Friday, May 31, 2013

Timor-Leste Legal News May 2008 (Part 4)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 9 May 2008

Paulo Martins to give statement in Court on moving weapons during 2006 crisis (Suara Timor Lorosa'e) Former General Commander of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) Paulo Martins (currently a CNRT MP in Parliament) said that he is ready to give a statement in Court on Fretilin's accusation that PNTL weapons that moved from Dili to Liquiça and Aileu UPF Headquarters during the 2006 crisis. "As the commander of PNTL, I can say that if moving weapons from Dili to Liquiça and Aileu UPF Headquarter is a criminal offence, I am ready to make a statement on that in Court. At that time, everything went before the Minister of Interior. Moving weapons to Rai Los is a real crime. But moving weapons from a weapon store to another store is a different matter," said Mr. Martins on Thursday (8/5). Mr. Martins said that the weapons were moved to Liquica and Aileu UPF to avoid violence during the crisis as the security situation in Dili was fragile.

Ramos-Horta: coalition is not like going and out from a party (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
President José Ramos-Horta has asked parties who have made a coalition to act conscientiously and responsibly, and not enter into a coalition and then leave it [again and again]. "I do not know why Uncle Xavier stays away from AMP. Maybe there is a lack of dialogue. In the democracy there are coalitions and the members should be engaged in permanent dialogue," said PR Horta after participating in the anniversary ceremony of the Red Cross on Thursday (8/5) in Dili. According to PR Horta the problem of ASDT leaving the AMP has no impact on AMP's ability to rule the country. "In a democracy it [coalition] is normal, but ASDT-Fretilin should be responsible. Recently I see that AMP continues to work and has not rocked the nation's stability. Fretilin is an historical party and is committed to the nation's stability," said PR Horta.

Separately, the Minister of Commerce and Tourism [former Secretary-General of ASDT] Gil da Costa said he was disheartened by the accusation of ASDT President Francisco Xavier that there is corruption in the ministry led by ASDT member. "We have an internal inspector and all the projects done have been reported. If there is corruption, evidence should be presented to prove these allegations," said Minister Gil.

Francisco Guterres: security and national stability are important subjects in Timor-Leste (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
At the opening ceremony of the training of National Civilian Security Guards (DNSEA) held in Matadouro on Thursday (8/5), the State Secretary for Security Francisco Guterres said that security and national stability have become the important subjects in this country, as the Government is trying hard to create better basic conditions for the country's institutions. According to Mr. Guterres the objective of DNSEA, especially in the area of operations, is to provide security to protect government offices and State institutions. DNSEA needs training to strengthen its ability to effectively carry out its duties.

Ed: Need a special mechanism to control the market (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
The problem of lack of food and the high price of oil during the last two months is a global problem that is also facing other countries in the Asia Pacific region.As the biggest rice-producing nation in the world, Thailand has failed to produce a big harvest due to climate change and global warming. Besides rice, other agricultural commodities have not increased in production. Timor-Leste's farmers who planted with corn are also facing bad crops this year.

Most of the farms were destroyed by heavy rain fall. In the oil sector, the high price of oil is impacting the price of food and construction materials. If the oil price goes up, then automatically the price of food or other goods increase.If we do not pay serious attention to this issue, then people will always be shouting and blaming the Government because of hunger. This scenario may make the political situation unstable.

The Government should not be in quiet and calm or watching – or let the market be controlled by market forces. The Government has to anticipate developments or if needed, create a mechanism to control market prices to avoid price speculation. The Government should also lower import taxes to help decrease the price of imported goods. Finally, since the time that PR Ramos Horta was in Darwin [for medical treatment], he said that he told the Government to allocate funds to buy rice for the hungry people in the country. We all hope that this will happen to help the people.

PR Horta: end the State of Siege in Ermera (Timor Post)
President Jose Ramos-Horta on Thursday (8/5) ended the State of Siege in Ermera District based on an improved security situation in the country, especially in the district. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão was also informed that the president has ended the State of Siege in Ermera District. "President is also telling us that he has ended the State of Siege in Ermera," said PM Xanana on Thursday (8/5) after a high level meeting which focused on security, the high price of goods, IDPs, and the petitioners. 

Xanana Gusmão: the government is committed to good governance (Diario Nacional)
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that the government is always committed to good governance in order to implement good programs. Xanana Gusmão said this during his speech to the Administrative Conference on Thursday (8/5) at the Office of the Foreign Ministry in Dili. Xanana added it was previously announced in the past year that 2008 would be the Year of Administrative Reform, in order to improve the government's accountability and strengthen public functions. "When we hold this government, we are committed to establishing a good institutional system to carry out good governance," said Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.

Xanana said there is a need to establish an effective institutional system in order to achieve effective governance. He said his government would continue to develop the nation, the society, and democracy. He promised to protect democracy via strong and independent organs of government. He said he wanted to form a public function commission to give more power to the Cabinet's Inspector-General so that it could become more independent, and form an Anti Corruption Commission. "I can say that this government is brave to prioritize the establishment of strong and independent institutions," he said.

PD MP says AMP suspects Fretilin of influencing ASDT (Diario Nacional)
PD MP Vital dos Santos said that the AMP government suspected that the Fretilin party had influenced ASDT to agree to an accord and establish a strategic alliance. "We all know that when we formed AMP, Fretilin approached other parties such as the PD party, but they (Fretilin) did not succeed. Fretilin again has approached another party with an objective of winning power," said MP PD Vital dos Santos on Thursday (8/5) at the National parliament.
Xavier wants to kiss Fretilin's feet: ASDT wants Fretilin to rule  Timor Post  09 May 2008
ASDT, which joined with CNRT, PD and PSD to create the Alliance of Majority in Parliament to form the AMP Government, has signed an accord with Fretilin and wants Fretilin to rule. A strategic framework was signed officially be the high level leaders of ASDT and Fretilin yesterday (7/5) which aims to develop the people and nation of Timor-Leste.

After signing the accord, President ASDT Francisco Xavier do Amaral stated that ASDT wants to leave the AMP as the AMP has been living a good life while the people suffer. The AMP Government is using petroleum funds to go around by aeroplane, buy good foodstuff, and sleep in good hotel and has abandoned its people. Before I had disagreements with Fretilin and did not want to join them. But now I am looking forward to it and want to save the nation.

"Whatever [the beast] Fretilin was, now I can kiss its feet to help me save the nation" said Mr. Xavier on Wednesday (7/5). Mr. Xavier also said that signing the accord with Fretilin does not mean that his party is leaving AMP. But there is no guarantee that they will stay with AMP if the political attitude of the AMP leadership is not changed. "I declare that I am still in AMP but in preparation. If AMP modifies its attitudes, then I will maintain my position with it. I may join with Fretilin or other parties to save the nation" added Uncle Xavier.

Separately, Fretilin President Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo said that the two parties [Fretilin-ASDT] signed the accord to reaffirm themselves in this democratic state as they come from the same root. "AMP should be aware of recent political movement and change their attitudes.The Government who rules should at least have a program that is focused in each ministry and not be preoccupied with international junkets" said Fretilin President Lu-Olo.

ASDT and Fretilin agreed that the grand inclusive government to be established will be led by Fretilin in only two years from now. The two parties have a coalition and established a grand inclusive government to solve the petitioners' problem, create better conditions for the IDPs, reform security and defence sectors, reform public administration, and establish a high authority for good governance.

In the Accord of May 1 it also stated that the parties will normalize the functions of State institutions, be open to other parties who have no bench in the Parliament, and defend the establishment of international commission of inquiry to investigate the attacks of February 11, and defend the realization of early legislative elections.
Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak: one of the rebels is still hiding two guns Suara Timor Lorosa'e 09 May 2008
F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak said that one of Salsinha and Alfredo's associates is still hiding two guns, and the Apprehension Operation forces are searching for him. "The name of the person is still in not determined. Regarding the two guns, the Apprehension Operation forces are still seeking him," said Taur Matan Ruak to the journalists after a meeting with the PR Ramos-Horta on Wednesday (7/5) at the President Office in Farol, Dili.  Meanwhile TMR was asked about the recruitment of new F-FDTL members. He said that only 300 people will be recruited in July and August this year. The biggest priority is to recruit people who have a degree certificate and are 30 years old.
Ed: The New Government!!! Diario Nacional 08 May 2008
ASDT President Francisco Xavier Amaral with his Acting Secretary-General Francisco Gomes signed an accord for a coalition with Fretilin President Francisco Lu-Olo and Fretilin's Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri on May 1 which aims to establish a new government in the near future.

The event is a threat for AMP as ASDT is one of the members of AMP. This might weaken AMP in the Parliament. It is a feather in the opposition's heat to take down the Government. If Fretilin succeeds in convincing PUN and UNDERTIM to join them, then Fretilin will have simple majority with 33 seats and may form a new government.

It is a normal thing in the world of democracy when these political games happen. But we should also be realistic about the recent atmosphere in the country.

What we have to consider is if there will be new crisis, and new IDPs because of the competition between the leaders. We still do not know whether ASDT has left AMP or not. Not yet, because ASDT President Xavier said that they have signed the accord but they are still a member of AMP. Will this last for five years or not? The President of Democratic Party, also the President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama, said that even though ASDT is stepping down from AMP, AMP will not be shaken. Just wait.
Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak: all will compete in the F-FDTL recruitment  Diario Nacional  08 May 2008
The Commander of Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak said that the recruitment for the new members of F-FDTL in the next month will allow all qualified people to compete. Commander Matan Ruak said that the petitioners who are going to return to F-FDTL will also compete with the other candidates during the recruitment process. "I still have no list as there are two groups of the petitioners. One is going back to F-FDTL and the other one is going to leave F-FDTL. The competition will be tough. Previously we had 12,000-15,000 candidates to compete for only 260 posts we wanted to fill at that time," said Commander Taur Matan Ruak on Wednesday (7/5) in the Palace of the President, Dili.

Ed: Is the ASDT-Fretilin's accord a threat to AMP? Timor Post 08 May 2008
At last, Fretilin's struggle to have dialogue with political parties, especially those who are in AMP, has yielded positive results, results that  give rise to hope for future governance. Fretilin and ASDT signed an accord to make a coalition to establish a new government in the early elections of 2009 or 2012 elections. The political target of these parties seems to be good and is balanced because the two parties depend on the elections of 2009 and 2012.

Do not surprised at the signing of the accord the last week. The decision made by the parties is for the future. It does not affect ASDT's five MPs in the Parliament to continue support AMP. We should congratulate them. If Fretilin wants to rock AMP, Fretilin should try hard with the political parties who have no bench in the Parliament, including parties outside of AMP in the parliament, to support them. If not then, then the dream to crack down on AMP will not realized until the 2012 elections. And if Fretilin gains victory in 2012 then all of their political plans for the nation may be implemented, not now. Just wait!!!

Fretilin, not a good party to have coalition with Timor Post 08 May 2008
ASDT MPs in the National Parliament said that even though the leaders of their party have signed an agreement with Fretilin, they will continue to maintain their position in the Parliament. ASDT MPs said that Fretilin is not a good model of a party with which to have coalition as it has a history of lack of good governance and has no good relations with other political parties. "It really happened. For instance, on the 23 of April last, Fretilin President Lu-Olo insulted ASDT. It is for me better to stand alone than have a coalition with Fretilin. This is a matter of principle. I do not agree with this position," said ASDT MP Joao Manuel Carrascalão. Mr. Carrascalão said that even though his party's president has signed the accord with Fretilin he himself and four ASDT MPs in the National Parliament will continue to give their support to AMP.

Anticipated election will make people suffer and die Suara Timor Lorosa'e 08 May 2008
PNT MP Alianca de Araujo said that the anticipated election will create suffering for the people. She asked the ASDT party to not set people against each other. "I ask all the leaders to not play with the people's lives. If you are going to play with the people's lives, you are going to lead these people suffering and death." she said on Wednesday (&/5) at National Parliament. She added that the anticipated election will create another crisis in Timor Leste because it is not embraced by the people themselves but rather by those who seek seats or position. It does not necessarily mean it will prevent the people from suffering and death.

President Horta visits Petitioners in Aitarak Laran Suara Timor Lorosa'e 08 May 2008
President Ramos-Horta visited the petitioners who are staying in Aitarak Laran cantonment on Wednesday (7/5). During the visit, the President said that he considers the problem of the petitioners as a national problem as it has affected the nation's stability, institution of the F-FDTL, and all the reconciliation process. President Ramos-Horta said that he not able to make a miracle to immediately solve the petitioners' problem as his brain is not same as a scientist. "I have been given a life by God but only a little knowledge. Therefore, I will not be able to make a miracle for the petitioners' problem. But with my patience I will work together with the Government, MPs, and civil society to solve the problems and strengthen peace in Timor Leste," said PR Ramos-Horta on Wednesday (7/5) at the Petitioners' cantonment in Aitarak Laran, Dili.

Timor-Leste Legal News May 2008 (Part 3)

UNMIT Daily Media Review 7 May 2008

ASDT to stand for AMP, Horta not thinking of an early election – Even though ASDT has given signals that it will leave the Alliance Majority in Parliament (AMP), five of its members in Parliament continue to give their support to AMP to govern the country.

"The decision in the Parliament belongs to the bench [of ASDT]. We continue to support AMP. If they [ASDT-Fretilin] have signed an accord outside of the Parliament … that's up to them. The president of the party said it would leave the AMP. But as MPs we have the right to continue to support AMP," said ASDT MP José Manuel Carrascalão on Tuesday (6/5) in the National Parliament. Mr. Carrascalão also said that many militants in the party [ASDT] disagreed with the signing the coalition accord.

ASDT has signed an accord with Fretilin as an agreement and commitment between the two parties to form new government on May 1, 2008. In the accord, entitled Accord of 1 May, the two parties agreed to form a strong coalition to rule the country in the national interest.

President José Ramos-Horta said that he is not thinking about early elections which are preoccupying
others with now. PR Horta said that the recent Government led by AMP is a Government with legitimacy, a Government he chose to rule the country. "An early election gives no opportunity to the legitimate Government which I chose to implement their programs for the people. At the moment I am not preoccupied with early elections but am thinking about holding a dialogue between the Government and the big party, Fretilin," said PR Horta on Tuesday (6/5) in on his visit to the petitioners in Aitarak-Laran, Dili. (Televizaun Timor-Leste) Respecting dignity, PR Horta visits the petitioners – For the first time after his return from Darwin, Australia, PR Ramos-Horta visited the petitioners in Aitarak-Laran on Tuesday (6/5), a sign of respecting the dignity and rights of the petitioners. "I have come here to give a message to my children, [my] young brothers, the petitioners that the First President never forgets. They are human. We should respect their dignity and rights. That is why I have come to them and I will try to collaborate with the Government to quickly implement the options for you [my] children," said PR Horta. (Timor Post)

Salsinha does not provide NID with a list of supporters' names – Rebel leader Gastão Salsinha does not want to provide a list of the names of [rebel] supporters who took part in the attempt against PM Xanana Gusmão in, Balibar, Dili on February 11, to the National Investigation Department (NID) as part of their investigation. NID official Nuno R. Gomes said that during the investigation, including a hearing process in the court, Salsinha never gave the names of people who supported him in carrying out the attacks on February 11. "During the investigation we did asked him about the people who supported him, but he did not give any names for the reason that he will do so during his trial in the court," said Mr. Gomes on Tuesday (6/5) Timor Post via telephone. (Timor Post)

Horta: coalition of ASDT-Fretilin, a normal process in democracy – PR Ramos-Horta said that the formation of a coalition between ASDT and Fretilin is a normal process. But he admitted that he had still not talked about this directly with ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral and the AMP side. "I heard that Uncle Xavier's party had left AMP. I still have had not discussed this with Uncle Xavier and the Prime Minister about the coalition of ASDT and Fretilin and its implications. I am not surprised and preoccupied with this as it is a normal process in democracy," said PR Horta on Tuesday (6/5) in Aitarak-Laran, Dili. "Mr. Xavier Amaral knows the reasons for forming the new coalition. But I know that they have discussions now -- a big delegation of AMP has talked to Mr. Xavier – it is a normal processs, so never be surprised," added PR Horta.

However, PR Horta said that PM Xanana himself with the Government will have to make efforts to execute public funds appropriately to avoid corruption, collusion, and nepotism within the Government. "Do not look only for cousins and families in the institution. Do not replace district administrators based on their political backgrounds.

Whether this is happening or not, Fretilin's members are concerned about it. I have talked to the Prime Minister and recommended he pay attention to this issue. We cannot change the political administration based on the party. Public administration should be totally professional," said PR Horta.  (Timor Post)
Fr. Martinho: ASDT-Fretilin coalition, a suicide for Xavier – The Commission of Justice and Peace Director of Baucau Diocese, Fr. Martinho Gusmão considers the decision made by ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral to enter into a coalition with Fretilin is equivalent to political suicide. According to Fr. Martinho, in 2007 Mr. Xavier backed Ramos-Horta in the presidential campaign and appealed to all people not to cast their votes for Lu-Olo (President of Fretilin), as a vote for Lu-Olo equaled a vote for suicide. Fr. Martinho said Mr. Xavier's recent decision to choose Lu-Olo, means he is on a suicidal path. "ASDT has brilliant ideas about the people's interest. But from what I read, they talk about the positions provided after they won over the election. This means that they are using people's interest to achieve particular goals," said Fr. Gusmão on Tuesday (6/5).   (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

Ed: ASDT and Fretilin's coalition – Recently ASDT made a coalition with Fretilin and signed an accord to prepare for the 2012 elections. However, ASDT continues to back AMP by collaborating with Prime Minister Xanana to develop the nation. The coalition between groups or parties is a normal occurrence as foreseen in our Constitution – the questions is why has ASDT made a coalition with Fretilin, which never recognize the historical leader Francisco Xavier do Amaral as the founder of ASDT/Fretilin and the Proclamator of Independence in Timor-Leste.

We still remember, during the campaign, Uncle Xavier said, "If we vote for Ramos-Horta we will only get a headache. If vote for Lu-Olo we will all die." What we are worried about now is that Uncle Xavier words are coming back to haunt him.

About the May 1 Accord, it is said that Fretilin wants to give eight positions to ASDT, such as Vice President of the National Parliament, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Telecommunications, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Transportation and Commerce, State Secretary of Environment, State Secretary of Solidarity and State Secretary of Administration. If the ASDT has coalition with Fretilin is based on the positions offered, then we all can see that all parties are ambitious and power hungry. We may say that the coalition intends to go against and knock Xanana down. It is normal boy … !!! (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

Fretilin wants Xanana to face the court – Fretilin MPs in the National Parliament want Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão to make a statement to the Court as Horta has done, because he is one of the victims of the attacks on February 11. "Related to the cases which took place, we still do not hear that Xanana has given his statement to the Court," said Mr. Arsenio Paixão Bano on a press conference held on Tuesday (6/5) in the National Parliament, Dili. Mr. Bano also said that the work of the Prosecutor-General is sluggish because some cases are still pending, such as Rai Los's case.

However, the Vice President of the National Parliament, Vicente Guterres said that we should not hamper the work of the judiciary, as the court is an independent body in this country.

Separately, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said that he is ready to welcome inquiries from the Prosecutor-General. Previously he had also responded to an inquiry from Provedor of Human Rights-Justice and the Prosecutor-General. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

1,137 IDPS return home – Some 1137 IDPs have decided to return home after occupying the National Hospital since the 2006 crisis. At a reintegration ceremony of IDPs at the National Hospital, Dili, the Minister of Social Solidarity Maria Domingas Alves said that the IDPs' readiness to return home was a positive step towards a better life. Among the participants at the ceremony was the President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama, Vice Minister of Health Madalena Hanjam, Dili District PNTL Commander Pedro Belo and other officials from the UN Agencies that worked together on the process of reintegration.

Meanwhile, the PR of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama thanked all the IDPs for their decision to return home. "Once again, thanks a lot to all of you who have decided to return home, as the decision is in your hands," said PR Lasama on Tuesday (6/5) during the reintegration ceremony. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e) President José Ramos-Horta said that he is not thinking about early elections which are preoccupying others with now. PR Horta said that the recent Government led by AMP is a Government with legitimacy, a Government he chose to rule the country. "An early election gives no opportunity to the legitimate Government which I chose to implement their programs for the people. At the moment I am not preoccupied with early elections but am thinking about holding a dialogue between the Government and the big party, Fretilin," said PR Horta on Tuesday (6/5) in on his visit to the petitioners in Aitarak-Laran, Dili. (Televizaun Timor-Leste)

Respecting dignity, PR Horta visits the petitioners – For the first time after his return from Darwin, Australia, PR Ramos-Horta visited the petitioners in Aitarak-Laran on Tuesday (6/5), a sign of respecting the dignity and rights of the petitioners. "I have come here to give a message to my children, [my] young brothers, the petitioners that the First President never forgets. They are human. We should respect their dignity and rights. That is why I have come to them and I will try to collaborate with the Government to quickly implement the options for you [my] children," said PR Horta. (Timor Post)

Salsinha does not provide NID with a list of supporters' names – Rebel leader Gastão Salsinha does not want to provide a list of the names of [rebel] supporters who took part in the attempt against PM Xanana Gusmão in, Balibar, Dili on February 11, to the National Investigation Department (NID) as part of their investigation. NID official Nuno R. Gomes said that during the investigation, including a hearing process in the court, Salsinha never gave the names of people who supported him in carrying out the attacks on February 11. "During the investigation we did asked him about the people who supported him, but he did not give any names for the reason that he will do so during his trial in the court," said Mr. Gomes on Tuesday (6/5) Timor Post via telephone. (Timor Post)

Timor-Leste Legal News May 2008 (Part 2)


FRETILIN MPs walk out of parliament in protest

FRETILIN MPs walked out of yesterday afternoon's session (Tuesday 6 May 2008) of Timor Leste's Parliament in protest at attempts to prevent questioning of two government ministers involved in dubious commercial transactions worth many millions of dollars.

FRETILIN said the President of the National Parliament, Fernando Lasama Araujo misused parliament's standing orders to restrict questioning of the Mr Mariano Sabino, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, and Mr Gil Alves, Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry, to one question per party.

FRETILIN parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres said today he wanted to ask the Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry why a multi million dollar contract for rice importation was single sourced
instead of through an international tender.

"The de facto Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries needs to confirm or deny reports that he has signed agreements granting foreign companies 300,000 hectares for rubber plantations and another 100,000 hectares for sugar cane for bio fuel, when our people are facing high prices for all food  commodities and our country is still importing most of its rice needs," Guterres said.

Guterres accused parliamentary President Lasama of misusing standing orders to protect the de facto Ministers and the de facto AMP government from being held accountable to the people's representatives on these very serious questions.

"This is contrary to parliamentary rules and the practice in the previous parliament. This is an undemocratic trend and shows how desperate the de facto government's allies are becoming in the face of a wave of allegations of maladministration and highly questionable deals involving government tenders worth many millions of dollars," added Guterres.

"These latest cases of maladministration follow revelations that Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres, used public funds to increase his wife's salary as a diplomat in New York, whilst he was Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The money was used to purchase a grand piano.

"For over one week we have formally requested the parliament to call the de facto AMP government to attend parliament to respond to our queries about the level of success in spending the budget for the transitional period 1 July to 31 December 2007. But to date we have had no response. Given the restrictions by the President of the Parliament yesterday, we fear that our efforts to hold the government accountable on budget execution will be similarly thwarted," said Guterres.

Despite the lack of quorum once FRETILIN and ASDT were not present, the parliament continued to proceed, another serious issue with the conduct of the President of the Parliament.

Contact:           Jose Teixeira              +670 728 7080 Nilva Guimaraes          +670 734 0389
UNMIT Daily Media Review 6 May 2008

Fretilin-ASDT sign agreement to form Government – One of the AMP members, ASDT has signed an accord with Fretilin which constitutes an agreement and commitment between the two parties to form a new government on May 1, 2008.

In the accord the two parties stated they have a strong coalition to rule the country in the interests of the nation.

"ASDT and Fretilin were created to stand for total liberation, the nation, and the Timorese people," declared the two parties in their accord, entitled Accord of 1 May.

ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral said that the coalition does not mean that his party, ASDT is out of the AMP. Rather the coalition was formed to prepare for the future.

"We are not saying that we are leaving AMP. When the time comes, we will tell you [the aim of] this policy," said Mr. Amaral.

Separately, the Secretary-General of Fretilin Mari Alkatiri said that there are still substantial subjects ofthe accord to be discussed within the two parties.

Mr. Alkatiri also said that as ASDT has made a coalition with Fretilin, the AMP should be prepared to face early elections.

"I told Prime Minister Xanana before that if you form a government with pieces of cloth, then it will fall apart," said Mr. Alkatiri.

Other AMP members of Parliament said that up until now, they have not received any information about the accord between ASDT and Fretilin.

The President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araujo, also a leader of AMP, said that at the moment the nation's Constitution does not allow for the conduct of early elections when the activities of the National Parliament are routinely going on. He appealed to the people and political leaders to live as a nation as regulated by law, and not create confusion among the different factions in society. (Timor Post)

Ed: A high price of rice, a challenge for the AMP – Since the end of 2007 the price of rice has been getting higher and has become the preoccupation of the poor people who are feeling threatened.

Many comments have been made on the subject. Some MPs and Government members of AMP have said that the higher price of rice is influenced by international market prices, which have been affected by poor rice crops in Thailand and Vietnam. This means that the Government has not made any mistakes resulting in the higher price of rice in the country.

This reasoning that "this is not the Government mistake" might be acceptable. But on the other hand, we cannot ignore that this also the Government's mistake as it has responsibility to save the people of this country, especially those who are at the mercy of the economy.

Those who have power may not be careless with the situation because the price of rice might be considered as "small change" or the price of a cigarette.

AMP should know that to rule the nation is not depend only on other nations' policy. We should be able to face our own internal problems. If not, there will be statements like this: "They are not capable of governing but want to rule." During the campaign they promised: "If we are elected, the price of all goods will decrease." The minister responsible for this situation must step down.

The Government should do something like it did when it provided rice to public servants who have a regular monthly salary.

Why provide a quick solution for public servants but have difficulty in paying attention to the poor people? If not now, then when?

If the rice problem is a global problem, the Government should recommend to people to consume their traditional food. (Timor Post)

PSD, CNRT and PD AMP – The Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) will be strengthened by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Democratic Party (PD) and CNRT, as ASDT is going to have coalition with Fretilin [the strongest opposition in the National Parliament]. PSD representative Fernando Dias Ximenes said that up until now, the reason why ASDT coalition with Fretilin is unknown. Mr. Ximenes said that even though ASDT is leaving AMP, AMP still has 32 seats and needs one more seat to hold an absolute majority in the Parliament. "It is normal if ASDT leaves the AMP, because differences are always cropping up among the members, and even in a single party," said Mr. Ximenes.   (Timor Post)

Bishop Basilio: justice should be equal to all people – Commenting about the pardon given by President Jose Ramos-Horta to Rogerio Lobato, the Bishop of Baucau Diocese Basilio do Nascimento said that to live in peace in this country, justice should be applied equally to all people. According to Bishop Basilio, even though all the people did not agree with the President's pardon given to Mr. Lobato, the President has the power to grant it. Bishop Nascimento also said that the President's pardon is not setting him free but will minimize Mr. Lobato and other prisoners' period of punishment. (Diario Nacional)

Bishop Basilio: Salsinha has to present evidence in Court - Bishop of Baucau Diocese Basilio do Nascimento is asking Salsinha to present evidence when giving his statement in Court. Bishop Basilio said that Salsinha is an important key to understanding the 2006 crisis and the attempt of February 11 against PR Horta and PM Xanana. His contribution to the judicial process is very important for development of the nation. "Now we all know that all the problems" keys are in Salsinha's hand," said Bishop Basilio. According to Bishop Basilio, whoever was involved in the process should admit their mistakes to avoid accusation and live in peace. Bishop Basilio wants Salsinha to make a full disclosure about everything he knows, as he has responsibility to do so. (Diario Nacional)

Four former East Timorese rebels deported from Indonesia to Dili – The four extradited four rebel soldiers from East Timor are wanted for alleged involvement in attacks on East Timor President and Prime Minister in February. The four rebels are Tito Tilman, Ismail San Sao Moniz Soares, Egidio Lay Carvalho and Jose Gomes. They arrived at Nicolao Lobato airport on Monday (5/5) under heavy security provided by Indonesian anti-terror police, two weeks after they were apprehended in Indonesia's West Timor and the capital Jakarta.

After arriving at the airport, Indonesian anti-terror police handed over the four rebels to Timorese authorities. The four rebels were directly received by East Timor's Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro who was accompanied by the Rapid Intervention Unit Commander Armando Monteiro, Dili District's Police Commander Pedro Belo and other PNTL officers at the airport VIP lounge. After an official hand-over ceremony, the four rebels were brought to the HQ of the Joint Operation Command in Dili, under heavy security of PNTL Rapid Intervention Unit and Task Force.

During an official hand-over ceremony, Indonesian chief of anti-terror operations Petrus Galose said that four rebel soldiers were caught by the Indonesian authorities because they crossed the border illegally after the February 11 attacks on East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão in Dili.

"Before we deported them to here, we gave them a medical check up in Indonesia and to make sure they all are in stable condition. These four rebels are brought to here today based on the law enforcement cooperation between to two nations," said Colonel Petrus Galose in a press conference at Dili's airport on Monday (5/5). (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

People in Hudi Laran area unhappy with the attitudes of the PNTL's Task Force – People in Hudi Laran, Bairo Pite, are unhappy with the attitudes of PNTL's Task Force members as their actions are not bringing the situation under control. Instead of defending one of the martial arts groups fighting among themselves, they also capture people arbitrarily or recklessly. Therefore, the people in Hudi-Laran ask police to maintain their position as a defender of the people to not defend any of the martial art groups during fighting. "Police have to have their eyes and ears opened in order to capture people who usually create problems and to not act recklessly," said one of resident in Hudi Laran, Bairo Pite. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

Paixão: A residence in Liquiça hands over a long rifle Mauser to the Joint Operation Command – The Commander of the Joint Operation Command Filomeno Paixão said that one residence in Liquiça handed over a long rifle Mauser to the Joint Operation Command on Thursday (01/5). Separately in Ermera district, people handed over 268 AR-16 bullets, one air gun, and 2 traditional weapons. On the 3rd of May, the residents in Fatubesi voluntarily handed over 19 traditional weapons, 39 traditional pistols, 1 rocket propelled grenade launcher, 2 hand grenades and many others traditional weapons to the Joint Operation Command. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

One member of the Joint Operation Command injures a lady in Haupu, sub-district Hatolia, Ermera – A lady in Ermera was injured by a member of the Joint Operation Command on Monday (5/5). The victim was taken to the National Hospital in Dili for treatment and is in stable condition now. The member of the Joint Operation Command in question has been taken to Dili for further investigation.

The Joint Operation Command has been criticized by the community for holding a party on the night after Salsinha and his men surrendered. The Commander of the Joint Operation Command Lieutenant Colonel Paixão said that he did not give any order to the members in Ermera to mark any celebration or party regarding Salsinha's surrender.

"I have never told the Joint Operation Command forces in Ermera to celebrate with any party regarding the Salsinha's surrender. If there was one, it took place spontaneously because the forces have just wanted to celebrate as the hunt for Salsinha and his men has been going on for two months. But there was no order for them to hold a party regarding Salsinha's surrender. I hope the communities in Ermera will feel free to contribute to and cooperate with the forces in achieving stability and national security," said Commander Paixão. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
Haburas: Mangrove Devastation in Metinaru 05 May 2008

The Haburas Foundation
Critical Issue Series - English Edition
Mangrove Devastation in Metinaru - What are the issues?

Mangrove felling for firewood and building material is out of control in Metinaro. Each day approximately 10 trucks, each fully loaded with 4 tons of illegally harvested wood are leaving the mangrove forests around Metinaro. Should we care?

The immediate benefits of the felling are financially positive and may be important for some members of the locally based IDP community

Will this short-term gain justify the disastrous long-term effects that felling mangroves will have across both the local and wider fishing communities?

Revenue from selling the wood is one of the few income sources available to a jobless and effectively landless, marginalised community.

Mangrove felling is also directly jeopardising livelihoods and Dili’s access to an affordable, first-class protein source for years to come.

Timor Leste needs a healthy mangrove resource for its fishing industry, food security, coral reef resource and a future lucrative tourism industry -The current extraction is the epitome of unsustainable resource use!

What is the answer?

Many people in Dili adhere to the conventional wisdom that the ‘sustainable environment is only an issue for Timor Leste in the future, once the more obvious and acute humanitarian problems have been addressed adequately.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to redress issues such as a lack of livelihood opportunities, access to first-class protein and good household food-security after the serious degradation to the environment that provides those services, has already occurred.

To begin the search for an answer to these problems that lie in wait for Timor Leste tomorrow, we must first generate awareness of their causes through informing all stakeholders about the strongly unsustainable practices that are occurring today.

A paradigm shift in environmental perception is essential to the future of this country, and the Haburas Foundation is leading the way. However we can only achieve a sustainable Timor Leste if this environmental responsibility is shared across all sectors of society and disciplines of development.

Bottom-line facts:

Mangrove forests are a key nursery habitat to the juvenile lifestages of many commercially and ecologically important fish and crustacean species(Mumby et al. 2004, Laegdsgaard & Johnson. 2001).

Coral reef’s species abundance and biomass has been shown to be severely reduced in mangrove absent areas (Nagelkerken et al. 2001) .

In Dili, important food fish such as snapper (Lutjanus. sp) jack and even barracuda species (all of which support the livelihoods of the local fishing community) utilise the mangrove forest’s ecosystem services throughout their lives.

The mangrove forests near Metinaru are being cut down at an observed rate of approximately 40 tons per day.

Mangrove areas also protect coral reef from the damaging properties of turbid run-off from the already degraded terrestrial environment ie. soil erosion (EDF. 2004).

If unregulated felling continues evidence from a plethora of studies under similar conditions suggests exacerbation of the problems will occur, seriously threatening fish stocks and livelihoods (see Mumby. 2006, Alongi & Carvalho. 2007).

There is a strong economic rationale for protecting mangroves since coral reef fisheries have an estimated annual value of $5.7 billion and many people also depend on them for subsistence." (EDF, 2004)

These issues need to be addressed at both a local and national level by the Timorese government, but also by associated NGOs and other relevant changeagents. NGOs with influence over IDP livelihood practices should aim to address this issue on the ground. These actions will help to raise awareness and stress the importance of protection of the remaining mangrove areas, particularly with respect to harmonising IDP camp and local community’s relationships. The formulation of the State of the Nation document by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is currently in progress and should also include mangrove destruction in its proceedings (with particular reference to the Coral Triangle Initiative that Timor Leste has agreed to implement - relating to coral-reef conservation). The current extraction is illegal under Timorese national laws according to:

·  Article 6 of the Constitution of RDTL, section (F) pertaining to environmental protection of native resources for their continued existence,

·  Articles 61 & 139 related to environmental rights,

·  Regulation No19/UNTAET/2000 relating to protected areas, and also contravenes other ratified international agreements with UNFCCC, UNCCD UNCBD

For further information, assistance or to share your comments with the Haburas Foundation please contact: Tel +670 331 01 03 Or e-mail:

Timor-Leste Legal News May 2008 (Part 1)



Party quits Gusmao's coalition to ally with FRETILIN

The Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT), a member of Timor Leste's de facto government, has withdrawn from the governing coalition and formed an alliance with FRETILIN.

Leaders of ASDT and FRETILIN signed an agreement in Dili on Saturday to enter into a "solid coalition" to form the next constitutional government of Timor Leste.

Their joint statement criticised the de facto government led by Xanana Gusmao as "full of nepotism and corruption".In the 2007 parliamentary election the ASDT/Social Democratic Party alliance won 18 per cent of the vote and 11 seats, making it the third most popular force after FRETILIN (21 seats) and Gusmao's CNRT (18 seats). ASDT had two ministers in the de facto government. The joint statement was signed by ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral (the first President of FRETILIN and of Timor Leste and the man who proclaimed national independence in November 1975) and current FRETILIN President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo (who proclaimed Timor Leste's restoration of independence on 20 May 2002).

The statement said both ASDT and FRETILIN were born as political forces to achieve the total liberation of the people and nation of Timor Leste.

It continued: "Today, despite the people of Timor Leste having been liberated from centuries of foreign domination, the people are once again living under a government full of nepotism, corruption, collusion and injustice, and we are witnessing the persecution of our patriots. The situation has once again dragged our people into living lives of fear of those in political power and of a loss of hope for the economic development of their nation."

The ASDT/FRETILIN agreement opens the way for both parties to immediately prepare a policy platform for a future government. It guarantees a just and proportional participation by ASDT members in the executives of a future government and parliament.

The original ASDT was formed on May 20, 1974, and re-named FRETILIN later that year. Xavier do Amaral re-formed ASDT for the elections in 2001, when he stood against Xanana Gusmao for the presidency.

For information please contact: José Teixeira on +670 728 7080
For further information from ASDT, please contact João Correia on +670 724 9524
UNMIT Daily Media Review 5 May 2008

Ed: Court demands the truth from Salsinha, not politics –  After two years in the mountains, struggling for justice with Alfredo Reinado and their men, Gastão Salsinha should now face justice with no weapons in hand. With five of his men, Salsinha appeared in the Court of Appeal to have a first hearing on the cases they have been involved in for the two years.

This is justice … Salsinha demands justice from the Court and now the Court instructs him to explain his motivation and actions.

Salsinha is now living in the judicial – not political – world.  In the judicial world, only legal facts are needed - need no for more talk about politics. In the first hearing, Salsinha directly faced pretrial detention for charges in connection with the attack on February 11, previous homicide attempts, and carrying weapons illegally.

The charges against him show from 2006 - 2008 the Court has been aware of Salsinha"s actions. So, Salsinha has to be responsible and give clear explanations about what he has done.  If Salsinha is found innocent of the charges, then we have to say CONGRATULATIONS.

But if he is guilty, then WELCOME to the prison newcomer, who was fighting for justice but against the law. This might be our hope: that we may play in the political arena but with no violence. If not, our companions who were with us before will keep their mouths shut and wash their hands of us. (Timor Post)

Francisco: PNTL and F-FDTL to cooperate in investigation and collection of illegal weapons – The State Secretary for Security Francisco Guterres said that the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) are going to cooperate in a thorough investigation of weapons still un the hands of civilians.

"If there is information about weapons carried by people, then there will be an investigation into those weapons to know their serial numbers, regardless of whether the weapons are those that are missing or not," said Mr. Guterres. He added that F-FDTL and PNTL will be searching and collecting the illegal weapons so as to avoid further conflicts in the future.

"We appeal the community to submit the weapons to F-FDTL and PNTL by 10 May. After that date, possession of weapons will be considered a criminal offense," Mr. Guterres said. (Timor Post)

Fretilin does not agree to TNI training of F-FDTL – Fretilin"s bench in the National Parliament rejects a proposal that the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) be trained by the National Army of Indonesia (TNI). The objection stems from a desire to avoid offending the victims of TNI during its occupation in Timor-Leste. "I do not agree with the training. We have to have to be considerate of sensitive feelings," said Fretilin"s MP Francisco Miranda Branco on Friday (2/5) in the National Parliament, Dili.

Mr. Branco said that before conducting the military training, the Report of Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste (CAVR) and Indonesia and TL Commission of the Truth and Friendship should be implemented to heal old wounds.

An MP from the Alliance of the Majority in Parliament (AMP), Paulo de Fatima Martins said that Timor-Leste has to cooperate with Indonesia, as it is a neighbour who supports Timor-Leste for membership in ASEAN.   "It is valid to cooperate and have good relations with Indonesia. In the first Government, some police officers went to Bandung and Jakarta to take part in staff command courses," he noted.  (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

Ed: Do not believe "insane" rumour – In a very mature and calm manner, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão is facing the "insane" rumour that he orchestrated the attacks on February 11. The attacks are merely political "drama".

If it is a political drama, then it is not true that Xanana is pulling the strings behind the curtain of violence. If it is true, why didn't Xanana kill himself rather than cooperate with the rebels trying to kill him?

We should not be surprised when the rumour is addressed to Xanana, but we should be careful and wise in giving our responses because Xanana has potential enemies from the opposition and inside AMP, too.

In such a critical situation, the enemies are smart enough to create issues to find scapegoats for their sympathetic parties and groups. Since August 2007, as the Prime Minister of the country, Xanana has made significant political progress in the country, national stability has returned to normal, IDPs are returning home, petitioners are gathered and cantoned, Salsinha and his men have submitted themselves … corruption,, collusion and nepotism are taken seriously, and the high price of rice is now handled.

Administrative reform from the national Government to the districts is ongoing. All will be done. All these matters show that Xanana is really working and responding to peoples' demands, especially the petitioners, IDPs and the veterans. It is impossible for Xanana to kill himself. It is just an "insane" rumour.  (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)

Guterres: a free press is important for the newest democratic country – Vice Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres said that a free press is very important for the world's newest democratic country. Journalists around the world should firmly commit to defending justice. But justice will never appear if it is under an authoritative State. Guterres added that most of the Timorese journalists had shown the highest nationalism during the process to the independence. While it is now time for development, there is still a need for all journalists to obey their code of conduct during the course of their work. Sometimes journalists receive threats from others because most people have only a limited understanding about press freedom. It is also important for journalists to show their freedom and responsibility to this nation. "I am very happy today to be with the journalists, as it is an important day for the press in this newest democratic country," said Jose Luis Guterres said during his speech on a World Press Freedom Day on Saturday (3/05) at the office of STL Newspaper. (Diario Nacional)

Bishop: the submission of Salsinha and his men is an important key for shedding light on February attacks – The Bishop of Baucau, Basilio do Nascimento said that the key to shedding light on the events of 11 February is in the hands of Salsinha and his men, as they have already peacefully submitted themselves to justice.

"Who will provide us enlightenment so that all of us will be able to understand the things happening around us? It was supposed to be Alfredo but he has died. The secret that Alfredo has is already buried with him. So people hope that Salsinha will divulge the secrets he has now," said Bishop Baucau Basilio do Nascimento trough the TVTL broadcast on Friday (02/05).   (Diario Nacional)

Government and UNMIT program starts to reduce the number of IDPs camps in Dili – The United Nations in Timor Leste and Government through the Ministry of Solidarity Social are currently being working together to reduce the IDPs camps in capital Dili. The chief of the UN OCHA, Pierre Bessuges said during a press conference that the policy to close the IDPs camps is an effort to solve the issue of the IDPs in Timor-Leste. (Diario Nacional)

Bishop of Baucau: collecting weaponry in the Eastern region will contribute to stability and peace in the nation – The Bishop of Baucau Basilio do Nascimento said that he appreciates the plan of the Joint Operation Command to collect illegal weapons that are still at large and in the hands of the civilians in the Eastern part of Timor-Leste, because that effort can contribute to peace and stability in the nation. "I think the plan to collect the illegal weapons in the Eastern region is the same as what the Joint Operation Command has been doing in the Western part of Timor-Leste, so that everyone will know that only the police and F-FDTL have a right to have guns or weapons," said Bishop Basilio do Nascimento.   (Diario Nacional)

Prime Minister's official visit to Indonesia is productive and positive – The Prime Minister's official visit to Indonesia is productive and positive but there is a need to follow up what has been agreed between two nations to ensure a good result. During the Prime Minister's official visit in Indonesia, both nations signed and discussed three agreements related to the commercial sector industry. The agreements focus on how Indonesia will provide Timor-Leste with technical assistance, how to establish small industries Timor-Leste in order to strengthen Timorese industrial capacity, and how they will cooperate with each other to promote Timor Leste's health department. (Diario Nacional)

Timor-Leste: Palace, karaoke, and prison: Salsinha's first three days in Dili – Lusa, 1 May Dili, 01 May (Lusa) – On Wednesday, Mari Alkatiri woke up tired and wanted to know who had thrown up a "big party" that had prevented him from getting any rest the previous night at his house in Bairro do Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste. "I was told that the party had been held at the Joint Command headquarters, with Gastão Salsinha in attendance", said the secretary-general of Fretilin to news agency Lusa.

Gastão Salsinha is the key (living) suspect of the attacks in which the President of the Republic, José Ramos-Horta, nearly lost his life. The Joint Command is the mixed structure that was set up to go after Salsinha and capture him, in an operation that was named "Halibur". After nearly three months of playing cat and mouse in Timor-Leste's western districts, Gastão Salsinha eventually accepted to surrender on April, 25. His group came down to Dili on Monday, April, 28.

Timor-Leste's Armed Forces and several National Police units, as well as the Prosecutor-General's close protection unit, the Portuguese GNR, the International Stabilisation Forces (ISF, under Australian command) and even a "Black Hawk" military helicopter provided a guard of honor to Gastão Salsinha and his twelve men (as well as a coffin containing long weapons).

"The reception they are getting is worthy of a President of the Republic", mocked a young Timorese sitting in the Hotel Timor cafeteria when the wailing of the first sirens approaching along Avenida Mártires da Pátria was heard

A crowd stood outside to see or confirm the surrender of the country's most wanted man, suspect of leading the attack on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and of having been an accomplice in the attack led by Major Alfredo Reinado against José Ramos-Horta.

Many people assembled in front of the Palácio do Governo, which faces the Dili bay, where the vehicles that had left the mountains of Lete-Foho, Ermera (west) earlier that morning eventually stopped.

The reference to a presidential-style motorcade for former lieutenant Salsinha makes sense. One day after the surrender, the Joint Command marked the completion of their mission with a dinner and music, where officers involved in operation "Halibur" sang "karaoke" to the well-known tune of "Foin Sae Timor Oan" ("Timor's New Generation").

The song is a kind of lyrical praise of hope in Timor-Leste, with lyrics and music by musician Abito Gama. It was the same song chosen by youngsters to welcome José Ramos-Horta at Nicolau Lobato airport, when the Head of State returned to the country on April, 17, surrounded by an aura as a born-again man.

Mari Alkatiri lives about two hundred meters away from the Joint Command HQ. The party must have been a very noisy one to be heard across the low-lying houses of the Farol neighborhood.

"A lot of beer, a lot of music, happiness everywhere", was how one participant summarized the event to Lusa.

Gastão Salsinha ate and drank in the conference hall were the Joint Command has established its headquarters. He sat at the officers table, with lieutenant-colonel Calistro dos Santos Coliati, operational commander of the "Halibur" operation.

It was the same room used for several weeks to welcome and question those suspect of having taken part in the February, 11 events, as well as hundreds of petitioners from the Armed Forces, while serving them coffee and biscuits .
It was also the room were most of those who were caught or surrendered were presented to the media, together with their weapons.

"They all had a good time", said to Lusa lieutenant-colonel Filomeno Paixão, the first commander of operation "Halibur", about the get-together on Tuesday night. "What happened was that the members of the joint forces were happy", the high-ranking officer within F-FDTL explained today.

Next to Coliati and Salsinha's table (who first looked uncomfortable, but was later caught smiling, according to pictures seen by Lusa), the fugitives who surrendered on Monday were welcomed, embraced and comforted with emotion by the members of the  operation aimed at capturing them.

At about 22:30, Gastão Salsinha and his group returned to their place of arrest. The party went on outside the conference hall, without them. The following day, the whole group was turned over to the [judicial] authorities by the Joint Command.

"Since 15:00 on Wednesday, they are under the jurisdiction of a judge. We no longer have anything to do with them", said Filomeno Paixão.

A few hours after being turned over to the judge, Salsinha and five of his men were named as formal suspects (arguidos) and subject to a first questioning by international judge Ivo Rosa, from the Dili District Court. The questioning continued today

As regards the other seven men, "they must certainly be walking free, because if they have been arrested, their detention will be illegal. They weren't even brought to the Court (to be questioned) because there were no arrest warrants outstanding in their name", judge Ivo Rosa explained to Lusa.

While the questioning was taking place in the Court of Appeal building, a march organized by Timor-Leste's trade union confederation passed by carrying red flags and shouting "This is your day!"

Labor Day
The entrance to the court building is always kept open and through the windows at the back of the courtroom the judge could see what was happening on the street.

The formal suspects were facing the judge and with their backs to the demonstration. At the end of the questioning, the judge ordered Salsinha and his group to be put on pre-trial detention. Neither the judge nor the Public Prosecution Service, represented by international prosecutor Felismino Cardoso, knew to which prison the six formal suspects would be sent, since such decision lies with the Ministry of Justice.

"They must be in Colmera, for sure", said lieutenant-colonel Filomeno Paixão. He was referring to the building on Dili's main avenue that is being used as a top-security prison for those suspects of having been involved in the February, 11 attacks. "I think it is wrong. The house is the [F-FDTL] officers' club", Filomeno Paixão explained. "But the decision was made and I have to follow orders".

It is not without irony that Gastão Salsinha, who was expelled from the F-FDTL in March 2006, will await the completion of the inquiry and for a date to be set for his trial as an 'unofficial' officer. "Whether fair or unfair, this is the beginning", replied Gastão Salsinha when questioned by Lusa about what he expected from the legal proceedings.

TLGov: Minister of Social Solidarity congratulates people of Aldeia Mauk on reconstructing their houses 

2 May 2008

Minister of Social Solidarity congratulates people of Aldeia Mauk on reconstructing their houses

On 2 May 2008 the Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernandes Alves, visited the people of Aldeia Mauk, to view the progress they have made on rehabilitating their houses since they left Canossa Has Laran IDP camp on 25 March.

During the crisis in 2006 many houses in Aldeia Mauk, Suco Manleuana, Dili, were damaged or destroyed and as a result many people were forced to flee their homes. Some fled to Canossa Has Laran IDP camp, while others fled to other IDP camps around Dili. The people responsible for destroying the IDPs’ homes also removed all the water piping and dug huge holes in the IDPs’ land in an attempt to prevent them from rebuilding there.

The residents of Canossa Has Laran IDP camp were some of the first IDPs to benefit from the government’s Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru national recovery strategy. The government assisted them to leave the camp and provided them with recovery packages and 16kg of rice per person. The IDPs were also allowed to take their tents home with them to provide them with accomodation until they were able to rebuild their house.

When they first returned to their land, it was difficult for them to start laying the foundations due to the huge holes dug by those who destroyed their houses. The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters liaised with the Ministry of Infrastructure for a bulldozer to be sent from the Ministry to help them flatten the land. Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters  and the Jesuit Refugee Service also assisted the IDPs to request the Water and Sanitation Department (DNSAS) to reinstall water pipes.

The Minister congratulated the people of Aldeia Mauk on their hard work in repairing and rebuilding their damaged and destroyed houses. “I am very happy to see that you have used the recovery grants provided to you by the government to rebuild your homes. I know that you have had to overcome many difficulties and are still suffering, but I hope that the excellent work you have done will provide a good example to other IDPs to use their recovery grants to rehabilitate their houses. I also hope that your positive attitutude to working with the government and with each other will encourage other IDPs to return to their homes.”

The Chefe Aldeia, Leonito Guterres, thanked the Minister for visting Aldeia Mauk and thanked her and the rest of the government for the assistance they had provided to returning IDPs. “I hope that when other people from Aldeia Mauk living in other IDP camps around Dili see how much we have been able to achieve with the government’s assistance and through our own hard work, they will be encouraged to return home to Aldeia Mauk.”

The Minister for Social Solidarity also thanked the former SLS agency of Canossa Has Laran, Catholic Relief Services, as well as IOM, Jesuit Relief Service and the other Ministries that had been involved in assisting the returning IDPs of Aldeia Mauk, in particular the Ministry of Infrastructure. Compiled and archived by Warren L. Wright