PM also said that the Government would always ask for the presence of UNPOL here in Timor Leste. The PM further stated his happiness with the way the F-FDTL and PNTL have worked together recently despite the problems they have faced in the past.

Print Coverage

President Jose Ramos Horta blames woman for influencing Alfredo - President Jose Ramos Horta has said that a woman with the initials AP had influenced Alfredo Reinado to commit the assassination attempt against him. The President strongly believes Alfredo was the target of great manipulation and influence. During an interview with the Australian newspaper, The Age, the President explained how he was wounded by one of Alfredo's men. "I could see the face of Alfredo's man who shot me. I was shot twice in my back. I would have died immediately if I had been shot in my chest," said Horta. Horta who is now under medical treatment in Darwin Hospital and says that he wants answers to many questions, including why the international security forces, led by the ISF, did not immediately hunt the rebels down and why the United Nations did not immediately provide assistance to him. (TP)

Chief Judge unaware of letter requesting Rogerio's return - The President of the Court of Appeals, Claudio Ximenes, has said that he was unaware of a letter sent by the Ministry of Justice to the Court to get an authorization order to send Rogerio Lobato back to Timor-Leste from Malaysia. "I don't know anything regarding this letter from the Ministry of Justice and I have no understanding of it. It would be better to ask Rogerio's lawyer," said Mr Ximenes. (STL)

Eighth Anniversary of PNTL - The National Police of Timor-Leste this Thursday (27/03) celebrated its eighth-year anniversary. Within these 8 years, the institution has both walked through and on thorns.  "We celebrate your anniversary day in a time of many difficulties, I would like to congratulate the PNTL," said The Acting PR, Fernando de Araujo 'Lasama'. (STL)

Timor-Leste is not a failed nation - The Acting President of Republic, Fernando de Araujo 'Lasama', has claimed that last years crisis is not an indication that Timor-Leste is a failed nation. "From the Government side, we are conducting a study on security reform. Timor-Leste is not a failed state," said Mr Lasama during his speech at the PNTL anniversary. (STL)

13 donors ready to support Timor-Leste development - Thirteen countries who participated in the Timor-Leste Development Partnership Meeting have declared their commitment to support Timor-Leste's development. "The aim of the meeting was for the Timor-Leste government to present its programme to donor countries," said the Minister for Economy and Finance, Ms. Emilia Pires. (DN)

Gusmao: Police should improve - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has said that the PNTL should accept criticism in order for it to improve and to gain public confidence. "Maintain the spirit and professionalism in your corps and unit present here. You still have a long journey ahead of you to trust and make changes inside the PNTL," said the Prime Minister. (DN)

ISF regrets MPs comments - ISF Commander James Baker regrets the comments made by one MP that the ISF failed to take immediate action to arrest the suspects involved in 11 February attack and that the ISF prevented the medical team from assisting the President. "These comments are not based in fact whatsoever. At that time, the ISF provided assistance after the President was injured and brought the President to the ISF clinic at the Heliport for further treatment," said the Commander. (DN)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 27 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Prime Minister presents report on State of Siege - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has presented a report on the State of Siege to the National Parliament. MPs claimed that the report showed the reality of what is happening in the country. The report included information on the assassination attempts against the President and Prime Minister, the Apprehension Operation and the current situation. However, Fretilin MP Fransisco Miranda Branco is still asking the United Nations to create an independent investigation in order to clear up any suspicions/mysteries still lingering in the public mind.

MP urges Chief Justice to report to National Parliament - PUN MP, Fernanda Borges, has urged the Director of Justice and Human Rights to report to the National Parliament on exactly how many cases have been received during the State of Siege. Borges is insisting on this, claiming the Director has received many cases from the victims during the State of Siege.

Print Coverage

James Baker says a formal investigation is needed - ISF Brigadier-General James Baker has said that a formal investigation is needed to find out the events before, after and during February 11. "It is being commonly accepted by the public that the attacks on 11 February just happened. Unfortunately the incidents could not have been predicted, nor did we have information that it would happen" (TP)

104 families register in MSS - The Coordinator of the Ministry of Social Solidarity for the Eastern Region, Domingos Martins, has confirmed that 104 families have registered in the Ministry of Social Solidarity in order to receive subsides from the Government. "MSS has also registered the people whose houses were burnt and destroyed during the last crisis in the district of Baucau, Lautem and Viqueque," said Mr Martins. The Government has provided 3 options for the families to choose from: (a) To return to their homes in Dili; (b) To move to another place; and (c) To remain in the districts. Sixty-one families have chosen option A and 21 families have opted for C. No one selected option B. (TP)

Fretilin demands Government form Commission of Inquiry - Fretilin MP Fransisco Miranda Branco has demanded that the Government form an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events of February 11. "Bishop Basilio do Nacimento has said that the assassination attempts against the President and Prime Minister on February 11 remains a mystery. Therefore, Fretilin demands that the Government form a Commission of Inquiry in order to clear up any mysteries." Said Mr Branco. (DN)

MP asks police not to intervene in politics - Fretilin MP Inacio Morreira said that the government totally forbids police to be involved in politics as politics is only for the politicians. Police are just entitled to act as they are commanded to by their institution. (DN)

Two of Salsinha's men receive a preventive prison - Two of Salsinha's men have received preventive prison after a hearing in the Dili court. One of the men is suspected on being involved in the assassination attempts against the Prime Minister and the President and the other men suspected of involvement in the events of May 23, 2006. (STL)

Minister says 5000 IDPs have returned home - The Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernanda Alves 'Mikato,' has said that 5000 of the 200,000 original IDPs camped in 53 locations in Timor-Leste have returned to their homes, and that the rest are being processed. The government has also vowed to clean all the camps by the end of the year. "We hope that by the end of the year, all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will be home and that there will be no more IDPs in the country," said Sra. Mikato. During the time that this Government has been in office, all efforts have been made to return the IDPs to their homes. As such, $200.000 USD was approved by the National Parliament to help solve the IDP Problem. The Government will provide between $1500 - $4.500 USD for each family whose house has been destroyed. (STL)
UNMIT: Police Manual Launched in Timor-Leste Today

Dili – 27 March 2008 - The head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) says today's launch of a textbook and handbook to be given to every  national police officer will assist in creating a professional police force in Timor-Leste

Speaking at the eighth anniversary of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) in Dili today, Mr Atul Khare said the resources will be invaluable in developing the force's professional knowledge

The textbook and handbooks offer comprehensive and understandable definitions on all laws relevant to the PNTL. A total of 3,120 textbooks and 6000 handbooks have been printed in Tetum and both books provide practical and pragmatic information for officers working on the front-line.

"Developing a police service that is accountable to, and respected by, the people is a long-term commitment," Mr Khare said.

"The road ahead is long, but I am confident that we are on the right path to assist the PNTL in becoming an effective, efficient, accountable, responsive, and non-partisan police service, based on the rule of law and respect for and protection of human rights of all persons," Mr Khare said.

The resources have been produced by the Government of Timor-Leste as represented by the Prosecutor-General Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro, UNMIT Police officers, the UNDP, and the Timor-Leste Police Development Program (TLPDP). The financial assistance of Japan was critical in the preparation and printing of the resource materials

For more information please contact Allison Cooper on +670 7230453
FRETILIN calls on Brigadier Baker and Health Minister Nelson to attend Parliament

Media Release 26 March 2008

FRETILIN calls on Brigadier Baker and Health Minister Nelson to attend Parliament

FRETILIN today called for the International Stabilisation Force Commander in Timor Leste (East Timor), Brigadier James Baker and Minister for Health Dr Rui Nelson to appear before parliament to answer questions about the shooting of President Ramos Horta on February 11 2008.

FRETILIN’s Deputy Parliamentary Leader, Francisco Miranda Branco, said Brigadier Baker and Dr Nelson needed to clarify reports that efforts to give urgent medical attention to the gravely wounded President were impeded, and to explain the ISF’s failure to swiftly launch an operation to pursue and capture the attackers.

“It is vital to clarify these and other matters that are presently the subject of public concern and speculation. The only way to do this effectively and transparently is for the Commander of the ISF and the health minister to appear in parliament to answer questions,” said Branco.

He said there had been widespread public discussion of reports that an ambulance was prevented from crossing the ISF security cordon outside the President's residence.

“When an ambulance did arrive, there were no doctors accompanying it despite there being a team of doctors assembled at the hospital to attend to the President at the site of the shooting. How and why did this occur when our President was lying on the ground seriously injured and losing blood?” he asked.

“The events of February 11 highlighted serious weaknesses and failure on the part of the defence and security apparatus. Together with the government and the United Nations, the ISF have a tripartite responsibility for defence and security. We therefore feel it necessary to ask the people responsible for these sectors, such as the ISF, to come and address the concerns of the representatives of the people who have been waiting for answers to such basic questions since February 11.”

Branco said the ISF commander should also explain how the attackers were able to travel undetected from Ermera district to the president’s residence in Dili without detection or forewarning, and why there was a long delay in launching an operation to pursue and capture the attackers.

“We are moved to make these requests in parliament by the strange silence that we and the public have been faced with from those responsible for defence and security in our country. A silence that has caused leading figures in our country such as the Bishop of Baucau, Dom Basilio do Nascimento to refer to the ‘mystery of February 11’. We share his views. We do not want any more mysteries, we want transparency for our people, so that we can hold the government and others accountable in light of these serious events. So far no one is prepared to take the least bit of responsibility for the demonstrated failures and weaknesses,” said Branco.

At a media conference in Dili today, Branco criticised the de facto Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s admission to parliament yesterday that the government had done nothing to establish an International Commission of Investigation into the 11 February events.

“Parliament demanded a month ago that the government establish an international investigation. Only 17 of the 65 MPs voted against the resolution,” Branco said.

"The de facto Prime Minister’s statement shows a lack of seriousness and lack of will on the part of the government to implement the parliament's resolution.

"Our country needs a transparent and independent investigation that can only be undertaken by international experts and lawyers.

‘The current investigations, being assisted by the FBI and Australian Federal Police, are only within the ambit of establishing criminal responsibility, and we need an independent international investigation to establish the broader truth and justice,” he said.

For further information please call Nilva Guimaraes in Dili: +670 7340389
UNMIT Daily Media Monitoring 26 March 2008

One of Salsinha's men surrender - One of Salsina's men, Alexandre de Araujo, has voluntarily surrendered himself to the state through the Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro in Ainaro District on Monday (25/3). The man was presented to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak and the Secretary State for Defense, Julio Pinto at the Government Palace. Alexandre had been with Gestao Salshina since 2006. Meanwhile, The Prosecutor-General said that three other members were supposed to surrender together, but were not able to meet each other to do so. "Three other members were supposed to surrender today with Alexandre but they failed to do so. I believe that they will surrender themselves voluntarily in a very short time," said the Prosecutor-General. (TP, STL).

NZ Defense Minister meets Acting PR - The Defense Minister of New Zealand, Phill Goff, met the Acting PR of Timor-Leste, Fernando de Araujo 'Lasama' to discuss the relationship between Timor-Leste and New Zealand. The meeting was aimed at discussing security, development and democratic issues in Timor-Leste. Mr Goff also met Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to discuss the bilateral cooperation between the two nations. At the meeting, Mr. Goff said that the NZ Government will support the security sector reform by sending advisors to asses the defense forces in Timor-Leste and to provide some armed and logistics training to the East Timor Defense Forces. (STL, TP)

Commission formed to review the condition of Petitioners - The Acting President of the National Parliament, Visente Guterres, said that the National Parliament will form a commission to assess the lives of the petitioners currently gathered in Aitarak-Laran. "It is a necessary to form a commission to review the condition of the petitioners in order to find a solution to their problems" said Mr Guterres on Tuesday (25/3) at the National Parliament (TP).

Minister asks UN Delegation to provide training for justice sector - During a meeting between the Government and the UN Delegation, the Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato asked the UN for assistance to help strengthen the justice sector. "We recommended that the UN should work with the Government of Timor-Leste to provide training for Timorese prosecutors and public defenders so that they can act with full professionalism in dealing with justice issues in the future," Minister Lobato on Tuesday (25/3) at Palacio do Governu, Dili. (TP)

Gusmao: police reprimanded over abuses - The Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao said some members of the police force have been reprimanded over human rights violations committed during the State of Siege.  "The present government does not tolerate people violating the human rights of people," said the PM. (DN)

Fretilin asks ISF to explain February 11 events - Fretilin MP, Fransisco Miranda Branco, has asked the ISF to provide an explanation for the attacks against the President and the Prime Minister on 11 February. "The presence of ISF in Timor Leste is legal. Therefore, I ask the ISF Commander-General to clearly explain to the national parliament the assassination attempts against the President and Prime Minister, because the responsibility for security falls under the Government, UNPOL and ISF," said Branco. (DN)
Daily Media Review 25 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

MPs absent with no justification - Related to the unjustified absence of certain members of the National Parliament, the Vice President of the National Parliament, Maria Paixão, has appealed to all MPs to retain their credibility as the peoples' representative. "Previously some of us actively criticized other MPs, but right now they are doing what they were criticizing," said Ms. Paixão. Separately, Democratic Party MP, Teresa Carvalho, said that some MPs were not turning up to the National Parliament and were getting other MPs to sign in for them. "Some of the MPs are absent, but are still being signed in by other MPs so that they can receive their full monthly salaries," said Ms Carvalho on Monday (24/3) in Dili.

UN representatives to work with TL Gov in security areas - A United Nations Delegation [DPKO] held a meeting with the F-FDTL Commander Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak to discuss security sector reform in Dili. "We discussed the reform of the security sector. The UN should work with the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve this reform by providing and developing training for the future of security sector of this country," said Commander Taur Matan Ruak on Monday (24/3) in the Memorial Hall, Dili.

RTL News Coverage

95 IDP Families of Canossa Has Laran camp return home - Ninety five IDP families who were residing at the Canossa Has Laran Camp returned home today (Tuesday, 25/3) after having their data verified by the Ministry of Social and Solidarity. The families are still waiting to receive the Government's recovery funds. The Ministry of Social and Solidarity will review its policy on the recovery fund as some IDPs have misused their funds by using the money to throw farewell parties rather than using it to rehabilitate their homes.

Joint Operation conducts community dialogue - The Commander of the Dili District PNTL, Pedro Belo, said that the community dialogue conducted by the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation in Dili has had a good effect and has supported field operations. According to Commander Belo, community leaders have proposed to conduct such dialogue around the country to create stability. He also said that the dialogue has forced illegal occupants out of houses belonging to IDPs and that local people are ready to welcome the IDPs back to their Bairo.

Print Coverage

Hercules rejects accusations of involvement in February 11 - Timorese businessman, Hercules Rosario Marçal, has strongly rejected accusations that he may be investigated in relation to the events of February 11. Hercules has denied any involvement in the events.
Hercules said that he had visited Timor-Leste to look for investment opportunities. "I just laughed when I heard on the news that a politician had mentioned my name in relation to attempts made against PR Horta and PM Xanana. It''s funny. I am a citizen of Indonesia even though I am a Timorese … how could I have bad intentions like that?" said Hercules on Monday (24/3). The politician mentioned is the President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão, who had previously stated that the inquiry into February 11 may be broadened to investigate many people, including Hercules. Hercules said that he would only take the statement seriously if it came from the State of Timor-Leste. "If this is the statement of the Government or PM Xanana Gusmão or PGR Longuinhos Monteiro, then I will be concerned … however this is just from a politiciaan," said Hercules.

Separately, the Indonesian Embassy in Timor-Leste said that it is too early to determine Hercules' involvement in the February 11 events. "I think it is too early to conclude this. If Hercules becomes a target of the Prosecutor General for investigation, then this may be considered, but until now it is still just a rumour," said Vitor Josep Sambuaga, the Second Secretary of Foreign Political Affairs. (TP)

TL presents 6 priorities for Donor's meeting - The Government of Timor-Leste will present six areas of priority to countries during the Donor meeting to support Timor-Leste held on 28-29 March 2008 in Dili. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zacarias Albano da Costa, said that the six priorities include infrastructure, youth support, support to IDPs, petitioners and social packages. Minister Zacarias said that the Donor meeting will be held in the new office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pantai Kelapa, Dili. (TP)

Bishop Basilio: negotiations with rebels makes a mockery of State of Siege - The Bishop of Baucau Diocese, Basilio do Nascimento has criticised the State of Siege, arguing that it is pointless to have a State of Siege if the State is still looking to negotiate with Salsinha. "We established a State of Siege in order to be able to capture Sasinha, and then we go about trying to negotiate with him. With a situation like this, I seriously question the credibility of the State," said the Bishop. The Bishop made these comments in reference to the meeting held between the Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro and the rebel groups of Alfredo and Salsinha on Thursday (20/3) in Baucau. The Bishop further said that it is a dangerous situation if the leaders responsible for justice act in this manner. (TP)

Gov gives importance to IDPs and petitioners for Donor meeting - The Minister of Foreign Affairs Zacarias Albano da Costa said that the Government of Timor-Leste has prepared six important points to be presented to donor countries during the meeting held in Dili. According to Minister Zacarias, the meeting will determine what areas of the nation's development will be supported by the donors. (STL)

State of Siege unnecessary - The Social Democratic Party (PSD) MP Mario Viegas Carrascalão has taken a strong stance against the decision of the Government to extend the State of Siege to western districts and to impose a State of Emergency on the eastern districts. According to Mr Carrascalão, these extensions diminish the credibility of the nation. "I do not agree with a State of Siege just to allow the State to pursue the rebels," said Mr. Carrascalão. Mr. Carrascalão has also asked Salsinha and his group not to waste time by waiting for the arrival of President Ramos-Horta to surrender.

Separately, Democratic Party MP, Vital dos Santos, has argued that a State of Siege is usually implemented when a nation in threatened by outside forces. He suggested that the Government could still mandate the PNTL and F-FDTL to purse Salsinha and his group without imposing a State of Siege.

Meanwhile, Fretilin MP, Arsenio Bano, said that even though this is the fourth State of Siege, the Government has still been unable to prove who was behind the events of February 11. (STL)

Defence Minister of NZ visits Timor-Leste - The Defence Minister of New Zealand, Phill Goff, is visiting Timor-Leste to discuss the relationship between Timor-Leste and New Zealand. Mr Goff will also visit the New Zealand troops on duty within the International Stabilization Forces. Mr Goff will meet Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão to discuss the relationship between the two nations in the areas of defence and security. There are 150 New Zealand soldiers currently deployed in Timor-Leste. (STL)
2008 – Ano da Reforma

Dili, 25 March 2008

Media Release


The Minister of Finance, Ms. Emilia Pires, as the National Authorizing Officer (NAO) on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and His Excellency Juan Carlos Rey Salgado, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Timor-Leste will sign today the Country Strategy Paper and the National Indicative Program for the 10th European Development Fund for 2008-2013, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, His Excellency Xanana Gusmao.

The 10th EDF provides 63 million Euros for the funding of long-term programs divided into four key areas:

1. Sustainable Rural Development -Thirty five million (35) Euros has been allocated for sustained poverty reduction, food security and improved service delivery to rural areas. Key areas of focus include Infrastructure projects and the provision of clean drinking water and electricity.

2.  Health Care- Eight Million (8) Euros has been allocated to Health Care, to improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of health services in Timor-Leste and for the development of a new and robust National Health Plan.

3. Institutional Capacity Building-Thirteen million (13) Euros has been allocated for Institutional Capacity Building for sustainable national capacity aimed at improved service delivery cross government sectors.

4. Non focal Sectors- Seven million (7) Euros has been allocated to support civil society and the Technical Cooperation Facility

The EDF initiatives are in line with the AMP Government’s current agenda to improve conditions in rural areas, provide better services to the citizens of the nation while heavily investing into capacity building and the development of human resources to provide better service delivery.

The EU has contributed some 266 million Euros to Timor-Leste since 1999, making up one-half the total assistance to the nation. The contribution has proved crucial to the ongoing development of the nation.

Ms. Pires said, ‘The European Development Fund is an integral function of our national development. The Fund provides valuable resources from which we as a government can work in tandem with our development partners to achieve national solutions. We would like to take this opportunity to express our ongoing gratitude for their support and generosity.’ END

For further information, please contact:   Ms Ines Almeida, mobile: +670 723 0032.

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