Saturday, July 28, 2012

Timor-Leste Legal News March 2008 (Part 3)

Daily Media Review 24 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Lasama announces extension of 'State of Siege' and 'State of Emergency' - Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo has officially declared that a State of Siege is to be extended to the Districts of Aileu, Ainaro, Manufahi, Covalima, Bobonaro, Liquica and Ermera. PR Lasama said that the decision was taken upon the request of the Government and with the authorization of the National Parliament.

President Lasama said that after consulting with the Defence and Security Council, the decision was taken to extend the State of Siege to the districts for 30 days. "During the State of Siege, the right of people to gather and hold meetings is temporarily suspended," said PR Lasama.

PR Lasama has also decided to implement State of Emergency in the districts of Baucau, Dili, Lospalos, Viqueque, Manatuto for a period of 30 days. Oecusse and the Dili sub-district of Atauro will have neither a State of Siege nor State of Emergency as they are not considered security risks. The State of Siege and State of Emergency will be implemented from March 23 to April 22, 2008.

The Democratic Party MP, Adriano de Nascimento, has accepted the implementation of the State of Siege and Emergency in support  of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. However, Fretilin member of NP, Francisco Brancos said that the State of Siege has taken too long and is exposing the weaknesses of the State. He even suggested that this may put the nation on the path to dictatorship. However, Fretilin is continuing to support the Joint Operation.

On this, ASDT has asked the Government to give extra attention to the actions of the Joint Operation as they fear some members may take advantage of their position to settle personal grievances.

Rebels surrender with their weapons in Maubisse - Four rebels have surrendered themselves and their weapons to the Chief of the State [PM Gusmao] along with their weapons on Saturday (22/3) in Maubisse, Ainaro District. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that this action by the rebels is very positive and will go a long way to resolving the problems faced in the country. One of the rebels, Paulo Neno, said that he feels that he has contributed to the justice process by surrendering.

PM: Joint Operation slow to get results in attempt to avoid death and trauma - In answer to the criticisms levelled at PM Gusmao by MPs that the Joint Operation has not produced any results, the PM has responded that the Joint Operation has been slow to obtain results as they have attempted to avoid unnecessary deaths or cause trauma to the public. However, the PM confirmed that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation would be in full military force after Easter to capture outstanding rebels.

Related to accusations that Joint Operation members have conducted themselves irresponsibly, the Prime Minister said that people should report such actions to the authorities in order for them to be investigated.

Print Coverage

Lasama: Attempts against State greatest crime - In a dialogue with the population of Lete-Foho, Ermera, Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo said that the attempts against the State made by the rebel groups of Alfredo Reinado and Gastão Salsinha can be considered as the greatest crime and should be resolved through the court system. President Lasama has appealed to the public to help convince Salsinha and other rebels to surrender.

Related to the rumours that Alfredo's death was the result of a foreign-led conspiracy, PR Lasama said that the only people responsible were Timorese. "Never falsify and blame others. All the mistakes are ours and it's time to solve these problems," said PR. Lasama. (TP)

Ed: Four rebels surrender - The positive impacts of PR Ramos-Horta's appeal on Wednesday (19/3) to Salsinha and his group were felt on Saturday (22/3) with the surrender of four rebels and their weapons to the state through the Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro. The surrenders were a good step towards resolving the issue and it a step that Salsinha should also take. Salsinha once said that he will only surrender once PR Horta returns to Timor-Leste- this is Salsinha's right, but as PR Horta may still need to be in Darwin for a long time, Salsinha may need to rethink his decision. We cannot know his mind. The whole matter rests on Salsinha. As the PM once said, it is Salsinha's decision whether to surrender, or die.  (TP)

Lasama asks public to convince Salsinha to surrender - The Acting PR, Fernando de Araujo 'Lasama,' has asked the people of Lete-Foho to convince Salsinha to surrender, if they know where he is currently hiding. (DN)

TMR to pay close attention to soldiers who torture people - The Apprehension Operation's General-Commander, Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak, has asked the public to report any cases of violations or torture from soldiers under the Joint Command. "Any of the victims who receive such treatment from the soldiers should report their case to the police so that the cases can be investigated and not just publicized thorough the Media," said TMR on Wednesday (19/3) at Palacio da Cinzas, Dili. (DN and STL)

Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixao says Apprehension Operation will not kill Salsinha - Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão has said that the Apprehension Operation currently operating in Lete-Foho, Ermera, is not out to kill Salsinha and his men, but to convince them to surrender. "The Apprehension Operation forces consider Salsinha and his men as brothers and not enemies, because they also contributed to the independence of this nation. Therefore we are here to call Salsinha and his men to surrender and submit themselves to justice," he said. (DN)

Four of Salsinha's men surrender - Four of Gastao Salsinha's men have surrendered themselves along with one machine gun and two AK33 rifles. The men were received by the Prosecutor-General, Longuinhos Monteiro in Maubesse sub district on Saturday (16/3). The men were also presented to the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, and Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak at the Government Palace. (DN)

Government and Timor Energy work together to build houses for IDPs - The Secretary of State for Solidarity and Natural Disasters, Rigoberto Gomes, said that the Government is currently working together with Timor Energy to provide 416 transitional houses for IDPs currently living at the compound of the National Hospital. "These houses are now ready for the IDPs. This is a temporary solution until their problems can be resolved," he said. (DN)

'Lasama' visits Lete-foho sub-district, Ermera - The Acting PR, Fernando de Araujo 'Lasama' has visited the Apprehension Operation forces in Lete-foho sub-district, Ermera on Saturday (22/3). The visit was aimed at seeing directly the conditions of the Apprehension Operation forces based in Lete-foho and to also listen to the community about the Apprehension Operation. "My objective here is to listen and see directly what people think about the Apprehension Operation during this time. It seems that there has been good collaboration and good cooperation among the operation and the community," he said. (STL)

Justice Minister and State Secretary of Defence sign Accord to establish military prison - The Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato, and the State Secretary of Defence, Julio Tomas Pinto, have signed an Accord regarding the establishment of a military prison in Timor-Leste. "I would like to inform the public that starting from now if our military commits crimes they will be imprisoned in the military prison. The military prison is established following the cases of violence committed by the F-FDTL in 2006," said Minister Lobato.  The State Secretary of Defence, Julio Tomas Pinto, said that the military prison is currently based in the F-FDTL HQ in Tasi Tolu, Dili and that four F-FDTL members are imprisoned there. "According to the mandate of the constitution, we do need to establish the military prison in our country," said Mr Pinto. (TP)
TLPres: Statement on the States of Siege and Emergency

ON 23 MARCH 2008 People of East Timor. Citizens.

Timor-Leste Legal News March 2008 (Part 2)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 17 March 2008

Mino Paixao: Salsinha and his men have escaped - The Apprehension Operation, under the command of Major Neves, Major  Ular, and Major Koliati, surrounded the place where Salsinha and his men were hiding. The cordon was approximately 70 metres in diameter and set up in order to force them to surrender. However, Salsinha and his men managed to escape. "Major Neves and his members were urging them to surrender. But Salsinha and his men escaped- there was no contact fire from either of the parties," said General Commander Paixao on Saturday (15/3) in Memorial Hall, Dili. (TP)

Salsina's wife asks Govt to stop the Operation - The wife of Gastao Salsinha, Joaquina Salsinha, has asked the Government to stop the Apprehension Operation hunting her husband. "It's not necessary to hunt him [Salshina] if there is a willingness to solve the problem. It is better to keep a cool head in trying to resolve this problem together as his case affects the whole nation," she said on Friday (14/2) at her residence in Gleno, Ermera. She has also questioned why the Government is not using peaceful measures to encourage him to surrender, rather than using weapons and force. Joaquin believes that her husband will not surrender if the Apprehension Operation continues for a long time. This is why she is insisting that the Apprehension Operation must be stopped. Joaquina has also noted that her husband's case is mostly utilized by the leaders for their own political ends. "We have had no contact for the last two months. He has not returned home until now.  I am not sure whether he is dead or still alive," she added. (STL)

Inasio Maia surrenders himself - One of Gastao Salshina's members, Inasio Maia, has surrendered himself to the police in Hatolia sub-district after he directly contacted the former Commander of Regional IV, Ernesto Fernandes known as 'Dudu,' on Sunday (16/3), in Ermera district. "He told me directly that he was willing to surrender himself. Therefore, I immediately passed this on to the police in Ermera to pick him up," said Dudu. Dudu also explained that Inasio decided to surrender after the Apprehension Operation forces attempted to capture him. Together with other members, he has broken away from the leadership of Gastao Salsinha. (STL)

Koliati says military methods will be used against Salsinha and his men - The Apprehension Operation will use military tactics to force Salsinha and his men to surrender. "If Salsinha and his group are not going to respond to our repeated appeals, we will use military methods to bring them to justice," said Lieutenant Koliati on Friday (14/3/) in Letefoho, Ermera. (STL)

UN supports Timorese People to steer towards justice - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that United Nation will continue to support the Timorese people to steer their own paths towards justice. Mr Khare's statements were made during a ceremony where ten probationary judges, prosecutors and public defenders were sworn-in by Chief Justice Claudio Ximenes at Dili's Court of Appeals. "I also congratulate the authorities of the Justice Ministry and Legal Training Centre who have made an effort to steer its justice system," said the SRSG. (TP)

Xanana says people expect justice to be impartial - Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, said that people expect that justice should be impartial. He made the statement after ten probationary judges, prosecutors and public defenders have been sworn-in by the Chief Justice Claudio Ximenes. "I would like to thank all our friends who been cooperating in this project, to ensure the success of the course," said the Prime Minister. (DN)

Dionisio Babo asks the Government to implement the Commission of Inquiry - The Secretary-General of the CNRT party, Dinisio Babo Soares, has asked the Government to set up a Commission of Inquiry as quickly as possible as it has been approved by the parliament. "The government should establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the current situation and the attacks on February 11th," he said. (STL)
17 March 2008 MEDIA RELEASE

FRETILIN demands naming and action against alleged impeders of Salsinha group surrender

The FRETILIN leader in the Timor-Leste National Parliament demanded today that Timor-Leste's Prosecutor General and interim President of the Republic name and commence criminal action against persons they have publicly stated are suspected of actively impeding the surrender to authorities of former army Lieutenant Salsinha and his armed group.

Francisco Branco, reacting to media reports of statements by both the interim President Fernando de Araujo Lasama, and Prosecutor General Monteiro Longhuinos, that they suspected that a third party or parties had been actively interfering to prevent Salsinha and his armed group from surrendering since the violent incidents of 11th February, said that it was in the "national interest that they do so instead of opening up speculation, rumour mongering and confusion in our community by making vague and unsubstantiated remarks in the press.

"If there are people who are suspected of engaging in such unlawful conduct, then they should be charged and publicly named and brought before the courts. That is how it works in a state under the rule of law," added Branco.

"The whole of the FRETILIN leadership and its parliamentarians continue to give their full support to the joint F-FDTL/PNTL operation and reiterate their appeal to all Timorese, including FRETILIN members and supporters, to cooperate and assist the joint operation in every way they can to ensure the operation succeeds.

"FRETILIN also repeats its appeal to Mr. Salsinha and his armed Group to surrender forthwith to the security forces, who are presently undertaking operations against them. Only by avoiding further violence and bloodshed will they be able to contribute to the process of seeking truth and justice in our country," Branco concluded.

Mr. Branco's calls were echoed by the Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau, Basilio do Nascimento. In local media today, the Bishop said that the Prosecutor General's public statement that third parties had been impeding Salsinha and his group from surrendering had opened the door to needless public speculation and rumour.

For further comment:   Nilva Gimaraes, Media Officer, FRETILIN Parliamentary Group +670 734 0389

Jose Teixeira MP in Dili +670 728 7080

Exmos. Ladies Magistrates and Public Defenders
Ladies and gentlemen,

I want to first congratulate the Judges, Attorneys and Public Defenders trainees who attended the second course at the Center of Judicial Training that have just taken their new posts. The training of ten for "the judiciary" is a further step in the arduous path that is the process of building one of the main organs of sovereignty of the country, which are the Courts.

Since our nation is sovereign and independent, all efforts have been made to consolidate a culture with judicial tribunals that operate in a manner fair, accessible and efficient. Training of Judges, Prosecutors and Public Defenders, a model that is being developed at the Judicial Training Centre, as part of this plan, can not fail to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed to the success of this course. The progress in the training of Magistrates, it should be considered as an invaluable wealth for the country

The Government believes that the improvement of the justice system of Timor-Leste, is part of a wider process of reform of the state and of economic and social development. Justice is not swift, effective and universal, contributing to a climate of impunity and weakens the democratic authority of the state.

More than ever, in our recent history, justice is seen as an essential premise to overcome the crisis which we live and hope to give a vote of the people, returning him the confidence in the democratic institutions of the country. Notwithstanding the valuable progress made so far, this government believes that the judicial organisation has to be reconsidered so that, first, any citizen, whatever their social status, professional or economic is above the law and, second, to be reconciled the ideals of development, freedom and security.

We live in difficult times when the constitutional democratic order has been questioned and whose factors are of a social and political complex. In the diagnosis, it is particularly important to develop the field of criminal law, with special emphasis on the investigation of crimes and greater coordination with the police apparatus, especially with the police for criminal investigation.

The development of capabilities in this area, accompanied by an effective system of preventative arrests, prisons, including the creation of a military prison, and new approaches to fighting crime and insecurity, foster Justice, Security and Welfare of All, which is the purpose and reason for the rule.

When the democratic authority of the State is called into question, it requires that power is exercised: the legislative, executive and the administration of justice on behalf of the people - together we must prepare a collective response so that our people live with dignity they deserves.

The improvement of the administration of justice, reform of the management system and the acceleration of the procedural requirements are priorities for the government but that will only be effective if the courts are equipped with sufficient human resources that are competent. The Magistrates and Public Defenders are the servers of the interests of the Nation, the interests of the people, the firm defence of the rule of law that the Democratic Constitution prescribes, and therefore the noble role they are assigned in the future, is to be recognized by the community as the guarantor of fundamental rights.

Ladies Judges, Attorneys and Public Defenders,

To incorporate the courts and judicial institutions are taking a commitment to the whole community, promotion of justice and the protection of rights and legitimate interests of citizens, which begins in a responsible conduct and action for a prompt and effective justice every day .

On the part of the government, as Prime Minister, I give the guarantee of permanent institutional support in your mission and the call for the cooperation of citizens, It is necessary to adequately understand the systems and acts for which they asked cooperation, which passes by a prolonged campaign of information so that later they can not rely on ignorance of the consequences of their reprehensible behavior.

Thus, this Government is committed to enlightenment and civic participation by adopting a policy cross for the sector of justice, which passes by schools and education. It is vital that young people understand the extent to which democracy, development and well-being are dependent on justice that works, instilling a culture of rigor and accountability, not only in the bodies of power and the agents of justice but in all citizens.

I wish you good work in contributing to the solution of problems affecting our society and our people. The Timorese society account with your dedication and commitment.

Thank you.
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao
UNMIT Daily Media Review 14 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Lasama: Salsinha not far away - The Acting President of the Republic, Fernando Lasama, has again asked Salsinha to surrender. "I think he is still here in Timor-Leste. We hope that he will think about the solution for the nation ... if Salsinha opens fire, then members of the operation will of course defend themselves," said PR Lasama. Related to the statement of Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro that some people are influencing Salsinha not to surrender, Acting President Lasama said it would be in the interests of some people if Salsinha died as he would also bury with him all the information he had. "We consider him to be a main witness as he led the attack against PM Xanana in Balibar. I think Salsinha has lots of information about this," said Acting PR Lasama on Thursday (13/2) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

Tara: Petitioners have option to return to military - Major Tara said that the petitioners have an option to return to the military as stated in the questionnaires provided by the Government. "Some questions asked: Do you want to return to the military even though you left it for two years?' Provide your explanation," said Major Tara after meeting with PM Xanana on Thursday (13/2) in Palacio do Governu, Dili.

Print Coverage

Lasama: "Salsinha key informant of February 11" - The Acting President of the Republic, Fernando Lasama considers Salsinha to be the key person in the attempts made against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana on February 11. Related to the statement of Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro that some people are influencing Salsinha not to surrender, Acting President Lasama said it would be in the interests of some people if Salsinha died as he would also bury with him all the information he had. "We consider him to be a main witness as he led the attack against PM Xanana in Balibar. I think Salsinha has lots of information about this," said Acting PR Lasama on Thursday (13/2) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

Fretilin asks Govt to implement ICI resolutions - Fretilin MP in the National Parliament has asked Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to implement the resolution of the International Commission of Inquiry approved by the National Parliament to investigate the attacks against PR Horta and PM Xanana on February 11. "It has already been one month since the events of February 11. The Government should implement the International Commission of Inquiry immediately in order to get to the truth of the matter," said Francisco Miranda, Fretilin member of NP on Thursday (13/3) in the National Parliament. (DN)
Harsh spotlight on Timor forces The Age Stephanie March, Dili March 15, 2008 - EAST Timor's police and military have been accused of beating and torturing citizens since a state of emergency began following the February 11 attacks that left President Jose Ramos Horta wounded and rebel leader Alfredo Reinado dead. Sources in Ermera district, close to where the remaining rebels are reportedly hiding, have complained of beatings by the military as the hunt for rebel leader Gastao Salsinha and his followers continues.

A report by the Ombudsman for Human Rights detailed eight separate incidents of beatings, unlawful detention and harassment by the police, known as the PNTL, and military, or FDTL, under the state of emergency, but sources from Parliament and police say the numbers are much higher.

In one incident from the report, a group of armed military police using four-wheel-drives with tinted windows and no registration plates chased a man through the capital, Dili, before assaulting him and dislocating his shoulder. In another incident, a group of police reportedly entered a victim's house in Dili without an arrest warrant and kicked him in the stomach.

"There was no need to use such excessive force to arrest the individual. These actions show an abuse of power on the part of the authority, violating human rights during the state of siege," said the report.

The report comes as problems between the joint command and United Nations police begin to surface.

At Dili airport late last month, a group of FDTL military forced UN police at gunpoint to hand over a suspect they had brought by helicopter from the western enclave of Oecussi.

The Deputy Commissioner of the UN Police in East Timor, Hermanprit Singh, said the incident at the airport was unfortunate but was being investigated. There have been other reports that UN police who have tried to stop beatings of innocent civilians by the PNTL have been threatened by PNTL officers.

A spokeswoman for the UN mission admitted they too were receiving complaints of human rights violations by police and military but she refused to elaborate.

The country's ombudsman, Sebastiao Dias Ximenes, compared the "mentality" of the East Timorese forces to that of the Indonesian police during their 24-year occupation of the island nation. "If I compare with Indonesian time, the police of Indonesian (are) better than our police ­ not worse but better," Mr Ximenes said.

The report also named the International Stabilisation Force, which comprises Australian and New Zealand troops, as inappropriately capturing people caught breaking the 10pm-6am curfew, but did not detail specific incidents. The ISF are providing tactical and operational support to the 465 Timorese officers deployed to 30 checkpoints across the country as authorities wait for the remaining rebels to surrender.

Both East Timor's Police Commander, Alfonso De Jesus, and Commander of the ISF, Brigadier James Baker, refused to comment on the report's findings.

East Timorese MP Fernanda Borges, leader of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, said Parliament had received more reports about aggressive behaviour and unlawful assaults, including intimidation. She had received reports from victims that security forces were using this opportunity to "settle old scores" that they might have had from the 2006 crisis or the resistance years.

Mr Ximenes said neither police nor military wore name tags on their uniforms, making it difficult for victims to identify perpetrating officers and near impossible to take disciplinary action.

Last month analysts expressed grave concern at the East Timorese Government's decision to merge the police and military under the same command for the period of the state of emergency, just two years after violence between sections of the two forces destabilised the country, leaving 37 dead and forcing 150,000 to flee their homes.

International Crisis Group analyst Sophia Cason warned the merger could lead to a confusion of roles and powers.
TLPres: Statement by President DR Jose Ramos-Horta English 13 March 2008 Press Release Statement by President DR Jose Ramos-Horta

President DR Jose Ramos-Horta, from the Darwin Private Hospital today, has refuted information published in the media that attributed comments to him concerning the February 11th shooting incident in Dili.  President Ramos Horta has reiterated that he has not made any statement to the media regarding the incident.

During his treatment in Darwin, President Ramos Horta has authorised the Timor-Leste National Television station, ‘Television Timor-Leste’, to take footage of him and record a statement, however there have been no interviews or statements made concerning the details of the February 11th incident.

President Ramos Horta also took the opportunity to reinforce his support and confidence in the Interim President, Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo, The Interim President of the National Parliament, Vicente Guterres, and The Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, to manage the political affairs of the country.

“Interim President, Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo has my full confidence to carry out the duties of the Head of State, with dignity and responsibility. It is not my intention to intervene in the affairs of State.” President Ramos Horta stated.

UNMIT Daily Media Review 13 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

Message of President José Ramos-Horta to the Nation

Now is the holy week, it is the beginning of Easter. It is the first time since one of our brothers of Alfredo Reinado's group and Salsinha's shot me that I have the possibility to speak to all people of Timor-Leste: to the Bishops, priests, sisters, Government, National Parliament, and civil society, all people of Timor-Leste.

I am thankful for your concerns, support, confidence and solidarity. I will not make a long statement, and I will not deliver a political speech. In one or two more weeks, I will be able to speak much more. I have received good treatment from everybody in Darwin Royal Hospital.

I thank the ambulance and the GNR officers who took me to Heliport hospital. I thank the medical doctors in Heliport, 'Medical Centre' which saved my life, and flew me to Darwin.

Soon I will try to return to Timor-Leste to resume my work. At the moment Fernando Lasama serves as the Acting President of Republic with dignity, integrity and competence.  I appeal to the Government, Members of Parliament, and political parties to work together in assisting the poor.

That is all my words.

PGR: 4 F-FDTL members not involved in Joint Operation - The General Prosecutor of Republic Longuinhos has refuted claims that four F-FDTL members previously involved in the May 25 case were now involved in the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. Mr Longuinhos said that the four members were currently detained in the F-FDTL detention centre in Tasi Tolu, Dili. "This is to counter the rumours that these four members of the F-FDTL are involved in the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation to chase Salsinha and his group. This is not true because they are now in the hands of the military police in Tasi Tolu," said PGR Monteiro on Tuesday (11/3) in Dili. PGR Monteiro said that the four members of F-FDTL will be imprisoned in the military prison within the headquarters of the defence forces. PGR also said that the military prison is under construction. "The construction is on the final phase. The four members are currently under detention and will remain so until they can enter the prison as soon as it is completed," said PGR Monteiro.

Govt. to solve petitioners' problem - The Advisor to the Cabinet of the Prime Minister for Civil Society and Petitioners' Problem, Joaquim Fonseca, said that the Government is going to solve the petitioners' problems by providing questionnaires to them. The petitioners will answer in the questionnaire the question of whether they want to return to the military or remain as civilians upon the required mechanisms and criteria.  "The State Secretary of Defence and F-FDTL have been working on the process for those who want to return to the military based on the required criteria," said Mr. Fonseca. The media is currently not allowed to enter the gathering place of the petitioners without the authorization of Mr Fonseca.

Print Coverage

No confrontation between Salsinha and Joint Operation - Even though the deadline for Salsinha has ended, there has been no confrontation between him and the F-FDFTL/ PNTL Joint Operation. A source from the Government Palace said that the stronghold of Salsinha has been detected but no attacks have as yet been conducted as the authorities want to avoid bloodshed.  Separately, the Spokesperson of the F-FDFTL/ PNTL Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão, said that Salsinha has to contribute to the process. "Salsinha has to give us his contribution as we have all been waiting for two years. We will never have any solution if he keeps extending the deadline," said Commander Paixão. (DN)

Filomeno Paixao: Joint Operation continues - The Spokesperson of the F-FDFTL/ PNTL Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixao, said that because Salsinha and his group have not as yet surrendered, the operation is still continuing. "He promised that he should surrender on Monday (11/3). If he does not surrender the operation will continue to bring all people to justice all those who are against justice," said Commander Paixão at the press conference held in Memorial, Dili. "Salsinha has to give us his contribution as we have all been waiting for two years, but we will never have any solution if he keeps extending the deadline," said Commander Paixao. (DN)

James Baker: ISF concerned about media coverage of Feb 11 - The Commander of International Stabilization Forces (ISF), James Baker said that the ISF is concerned with the inaccuracies in information provided by the Timor-Leste media in their coverage of the February 11 events. According to Commander Baker, the information provided has not been factual. "I read lots of articles about February 11 which have no facts," said Commander Baker. Commander Baker confirmed that if the press wanted clarification about any information related to the ISF, they could contact the ISF directly.  "It's very important to disseminate true information rather than spreading rumours. We are asking the media to stop the speculations," said Commander Baker. (DN)

PGR: knows who is preventing Salsinha from surrendering - The Prosecutor General of the Republic, Longuinhos Monteiro, said that he knows the people who are impeding the surrender of Salsinha to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. PGR Monteiro said the people have been identified through their telephone communications with Salsinha. PGR Monteiro also said Salsinha's group are split between those who want to leave and those who want to stay with him. (STL)

PGR: Susar may contact Salsinha - PGR Longuinhos Monteiro has commended the offer made by Susar to help Salsinha to surrender. "I think this will help persuade him [Salsinha] to surrender," said PGR Monteiro. PGR Monteiro also said that he had lost contact with Salsinha since the deadline for his surrender ended (9-11/3). (TP)
Criminal Trials at the Dili District Court JSMP Justice Update March 2008 - At the beginning of March 2008, the Dili District Court recommenced hearing criminal cases relating to the 2006 crisis. These hearings were conducted at the Court of Appeal in Kaikoli, Dili as the Dili District Court is still being renovated. During the monitoring period, many members of the group led by the deceased Major Alfredo Reinaldo Alves handed themselves in to the government in relation to the incidents that occurred on 11 February. Susar and others were immediately brought before the court by the Prosecution Unit to provide statements about their involvement in incidents since the events of 2006.

These hearings are still at the pretrial stage, meaning nobody – including JSMP – can be granted access to these hearings. This prohibition of access relates to the provisions contained in Articles; 247.1 of the Timor Leste Criminal Procedure Code , which stipulates such hearings shall be closed to the public. Accordingly, JSMP was only able to monitor hearings conducted by the court other than those related to the examination of the late Major Reinado’s associates.

José Manuel Pires/Case No 211/crm.s/07/TDD
In this case, the Prosecution accused the defendant, Jose Manuel Pires of “damaging the property of another person” as proscribed in Article 406.1 of the Indonesian Penal Code. The defence lawyer, however, argued that the evidence presented during the trial was factually incorrect and, in any case, insufficient to warrant a conviction. He further claimed that prosecution witnesses did not actually see the defendant taking part in the alleged crime. After hearing from the prosecution and the defence, the presiding judge adjourned the trial until 14 March 2008 for the final decision.

Luis Neves de Araújo Correia/Case No 20 crm.s/07/TDD
During this preliminary hearing, the defendant and prosecution witnesses were called to give an initial statement to the court.  The testimony of the defendant differed markedly from that of the witnesses. After examining all assembled evidence and considering the statements, the presiding judge decided to proceed with the trial. Accordingly, the prosecution formally charged the defendant with maltreatment, under Article 352(1) of the Indonesian Penal Code. The trial was adjourned until 7 March 2008 to hear the final decision of the court.

Mario de Araújo Carvalho/Case No 89/crm.s/07/TDD
This hearing was the final stage of trial. The hearing was presided over by international judge Vitor Hugo Pardal. After assessing the evidence presented to the court throughout the trial and considering all elements of the crimes alleged by the public prosecutor, Judge Pardal found the defendant Mario de Araujo Carvalho guilty of murder, as set out in Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code as a ‘crime against life’, and sentenced him to eight years imprisonment.

Quintiliano Rodrigues Falo Cs/Case No 221/crm.s/07/TDD
This trial, relating to the burning of a house, involves charges of property destruction under Article 406(1) of the Indonesian Penal Code. Nine other persons have been separately charged in relation to this incident. The hearing continued with testimony from four prosecution witnesses. Under questioning, it emerged that only one of these four witnesses actually saw the defendant Quintiliano Rodrigues Falo at the scene of the crime. Furthermore, this witness stated that he did not see who actually burned the house. After hearing this testimony, the presiding judge adjourned the trial until 14 March, when testimony from another two witnesses will be heard.

Gabriel Maia/Case No 30/crm.s/07/TDD
This case continued with testimony from the defendant Gabriel Maia, who was charged with several criminal acts, namely maltreatment, defamation and making threats with the intention of committing a crime. In his testimony the defendant rejected all allegations made by the prosecution. The defendant stated that on the 23 August 2005 he did indeed have an argument with the victim, but committed no offence against the victim, to whom he was at the time married.  The defendant further dismissed the relevance of a doctor’s certificate obtained by the victim, claiming that it was merely intended to put blame on him. Witnesses scheduled to give evidence were not present as the court had not issued them with a formal summons. The trial was adjourned and is scheduled to be continued on 26 March 2008.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 12 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Monteiro: Salsinha influenced to not surrender - The General Prosecutor of the Republic Longuinhos Monteiro has claimed that there is an important person in this country who is influencing Salsinha not to surrender to the old leadership, but instead to surrender to the new leaders- the Prosecutor General declined to reveal who the new leaders are. Separately, Mr. Monteiro also said that some people outside the country are attempting to supply Salsinha with weapons. "I have new information that a person has tried to get between 5-10 weapons to support Salsinha," said Mr. Monteiro on Tuesday (11/3) in Dili. However, Mr. Monteiro believes that the weapons will not reach Timor-Leste as the country has taken action to prevent this kind of weapons' distribution.

Mateus Fernandes: The operation against rebels may create victims - Related to the unsuccessful attempts to get Salsinha to surrender to the state, the Deputy Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Inspector Mateus Fernandes, said that the operation against the rebel leader may create victims if the rebels do not follow the state's instruction and open fire against the operation in Ermera. Inspector Fernandes said that the Joint Operation will attempt to avoid using physical confrontation against the rebels, instead looking for peaceful ways to get them to surrender. "We really don't want this operation to create victims. So we are asking Salsinha not to listen to rumours," said Inspector Fernandes. The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation continues in the districts, while in Ermera district the operation is approaching the stronghold of Salsinha and his group.

Print Coverage

Monteiro: no more bargaining with Salsinha - The General Prosecutor of the Republic, Longuinhos Monteiro said that the Government and the General Prosecutor will not bargain with Salsinha. "As the Government's representative in this case, I tell you that we will not bargain with Salsinha. For us this is an urgent case to be solved immediately," said Mr. Monteiro on Tuesday (11/3) in Caicoli, Dili. According to Mr. Monteiro, Salsinha asked to extend his time for surrendering on Monday (10/3) but then broke his own promise by sending a letter to the General Prosecutor explaining why he would not be surrendering. "Now Salsinha says that he wants to surrender to PR Ramos-Horta when the president returns from Australia; this is his own statement. If something happens, don't blame the Government" said Mr. Monteiro.

Xanana: Salsinha, don't waste your time - PM Xanana Gusmão appealed to Salsinha and his group to not waste time by waiting for PR Ramos-Horta's return in order to surrender. "Salsinha is waiting for the President to surrender, but this will not help. This is not an option that the Joint Operation Command will consider," said PM Xanana at the plenary session of the National Parliament on Tuesday (11/3) when the Prime Minister presented the report of the 48 hours of the 'State of Siege' to the National Parliament. PM Xanana Gusmão also appealed to all people who have connections with Salsinha and his group to persuade them to surrender, rather than to die. With regards to the Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro's relationship with Salsinha, the Prime Minister said that the Prosecutor General's interaction with Salsinha was only to confirm whether Salsinha would surrender or not. (STL)

Tara-Tilman meet Lasama: Petitioners, not to return to the military - Former Major Augusto 'Tara' and Marcos 'Pilotu', together with four other petitioners, officially met the Acting President of the Republic, Fernando 'Lasama' to discuss the future for the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran, Dili. Major Tara said that the position of the Acting President is also the same as the Governments: that the petitioners cannot return to the military and must remain as civilians. "We are asking Prime Minister Xanana to clarify that the petitioners are to indeed remain as civilians, so that we have a clear answer," said Tara on Tuesday (11/3) after meeting the Acting President. (STL)

Joint Operation overacts: MP asks Xanana to quit - Member of the National Parliament are asking PM Xanana to quit from his position as the Minister of Security and Defence as he is unable to control PNTL and F-FDTL officers who acted inappropriately during the 'State of Siege.' During the NP plenary session, the Prime Minister offered no comment on this, but said that the Joint Operation Command would make efforts to improve their attitudes. The Prime Minister has also appealed for community members to report what they see, hear and feel to the Provedor of Human Rights. (STL)

People try to support weapons to Salsinha - The General Prosecutor of Republic Longuinhos Monteiro said that some people outside the country are attempting to supply Salsinha with weapons. "I have new information that a person has tried to get between 5-10 weapons to support Salsinha," said Mr. Monteiro on Tuesday (11/3) in Dili. However, Mr. Monteiro believes that the weapons will not reach Timor-Leste as the country has taken action to prevent this kind of weapons' distribution. (TP)

Horta asks Salsinha to surrender - PM Xanana Gusmao has reaffirmed PR Horta's message that the deadline for Salsinha to surrender is Tuesday (11/3), and that military action would follow if he did not surrender. This message is very important to Salsinha and his group and should make them think about what they have done. This message may have come as a response to Salsinha's letter stating that he would only surrender when PR Horta returned to Timor-Leste. Will Salsinha obey the call to surrender, or will he wait some more time? Let's see who follows who: will the state follow Salsinha's whims? Or will Salsinha follow the State's demands. On the one hand, each party has a right to self-defence, but it is also important that each party contribute to the nation's stability. Let's wait for the implementation of the state's decision to see what the intentions are: to kill, or to listen to each other?  (TP)

Riak Leman: 'State of Siege' benefits community - The Social Democratic Party (PSD) member of NP, Riak Leman said that the 'State of Siege' should be extended as the situation is still unstable given that Salsinha has not as yet surrendered and that weapons distributed in 2006 are still at large. Mr. Leman also said that the 'State of Siege' does not discriminate against anyone but instead benefits all members of the community. (TP)

Ana Pessoa: "State of Siege" should not become 'State of Normal' - Fretilin member of National Parliament, Ana Pessoa said that the 'State of Siege' should not become a 'State of Normal'. "The 'State of Siege' is implemented only when the nation is being threatened or in grave danger, this is why PR Ramos-Horta accepted the 'State of Siege' for a period of 48 hours," said Ms. Pessoa in NP, Dili when PM Xanana presented the report of the 48 hours of the 'State of Siege'. Ms Pessoa also said that there is something wrong with the country if people can only live in peace during a 'State of Siege'. "If all the petitioners are calm, why are we continuing with the 'State of Siege'? Because of Salsinha? In the 2006 crisis, PM Alkatiri did not authorize a demonstration, but PR Xanana said that to demonstrate is a right. Why didn't he implement the 'State of Siege' at that time when people were burning houses -- we have be honest, if there is threat to the nation, we [the government] should inform the people so that they can know the truth and not listen to rumours." (DN)
JSMP Press Release 12 March 2008 Legal proceedings in Oecusse – February 2008 - Despite its relative isolation, the Oecusse District Court is well organised and in good repair. A two-storey building close to the local police station, the district offices and the local UNMIT outpost, it contains separate office facilities for judges, prosecutors and defenders, and is fully equipped for court administration. A generator on site ensures constant power, and air conditioning renders the building perfectly habitable.

This venue, however ready for service, is presently only scheduling cases for, at most, four days each month. In accordance with Directive 06/2007 on judicial personnel, a judge–Helder Antonio do Carmo – has been permanently appointed to Oecusse, as with each jurisdiction. A house has been built to accommodate Dr Carmo. Due to delays in furnishing the property, though, the judge is yet to take up residence here. JSMP has also learned that other properties acquired for the use of the prosecutor and public defender are, similarly, not yet ready for habitation due to ongoing renovations.

Instead, Oecusse’s dedicated judicial member travels to hear cases once a month, on this occasion accompanied by two other judges as required to hear cases as a panel. Where charges against a defendant may incur a sentence upward of five years’ in jail, the criminal procedure code stipulates the matter be heard by three judges together. Attending in February were judges Vitor Hugo Pardal and Constancio Basmery.

The court clerk, Vasco Kehi (assisted for the few days of this month’s sitting by an international counterpart), had scheduled four cases over as many days. Regrettably, only one matter was heard. One matter, due for a hearing on 28 February, did not proceed as police had not been able to locate the defendant to deliver a letter of notification. Parties in two other cases were not able to reach court as seasonal flooding had isolated their communities, and these cases were postponed to April.

Pedro Andrade, a public defender who has often argued cases in Oecusse, told JSMP that judges had, over preceding years, been strong advocates for the renovation of this court site, apparently despite some resistance from central administration. Dr Andrade also noted that recent graduates of legal training have increased the ranks of Timor’s public defenders to 16, with another four soon to complete their studies. It is hoped that this will ensure greater availability of defence lawyers at district locations.

Unfortunately, the cases for which Dr Andrade had travelled from Dili were not held. Police were sent, as waters subsided, to fetch the parties if possible, but in the mean time, the court continued through its docket. The first listed case, officially registered as 32/crms/2007/TDO, was a criminal matter, in which two defendants had been charged with stealing the victim’s roof, supposedly to satisfy a one-buffalo debt.

Testimony in this matter was heard on 25 February, and a witness interviewed. The Dili-based prosecutor, Domingos Barreto, presented indictments under section 406(1) of the Indonesian Penal Code, relating to destruction of property. Judge Carmo, handing down judgement two days later, found insufficient evidence in support of this case, and the defendants were acquitted without any financial liability to the court.

Dr Barreto laudably took time to explain the judgement to parties and warn against reprisals. Throughout the trial, care had been taken to translate proceedings into Baiqueno, the language of Oecusse. This entailed translation by judicial personnel between Portuguese and Tetum, and further translation to and from Baiqueno.

JSMP understands that Tetum is increasingly used in court at Oecusse, and that this is largely accepted by judges and lawyers. As no direct Baiqueno-Portuguese translator has yet been located and employed, the process of referring courtroom proceedings through Tetum is time-consuming and risks miscommunication to and between parties. JSMP staff have reported similar problems with translation into the local Macassae language at the Baucau court, and into Bunaq in the Suai jurisdiction.

The accused were ably represented by Mateus Nesi, a private lawyer with the local NGO Fundação Fatu Sinai Oecusse (FFSO). While in Oecusse, JSMP researchers met with representatives of FFSO and observed that formal mediation processes facilitated by the organization, often using legally trained ‘lian nain’, or local ritual leaders, were taking place with a frequency that far exceeded the current workload of the court.

JSMP also interviewed local community leaders who expressed concerns over the cost and time involved in taking matters to court. Travelling distance was also stated to be an issue – a problem now partially addressed in Suai by limited circuit hearings, whereby judges have, in some instances, travelled to remote locations to hear cases. Many saw dispute resolution in the community as preferable for practical, rather than explicitly cultural, reasons, even in respect of some serious criminal matters.

An unfortunate conclusion to proceedings at Oecusse district court last month saw parties from the delayed cases arrive with police escort only an hour after judicial personnel had departed overland for Dili immediately following the sole judgement. JSMP considers that this court is under-utilised at present, and calls for practical steps to be taken in order that more regular hearings take place. Delays as are now common in this jurisdiction undermine confidence in the formal system and, unsurprisingly, bolster support for alternative measures that may not be appropriate in all cases.

For further information please contact: Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Email: Phone No: 3323883

Timor-Leste Legal News March 2008 (Part 1)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 11 March 2008

TVTL News Coverage

PM: Surrender only option for Salsinha - In relation to Salsinha's statement that he would only surrender to PR Ramos-Horta, the Prime Minister has reiterated the Government's ultimatum that Salsinha must surrender to the Government. PM Xanana said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is continuing because of Salsinha's refusal to surrender. "If he wrote that he will not submit himself, the operation will continue. The problem is that he needs to act on the demands of the Government, not wait for the President," said PM Xanana on his arrival from Darwin, Australia on Monday (10/3) in Comoro Airport, Dili.

RTL News Coverage

No option for Salsinha if Govt ultimatum ignored - The General-Prosecutor of the Republic Longuinhos Monteiro said that he will no longer act as a facilitator for Salsinha and his thirty one members as the deadline for them to surrender ends this afternoon. Mr. Monteiro said that as agreed by Salsinha himself, he was supposed to surrender on Monday (10/03), but his letter stated that he would only surrender once PR Jose Ramos-Horta returns to Timor-Leste. Mr. Monteiro also said that he has made every effort to encourage Salsinha and his group to surrender in a peaceful manner, but the final responsibility falls on Salsinha.

F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation reaches Salsinha's stronghold in Ermera - The Deputy Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Filomeno Paixão, said that the Joint Operation is about to reach the place where Salsinha and his group are located. "We know all of his [Salsinha] movements. The Joint Operation is in Ermera now and occupies thirty strategic points," said Lieutenant Colonel Paixão at a press conference held in the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation HQ in Farol, Dili. Lieutenant Colonel Paixão also said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is aiming to pressure Salsinha and his group to surrender to them.

PM: Surrender only option for Salsinha - In relation to the Salsinha's statement that he would only surrender to PR Ramos-Horta, the Prime Minister has reiterated the Government's ultimatum that Salsinha must surrender to the Government. PM Xanana said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is continuing because of Salsinha's refusal to surrender. "If he indeed wrote that he will not submit himself, the operation will continue. The problem is that he needs to act on the demands of the Government, not wait for the President," said PM Xanana on his arrival from Darwin, Australia on Monday (10/3) in Comoro Airport, Dili.

SRSG welcomes IICI - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, has appealed to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves peacefully to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. "We believe that the situation in the country continues to remain calm. Someday Salsinha and his group will submit themselves. There is no other way," said SRSG Khare on Monday (10/3) after his weekly meeting with Acting President of the Republic Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. Concerning the resolution of the National Parliament to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry for February 11, SRSG Khare said that he believed this to be a positive step.

Print Coverage

Joint Operation surrounds Salsinha and his group -The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation is currently occupying thirty strategic points in Ermera and mobilizing 465 soldiers to surround the rebel group led by Salsinha. "We know all of his [Salsinha] movements. The Joint Operation is in Ermera now and occupies thirty strategic points," said the Deputy Commander of the Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão at a press conference held in the Joint Operation HQ in Farol, Dili. The Joint Operation performs daily patrols and collaborates with the International Stabilization Forces (ISF) on operational tactics. The Joint Operation is continuing to appeal to Salsinha and his group to avoid violence and to respect the negotiations he has had with the General Prosecutor. (STL)

Salsinha to surrender to PR Horta - The rebel leader, Gastao Salsinha stated that he will surrender himself only upon the return of PR Ramos Horta to Timor-Leste. Salsinha directly gave his statement to the General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, through a letter sent to Mr. Monteiro on Sunday (9/3). "I don't know why Salsinha doesn't want to surrender and decided to cancel his planned submission," said Mr. Monteiro on Monday (10/3) in Caicoli. Mr. Monteiro said that if Salsinha did not surrender, then he should face the consequences of his decision. "After Monday, the problem is not mine. This problem will belong to the military," said Mr. Monteiro. (STL)

Carrascalao: Xanana leads without discrimination - The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Mario Viegas Carrascalao said that the Alliance Majority in Parliament's Government, under the leadership of PM Xanana Gusmao, has not discriminated against any other party and is open to members of all parties, including Fretilin. "The Xanana-led Government is one that has allowed open participation in all processes. They have not discriminated the way that Fretilin did…. It's very differennt with Dr. Mari Alkatiri," said Mr. Carrascalao on Monday (10/3) in the National Parliament, Dili. (STL)

Petitioners incredulous over Xanana's statement - The 671 petitioners who are now gathered in Aitarak Laran, Dili, are at incredulous over the Prime Minister's statement that the petitioners cannot re-enter the military. Before the PM made this statement to the petitioners at Aitarak Laran, the Government had given the petitioners three options: first, to return to the military; second, to remain as civilians; and third, to be re-employed in other countries. The Coordinator of the petitioners in Aitarak Laran, Captain Caesar Valente de Jesus, said: "In his statement, the PM may state what he likes, but the process of resolving the petitioner's problems is continuing as it was based on the Government's options to the petitioners," said Captain de Jesus on Monday (10/3) in Aitarak Laran, Dili. According to Captain de Jesus, the options offered by the Government would be considered by each petitioner to see which option was best for them.

Separately, a petitioner said that he accepts the options and is asking the Government to solve their problems as soon as possible. "Most of us accept the PM's statement with sadness because we came here to discuss the three options. If we knew that there was no option to return to the military, many of us may not have come to Aitarak Laran," said anonymous petitioner. (STL)

Horta: Salsinha has to surrender today -PR Jose Ramos-Horta is asking Gastao Salsinha to surrender himself to the state forces today (Tuesday) to face justice as there is no other option left. PR Ramos-Horta relayed this message during the visit of PM Xanana Gusmao in Darwin, Australia on Monday (10/3). "The President said that after the 10th (yesterday) and 11th (today), there would be no more options left [for Salsinha] and that the military operation would continue. The F-FDTL, PNTL and ISF are going to reach him … we want to show him that there is no way, annd no dialogue, left for him," said PM Xanana. (TP)

Suspects of May 25: TMR should explain - The International Prosecutor Felismino Cardoso said that the F-FDTL Commander Taur Matan Ruak needs to confirm to the state why the four F-FDTL members who were involved in the case of May 25 had not as yet been imprisoned. "We could not execute the arrest warrants issued by the Public Ministry. That's why we trusted UNPol to arrest them, but until now, this has not happened yet. Commander TMR needs to provide an explanation as to why his members have not been imprisoned yet," said Prosecutor Cardoso. Prosecutor Cardoso also said that the Dili District Court had last year issued an arrest warrant to UNPol to arrest the four F-FDTL members to be imprisoned. (TP)

UNPOL Commissioner Tor: UNPol welcomes Salsinha - The UN Police Commissioner in Timor-Leste, Rodolfo Tor, said that UNPol continues to welcome Salsinha and his members who have still not surrendered the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. "We also offer two officers to work with the Joint Operation in the HQ of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation in Farol, Dili. Some are providing security to the petitioners in Aitarak Laran and also in the districts. About Salsinha, we continue to welcome them," said Commissioner Tor. Commissioner Tor said that the security situation in Timor-Leste continues to be calm, even though some people were frightened by the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. (DN)

TMR: not surrender, face military forces - The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation does not want Salsinha's death, but his surrender. Brigadier General TMR said that the Joint Operation is collaborating with the International Stabilization Forces to bring about Salsinha's surrender and threatened military force if Salsinha and his group did not submit themselves voluntarily.

"We do not want him die. We will have a Joint Operation between PNTL, F-FDTL and ISF to use military forces if he does not submit himself," said Brigadier General TMR. "Now we wait for Salsinha to cooperate," said Commander TMR.  (DN)
E Timor launches new hunt for rebels By Stephanie March 10 March 2008 - Australian military personnel are providing operational and tactical support to the Timorese forces (file photo). (AFP Photo: Ed Wray)

Audio: Ramos-Horta leaves hospital, meets with Gusmao (PM) Related Story: Ramos-Horta 'making good progress' East Timor's military has started new operations to capture the rebels responsible for last month's attack on the country's leaders.

Australian and New Zealand military personnel are providing operational and tactical support to the Timorese forces.

Commander of the joint police and military operations, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixao, says 465 officers and soldiers have been deployed to 30 strategic checkpoints throughout the country as authorities wait for the remaining rebels to surrender.

Rebel leader Gastao Salsinha yesterday revoked a promise he made last week that he would surrender by the end of today.

Lieutenant Colonel Paixao said most of those responsible for the attacks on the President and Prime Minister have handed themselves in to authorities.

He said the man responsible for shooting the President has not yet surrendered, but the military know exactly where he is and are closely monitoring his location near the town of Atsabe, close to the Indonesian border.
Fears for the future as East Timor simmers 8 March 2008 By Jill Jolliffe

Dili, March 7. United Nations officials and Australian troops have taken back-seats in East Timor's nationwide sweep to arrest suspects in the assassination bids against President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, with the national FDTL army playing an increasingly powerful role. President Horta is recovering in a Darwin hospital from the critical wounds he received in the attack led by rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead at the scene.

In Dili streets massive portraits of him bear the inscription ''Mr President, Timor is praying for you and awaits your return''.

The UN was sidelined after an armed standoff between its police and the Timorese army in the last days of February, and is playing down criticisms of illegalities and human rights violations committed during Operation Halibur, a joint army and police operation which has been in full swing in the past week.

New Zealand and Australian troops from the International Stabilisation Force and UN police are playing a secondary role to the Timorese army, mainly escorting and guarding prisoners alongside Timorese counterparts. UN Police Commissioner Rodolfo Tor said on Thursday that the UN has ''full confidence in PNTL [the Timorese police] and FDTL [the army]''.

He denied that suspects were being interrogated by Timorese army and police without the presence of lawyers, but a UN legal source who asked not to be named said earlier that suspects were routinely being questioned without the presence of lawyers. Last Sunday Amaro da Costa, ''Susar'', reportedly the chief suspect in the President's shooting, was brought by helicopter from the mountains and paraded before journalists 10 minutes after landing.

He made potentially incriminating statements, confessing he had been at Ramos Horta's residence among the 12 armed men led by Alfredo Reinado and had been at the gateway during the principal shooting. Reinado was killed by a guard sometime before President Ramos Horta was wounded by another of his group. Da Costa posed and smiled with Prime Minister Gusmao and army and police chiefs, giving a carnival air to the proceedings.

Operation Halibur commanders later distributed a flyer in Dili with photos showing ''Susar'' hugging army chief Taur Matan Ruak and police commander Alfonso de Jesus, and being accompanied by pretty girls. ''We recognise this practice the Indonesians did the same thing here during 24 years,'' former parliamentarian and Reinado associate Leandro Isa'ac told The Canberra Times.

It was a busy week, which began with Da Costa's surrender, followed by airlifts of scores of ex-soldiers who presented after mediation by priests. It was designed to end with that of their commander, former lieutenant Gastao Salsinha.

Salsinha was the alleged organiser of the separate attack on Gusmao's convoy band the propaganda leaflet was directed largely at him. His descent from the mountains with 30 men and a pile of guns was announced by the army on successive days, but only occurred on Friday afternoon.

A ''Lieutenant Amaral'' was the last of the 12 men involved in the attack on the President's house to surrender, on Monday, and is in custody after a court hearing. In an internment camp in Dili Major Augusto de Araujo, code name ''Tara'', has a worried air. Officially he supports the operation as part of a political deal to give rebel soldiers known as ''petitioners'' fair trials and an eventual new start in life.

But he is anxious. ''We have general faith in the negotiations, but still have some issues of concern,'' he said. Tara is one of around 700 detained ex-soldiers, whose negotiated surrender predates ''Operation Halibur''. The drive to bring them in from the mountains was simply accelerated after the February 11 attacks.

They are concentrated under guard on a barren field known as Aitarak Laran, the place of thorns, an apt reminder of their situation. They are surrendering to commanders of the Falintil/FDTL army, former comrades who became their bitterest enemies after the petitioners mutinied over alleged racial discrimination in 2006.

The troubles began after FDTL was mobilised by then prime minister Mari Alkatiri to hunt down the unarmed petitioners after they rampaged through Dili torching buildings and attacking Timorese from the Melanesian-influenced east. The petitioners are now entirely in the hands of the same army commanders who hunted them.

They themselves were accused of crimes by the UN but have not surrendered to justice. ''I know FDTL is running the show,'' Tara admits, ''but they are just one institution, whereas only the organs of sovereignty [president, prime minister, cabinet and parliament] can decide our fate, and we have confidence in the current Government.'

'The sidelining of the UN dates from an incident at Dili airport on February 26 when FDTL soldiers surrounded a helicopter bringing wanted petitioner Anterilau Ribeiro Guterres from the western enclave of Oecusse.

They snatched him from UN police at gunpoint, leading to a crisis in the Timor mission led by the Secretary- General's representative, Atul Khare. The UN seems to have lost interest in the capture operation since then. Major Tara said the interned petitioners had not been visited by any UN official.

More importantly, the mission's human rights section has not taken a stand on the circus- like atmosphere in which the army is presenting surrendering prisoners. Almost a month after the assassination attempts, the mystery that remains is why Reinado chose to attack Ramos Horta, the man who had done most to offer benign conditions for his surrender and trial, even offering an eventual pardon.

There are two schools of thought: one that he was just plain bad and somewhat mad as a result of his tormented life during the Indonesian occupation period. Reinado's detractors, principally from the Fretilin party, warned repeatedly that he was a danger until he was captured, denouncing the soft approach pursued by both President Ramos Horta and the Prime Minister.

The other is that he had been ''turned'' by a third party and paid to attack the pair, with Salsinha, for a substantial sum of money. The prosecutor's office has been pursuing a money trail involving a deposit of $1 million in the bank account of a close associate, while newspaper reports have stated that a sum of $US20,000 was found on his body.

Leandro Isa'ac lived in the mountains with Reinado for some months in 2007 and was instrumental in trying to persuade him to surrender. He parted company with him over what he saw as his refusal to face reality. He is a supporter of the second theory. He points out that neither Reinado nor Salsinha had anyone to put in the place of the nation's top leaders if they killed them, constituting coup. ''Somebody paid!'' he asserts, ''Alfredo became a mercenary.''

In Dili, citizens continue under the state of siege decreed after the attacks, now extended until late March, involving a strict curfew and limits on freedom of association. Unlike expatriates here who believe that after Gastao Salsinha's surrender all problems will be solved, Timorese fear new violence and abuses of power. They point to abandonment of due legal process in the surrenders and to fears the army is seeking political influence.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 10 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Rebel Leader and group to surrender - The General-Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro said at a press conference held in the Government Palace on Friday (7/3) that rebel leader Gastã o Salsinha was going to surrender on Monday (10/3) along with 30 of his group members to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. He would also surrender eighteen weapons. Mr. Monteiro said that Salsinha had intended to surrender on Friday last week but needed two extra days to gather his group in Ermera before surrendering themselves. Mr. Monteiro also said that the Government should ensure that all security and judicial procedures for Salsinha and his men were implemented in an appropriate and just manner.

F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation arrest 6 suspects in Kulau - The Command of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation arrested 6 suspects on Sunday (9/3) in Kulau, Dili for threatening IDPs. The Operational Commander of PNTL, Mateus Fernandes, said that the threats happened while the victims had returned to inspect their homes in the area of Kulau. Commander Fernandes said that the suspects are now being detained in the Dili Police Station for further investigation. "Today some young men are attempting to create difficulties for our friends who are returning to their homes, especially in Kulau," said Commander Fernandes. "We have no tolerance with those who act solely on their own will." Separately, the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation Command arrested twelve suspects who had tried to attack the Joint Operation in Kampung Tuti-Comoro, Dili.

Print Coverage

US Ambassador rejects claims of US relations with Alfredo - The Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) in Timor-Leste, Hans Klemm has rejected claims that the US had provided the uniform worn by Alfredo Reinado up until his death on February 11. "I reject by 100 or 110% rumours that the US had supported Alfredo by providing him with the military uniform," said Ambassador Clemm on Wednesday (5/3) in STL office, Dili. According to Ambassador Clemm, the military uniform worn by Alfredo is similar to the uniform of the US Navy, but the uniform was not provided by the US Government to Alfredo. (STL)

Salsinha won't surrender - A source close to Salsinha said via telephone on Sunday (9/3) that Salsinha had sent a letter to the General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro claiming that he would not surrender to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation. The source admitted that while he was not privy to the contents of the letter, he was sure that Salsinha had stated in the letter that he would not surrender until PR Ramos Horta came back to Timor-Leste. General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro revealed that he had received a letter from Salsinha. "His planned surrender for today (Friday 07/03) has been postponed until Monday," said Mr. Longuinhos on Friday (7/3) at a press conference in the Government Palace in Dili. Previously, the F-FDTL Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that the deadline for Salsinha to surrender had ended and that the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation would now use military forces to capture him alive. (STL)

Alkatiri: TL's democracy in jeopardy - The Secretary General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, has said that he believes if the questions around the events of February 11 are not clarified, then the democratic process in the country would be jeopardised. In an interview with the Portuguese News Network, Alkatiri said that reports on how the Prime Minister was ambushed were fake. Alkatiri said that Fretilin had immediately sent a person to the site of the ambush to take pictures and could thus verify that claims of multiple bullets to the PM's car were false. Alkatiri said he believed the entire 'ambush' to be suspicious. "Why would Alfredo attack a person [Horta] who was trying to find a good resolution to his problems?" questioned Alkatiri. "Who was attacked first? Reinado or the President?" Alkatiri also said: "The 2006 crisis happened because Xanana wanted power because at the time, he had no power. After becoming Prime Minister, he still feels that he has no power.  He is a patriot, and I do not accept the accusations of him selling out this nation to Australia, but he does not act as a nationalist, he acts as a guerrilla. … He thiinks he is the only one who can mobilise the population,: said Mr. Alkatiri. Mr. Alkatiri further said that an end to the crisis would only come if the Government ended the 'State of Siege' as people did not now feel that they had the freedom to reveal the truth. He also called for early elections as another way to end the crisis. Finally, Alkatiri made the claim that Fretilin must be involved in leading the government. (STL)

Susar won't stay in Becora prison - Because of security reasons, the rebel Susar is to be remanded to a building in an undisclosed location in the centre of Dili rather than in Becora prison. The Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro said that the decision was made by the Minster of Justice. "Because of security reasons, Susar has moved out from Becora prison and is placed in another location. The new 'prison' has the same system of security and management as in Becora prison. The house is secured by both the F-FDTL and PNTL," said Mr. Monteiro on Friday (6/3) after meeting PM Xanana Gusmao in the Government Palace. Susar was imprisoned following his statement in the court last week that he was involved in the events of February 11. (TP)

Salsinha should surrender - The Former Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, has appealed to Salsinha and his group to submit themselves to justice, arguing that armed conflict never resolves anything. "We all hope that Salsinha and his group will come down to submit themselves to justice," said Mr. Sarmento. During the same occasion, Acting President of the National Parliament Vicente Guterres also argued that the surrendering was the only thing for Salsinha and his group could do.  Separately, F-FDTL Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak is continuing to pressure Salsinha despite positive signs that Salsinha intends to surrender. "At any moment, we are going to have an operation with the F-FDTL, PNTL and ISF to use force, and they [Salsinha and his group] should prepare themselves," warned Commander TMR. (TP)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 07 March 08

TVTL News Coverage

The Petitioners will not return to the F-FDTL, but will seek ways to gain employment -  "In relation to the military … if you want to say that I can leave and tomorrow I will go back…… this doesn't happen… nowhere in the world does this happen. In other countries, a person can leave if they have fulfilled their military obligations for two years…andd another thing is…discipline applies to everything… this is in accordance with justice…you can't leave and then come back …this would make a mockery of the institutions of the military and the police …you can't think it is so easy…to leave and then come back…leaveave and then come back, then we would be known as 'revolving door' that's what we are going to tell them…" said Xanana. [verbatim]

Print Coverage

PM Xanana: Salsinha to surrender today -  PM Xanana Gusmão said that Salsinha is going to submit himself to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation by the end of the day (7/3). "It looks positive," said PM Xanana after meeting with the Acting President Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo on Thursday (6/3) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. The PM also said that he has reliable information that Salsinha is willing to surrender. (STL)

IDPs' camps to close - PM Xanana Gusmão confirmed that the Government will close all IDP camps in Dili. PM Xanana regrets the attitudes of IDPs who have received recovery funds, but are still remaining in the camps. "I want to tell you that some people went back to the camps after receiving the Government's subsidy. Do not take advantage of the Government as we are committed to solving the IDPs problem," said PM Xanana. (STL)

'State of Siege' reduces violence - The Assistant to Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of UNTL, Antonio Gusmão, said that after the events of February 11, violence in the country has decreased. "At least after the 'State of Siege' was executed, the violence in the country was reduced. For some weeks now, people have been living in calm with no violence … it contributes significanntly to the security of the country," said Mr. Gusmão on Thursday (6/3) in Caicoli, Dili. (STL)

UNMIT has program to empower rural women - The UNMIT Senior Gender Advisor, Rita Reddy, said that UNMIT will help Timorese women to know their rights. "I want to inform you about the celebration of Women's Day in Timor-Leste and of the efforts made for the liberty of women during past years," said Ms. Rita Reddy at the UNMIT weekly press briefing on Thursday (6/3) held at Obrigado Barrack Caicoli, Dili. (DN)

Vicente Guterres: "Salsinha should not be afraid to face justice" - The Acting President of the National Parliament, Vicente Guterres, has appealed to Gastão Salsinha to not be afraid to face justice as Susar has done. "There is no position better than when we collaborate with justice," said Mr. Guterres on Thursday (6/3) in the National Parliament in Dili. (DN)

Hugo: IICI won't make recommendations - The CNRT member of the NP, Aderito Hugo, has claimed that the International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI) will be worthless at it won't be able to give recommendation to the State. "Conducting the investigations without being able to issue recommendations is pointless." said Mr. Hugo in the National Parliament, Dili. (TP)
Criminal Trials in the Baucau District Court
25 February -08 March 2008

During the last week of February 2008, the Baucau District Court held trials in 7 ‘ordinary crimes’ and one ‘serious crime’, which related to the rape of a minor. JSMP was unable to monitor the trial relating to the rape, as the hearing was closed to the public pursuant to Article 76 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

JSMP observed that almost all of these 8 trials related to outstanding cases (2001 - 2006) that have been delayed until 2008.  The only difference is that their registration numbers have been updated to 2007, whereas they are actually cases that have been in the system for some time. JSMP could not obtain any clear information about why cases that occurred 3 or 4 years ago are only now being heard in 2008.

JSMP believes, however, that the lengthy delays in processing these cases will have a negative impact on the memory of witnesses called to give testimony in court, because it is possible that the witnesses will forget facts relating to certain material incidents. The majority of cases heard during this monitoring period relate to maltreatment and theft.

Horacio da Cruz/Case No. 102/crm.s/07/TDB Case of Theft

The defendant was charged with Article 363 (3) of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to a theft, committed at nighttime. The incident allegedly occurred in August 2004, when the defendant entered the room of the victim and stole a Tais (traditional cloth) while the victim was attending church. The defendant sold the Tais and bought some cigarettes.

The defendant admitted in court that he took the Tais but he claimed that he later returned the item to the victim. The defendant also admitted that he had committed a similar act prior to this case.  No witnesses were examined during this trial because the defendant pleaded guilty. The trial was adjourned until 18 March 2008 for the announcement of the Court’s final decision.

Olinda da Costa Case No. 129/crm.s /07/TDB

The defendant was charged with maltreatment whereby she used a machete to twice strike the victim, which caused the victim to suffer blood loss and injury to her hand. The actions of the defendant were found to have violated Article 351 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code. A single judge pronounced the defendant guilty of the maltreatment charge and handed down a sentence of 3 months imprisonment to be suspended for a period of 8 months.

Brigida Manuel No. 133/crm.s/07/TDB

The defendant was charged under Article 351 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code, relating to maltreatment. The defendant told the court that he had no prior intent of stabbing the victim, however the prosecution claimed in the indictment that the the act was indeed premeditated.  Before this case reached the trial stage the defendant and victim reconciled in front of local elders in accordance with customary law.  The prosecution informed JSMP that witnesses were unable to attend the trial due to problems with transportation.  The court handed down a 1 year suspended sentence and ordered the defendant to pay the court US$20 within four months.

Filomeno Ximenes. Case No 117/crm.s/07/TDB

The defendant was charged under Article 351 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code, relating to maltreatment. The court examined the defendant, witnesses and the victim. The trial was adjourned until 5 March 08 for the announcement of the Court’s final decision.

Antonio Magno, No. 131/crm.s/07/TDB

In this case the defendant was charged with Article 351 (2) of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to maltreatment causing serious injury. The court examined the defendant and witnesses from the victim’s family. The victim could not be examined because he has since passed away. The alleged incident occurred on 24 September 2001 and the victim died on 25 November 2005. The defendant used a machete to strike the victim, causing 10 separate wounds to the victim’s head. Before the victim passed away, the defendant and the victim reached an amicable agreement (they were related) before traditional elders and a police investigator.  During the trial two different opinions were presented. The family of the victim claimed that the victim died because of head injuries caused by the defendant striking the victim. This was refuted by the defence. There was insufficient evidence (documentary) or witnesses to support this argument.

In this case, the court found the defendant guilty of committing a criminal act in conflict with Article 351 (2) of the Indonesian Penal Code and sentenced the defendant to 8 months imprisonment, which was suspended for 1 year and 6 months.

Carlos da Costa/No. 121/crm.s/07/TDB

In this case the defendant was accused of committing maltreatment by striking and throwing stones at the victim, which caused injury and bleeding to the victim’s temple. During the trial the defendant and victim gave contrasting statements, so the prosecution and defence requested the court to summon the witnesses listed in the indictment. The Court had actually summoned the witnesses but they were unable to attend due to problems with transportation. As a result, this trial was adjourned to the 12 March 2008 for the examination of witnesses.

Ijonio Afonso/No. 113/crm.s/07/TDB

In this case, the defendant was accused of committing maltreatment against the victim on 5 March 2004. During the trial the defendant stated that he had reconciled with the victim before traditional elders. The presiding judge, however, rejected a subsequent proposal to set aside the charge and decided to continue the hearing and to consider the reconciliation attempt as a factor for contemplation when issuing a final decision. The victims and witnesses were unable to attend this hearing so the trial was adjourned until 26 March 2008.

For further information please contact: Timotio de Deus Director, JSMP Email: Phone No: 3323883
UNMIT Daily Media Review 06 March 08

TVTL News Coverage

TMR happy over court decision - The Commander of the F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that he is content with the decision made by the court regarding the four F-FDTL members involved in the shooting case against PNTL members. "We are ready to let our members submit to justice." said Commander TMR.

IDPs start returning home - Fifty one families at some of the IDP camps in Dili have received a Government incentive to return home. The subsidies range from USD 1,500 for partially destroyed homes, to USD 4,000 for totally destroyed homes. The Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Alves, said that the subsidies will only be provided once the recipient has undergone a survey, verification and re-verification process.  "I am really happy to have this subsidy. I think it is only fair given that we have lost so much" said Marcal, an IDP whose house was destroyed during the 2006 crisis. The Minister also said that the registration process would continue until all IDPs returned homes.

RTL News Coverage

Commander of F-FDTL/PNTL, asks Salsinha to surrender - The Commander of the F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, has said that the Joint Operation has identified the movement of Salsinha and his group along with the people who are providing them with support and food assistance. Salsinha has said that he is ready to submit himself if the military operation in Ermera is suspended. Separately, Acting President Fernando Lasama and PM Xanana said that the Joint F-FDTL/PNTL Operation will continue until all weapons are handed in.

Print Coverage

Carrascalao: Government must explain Susar's imprisonment - The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão, said that the Government should explain the reasons why Susar has been imprisoned. "The Government should explain this … if they don't, it will create a veery negative perception to the public," said Mr. Carrascalao. Separately, former the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, said that the judicial process for Susar is a normal judicial process which all criminal suspects are exposed to. (TP)

Conditions prepared for Salsinha's surrender - The F-FDTL and PNTL are preparing good conditions for Salsinha and his group to surrender. "We have prepared conditions for him to come. He is really cooperative. We expect him to come," said Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak. (TP)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 05 March 08

TVTL News Coverage

NP approves ICCI - The National Parliament approved on Monday (3/3) a resolution to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI). The resolution, proposed by Fretilin, KOTA, PPT and PD, will aim at uncovering the judicial and political responsibilities of the authors of February 11. Upon the agreement of MPs, IICI will work together with the judicial authorities. The National Parliament will recommend to the Government to work with the United Nations in establishing the IICI.

RTL News Coverage

Joint Operation of F-FDTL/PNTL - Related to rumours that the military operation has destroyed Christians statues in some houses, the Deputy Commander of F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Inspector Mateus Fernandes, said that the mission of the Joint Operation is only to seek the perpetrators of February 11, not to insult people's beliefs. The Deputy Commander further appealed for people to not pay attention to such rumours.

Print Coverage

Mateus: Govt asks Salsinha to officially surrender - The Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation has made it clear that the Government needs Salsinha to surrender formally to the Government. "Salsinha has already made contact, but the Government wants him to formally surrender so that the public can know that he has submitted himself," said Commander Fernandes. (TP)

Rebel jailed before trial - The Dili District Court has ordered that Susar be remanded to Becora Prison while he awaits trial. This precaution was taken given the severity of the crimes he is charged with. (TP)

Alfredo's member surrenders. SRSG: good step for stability - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, considers the surrender of the Alfredo's member to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation to be a positive step towards regaining stability. "I believe that the efforts of the state of Timor-Leste are moving forward to strengthen peace and stability," said SRSG Khare after his regular weekly meeting with the Acting President Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo on Tuesday (4/3) in Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. (STL)
RDTL tax reform: public hearings and more 07 March 2008 La'o Hamutuk - The National Parliament of Timor-Leste has begun hearings on a major revision of the Timor-Leste tax law which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 20 February.  During 2008 alone, this reform would reduce receipts from domestic taxes from $30.3 million to $11.5 million, giving up $18.8 million that would have been collected under current laws. If the new law is enacted, approximately 97% of  the Timor-Leste government budget will be funded with transfers from the Petroleum Fund.  (More than 99% of government income will come from petroleum, but three-fourths of current petroleum receipts are saved in the Fund.)

Information on the proposed tax reform, including the 81-page text of the bill (in Portuguese), is available at  So far, La'o Hamutuk has only been able to obtain the legislation in Portuguese. We continue to look for more accessible languages and formats, and welcome your help. Both we and the Parliament also welcome informed commentary and analysis of this important legislation.
UNMIT Daily Media Review 04 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Alfredo's man surrenders -A member of Alfredo Reinado's group, Domingos Amaral, surrendered on Monday (3/3) in Maubisse, Ainaro District. He also surrendered one automatic weapon. Amaral said that the weapon was seized in Metiaut during the attack on PR Ramos-Horta's residence.

The F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation has confirmed the numbers of the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran has increased to 624.

Print Coverage

Lasama: military operation continues -Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo confirmed that the military operation against Salsinha's group will not cease as the rebels are still in hiding. Acting PR Lasama congratulated group members who had surrendered themselves and their weapons. "There is no other way, they must surrender themselves and their weapons," said Acting PR Lasama on Monday (3/3). (STL)

Early election possible - Early elections may happen if President José Ramos-Horta's health does not allow him to continue as President. "If the Court of Appeals states that there is a permanent impediment to the Presidency within 90 days, then early elections should be called to elect a new President,†said Vital dos Santos, Democratic Party (PD) member of NP on Monday (3/3). (STL)

Salsinha wants to surrender in Gleno - The Spokesperson of the Petitioners, Gastão Salsinha, wants to surrender himself to his family and Father Adrianus Olan in Gleno, Ermera. PM Xanana Gusmão said that Salsinha is currently making preparations to come to Dili.  (DN)

IDPs want to return home - For two years now, people have been living as IDPs waiting for the problems of the petitioners to be solved. "We still have questions about the weapons they submitted. They ran away with many weapons and surrendered with only one or two. Where are the rest of the weapons? We are IDPs because we are afraid of the weapons, not the people," said Domingos, an IDP in Farol Camp, Dili. (DN)

Maria Paixão: Salsinha surrenders, 'State of Siege' ends - The Vice President of the National Parliament, Maria Paixão, has said that they are waiting for Salsinha and his group to surrender in order to end the 'State of Siege.' Ms. Paixão has appealed for Salsinha to submit himself to justice. "I believe that in the short time Salsinha will surrender as a citizen who loves his country," said Ms. Paixão on Monday (3/3) in the National Parliament.  (DN)
TLGOV: AMP Government Announces Positive Developments with Petitioners Dili, 2 March, 2008

In a landmark announcement the AMP Government confirms that to date 612 petitioners, including six military police (some of whom were Reinado's followers), have peacefully come forward and retreated to the safe haven of Aitarak Laran, a centre in Dili established to house the petitioners and discuss solutions to the problems.

The development has been a peaceful transition for the majority of former soldiers who, after filing a series of grievances in 2006 which included, amongst other issues, discrimination, were abruptly dismissed by the former government.

The dismissal of the soldiers combined with the decision by the former government to activate the armed forces to counter the petitioners' demonstrations in 2006 caused widespread factionalism culminating in a series of riotous outbreaks that left more than six thousand homes destroyed and over one tenth of the population displaced.

Gusmao's Government, who took office in August 2007, made reform and joint cooperation between the F-FDTL, East Timor's Army and the PNTL, East Timor's Police Force, a priority by re-establishing clear roles and responsibilities and encouraging collaborative unity as a means to national stability.

The latest developments in promoting peaceful resolutions with the petitioners are seen as a major step in addressing the country's core issues, inherited by the Government six months ago, that were contributing to ongoing instability.

Thus far, the AMP Government has delivered their electoral promises in providing strong leadership by promoting dialogue, Government reforms and strong policies that support the restoration of the nation.

Gusmao said, "Our country is ready to move forward, to establish a cooperative state working for a unified vision. We have seen vast improvements and joint cooperation between Government, civil society, the Police Force, the Armed forces and now with the petitioners. These men and women have now become part of national solutions, using words over weapons; this is how a country evolves.'

'In the last few weeks, our nation's cooperation in maintaining law and order is the clearest message yet that we are on a new path of democratic solidarity.' ENDS

For More Information please contact Joaquim Fonseca, Office of the Prime Minister +670 723 0053

SOURCE:  Republica Democratica De Timor-Leste Gabinete Do Primeiro-Ministro
UNMIT Daily Media Review 03 March 2008

RTL News Coverage

Rebel surrenders - The Commander of the Falintil-Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) Joint Operation, Filomeno Paixão, said that one of the rebels, Amaro 'Susar' da Costa, had surrendered to the F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation on Monday (02/03) in the sub-district of Turiscai, Same. Susar was presented to Prime Minister Gusmão in the Government Palace in Dili by the Joint Operation. Commander Paixão said that Susar was persuaded by the President of ASDT, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, along with the population of Turiscai, to surrender himself, his two weapons and some ammunition. "Our brother Susar has joined us since last night. The Joint Operation is very happy with this attitude," said Commander Paixão. Commander Paixão also confirmed that the Joint Operation had directly contacted Gastão Salsinha and was urging him to surrender.

PM: Dialogue won't solve problems - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has said that the Government will not rely on dialogue to solve the problems faced by the petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran, Dili. However, the PM did say that Government had another mechanism to resolve the issues and that this would be discussed with the petitioners later in the week. "I want you to know that now there is no dialogue. Before, we were asking for you to engage in dialogue with your leaders… but some of you thouught that you were more powerful than the State and made us lose two years …," said the PM on Saturday (02/03)) in Aitarak Laran Dili.  The Prime Minister has also given one more week for the rest of the petitioners to come to Dili, saying that their continuing absence indicates that they don't want to look for peaceful solutions.

Print Coverage

Susar: "I was involved in the attacks against the PR's residence" -  Rebel member Amaro 'Susar' da Costa has surrendered to the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation on Monday (02/03) in sub-district Turiscai, Same. During an F-FDTL and PNTL Joint Operation press conference held on Sunday (02/03), the former member of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) of PNTL, Susar, said that he was involved in the attacks against the residence of PR Ramos-Horta along with Alfredo Reinado. Susar has been presented to Prime Minister Gusmão in the Government Palace in Dili by the Joint Operation. (DN)

Carrascalão: February 11, an international political conspiracy - The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão, believes the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão to have been caused by an international political conspiracy. "Maybe the groups doing the attack were backed by some people. There were rumours that there was USD20000 found in Alfredo's pocket when he died. Some people may have given him this money before he died, or put the money in his pocket after he died. His body may have been dumped in Metiaut after being shot in another place," said Mr. Carrascalão. Carrascalão also reiterated his desire for Timor-Leste to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events shrouded in so much mystery. (DN)

Petitioners increase to 607 - The Spokesperson of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão, said that the numbers of petitioners gathered in Aitarak Laran had increased to 607 by Sunday afternoon (02/03). Separately, F-FDTL Major Marcos Tilman said that the Government is showing its commitment to resolve the problems by providing security and other facilities for the gathering place. (DN)

TMR: Salsinha's group don't deserve weapons - The Commander of the F-FDTL/PNTL Joint Operation, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, has said that the Joint Operation is continuing in its efforts to urge Salsinha and his group to follow their friends and come to Aitarak Laran, Dili. "They know our position. We will still give them time to make a decision; a decision with no violence," said TMR. (TP)
TLGOV: “Susar” surrenders willingly and peacefully

REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE GABINETE DO PRIMEIRO-MINISTRO MEDIA RELEASE Dili, 2 March, 2008 - At 5:00 AM Dili time, Amaro Da Costa  commonly called “Susar”, willingly and peacefully surrendered to the National Police Force of Timor-Leste (PNTL) in Turiscai, a sub district of Aileu.

“Susar” was a member of the rebel group that attacked The President of the Republic, Jose Ramos Horta on February 11, 2008 and was thought to be Reinados’ most trusted confidante.

It has been confirmed that “Susar” rang Mr. Xavier do Amaral, President of the ASDT Party, part of the AMP government, to advise him of his decision to relinquish his weapons and submit to justice. Susar surrendered two rifles, an AK 33 and a FNC with 299 rounds of 5.56mm ammunitions.

Do Amaral immediately contacted the Commander of the PNTL, Mr. Afonso de Jesus, who dispatched two inspectors to escort Susar to Dili where he was met by the Prosecutor General, Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro. Susar was formally taken into custody for questioning and has offered his full cooperation to the authorities.

At 9:00 am, Susar requested to meet with the Prime Minister of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao, to offer his formal surrender to the state. He is quoted as saying to The Prime Minister, “I want Timor-Leste to be a peaceful and stable country. I want progress and development for Timor-Leste, I want to solve problems through talk rather than weapons and I now willingly submit to justice.”

In turn the Prime Minister appealed to Susar to encourage his colleagues to surrender in the same peaceful manner and praised the joint operation of the PNTL and F-FDTL (the Army of Timor-Leste), under the command of Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak.

This landmark development comes in tandem with the announcement by the AMP  Government that to date 602 petitioners, men and women from the army who took to the mountains after the violence in 2006, have peacefully come forward and retreated to the safe haven of Aitarak Laran over the last few weeks. The petitioners, mostly former veterans of the resistance, will be contained at the centre in Dili established to house and discuss solutions to their problems.

Prime Minister Gusmao said, “We are witness to what many thought could not be achieved. It is a  testament that our country is ready to move forward, to establish a cooperative state working for a collective vision of peace.’

‘I credit the AMP Government who has worked tirelessly over the last six months to establish law and order and to create positive solutions for the issues that plagued the nation. I praise civil society, the Police Force and the Armed forces for working cohesively towards positivenational solutions. We have established a Government that supports a new climate of accountability and transparency but above all, this Government is a trusted Government, which is why we have been able to deliver results.”

For more information please contact The Office of the Prime Minister: +670 723 0054
TLPres: President Ramos-Horta forgives the deceased Alfredo Reinado and asks the Government to support Alfredo’s Family Darwin, 2nd of March 2008 Media Release - The President of Timor-Leste, DR Jose Ramos-Horta has received the visit of the Interim President Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo at the Royal Darwin Hospital. The two leaders met for almost two hours.

After the visit, the Interim President stated that the purpose of the visit was to see the good recovery of the President of the Republic, to inform him of the general situation in the country, and to convey the best wishes from the people of Timor-Leste.

The Interim President “Lasama” said that the Presidents recovery is progressing very well.

“The President is very lucid, showing his concern for the country and the responsibility of the Head of State.

“The President also express gratitude to the nation and to the church for their prayers and asked people to stop the violence,” said the Interim President.

“The President also express his trust in me as the Interim President, the National Parliament and the Government and asked everyone to continue working well for the good of the country.  The President also said that he forgives the deceased Alfredo Reinado Alves and asked the Government to support Alfredo’s family.” added the Interim President.

Interim President Lasama added that President Ramos-Horta had asked that a thorough investigation be conducted into the incidents on the 11th of February.

President Ramos-Horta also received visits from the United Nations Special Representative in Timor-Leste, DR Atul Khare, the former Prime Minister, Dr Mari Alkatiri, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva and Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah.


Media PR.: Joel Maria Pereira or Luke Gosling :