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 6)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 22 May 2008

Xanana: agrees to three month reduction of Rogerio's sentence – Timor Post
Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato said that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão agrees with President José Ramos-Horta to reduce the sentence of former Minster of Interior, Rogerio Tiago Lobato by three months. "I had discussions with the Prime Minister on this matter. He agrees to give a three month reduction of sentence to Rogerio Lobato and other 82 prisoners," said Minister of Justice on Wednesday (21/5) in the Becora prison, Dili. Minister Lobato said that the Government had recommended that the president also commute the time in jail of prisoners who have served half of their sentences by 6-12 months. Prisoners who were sentenced for domestic and sexual violence would receive a two month reduction.

Alkatiri dreams of early election. PD: Fretilin creates bad precedent – Timor Post
Fretilin Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri stated that in the near future Fretilin will assume the power to govern in order to improve peoples' lives as AMP is not capable of solving the country's problems and so must face early elections. "We [Fretilin] will be back to govern. It wouldn't be too long, " stated Mr. Alkatiri in speech on the ceremony of 34th anniversary of ASDT/Fretilin held in the Central Committee of Fretilin (CCF) on Tuesday (20/5) in Comoro, Dili. Alkatiri said that Fretilin will show that it is different from the Alliance Majority in Parliament (AMP).

Alkatiri also said that when Fretilin is back in power, he will reappoint the directors and administrators who have been removed by AMP. "Fretilin will reappoint those people as what AMP did to them is against the law and the constitution. Fretilin is only asking for early elections for the legislature, not the presidency. If it happens, then we will win all of them," he said. Even though Mr. Alkatiri strongly criticized PM Gusmão, he continues recognize that he and the Prime Minister have to work together to solve the country's problems. He said that he wants to sit with PM Gusmão as political leaders, not as a commander with his soldier. "If he [PM Gusmão] does not think of himself as a commander, I am ready to sit with him to improve people's life," added Mr. Alkatiri.

At the same function, Fretilin President and former President of the National Parliament Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo said that early elections are really needed to improve the bad performance of the AMP Government. "We are not satisfied when we won the election, only to become the opposition," said Mr. Lu-Olo. Democratic Party (PD) MP Adriano Nascimento said that early elections might happen but certain criteria must be in place. For example, most of the MPs in Parliament must oppose the Government's programs, the State must be malfunctioning, the situation was unstable -- at this point the president could dissolve the government and call for early elections.

MP Nascimento said that if Fretilin wants to destroy AMP midway in the implementation of its programs, this would be a bad precedent for the future. He also said that AMP should have 2-3 years to implement its programs. If at that time they were not successful, then one could say it was incompetent.

President of Republic asked the Government to respect the rights of the prisoners - Televisaun Timor-Leste
During the visit to Becora prison yesterday President Jose Ramos Horta said he does not have the authority to interfere in the judicial process but he will make recommendations to the Government to help solve their problems. "Today I came here to show you my love and respect. I have no authority to take part in the judicial process but I will keep asking the Government through Ministry of Justice to pay attention to you", the President said. He also asked the Government to respect the rights of the prisoners. At the same time, Minster of Justice Lucia Brandão Lobato said the Government is now improving the process of justice in order to defend rights of prisoners.

The Court will extend the time for Rogerio Lobato to return until June – Televisaun Timor-Leste
Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato yesterday said the Court will give prisoner Rogerio until June to return to Timor Leste. If he does not return by then, the Government will implement the Court's decision against him. "The Government is ready to help him whatever he needs, such as an airline ticket and accommodation in Bali. He has to obey the decision from the Court. Suppose he does not come back in June -- the Court will take action. Based on plan, the Court will ask the Interpol to get him back if he does not obey the decision," explained Lucia. According to the doctor who has been treating Rogerio during this time, he needs one month more to operate on Rogerio's leg.

Public Ministry: 24 suspects identified as being involved in the attack of 11 February – Televisaun Timor-Leste
The Public Ministry has positively identified 24 suspects who were involved in the attack on 11 February. General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro said the investigation process into the attack on 11 February is going smoothly. "The investigation is running well and we have positively identified 24 suspects in connection with the incidents of 11 February," said Mr. Monteiro. Of the 24 accused people, eighteen of them are currently in preventive detention and the others are under house arrest. Most probably, there is still one suspect more, a civilian at large. In relation to this case, last week I sent the Prime Minister a letter requesting him to make sworn statement. "I asked to him to specify the exact date when he would submit his statement. This is the second request that we have made for his deposition", said General Prosecutor.    
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 21 May 2008

Ramos-Horta: 20 May, National Day of Forgiveness – Timor Post 
In his speech on 20 May, President José Ramos-Horta said that the country's national day was a day of forgiveness and clemency when people could forego  vengeance and concentrate on the nation's development.
"I encourage all the political leaders to work hand in hand to open the ways to the development of the nation. We have to forgive each other as it is easy to fall into vengeance," said PR Ramos-Horta on Tuesday (20/5). 

Afraid if ASDT runs away: AMP try to respond Xavier's demands – Timor Post
The Government of AMP is trying to fulfill the demands of ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral in order to win back ASDT's sympathy and its participation in the AMP coalition. AMP President and the president of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama said that the AMP Government is trying to carry out its programme, not only as demanded by ASDT's president, but also for the national interest. "We will follow whoever need us to solve the nation's problem to the end, not stop midway," said Mr. Lasama. ASDT President Xavier do Amaral said that for his part, he will always encourage the Government to improve itself in order to pay more attention to the nation's problems.

Ed: after Rogerio, who will be next to be pardoned? – Timor Post 
The President of the country Dr. José Ramos-Horta has said that the pardon he gave to 80 prisoners, including the former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, will be realized based on the constitution and the Government's recommendations. There is no citizen who could change the decision of the president, as he has the legal power to grant pardons. Let the President use his [legal] authority, even though many people are concerned and do not agree with his decision about the Rogerio case.

We have a big question: Which big criminal will follow Rogerio to receive a pardon? There are still many well known people from the 2006 crisis and the attacks of February 11.

On the surface everyone is talking about who has the legal authority in such matters. But behind the scenes we all know that it is politics which is motivating the quick decision making.

We should avoid this attitude, if not then Timor-Leste will always lose confidence in its law. We wait …

Mari Alkatiri: Fretilin-ASDT defend self determination – Diario Nacional 
On the speech of 34th anniversary of the founding of ASDT/Fretilin held in the Central Committee of Fretilin in Comoro, Dili on Tuesday (20/5), Fretilin Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri said that his party and ASDT are the only ones defending the nation's self determination. From now on, he said, Fretilin will work hard to improve the party's structure.  "Today we are gathering her to celebrate the 34th anniversary of ASDT-Fretilin's life. Glance back at our history to see how we reached today. We pay homage to our founders and remember our history. We are preparing for early elections. Fretilin with his coalition partner ASDT will step forward for early elections and we will win the elections. We demand early elections for the legislature not presidency," said Mr. Alkatiri. The anniversary's ceremony was attended by SRSG Atul Khare and his deputy, the diplomatic corps, members of neighbouring governments such as Indonesia, Brazil, Portugal, the Executive Secretary of CPLP and Fretilin sympathizers.

Horta: Rogerio Lobato positively receives pardon – Suara Timor Lorosa'e
It has been a confirmed that Rogerio Lobato will receive a pardon along with others from President Jose Ramos-Horta. The list includes former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato who was sentenced by the court of his involvement in providing weapons to civilians in 2006. "I will still assess the recommendation that has already been made by my advisors and the director of the prisons on the number of prisoners who will receive pardons. But the pardon itself commute 100 percent of the sentence," President Jose Ramos Horta told journalists after attending a mass ceremony held on Monday 19/5 at Dili's Cathedral church. Regarding how many years the Rogerio Lobato will have to serve in prison, Ramos Horta said,  "To give pardon is my decision as president and the authority to do so is contained in the constitution. I cannot make people happy 100 percent of the time," said Horta.
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 19 May 2008

234 petitioners return to civilian life: recruitment mechanism not helpful – Timor Post
A meeting held in Dili few days ago between Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and 600 petitioners made good progress regarding the petitioners who decided to return to F-FDTL, the institution they abandoned during the 2006 crisis. According to the questionnaires filled out the petitioners, 339 petitioners chose to return to the military. However, 234 of them withdraw their decision to rejoin the military as they thought that the recruitment mechanism would not help to solve their problems. The coordinator of the petitioners, Augusto de Jesus [Major Tara], said that the 234 petitioners have re-registered themselves to become civilians. "Two hundred and thirty-four petitioners have registered and declared that they wanted to change their decision. In two or three days they all will prepare declarations that they want to return to civilian life," said Major Tara on Friday (16/5) in Aitarak-Laran, Dili. Cesar Valente de Jesus, one of the petitioners who chose to return to military, said he had questions regarding the mechanism, management and the rules of the recruitment. "We had meetings with the Government but we were never informed whether we would be accepted back along with the new young recruits," said Mr. de Jesus.

Xavier accuses CNRT, PD and PSD of trying to break ASDT – Timor Post
ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral said that his party decided to sign an accord with Fretilin as CNRT, PD and PSD are trying to break the party. Mr. Xavier do Amaral is questioning how power is apportioned in the Government, which is dominated by CNRT, PD and PSD. He also said that the three parties are going to have to engage in dirty politics in order to catch the attention of ASDT followers and recruit them. "They went to the rural areas to get people's attention with money. They may succeed in attracting people. During the elections, CNRT stole many of our supporters, as well as those from PSD and PD. We have good cooperation on the surface but inside something is bad and it makes us sad," said Mr. Xavier on Friday (16/5) in his residence in Lecidere, Dili. Mr Xavier do Amaral said that before forming the AMP Government, the leaders of ASDT, CNRT, PD and PSD agreed that whoever will become the Prime Minister should consult within AMP. Sadly, PM Xanana Gusmão never consulted with them. Mr. Xavier also said that even though AMP has a lot of programs, ASDT is questioning how they are being implemented. Furthermore, Mr. Xavier do Amaral said although that he never agreed to an early election, he would welcome it if it happened.

Pardon to Rogerio: will be a strongly rejected by Timorese people – Timor Post
President José Ramos-Horta's pardon of former Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato on 20 May 2008 will be strongly rejected by the East Timorese people. According to the Government, civil society and the National Parliament, prisoner Lobato does not deserve to a pardon as he has not fulfilled the requirements specified by the legal code. Based upon the judicial criteria, a prisoner should fulfill one-third of his/her sentence and demonstrate a good attitude during this period. Mr. Rogerio, however, was imprisoned for just one month in Becora prison. He then went to Malaysia for medical treatment where he is now.Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato stated last week that it was too early to pardon to Mr. Rogerio as he had only served one month of his prison sentence.

According to Minister Lobato, at present the Government is making efforts to bring Rogerio Lobato back to Timor-Leste to continue medical treatment in Dili National Hospital. National Parliament MP Vital dos Santos said that as a representative of the people he does not question the competence of the president. However, the president must not give a pardon but instead should shorten Mr. Rogerio's sentence. On the part of civil society, the Director of Yayasan Hak José Luis de Oliveira, said that there are important points that the State, including the Government, need to be studied before make a decision. 

Xanana: it is time to embrace peace – Timor Post
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that it is time for Timor-Leste to embrace peace for the future. PM Gusmão is asking all Timorese people to commemorate Restoration Day, 20 May, as a day for all people to go ahead to develop the nation.  PM Gusmão also said that it was not time to create violence, but to contribute to the nation's future. "Young people want peace. It is time to prepare yourself to develop because you are the future of the nation," said PM Gusmão on Saturday night (17/5) on an Indonesian band concert in Dili.

Horta: Australia and Portugal support Timor Leste – Suara Timor Lorosa'e
President José Ramos Horta said that Australia and Portugal CPLP strongly support Timor Leste in the defence area. The two nations have agreed to provide advisory training for Timor Leste's military (F-FDTL). "In the next five or ten years, we still need the help of Portugal and Australia to provide military training and advice to Timor Leste. These two nations have strongly supported Timor Leste in many aspects including defence," said the President Jose Ramos Horta on Sunday (18/05) at Hotel Timor in Dili. Ramos Horta said that he had spoken to the Portuguese Defence Minister Nuno Severino Teixeira who had also agreed that Portugal will continue to support Timor Leste in the defence area. "Portugal will provide technical, human resource, financial and resource facility support to Timor Leste's defence force," he added. The president also said that the Portugal's door was always opened for any request for assistance from Timor Leste in the area of defence. In terms of overall reform of defence forces, the President Ramos Horta said that Timor Leste still needs support from Portugal, Australia and UNMIT as well.

F-FDTL and PNTL will be deployed across the region –  Suara Timor Lorosa'e
In order to ensure the security situation within the Bairos, especially to ensure the safety of IDPs returning to their communities, both F-FDTL and PNTL will be deployed across the region including the Bairos in order to ensure the security situation in the country and the return of the IDPs. "If you have decided to return home, it is your decision and the government cannot do anything without your own consent. It is important to be aware that we are Timorese are all responsible for finding solutions to our own problems. Therefore, it is now a time to resolve our problems," said the President of the National Parliament Fernando de Araujo Lasama to the IDPs after a farewell mass on Thursday (15/5) at Jardin IDPs camp in Colmera, Dili.

The President of the National Parliament said that he has asked the leader of PNTL Afonso de Jesus and F-FDTL Taur Matan Ruak to continue to work together to reinforce the security in the country after Salsinha and his men handed themselves over to justice. People need stability and peace and none of the groups should disturb the people anymore. Fernando Lasama asked all the IDPs to return home spontaneously to their communities in order to create peace and love among each other, and to forget the past. If some people still felt pain or animosity in their heart, then it must be solved through a dispute resolution process like the traditional nahe biti boot where people sit together to discuss their problems and find solutions.
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 16 May 2008

ASDT withdraws its coalition with Fretilin – Suara Timor Lorosa'e, Diario Nacional, Timor Post & Televisaun Timor-Leste
Five ASDT MPs are asking the president of the party, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, to end the coalition with Fretilin, as they want to give AMP two years to correct the errors they have made in government. "We will still support the AMP's Government and still give them time to correct themselves. The time given to AMP is intended to help improve people's lives. If this doesn't happen, then ASDT will find a solution to the problem. The coalition with Fretilin is not going to be implemented in the short term," said an ASDT MP José Carrascalão on Thursday (15/5) in the National Parliament, Dili. Mr. Carrascalão said that if the accord signed with Fretilin is implemented in the short term then it will not give stability to the nation but have a negative impact on people's lives. The Vice President of Fretilin Arsenio Bano made no comment on ASDT's withdrawal, as Fretilin still does not know the reasons for the action.

UNDERTIM to get post in the Government – Timor Post
After UNDERTIM decided to join AMP on Tuesday (13/5), the President of the Alliance Majority in Parliament (AMP) said that AMP will prepare a post of State Secretary to be given to UNDERTIM. According to Lasama, UNDERTIM is a candidate for the position as the party has entered AMP''s block. The President UNDERTIM Cornelio Gama said that his party will delegate his Secretary-General to take any post offered by the AMP government. "We will put our Secretary-General on the post as needed by the Government. We support AMP because we still consider Xanana as our resistance leader who led us during the struggle," said Mr. Gama on Thursday (15/5) in the National Parliament, Dili.

The Vice President of Fretilin Arsenio Bano said that even though UNDERTIM joined AMP, this does not guarantee that the AMP Government will be clear of corruption, collusion and nepotism. Fretilin is still considering options to force an early election. "Fretilin is not concerned with their alliance. They are going to strengthen corruption, collusion and nepotism. Many people will see whether things are right or wrong," said Mr. Bano. Mr. Bano said that there will be early election if the corruption, collusion and nepotism are still rampant.

Lucia Lobato: don't be in a hurry to pardon Rogerio – Timor Post
Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato will present a legal opinion to President Jose Ramos-Horta, asking him not to be in a hurry to pardon former Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato as the prisoner is not in Timor-Leste at the present time. Minister Lobato said that based on the Constitution, the president has the authority to grant pardons to prisoners who have been ordered by the Court to serve their full sentences. Whether the prisoners are in the country or outside of the country is an important consideration. "I think the President may give a pardon to Rogerio when he returns to Timor-Leste. If not, this will be a big controversy among the public," said Minister Lobato on Thursday (15/5).

Gertrudes Moniz-Arsenio Bano: the case of February 11 is still a mystery – Diario Nacional
PD MP Gertrudes Moniz and Fretilin MP Arsenio Bano stated that the case of the attacks on PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão on February 11 is a mystery as the government and the judiciary have still not identified the actors of the referred case. "The National Parliament has approved a resolution to establish an independent commission of inquiry, but has not yet established it. Many alleged people have been arrested but the truth has not yet been revealed.

The Prosecutor-General made many political comments while working on the investigation. Is the General-Prosecutor working for the interests of the people or someone else? Is he working for politics or justice?

The President of Republic, a victim of the attacks of February 11, has given his statement, but how about the Prime Minister? In connection with cases from 2006, some leaders have been called to make statements, such as PR Ramos-Horta, Mari Alkatiri, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, and Colonel Lere Anan Timur. They all have given their statements in the court. Has Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão as the previous president given his statement or not?," asked Mr. Bano on Thursday (15/5) in the National Parliament, Dili.

Ed: Veterans saving each other …!!! – Diario Nacional
UNDERTIM's joining of AMP is the subject of discussion subject of the leaders in and out of the National Parliament. It has created positive and negative reaction. Some say that UNDERTIM is joining the AMP in order to obtain a position in the government. The Vice president of UNDERTIM said that UNDERTIM is joining the AMP to save the people and bring development to them. It is true that the recent government has started to solve the problems of the IDPs and the petitioners, as well as other problems facing the nation.

Is UNDERTIM joining AMP because ASDT made coalition with Fretilin to bring down the government? If it is to save the government, why do they need the post offered?

UNDERTIM may give various reasons that the recent government could develop the people and the nation. But the public analysis may show that UNDERTIM is entering AMP to save Xanana, not AMP, because Xanana is a veteran, their big brother. They do not want a government ruled by a veteran which falls down half way through its elected term of office. We wait …

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