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, June 1, 2013

Timor-Leste Legal News May 2008 (Part 5)

Carrascalão: ASDT should withdraw the accord with Fretilin – Timor Post
Social Democratic Party (PSD) President, Mario Viegas Carrascalão said that ASDT should call off its accord with Fretilin signed on 1 May 2008 to strengthen its block in the AMP. Mr. Carrascalão said that it is difficult to reconcile two different things (AMP block and the platform of ASDT-Fretilin) because the opposition is always opposing the existing government. "AMP is ruling the government. We cannot become members of AMP and at the same time we have an accord with the opposition. He [Uncle Xavier] wants to be in AMP or he leaves," said Mr. Carrascalão on Wednesday (14/5) in the National Parliament, Dili.

Ed: long-life impunity – Diario Nacional
The recent statement of President José Ramos-Horta that he intends to give pardon to 80 prisoners, including former Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato, became the subject of discussion within the community. Some say that he is deserves to be pardoned because of his contribution to independence of the country. Others say that he should service his prison sentence as punishment.

For those who say that Rogerio does not deserve a pardon also say that the leaders are trying to destroy the judicial system in Timor-Leste and allow a climate of impunity to grow in this new born country. The decision of the president to pardon former Minister Interior Lobato is a political intervention by the president in the judicial system, as the reduction of a prisoner's sentence can only be made by a joint recommendation from Public Ministry, Tribunal, and Minister of Justice to the president for a decision.

What are the criteria used by the president to pardon Mr. Lobato? If the decision to pardon 80 prisoners is implemented, then the judicial system of this country will be in disarray. A new president could pardon a family member who has been convicted and imprisoned. The law is so strong for the small people, while the leaders tread all over it. We may yell and screaming at justice but nothing will change as the authority is in the president's hands. As a man who wants justice, we should start first with reducing the sentence before granting a pardon. We wait …

UNDERTIM joining AMP: Fretilin salutes positively – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

Fretilin just made a coalition with ASDT for the future and gives positive reaction as UNDERTIM joins AMP block. "It is good for all of us to think about what the alliance is, so we could not only criticize the alliance formed by Fretilin and ASDT," said Fretilin Vice President Arsenio Bano on Wednesday (14/5) in the National Parliament, Dili. Mr. Bano said that the ASDT-Fretilin alliance is formed to combat corruption, collusion and nepotism, but the alliance of AMP is to strengthen themselves to get more power to rule. Separately, ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral said that the coalition of Fretilin and ASDT was established for the future.

Taur Matan Ruak: JOC's destiny is in the State's hands – Suara Timor Lorosa'e and Televisaun Timor-Leste
The General Commander of F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak said that the decision to continue or end the mandate of the Joint Operation Command (JOC) of F-FDTL and PNTL is in the hands of the State. Related to the spread of  illegal weapons in the societies of Timor-Leste, Commander Taur Matan Ruak said that they are still waiting for the decision of the Government about the mandate of the JOC.  "We are still waiting the decision of continuing the JOC or not. If the operation is stopped then what should we do … we are still waiting for the decision," said Commander Ruak after the high level meeting on Wednesday (14/5) in the Presidential Palace, Farol Dili.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 14 May 2008

UNDERTIM to have position in the AMP Government
- Diario Nacional
The UNDERTIM party who just signed accord to join AMP may receive one position in the government. The President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araujo said that based upon the accord, the party who joined AMP has a possibility to have post in the government, including UNDERTIM. Political parties who are part of AMP should be involved in running the government; it has to be decided whether as a Minister, Vice Prime Minister, or State Secretary of Prime Minister said Mr. Lasama on Wednesday (14/5).

Press Club, RTTL sign agreement – Televisaun Timor-Leste
Radio-Televisaun Timor-Leste (RRTL) and the Timor-Leste Press Club have signed a "Meet the Press" agreement on Tuesday (13/5) to disseminate information through Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL). The accord was signed in the offices of TVTL in Caicoli, Dili by the Director of RTTL Antonio Dias and the President of the Press Club Domingos Saldanha. Mr. Saldanha said that the accord was a real step to facilitate RTTL as a public medium to disseminate information about the "Meet the Press" programs through TVTL's studios. "The Press Club wants to sign an accord with RTTL because RTTL is a public broadcaster whose branches could reach the people in the country, as well to foreign countries. That is why Press Club chose RTTL to transmit the Club's programs," said Mr. Saldanha. The Director of RTTL said that the agreement is also a positive step to disseminate information to the public. "In this cooperation we hope that this is the first step between the Timor-Leste Press Club and TVTL to show the public that there is space to disseminate information to them," said Mr. Dias. The accord also states that the Timor-Leste Press Club will pay TVTL US$1,000 per year to disseminate their programs.

President: State to review work of the Joint Operation Command – Suara Timor Lorosa'e
President José Ramos-Horta said that the State is going to review the work of the Joint Operation Command in order to determine whether its mandate should be continued or not. "We have discussed many things related to the current situation which concern the State's efforts to strengthen national stability. We also discussed the review of the mandate of the Joint Operation Command to determine whether it should be continued or not," said the President José Ramos-Horta to journalists after a meeting on Tuesday (13/5) at the President's office in Farol, Dili. During the meeting, participants addressed the importance of both the F-FDTL and PNTL working together to strengthen the confidence that they have gained from the people since the crises broke out in 2006. Meanwhile President José Ramos-Horta asked the petitioners to accept the proposed offer from the Government. If they want to rejoin military, they should follow the recruitment process. Those who want to return to civilian life should prepare themselves to receive a grant from the government to restart their lives. "I believe that the recruitment process will be fair. The trained commanders will know and understand what to do," said Horta.

MP: future election not decided by one party – Suara Timor Lorosa'e
PUN MP Fernanda Borges said that the future election is not decided by one party and is not something that only belongs to only one group. There was no need to discuss interests that belong to one party during this stage because everything has to be decided based on legal procedures. "We need to know that there is a constitution, that the existing government has the confidence of the members of the National Parliament," said MP Fernanda Borges on Tuesday (13/5) at National parliament. PUN MP Fernanda Borges added that the AMP alliance members are only keen to listen to various rumours. She said that if this alliance was not going stand together confidently in the Parliament, then this government could fall.

Separately, KOTA MP Olinda Guterres said there is no need to obsess about the future election, as it was better for everyone to tackle current problems facing the nation. "I would like to say that our people have suffered too much. There is no need to create more politics in order to politicize people and bring suffering to the people," said Olinda Guterres.

AMP's meeting: UNDERTIM to join - Diario Nacional and Timor Post
The Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) held a meeting on Tuesday (13/5) in the residence of President of the National Parliament which was attended by CNRT President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, PSD President Mario Viegas Carrascalão, ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral, PD President Fernando Lasama, and President UNDERTIM Cornelio Gama. The meeting was aimed at welcoming UNDERTIM in order to strengthen the position of the alliance to withstand any efforts to weaken it. CNRT President Gusmão explained that the meeting was held to discuss UNDERTIM joining the AMP. "We welcome it to strengthen the AMP," explained Mr. Gusmão.

Separately, ASDT President Mr. Xavier said that his party is still in the AMP. The coalition of ASDT-Fretilin is not going to break the AMP down. In addition, UNDERTIM President Mr. Gama said that his party is going to join AMP because they have the same programs to be implemented. "We join AMP with the conscience that the AMP's programs now being implemented are part of UNDERTIM's programs, such as, giving attention to the veterans and vulnerable people. Another reason to join AMP is that some people trying to break the AMP, and we are joining to strengthen it," said Mr. Gama.

PR Ramos-Horta: the petitioners not to be mixed in the new recruitment – Diario Nacional
President José Ramos-Horta said he is asking to not mix the new F-FDTL candidates with the petitioners in the recruitment process.

PR Horta said the decision made by the State is still the same: those who want to return to the military are welcomed through recruitment process and those who want to leave will be directly supported by the Government to make better their lives. "If some petitioners might be disappointed then it should be explained that for those who were previously sergeants or officers, they will be allowed to take their posts. But they will have to undergo new training as have been away from the barracks for two years. I think that the recruitment will take some time. It may be started with the [groups] of the petitioners, then the new candidates" said PR Horta on Tuesday (13/5) in Farol Dili.

Ed: What if I do not pass the recruitment …? – Diario Nacional
On Monday (12/5), the Government of the Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) officially announced the results of the questionnaires submitted by the petitioners as one of the ways to solve their problems. The results show that 339 petitioners want to return to the military and follow the recruitment process, and the other 356 prefer to be civilians. The decision they made does not have significantly different implications. Those who return to F-FDTL will have their monthly salary as military personnel. The others will have equivalent of three years of salary as F-FDTL members. The salary range will be US$3,600 to $7,260. PM Gusmão said that this is not small change. Where does the money come from - from the State Budget or other sources? If it comes from 2008 State Budget, was this planned for or not? The public should know that the money is spent in order to guarantee transparency and accountability. What to do if the petitioners are not recruited in the recruitment process? Do they still having the right to get three years salary or not? The Government should take this into consideration to avoid any unwanted things happening in the future. We wait …
UNMIT Daily Media Review 12 May 2008

Horta: it's not time for ISF to return home
– Diario Nacional
Regarding the security situation in Timor-Leste, the International Security Forces (ISF) are still needed to provide security for the country. "I myself see that we still need the presence of ISF to give us security support until our forces can guarantee the security situation of the country," said President Jose Ramos-Horta on Friday (9/5) at a community dialogue held in Fatuhada, Dili. According to PR Horta, the State has an obligation to guarantee the security of the people and continues to need the presence of the international forces and police in the country. "As the President, I do say that I am only asking the international forces and police to return [home] when we know that our forces, F-FDTL and PNTL, are 100% well functioning, that dialogue is going well, and violence has ended," said PR Horta.

Xanana: I'm ready to give statement about weapons allegation in 2006 - Diario Nacional
Based on Fretilin's accusation about weapons in the 2006 crisis, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that he is ready to give his statement to the Public Ministry. As the President at that time, he is ready to give a statement as needed. "Sure. I will go and am ready whenever the Public Ministry needs me to go," said PM Xanana. The case of weapons allegation is under investigation by the International Prosecutor.

Pardon to the prisoners: Government has no comment on the President's decision – Diario Nacional
Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato said that the Government will not comment upon the decision of President Horta to pardon 80 prisoners on May 20 The prisoners include the former Minister of Interior who allegedly distributed weapons to civilians in 2006 crisis. "The Government will give complete information to the President, as he is the only one to decide. It is clear that the decision of the President may have certain ramifications. From the government side, we have no comment. The public should have known that the decision of the President was not made by the government. I think it needs to think about creating rules and establishing criteria to follow, and then see about giving pardon to prisoners," said Minister Lobato on TVTL last few days in Dili. About the President's controversial decision, Ms. Lobato said that everyone has to respect the Constitution and the Constitution gives the right to the President to pardon prisoners.

Minister: It is time for Timorese people to give a hand each other – Suara Timor Lorosa'e
The Minister of Solidarity Social Maria Domingas Alves "Micato" said that there is no need for people to retaliate against each other as it is now time to give a hand to each other and develop the nation. The community dialogue that held in Fatuhada village (Dili) aimed at opening a free dialogue among the people to disclose what they have been thinking about and what they have been expecting, as the dialogue is an opportunity for both IDPs and community to talk each other frankly and openly. "The dialogue in Fatuhada was slightly different then the previous one, as it was postponed because the situation did not permit us to carry out the dialogue in this community. But today the environment has changed. Therefore our presence here is a positive step so that we can clarify what we need to fix and improve," said Minister of Solidarity Social Maria Domingas Alves "Micato" during a dialogue meeting with the community on Friday (09/5) at Fatuhada village in Dili. She added that everyone, together, needs to find a solution to better their lives as most of the IDPs are trying to reintegrate themselves into the community. Therefore, the people in the community should accept one another and live peacefully together to carry out government's program for the development of our villages and nation.

Separately, Father Agostinho Sampaio da Costa who acted as a moderator during the dialogue said that people should love each other although sometimes they didn't live up to this ideal. The people in this Fatuhada village should welcome each other and give a helping hand to each other in order to develop the nation.

Fretilin MP: some of the former IDPs present their demands at the National Parliament – Suara Timor Lorosa'e
Fretilin MP Domingos Sarmento said that some of the former IDPs from Fatumeta camp came to the National Parliament to demand what has been promised to them by the AMP government. The presence of the former IDPs at the National Parliament concerned promises made by the Government but not yet fulfilled. The Government had promised each will receive amount of US$200.00 and 16 kg of rice. So far, the Government has not kept its promise. "They were IDPs, but at that moment they did not receive money but the others did. So, government had promised them that they will be given money because they were livining in tents, said MP Fretilin Domingos Sarmento on (8/05) at National Parliament. The MP added that government should not discriminate among IDPs. All IDPs have to be treated equally. So MP Fretilin said that he is going raise this issue in his 'Committee A' to discuss this policy.

People in Ermera district hand over weapons to the Joint Operation Command – Suara Timoor Lorosa'e
People in Riheu Village, Antigo Sub district in Ermera, voluntarily handed over illegal weaponries to the Joint Operation Command on Wednesday (7/5). The illegal weapons including 84 darts 'Ambon Arrow' or  Rama Ambon, one rakitan (traditional weapon), 10 iron sticks, and one Motorola HT radio. The weapons were handed over directly to the F-FDTL Lieutenant Armindo Soares. Lieutenant Soares said that if all the illegal weapons were handed over to the Join Operation Command, the people will be free, unified, and stabile to carry out their activities. Riheu Village Chief, Ildefonso das Neves Soares told his people to hand over their illegal weapons as soon as possible to the Joint Operation Command, before the approaching deadline on 10 May.

Xanana: Fretilin pushing Xavier to break the AMP – Timor Post
PM Xanana Gusmão said that the Government of the Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) does not accept the accord signed between Fretilin and ASDT last week as it is believes that Fretilin wanted to push President of ASDT Francisco Xavier do Amaral to break up the AMP. In saving the AMP coalition, PM Xanana said that AMP will call ASDT Mr. Xavier do Amaral on Tuesday (13/5) to talk about how to strengthen political stability within the AMP block. "We may be accepting the '1 May Accord,' but we will not accept the '7 May Accord.' We feel that Fretilin wants to push Uncle Xavier to break AMP. We will call the ASDT President on Tuesday to try to find solutions for the political stability of the AMP," said PM Xanana after meeting with the representatives from ASDT, PD and CNRT on Friday (9/5).   Separately, Xanana said that AMP was not concerned about the platform of ASDT-Fretilin because most of the ASDT members in the National Parliament will continue support the AMP. In the '7 May Accord,' ASDT-Fretilin said it wanted to establish a grand inclusive government led by Fretilin, as party that received the most votes in the 2007 elections. Compiled and archived by Warren L. Wright

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