31 January 2009

An analysis of the problem of Diplomacy, Defence and National Security in East Timor

ETLJ 31 January 2009 SYDNEY - The seventh report in the series of analyses of social problems in East Timor entitled Diplomacy, Defence and National Security has been published in the East Timor Law Journal in English, Indonesian and Portuguese. Excerpt follows:

Defence and security are crucial elements in the implementation of governance, including in the State of RDTL. Disruptions to the issue of defence and security can impact upon and influence national stability, the community's sense of security, investment systems and the development process. In other words, disruption of defence and security will also disrupt the implementation of governance. Consequently, consideration of defence and security must be prioritised by the government and those agencies related to defence and security.

Although the participation of all components of society is required in relation to defence and security, it is the government as the executor of governance and those agencies responsible for defence that are responsible for and the front guard in creating a strong system of defence and security.

The Constitution of RDTL stipulates that the Police Force of East Timor has a duty to defend the legality of democracy and guarantee internal security for all citizens and shall be strictly impartial (Article 147 of the Constitution of RDTL), whilst the Defence Force of East Timor has the responsibility to guarantee national independence, territorial integrity and the freedom and security of the population from any form of external attack or threat, whilst respecting Constitutional order (article 146 section 2, Constitution of RDTL). The Government, as the executor of governance in RDTL, must always strive to maintain stability in the execution of government so that it can be implemented in accordance with the stipulated objectives, namely to provide a sense of security in all aspects to the community in order to establish prosperity.

In relation to the above, attempts must be made to ensure that defence and the security of the State, nation and people are upheld and not disturbed from within or outside the area of state jurisdiction. One initiative to create a national defence and security system is through the provision of diplomatic means in order to resolve issues if there are disturbances to the national defence and security system, particularly in relation to conflicts which may arise in areas around national borders, on both land and sea. Read the full report in English, Indonesian or Portuguese...

East Timor Law Journal - Towards the rule of law in Timor-Leste!

Image - Coat of Arms of the East Timor Defence Force (F-FDTL)

Voting in the East Timor National Parliament on the 2009 Budget Law

IV Constiutional Government Office of the Prime Mnister Department of Social Communications Dili, 30 January 2009 - Information on the final approval of the 2009 General State Budget in the National Parliament:

40 Votes in Favour 20 Votes Against 4 Abstentions Total: 64

There are 65 Members of the National Parliament. However, Deputy Manual Tilman from the Democratic Alliance (KOTA/PPT) was not in attendance.

Deputies in favour of the 2009 General State Budget:

Deputies from the AMP Block: 39

Deputy from PPT (Jacob Xavier)

Total: 40

Deputies who voted against: 20

Total Deputies from the Fretilin Bench: 21, (1 Fretilin Deputy abstained).

Deputies who abstained: 4 (3 from the National Unity Party and Fretilin Deputy Cipriana Pereira).
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All about East Timor

Timor-Leste Studies Association New Web Site

The Timor-Leste Studies Association has changed its web site address. The new address is http://www.tlstudies.org/

The Timor-Leste Studies Association was established in June 2005 (following the "Cooperating with Timor-Leste" Conference at Victoria University) to connect researchers with information, other researchers and research on Timor-Leste.

If you have a thirst to know more about Timor-Leste this website can link you to people and websites which may be useful if you are planning your first or your 50th field trip to Timor.

The Timor-Leste Studies Association is now affiliated with the Asian Studies Association of Australia.

ETAN response to Adm Dennis Blair's Statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) response to Admiral Dennis Blair's Statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - ETAN fully supports Senator Ron Wyden's (D-OR) call for the cables and reports of Adm. Dennis C. Blair's contacts with the Indonesian military (TNI) to be turned over to the committee and publicly released. In a written response to a committee question, Adm. Blair wrote "Documents of these events, which occurred almost a decade ago, are not now available to me." Seeing those documents will certainly help clarify his actions at the time. As it is, his responses on this matter do not fit with what is publicly known.

The Box

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), quoting former Secretary of Defense Perry, described Adm. Blair as someone who is "one of those who could think outside of the box." However, his actions in 1999 and early 2000 reflected a pattern of official thinking that turned a blind eye to or even enabled the horrendous human rights violations committed by the TNI in East Timor. The conventional thinking for decades was to value a good relationship with the TNI above any other goal - including human rights accountability. Blair's actions at the time showed how deeply embedded he was in the engagement "box," even as U.S. policy was changing. His actions prior to East Timor's August 30, 1999 referendum certainly failed to temper the Indonesian military's behavior. This was not surprising given the long history of U.S. military engagement enabling Indonesia's worst human rights violations.

Blair's troubling record on Indonesia and East Timor shows a mind set that places maintaining a relationship with the worst human rights violators over justice and accountability. This sets a poor precedent for his future role in supervising U.S. intelligence agencies. Partnering with foreign militaries and intelligence agencies that systematically violate human rights has been a regular part of the "war on terrorism." This needs to change.

April 1999

Adm. Blair, responding to a question from Senator Wyden (D-OR), said that accusations concerning his actions during 1999 in relation to Indonesia did not come up until "after I left active duty in 2002." However, the most comprehensive media reports on Adm. Blair's actions were published in September 1999 and September 2000. These reports describe Adm. Blair's approach to the Indonesian military in the spring 1999 as all carrot and little or no stick. Contrary to his statements to the committee, he did not at that time emphasize "that if their [Indonesia's] troops behaved irresponsibly, they risked negative consequences, but if they behaved responsibly, the U.S. was prepared to respond positively." Nor had his "conversations specifically included strong opposition to violence against civilians."

Allan Nairn published an article in the September 27, 1999 issue of The Nation describing Adm. Blair’s actions during the previous spring. Based on official reports of his meetings, Nairn wrote that Adm. "Blair, rather than telling Wiranto to shut the militias down, instead offered him a series of promises of new US assistance." [ http://etan.org/et99b/september/26-30/27nairn.htm]

Dana Priest's profile of Admiral Blair appeared in the Washington Post almost exactly a year later on Sept. 20, 2000 [ http://etan.org/news/2000a/01wpblair.htm]. She reported that Blair "told Wiranto that he 'looks forward to the time Indonesia will resume its proper role as a leader in the region,’ according to U.S. officials who reviewed a cable written about the trip. He invited Wiranto to a seminar in Hawaii and promised to train troops in crowd control. Blair also said he would work to reinstate the IMET program and was hopeful Congress would back it. Wiranto maintained that the military was being 'unfairly blamed' for supporting anti-independence militias."

Priest goes on to write that "over the next week" Blair learned of the brutal massacre in Liquica. This massacre took place two days before Blair's April 8 meeting with Wiranto. Initial reports of the attack appeared quickly in the press. [See a sampling of media reports at http://etan.org/et99/april/default.htm]. East Timorese Bishop Belo, a Nobel peace laureate, held a press conference to decry the massacre on Wed., April 7, the day before Blair met with Wiranto [ http://etan.org/et99/april/3-10/7bishop.htm]. The UN, International Committee of the Red Cross, the Portuguese government and imprisoned East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao all quickly addressed the violence.

If the goal of Blair's April meeting with Wiranto was to urge an end to the violence of his security forces and their militia proxies, it would be very surprising if Blair had not been informed of the attack beforehand. If the meeting was meant to make nice with the TNI commander, his failure to pay attention to the most recent events on the ground might be more understandable.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta were so upset with Blair that they complained to Washington. According to Nairn, "When word got back to the State Department that Blair had said these things in a meeting, an ’eyes only’ cable was dispatched from the State Department to Ambassador Stapleton Roy at the embassy in Jakarta. The thrust of this cable was that what Blair had done was unacceptable and that it must be reversed." A phone call was then arranged between General Wiranto and Admiral Blair. That call took place on April 18 (the day after a massacre by militia of refugees from the Liquicia massacre who had sought shelter in East Timor’s capital, Dili). Nairn writes that "once again Blair failed to tell Wiranto to shut the militias down."

September 1999 and Beyond

Adm. Blair did raise the blatant behavior of security forces in September 1999. By then the U.S. was moving to suspend all military assistance. This cut-off was crucial to ending the violence and to the Indonesian military's eventual acceptance of the result of the referendum. In a response to the committee, Blair writes "I do remember well that the reports of the atrocities themselves were quickly available, both through intelligence reports and in the international press....I was the senior officer in PACOM, and was requesting and receiving information both on the atrocities themselves and on senior TNI complicity in ordering them...."

He describes the atrocities after the August 1999 referendum as "so widespread and well planned that it was clear that the entire TNI command in East Timor was involved. At this point it did not matter whether General Wiranto had ordered them or not, they were his responsibility." If Blair had delivered a clear message of respect for human rights and the need for the TNI to call off its militia prior to the vote, much of the post vote violence could have been prevented.

Blair told the committee that U.S. policy "worked... and East Timor is now an independent country." But by the following year, he was falling back on a pro-engagement mindset and arguing for re-engagement, even though the TNI was still denying its role in the atrocities and actively trying to block efforts to try TNI officers for their crimes. According to Dana Priest, in 2000 Adm. Blair was again forcefully arguing for re-engagement, despite what then U.S. Ambassador Gelbard called "virtually zero progress. In fact, they've [the TNI] gone backwards."

The new administration has a number of officials who have repeatedly spoken out against human rights crimes in different parts of the world. The question for them is will they work to bring to justice those responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999 and before.

Finally, we commend the committee for the timely release of Adm. Blair's responses to committee questions. We hope it will do the same with the any documents it receives concerning Adm. Blair's actions concerning Indonesia and East Timor.

[The text of Adm. Blair's responses can be found at http://etan.org/news/2009/01blair2.htm ]

Contact: John M. Miller, National Coordinator, ETAN +1-718-596-7668, +1-917-690-4391

Ed McWilliams (former political counselor, US Embassy, Jakarta) +1-703-899-5285

Image added by ETLJB - Cold-blooded murder by Indonesian state agents on the streets of Dili during the illegal occupation.
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1999 East Timor Crimes Against Humanity

East Timor appoints new abassadors to Indonesia and Singapore

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Division of Public Relations Media Release 28 of January 2009 New T-L ambassador named for Indonesia and Singapore

Two new Timor-Leste Ambassadors have been named. Eng. Manuel Serrano has been selected to be the Ambassador to Indonesia and Dr Roberto Soares will add to his portfolio as the Ambassador to Singapore.

The appointments were announced today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs,H.E. Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa.

The two new Ambassadors will be sworn in at 3pm today (29th February) by the President of the Republic, Dr José Ramos Horta. The ceremony will be at the Presidential Office.

Eng. Serrano will leave for Jakarta to take up his post on a date still to be confirmed and Dr Soares will fulfill his role from Dili.

Eng. Serrano is currently Timor-Leste’s Consul-General in Bali. Among other official roles, he served as Chief of Staff for the Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Ramos Horta, in 2005/6.

“A good and productive relationship with Indonesia is of vital importance to Timor-Leste. Eng. Serrano has demonstrated his ability with the contribution he made while working under Dr Ramos Horta in the previous government and since then, representing Timor-Leste in Bali.

“As Ambassador, he carries heavy responsibility, but he knows he goes into the position with our full confidence in his ability and with our full support,” the Minister said.

Dr Soares will add the role of Ambassador to Singapore to his responsibilities as Director General for Cooperation and Regional Integration and Head of the ASEAN National Secretariat being launched tomorrow.

“Dr Soares is a pioneer of Timor-Leste’s diplomatic service and Foreign Affairs Ministry. He is carrying very heavy responsibilities already, but I have every confidence that he will be able to fulfill with distinction this additional role of safeguarding a very important relationship,” Dr Da Costa said.

For more information please contact MNE Media Relation Division on the following numbers: Fausto de Sousa - 670–7230058 0r Maria-Gabriela 670-730 4231
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East Timor Law Journal Blog - Articles on the laws of East Timor in English.

UNMIT: SRSG Congratulates Dr Marcelino Correia

29 January 2009, DILI - As the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, I would personally like to congratulate Dr Marcelino Correia on his graduation as the first Timorese Ophthalmologist. This is a remarkable achievement and represents a concrete step forward in the development of this young nation.

Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine which deals with the diseases and surgery of the eye. In Timor-Leste, such skills are vital as eye-related problems are common and include cataracts, cornea legions, eye infections and the every growing need for the use of corrective spectacles.

For the past five years, Dr Correia has studied in Australia and been mentored in Timor-Leste by visiting medical teams from Australia in ophthalmology. He has also partaken in several clinical assessments in both Australia and Nepal. Today's graduation marks the completion of his Masters of Medicine in Ophthalmology Degree from the University of Sydney. Prior to this, he completed a Graduate Diploma in International Ophthalmology at the same University. He completed his original Medical Degree from the University of Makassar in Indonesia

Dr Correia's degree is part of specialized medical training funded by the East Timor Eye Program under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. The East Timor Eye Program, together with the AusAID-funded Royal Australian College of Surgeons, have funded several such specialised medical training. The funding for such training represents a great example of public-private partnerships aimed at building the capacity of Timorese professionals.

Such achievements give me hope that the people of Timor-Leste can through their hard efforts raise the quality of life for their children and together create a future for this nation marked with prosperity and hope.

This is a statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste Mr Atul Khare.

For further information, please contact Ivo dos Santos on 7311782.

UN Security Council February 2009 Forecast Report on East Timor

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to hold an open debate on Timor-Leste in February and renew the mandate of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) before it expires on 26 February. Major changes to the mandate seem unlikely.

The Secretary-General’s progress report is expected in early February. Council members are likely to be interested in the medium-term strategy and benchmarks for tracking progress, which it had asked the Secretary-General to develop in consultation with Timor-Leste in resolution 1802 in February 2008.

These strategy and benchmarks are likely to focus on these areas:

- review and reform of the security sector;
- strengthening the rule of law;
- economic and social development; and
- promotion of a culture of democratic governance and efforts to enhance dialogue and reconciliation.

Key Recent Developments
Since the February 2008 attacks on President José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão by a group led by former military officer, Alfredo Reinado, the security situation has remained relatively calm.

A press report on 23 December stirred up controversy when it quoted a purported UN security report as stating that Timor-Leste remained on the brink of anarchy. UNMIT’s acting special representative, Finn Reske-Nielsen, on 24 December said that UNMIT felt good about the progress made in Timor-Leste in 2008. He also praised the resiliency of the Timorese people given the difficult start to the year. The Timor-Leste government questioned the authenticity of the report.

Progress continued to be made in resolving the problems of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Some 55,000 IDPs have been relocated either to their original places of residence or to another residence. Most of the IDP camps in Dili are closed, and the remaining nine camps are expected to be disbanded in February.

The National Police Force of Timor-Leste (PNTL) has begun taking over responsibility for policing from UNMIT following two years of certification and training.

The UNMIT Serious Crimes Investigations Team (SCIT) started its investigations last February after UNMIT and the Timorese government signed an agreement to allow investigators access to files of the former UN Serious Crimes Unit. SCIT was created in January 2007 following the adoption of resolution 1704 of 25 August 2006. The Council decided that UNMIT would assist the Office of the Prosecutor-General of Timor-Leste, through a team of investigators, to investigate cases that had not been covered by the former Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) and to address the outstanding cases of serious human rights violations committed in the country in 1999.

The former SCU had been established by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor following resolution 1272. It was responsible for conducting investigations and preparing indictments to bring to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity and other serious crimes committed in East Timor in 1999. The mandate of the SCU was not renewed in May 2005. The new SCIT is limited to investigation tasks. Unlike the SCU it does not have the power to indict. Prosecution lies in the hands of the Timor-Leste Office of the Prosecutor. The SCIT has 396 cases to investigate over the next three years. It has so far conducted 36 investigations.

On 11-12 December, the Timorese government, with support from the UN, hosted a seminar on security sector reform and development. A diverse range of national and international actors attended and discussed topics including national security legislation and policy.

On 19 August, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMIT, Atul Khare, briefed the Council during an open debate. Following the debate the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2008/29) which commended the Timorese leaders and institutions for the “rapid, firm and responsible manner” in which they responded to the events of 11 February. It also reaffirmed the importance of the review and reform of the security sector and the need for sustained support from the international community in helping Timor-Leste develop its institutions and justice sector.

Options
Options for the Council include a resolution renewing UNMIT and:

- acknowledging progress made in the overall security situation while cautioning that the political, security, social and humanitarian situation remains fragile;
- reiterating its commitment to long-term stability in Timor-Leste;
- welcoming the Secretary-General’s medium-term strategy and benchmarks to measure and track progress of key areas;
- stressing the importance of the reform of the security sector in Timor-Leste;
- addressing the urgency of managing the economy and addressing socioeconomic problems; and
- emphasising the importance of continued support from the international community.

Other possibilities include:

- adjusting UNMIT’s mandate to include greater attention to peacebuilding issues, particularly security sector reform and training;
- asking the Secretary-General to produce an assessment of when the PNTL will be ready to assume full policing responsibility in order to set clear transfer deadlines and benchmarks;
- setting benchmarks that show clear progress in key areas which need to be met during the period of the new mandate;
- considering a review of the justice sector by the government and UNMIT;
- reiterating the need for a comprehensive review of the future role and needs of the security sector called for in resolution 1802; and
- highlighting the importance of continued efforts to reach accountability and justice and the promotion and protection of human rights.

Key Issues
A key issue is ensuring that the security situation remains stable. Recently, crimes have been assault, public disorder and domestic disputes. However, the underlying tensions between key political actors and groups continue to simmer. There has also been some discord over UNMIT mentoring among members of the PNTL, and issues remain over when the PNTL would be ready to take over full policing functions.

Another important issue is how to move the priority from maintaining security to peacebuilding and achieving durable peace and stability, keeping in mind the importance of national ownership.

There are several issues related to the national police. First, the mistrust between the Timor-Leste Defence Force and the PNTL continues. A second issue is how to close the remaining capacity and operational gaps so that the PNTL can take over from the UN Police. UNMIT has said that PNTL still has to meet several criteria before it can assume full responsibility. This includes the PNTL being able to respond appropriately to the security environment, final certification of at least 80 percent of eligible officers, availability of initial operational logistical requirements, institutional stability and mutual respect between military and the national police. Finally, there is the issue of whether a robust UN police presence is needed beyond UNMIT and if so, how to provide this.

A question related to the larger strategic issue is how best to use the benchmarks provided by the Secretary-General for the four priority areas (security sector, rule of law, economic and social development, and democratic governance) in renewing UNMIT’s mandate and eventually drawing down the mission. In this sense the discussion in February can be seen as an initial practical example of the challenges raised in the Council debate on peacekeeping and effective oversight on 23 January.

In this regard an example of a potential ongoing issue is how to monitor the relocated IDPs in the receiving communities so that there is early warning of any potential reemergence of security problems.

A significant issue is what extra capacity will be needed for the UN to assist with elections for village (suco) and sub-village (aldeia) chiefs and councils which will be held country wide in the second half of 2009. (UNMIT has already received requests from the government for assistance.) The February mandate renewal may need to reflect resources needed for this.

Human rights and justice issues include:

- the need to strengthen UN support in the justice sector to address issues like the backlog of cases; and
- continuing impunity for crimes committed during the 2006 crisis, as well as during the 1999 UN sponsored referendum on independence. (In May 2008 President Horta issued a decree granting full and partial pardons to 94 prisoners.)
- Economic issues include falling oil prices and its effect on the Timorese economy, and the ability to create sustainable, long-term economic growth in the non-oil sector based on job creation and expanding the public investment programme.

Council and Wider Dynamics
At the moment Timor-Leste is not at the top of Council priorities. Most members are awaiting the Secretary-General’s report before deciding on their positions. At the last public debate no Council members chose to speak and the floor was dominated by members of the core group such as Australia, Portugal, Malaysia and New Zealand. In January, Japan became the lead country in the Council on this issue and it is likely to give it some priority.

There is unlikely to be opposition to renewing UNMIT’s mandate as there appears to be consensus over a continuing UNMIT presence in Timor-Leste. The dangers of a premature withdrawal have not been forgotten. There is also some agreement that it is not the right time to reduce the UNMIT police and that even after the transfer of police authority from UNMIT police to Timorese police, substantial numbers of UNMIT police will be needed in a mentoring and support role.

Some members may wish to have clearer benchmarks in the new mandate so that adjustments to UNMIT’s mandate and strength can be made in the future. They may wish to discuss ways benchmarks could be used.

Underlying Problems
Although most IDPs have been moved out of the camps, the government is now struggling to provide essential services in communities where there has been a large influx of former IDPs. Other problems involving IDPs include disputed land ownership issues and a lack of employment opportunities.

Source: http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/site/c.glKWLeMTIsG/b.4916593/k.1B38/February_2009brTimorLeste.htm

30 January 2009

Defendant fails to appear in assault case in Suai District Court

JSMP: Hearing Adjourned Due To Non - Attendance Of Defendant January 2009 - In accordance with the schedule of hearings for the Suai District Court, two cases involving the less serious offence of maltreatment were supposed to be tried on the 20th and 21st January. The defendants in these cases were charged with Articles 351 and 352 of the Indonesian Penal Code which carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. The most prevalent type of crime is assault, committed by one individual against another, or by members of opposing groups against each other.

Several days before the trials of these two cases were scheduled to take place the administration section of the court issued notifications to the defendants through the prosecution unit and the police. However on the day of the trial the defendant in one of the cases of maltreatment did not appear and thus could not participate in the trial.

Due to the non-attendance of the defendant the presiding judge decided to adjourn the trial. The judge issued this decision pursuant to the applicable law, namely Article 256 of the Criminal Procedure Code, that states that if the defendant is absent then the trial must be adjourned.

JSMP received information that the notification issued by the court was not delivered to the defendant by the police because the defendant had moved and was currently staying in Dili to continue his studies. JSMP believes that the court can take action pursuant to Article 259.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

For more information please contact: Roberto da Costa Pacheco Coordinator of Legal Research, JSMP E-mail: bebeto@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883

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Julgamentu Adia Tanba Arguidu la Marka Prezensa

Janeiru 2009

Iha loron 20-21 Janeiru, tuir orariu Tribunal Distrital Suai sei prosesa julgamentu kazu krime simples 2 (ofensas corporal). Baze legal nudar bazea ba akuzasaun no alegasaun ba kazu krime simples refere mak artigu 351, 352 KUHP ho pena abstrata menus husi tinan lima. Tipu krime ne’ebe mosu mak hanesan asaltu entre individual nomos entre grupus.

Loron hira antes halao prosesu julgamentu ba kazu rua refere, seksaun administrasaun/official justica tribunal hato’o ona notifikasaun atraves husi ministeriu publiku no polisia maibe to’o loron atu julgamentu arguidu husi kazu ofensas corporal ida la marka prezensa hodi tuir julgamanetu.

Tanba arguidu la marka prezensa, portantu juiz ne’ebe lidera julgamentu deside atu adia julgamentu ba loron 10 Fevereiru 2009.. Desizaun ne’e bazea ba lei aplikavel artigu 256 kodigu prosesu penal katak karik arguidu la marka prezensa iha audiensia julgamentu entaun julgamentu bele adia.

JSMP hetan informasaun katak notifikasaun ne’ebe tribunal hasai polisia la konsege hato’o ba arguidu tanba arguidu rasik muda ona nia pardeiru/hela fatin no agora dadauk hela iha Dili hodi kontinua nia estudu. JSMP hanoin katak tribunal bele foti medidas hodi responde situasaun ne’e bazea ba artigu 259.2 kodigu prosesu penal.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut: Roberto da Costa Pacheco Koordinator Peneliti Hukum Alamat e-mail: bebeto@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883

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Sidang Ditunda Karena Ketidakhadiran Terdakwa Januari 2009
Pada Tgl 20-21 Januari, sesuai jadwal Pengadilan Distrik Suai akan menggelar persidangan atas 2 kasus pidana ringan (penganiayaan). Dasar hukum yang dijadikan sebagai dasar dakwaan dan tuntutan untuk kasus pidana ringan tersebut adalah pasal 351, 352 KUHP dengan ancaman hukuman kurang dari lima tahun. Tipe/jenis kejahatan yang paling nampak adalah penyerangan baik antar individu maupun antar kelompok serta individu dengan kelompok.

Beberapa hari sebelum dimulainya persidangan terhadap kedua kasus tersebut, bagian administrasi pengadilan telah menotifikasi para terdakwa melalui pihak kejaksaan dan kepolisiaan namun sampai pada hari H persidangan terdakwa dalam salah satu kasus penganiayaan tidak dapat hadir untuk mengikuti persidangan.

Karena ketidak-hadiran terdakwa, maka hakim yang mempimpin persidangan menyatakan untuk menunda persidangan. Tindakan ini berdasarkan pada hukum yang berlaku yakni pasal 256 Hukum Acara Pidana bahwa jikalau terdakwa tidak hadir maka persidangan harus atau dapat ditunda.

JSMP memperoleh informasi bahwa surat notifikasi yang dikeluarkan pihak pengadilan tidak sempat disampaikan pihak kepolisian kepada terdakwa karena terdakwa sendiri telah berpindah tempat dan saat ini berada di Dili untuk melanjutkan studinya. JSMP berpendapat bahwa pengadilan dapat mengmbil tindakan berdasarkan pasal 259.2 Hukum Acara Pidana.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut hubungi: Roberto da Costa Pacheco Koordinator Peneliti Hukum, JSMP Alamat e-mail: bebeto@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883

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Image added by ETLJB - The unfinished cathedral in Suai, East Timor.

East Timor Law Journal - Articles, laws in English, court reports in English.

Women in East Timor endure unsafe abortions

Women in Timor 'have unsafe abortions' Tara Ravens 30 January 2009 - 6:19PM Women in East Timor are forced into potentially fatal abortions because they cannot legally terminate a pregnancy even for medical reasons, according to a Darwin researcher.

Restrictive laws in the mainly Catholic country mean women cannot request elective abortion for any reason, including to preserve their health or save their lives.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) researcher Dr Suzanne Belton said although there were no figures on the number of unsafe abortions carried out in the fledgling nation, they remain the leading cause of death for pregnant women worldwide.

Completing the first study on unwanted pregnancy in East Timor, Dr Belton - a research associate with CDU's Graduate School for Health Practice - said maternal deaths in East Timor continued to be very high.

"Key findings (of the study) included that induced abortion continued to be performed in secret," she said.

"Forty per cent of all emergency obstetric care was managing and treating complications from early pregnancy losses, and doctors and midwives continued to be reluctant to speak with women about induced abortion."

The study, Maternal Mortality, Unplanned Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion in Timor-Leste: A Situational Analysis, found medical professionals were reluctant to talk to their patients about abortions.

Dr Belton presented her findings as part of East Timor's first congress on health sciences in Dili in December.

"A huge problem is that there has been no research conducted on unsafe abortion since Timor-Leste's independence from Indonesia in 2002," Dr Belton said.

"This study describes the context of unplanned and unwanted pregnancy and fertility management, as well as investigating and canvassing a way forward."

The study - funded and commissioned by The United Nations Population Fund - also recommended strategies to assist the reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion.

Dr Belton said the law regulating termination of pregnancy in Timor-Leste was highly restrictive.

"The legal situation is complex and confusing for health professionals, given views on abortion are influenced by the Catholic context of the country," she said.

"Access to family planning information, education and supplies is limited and in three of the four health facilities investigated, evidence-based protocols in the provision of post-abortion care were not used."

Dr Belton's research methods included analysing data from a maternal death audit, monitoring service provisions, studying reproductive health indicators, and face-to-face interviews with doctors, midwives and women recovering from early pregnancy losses.

Image added by ETLJB - Traditional East Timorese women.

East Timor Women - Raising awareness of the plight of women in Timor-Leste.

East Timor Chairs The Asian Group of Nations

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Public Relations Division Media Release 30/01/2009 The Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to the United Nations this month chaired the Asian Group of nations for the first time ever.

The Chairmanship of the Group rotates monthly among its 53 member states.

Tasks for the Mission included taking responsibility for all communication within the Group and between the Group and the other regional Groups (Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Latin America), organizing and chairing the monthly Group meeting and updating the candidature chart.

H E Ambassador Nelson dos Santos personally chaired the Group's January meeting on the 26th, providing effective leadership. Delegates expressed their satisfaction with the manner in which the chairmanship was conducted at the end of the meeting.

Timor-Leste successfully led the Group in endorsing several of its members as candidates for various committees and commissions within the UN system.

Despite the relative newness of the Mission to the UN system, it handled the extra responsibilities well and has set the foundation for taking on chairmanships and other projects in future.

For more information please contact: Ms Josefina Tilman: email: jtilman@timor-leste.un.org or
finatilman@yahoo.com

East Timor Legal News 28-29 January 2009

East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program Urges Government to translate all laws into Tetum Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 29 January 2009 - The Acting Director of the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring (JSMP), Casmiro dos Santos, has urged the Timorese Government to translate all of the laws of East Timr into Tetun because all of the legislation was only published in the Portuguese language which the vast majority of the population can not understand.

Legal process slow in 2008, says JSMP Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 29 January 2009 - The Acting Director of the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP), Casimiru dos Santos, said that based on the findings of a report prepared by JSMP, the legal processes in 2008 in East Timor were too slow due to a lack of human resources in the courts.

Good bye judge Ivo Rosa Suara Timor Lorosae 29 January 2009 - The Timorese Council of Magistrates has made a decision to not prolong the contract for international Judge Ivo Rosa Baptista from Portugal.

East Timor receives US$37 million from donors Timor Post 29 January 2009 - Minister for Infrastructures, Pedro Lay, said his ministry had received a huge amount of money from donors to help resolve infrastructure problems being faced by the country.

World Vision and Youth Peace Club hold training on conflict transformation Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 29 January 2009 - Training facilitator, Nelson Correira, has called on youth and community members to participate in the country's national development by avoiding bad behaviors that have occurred in the country.

East Timor Electricity Authority Chief of power production denies allegation of power sabotage Timor Post 29 January 2009 - EDTL Chief of Power production, Antonio Soares, has denied allegations made by State Secretary for Electricity, Januario Pereira, that EDTL technicians had deliberately wanted to sabotage power during the debate of the general state budget in the Parliament.

Deploying F-FDTL soldiers in border zone is positive: political analyst Suara Timor Lorosae 29 January 2009 - The Government's plan to deploy the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) soldiers along the border zone is good to strengthen relationship between the F-FDTL solders and Indonesian armed forces (TNI) soldiers, says Timorese Military and Political Analyst, Franquelino Freitas. Freitas said the deployment of the soldiers in the border was not a threat to neighboring countries, yet as a democratic country, East Timor needed to keep maintaining security.

LABEH urges Govt to take necessary action to former director for Timor Sea Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 28 January 2009 - Director for LABEH, a national antic-corruption NGO, Christopher Henry Samson, has urged the Government, mainly the state secretary for mineral and natural resource, Alfredo Pires, to take a necessary action against the former director of the Timor Sea Authority and its financial manager, as they were suspected of being involved in corruption.

Youth Parliament representatives meet with Prime Minister Gusmao Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 28 January 2009 - The Timorese Youth Parliament has presented Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao with a report on the plan to set up district assemblies and for holding the first district congress at the Palace of the Government.

29 January 2009

East Timor Foreign Affairs Minister Speech on Australia Day 2009

STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF AUSTRALIA DAY IN TIMOR-LESTE 26 JANUARY 2009 H.E ZACARIAS ALBANO DA COSTA

H.E Ambassador Peter Heyward

Special Representative of the Secretary General, Dr. Atul Khare

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Dr. Finn Reske-Nielsen

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Members of the Australian Defence and Police Forces serving in Timor-Leste,

Excellentisimos Senhores e Senhoras,

Mau-Alin sira,


G'day mate.

It is indeed an honour and a privilege to be representing Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on this, the biggest day of celebration, on Australia's calendar.

As I understand it, on Australia Day Australians come together as a nation to celebrate what's great about Australia and being Australian. It's the day to reflect on what the nation has achieved and what Australians can be proud of in their great nation.

In his address to the nation, the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said:

"[Australia's] history as a nation is one of resilience - to confront obstacles and see a way through, to emerge stronger and more determined.

From the struggle of Indigenous Australians for recognition and respect;

From the courage of our diggers in Gallipoli, on the Western Front, at Kokoda, in Timor Leste and in Afghanistan"

We acknowledge and give thanks for the ongoing support that Australia provides in assisting the Government and people of Timor-Leste to confront the obstacles and challenges WE face.

And I believe we are making real progress and together demonstrating resoluteness in providing a better Timor-Leste for all its citizens and future generations.

For us, it is a day to reflect on the special bond of friendship and cooperation that we have with one of our closest neighbours. A bond that stretches as far back as the few hundred Australians, known as Sparrow Force, stationed in Timor-Leste during the Second World War through INTERFET to the Australian men and women serving in our country today as part of the International Military and Police Force. We thank these brave service men and women for their contribution to peace and stability in our land.

Significantly, this will also be the year in which we will host a High Level Summit in Timor-Leste bringing together the Heads of Government of Australia, Indonesia and Portugal. This initiative is driven by a desire to improve the level and quality of collaboration and cooperation of aid efforts and to see more concrete results in Timor-Leste, and I would like to acknowledge the Prime Minister of Australia's initiative in co-sponsoring such a bold and important initiative.

The bond between our Governments and people grow with the passing of each Australia Day. The people to people relations – from villages in Timor-Leste to Local Councils in Australia through the Friendship and Sister Cities Program, through to the many high level visits, Prime Ministerial, Ministerial and visits such as the recent Australian Governor General's and our own President's State visit to Australia scheduled for next month, as well as the warm relationship between our two Prime Ministers and my own frequent interactions with Minister Smith, are some tangible outcomes of the deepening and strengthening of our relationship.

Timorese will always remember Australians by remembering YOU. Those that have come to our shores in the spirit of camaraderie to provide security for our citizens and to help in many ways for the future benefit of this nation. For this, we thank you.

I sincerely wish you all a very Happy Australia Day.

Ambassador,

In closing, it is with great honor, my privilege to offer a toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth of Australia, to the Government, and the people of Australia.

--
DANILO AFONSO-HENRIQUES Senior Executive Officer Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Democratic Republic of TIMOR-LESTE

East Timor: Looking for a UN exit strategy?

Weblog of Lowy Institute for International Policy Jim Della-Giacoma is an Associate Director at the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum at the Social Science Research Council in New York City.

Citing continued stability in Timor-Leste, the Department of Defence announced last week that a Company-sized group of about 100 ADF soldiers would return to Australia after a four-month deployment, leaving behind 650 Australian and 140 New Zealand troops. Does ongoing 'stability' mean that a lasting peace is being built in post-conflict Timor-Leste? And what does an exit strategy look like?

We will read the official version when the UN Secretary-General releases his next periodic report ahead of a meeting in February of the UN Security Council. Given its unfinished business, the mandate of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste is expected to be extended, particularly since Timor-Leste has itself asked for a substantive peacekeeping presence until the next election cycle in 2012.

The UN presence in Timor-Leste began almost 10 years ago and we now have a good case study of a serial UN peace operation that looks more like a complicated tango dance rather than a textbook continuum from peacemaking to peacekeeping and then peacebuilding. A decade on, the UN is still searching for an exit strategy.

Conscious of the criticism that it was planning to leave prematurely in May 2006, just when the country was stumbling into crisis, in August the UNSC asked the Secretary-General to develop a medium-term strategy with appropriate benchmarks to measure and track progress. Or, to paraphrase a recent paper on Peace Consolidation Benchmarking, develop a methodical way of answering the question: 'When will the UN know when it is not needed any more?' This is expected to part of the forthcoming report and/or subsequent UNSC mandate extension.

A key role the UN has played in Timor-Leste since 2006 is through its UN Police presence to restore some sense of security through its policing presence, which has also been responsible for vetting and rebuilding the Policia Nacional Timor-Leste (PNTL). In a statement to the UNSC in August, Timor-Leste’s Foreign Minister Zacarias Da Costa revealed some of the ambivalence about the role of the UN police after almost ten years of Timorese cohabiting with them.

Rightly so, the democratically elected government wants to be in charge, but it is not quite ready to fold the protective umbrella provided by an ongoing UN peace operation. Da Costa said he hoped that a 'robust' UN police presence would continue through and beyond the current UNMIT mandate that ends on 26 February.

For Timor-Leste, an ongoing UN mission is as much an insurance policy as is the ADF’s sustained presence. The forthcoming benchmarks may provide the map to the exit for the UN in Timor-Leste, though it may well be a technocratic façade for an old fashioned subjective political decision by the most political of UN bodies.

If a benchmarking exercise is being undertaken, it might also be interesting to ask the Government of Timor-Leste: when will it know it no longer need the UN (or the ADF)? And better still, what about Timorese citizens? How secure do they need to feel before they would be happy to see the foreign forces go?

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2009/01/Timor-Leste-Looking-for-a-UN-exit-strategy.aspx

28 January 2009

Australia Complicit in East Timor Occupation

By Stephen de Tarczynski MELBOURNE, Jan 28 (IPS) - Recently declassified government records from 1978 are a further indictment of Australia’s complicity in Indonesia’s 24-year occupation of East Timor.

"I think it was a case, and we’ve had plenty of them in our history, of a high level of moral blindness on the part of all of us. In the community, in parliament, in government, in opposition. It’s not a lone case," former Australian government minister, Fred Chaney, told the Australian Broadcasting Commission upon release of cabinet records showing that Australia bowed to pressure from Indonesia and oil companies keen to extract the Timor Sea’s resources.

The 1978 cabinet records show the machinations behind Australia’s change in policy to recognise East Timor, occupied from 1975, as part of Indonesia for the first time.

Consisting of senior ministers, cabinet is the key decision-making body of the Australian government. Its records are made available to the public after 30 years, although some material remains off limits "to protect Australia’s defence, security or international relations", according to the National Archives of Australia, which released the records on Jan.1.

The archives demonstrate the Malcolm Fraser-led government’s willingness to ignore East Timorese rights and public sentiment in Australia.

"The question of East Timor still remains an emotive issue for a number of members of parliament and in certain sections of the media and public. It must therefore be expected that the extension of full recognition [of East Timor as part of Indonesia] will result in some sharp criticism of the government," said Andrew Peacock, Australia’s then-foreign minister, in a submission to cabinet in October 1978 in which he outlined the actions required to finalise a seabed boundary between Australia and Timor in order for the area’s resources to be drilled.

In 2005, East Timor’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation estimated that the conflict-related death toll among Timorese during the 25-year occupation was as high as 183,000.

Thirty years ago, a "gap" - subsequently known as the Timor Gap - still existed in Australia’s seabed boundary adjacent to East Timor. Despite ratifying bilateral agreements with Indonesia in 1973, the Timor Gap resulted from Australia’s refusal to accede to the insistence of East Timor’s colonial ruler, Portugal, that the seabed boundary between Australia and its colony be placed midway between the two.

Australia’s hard-nosed approach to getting the maximum reward from resources in the Timor Sea is evident in one of the agreements with Indonesia.

In 1972, Australia negotiated with its northern neighbour that the boundary be established two-thirds of the way towards the Indonesian territory of West Timor, after Canberra successfully argued that it be based upon the Timor Trough - a deep underwater trench which runs parallel to Timor - which Australia insisted marked the division between two continental shelves.

The full-scale1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor - colonial administrators left East Timor after the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal - which followed the discovery of major oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea a year earlier, meant that Portugal was no longer an effective impediment to closing the Timor Gap.

Although Australian governments publicly opposed the way in which East Timor was annexed by Indonesia, the 1978 records are not the first to demonstrate Australian acquiescence in the brutal occupation.

Secret cables from 1974, released in 2000, show that Gough Whitlam, then Australia’s prime minister, was supportive of an Indonesian takeover yet keen for the East Timorese to decide their own fate, albeit for the sake of appearance.

"I am in favour of incorporation, but obeisance has to be made to self-determination. I want incorporation, but I do not want this done in a way which will create argument in Australia which would make people more critical of Indonesia," Whitlam told Indonesian president Suharto.

Australian public opinion was on the side of East Timor, especially since Australian soldiers battling the Japanese in Timor during the Second World War had received considerable support from the locals, but also because of the deaths of five Australian-based journalists at the hands of Indonesian forces in the East Timorese town of Balibo almost two months prior to the invasion.

And as the 1978 Cabinet records attest, Peacock was similarly wary of public views when he outlined his approach for conducting negotiations with Indonesia on closing the Timor Gap.

He suggested that a "low-key public announcement, confined to statement of the fact that the first step towards final agreement had been taken, but preparedness to acknowledge under questioning that this amounted to de jure recognition of the incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia" was the best way to acknowledge Indonesian sovereignty over the entire Timor island.

Such legal recognition "did not alter Australia’s attitude to the way this had been brought about," reported Peacock.

Although aware that the policy shift would have international legal implications - a United Nations Security Council Resolution two weeks after the invasion called on Indonesia to withdraw its forces - Peacock announced Australia’s new position on Dec.15, 1978.

Despite privately acknowledging Portugal’s continuing claim to sovereignty over East Timor, Peacock told Cabinet that "the fact remains that Indonesia is clearly the only government which is in a position both to conclude and to enforce an agreement with us" on a seabed boundary in the Timor Gap.

His submission also reveals that the Australian government was under pressure at the time to conclude delimitation in the area.

"Indonesia has been for some time exerting pressure to commence negotiations. The government is being subjected to growing pressure from exploration companies with permits in the East Timor area to clarify the legal status of these permits," reported Peacock.

The foreign minister suggested quick action on the part of Australia so as to avoid "a further irritant in the Australian-Indonesian relationship."

A subsequent submission to Cabinet by Peacock in December highlighted Australia’s declining standing in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia, who viewed Australia as "a selfish, introverted nation oblivious to the consequences of the region’s dynamic, externally oriented process of economic growth".

Timor Aid Meets With Prime Minister on Establishing of a National Youth Parliament

Tuesday 27th January, 2008

MEDIA RELEASE

TIMOR AID MEETS WITH PRIME MINISTER ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL YOUTH PARLIAMENT

At 12:30pm today, Timor Aid is meeting with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao at Government Palace, in a historic presentation of the Commission for the Establishment of Youth Parliament’s guidelines and recommendations for a Youth Parliament in Timor Leste.

The Commission for the Establishment of Youth Parliament members are Timor-Leste National Youth Council, National Resistance of Timor-Leste Students, Timor-Leste Advocacy Association, and Timor Aid. The Commission elected Timor Aid as the leader of the process to conduct the activites for establishing a National Youth Parliament and was a result of Timor Aid’s four year Civic Education project funded by DFID and partnered with INGO Mercy Corps.

Timor Aid will present to the Prime Minister a report of the Youth Parliament’s activities, the formal guidelines for the process of Youth Parliament as well as the recommendations made by the Youth members during their Parliament discussions.

Director of Timor Aid, Alex Gusmao stressed the importance of this process for three reasons, “ A national Youth Parliament is necessary not only to give Young people a voice and a way for their voice to be heard, but also as a training ground so they are prepared as our future leaders. Finally it is important the Youth Parliament is independent and is free to lobby the government.”

The Youth Members were elected by a three stage process facilitated by Timor Aid in 8 districts. Firstly at the district level, all youth organisations and groups were identified and asked to send one representative to a District Assembly. From the District Assembly, four members, 2 male and 2 female were elected to create the District Congress. The elected district Congress Members then represent in Parliament and are therefore the Youth Parliament members. The establishment of Youth Parliament also included intense training on Parliamentary processes and understanding, roles and responsibilities of governance and the rules and functions of the Sovereign bodies in Timor Leste.

During a Youth Parliament meeting, youth voiced their concerns about issues in the whole community as well as the future of Youth Parliament. These recommendations are also being formally presented today including their thoughts on areas such as education, unemployment, sport, infrastructure, health and security.

For any further information or interviews please contact: Alex Gusmao or Anna McGeoch & Veronika Luruk Director, Timor Aid External Relations, Timor Aid Mobile: 731 4480 Mobile: 740 8641

26 January 2009

Invasion Day, Australia 2009 - Commemorating a national legacy of unutterable shame

26 January is the date upon which the first English penal colony was estabished in Australia. It also marks the beginning of the invasion of native lands, continent-wide cultural destruction and the horrifying genocide inflicted on the first Australians.

A mendacious legal theory known as terra nullius proclaimed that the great southern land was devoid of human beings - an empty place belonging to noone - and so able to be claimed as the territory of the United Kingdom. Aboriginal people were not counted as part of the population until a constitutional amendment in 1967. The Australian native people never ceded sovereignty. No treaties were ever negotiated with the tribal leaders of the Aboriginal nations. The consequent centuries of suffering endured by the Aboriginal people constitute one of the greatest tragedies of modern human history.

In 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which rewrote the Australian common law and gave a massive boost to the struggle for the recognition of Aboriginal land rights.

The decision said that under Australian law, Indigenous people have rights to land - rights that existed before colonisation and which still exist. This right is called native title.

By a majority of six to one, the High Court ruled that native title to land is recognised by the common law of Australia, throwing out forever the legal fiction that when Australia was "discovered" by Captain Cook in 1788 it was terra nullius, an empty or uncivilised land.

The case centred on the Murray Islands in the eastern part of the Torres Strait Islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Meriam people, led by Eddie Koiki Mabo, took the action to the High Court to overturn the doctrine of terra nullius.

The judges in the case declared that:

... the Meriam people are entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the lands of the Murray Islands.

It was the first time that the High Court had considered the position of Indigenous people in Australian property law and their judgement was not restricted to the Murray Islands.

Justice Brennan said:

... there may be other areas of Australia where an Aboriginal people, maintaining their identity and their customs, are entitled to enjoy their native title.

Aborigines were dispossessed of their land parcel by parcel, to make way for expanding colonial settlement. Their dispossession underwrote the development of the nation.

... spread across the continent to dispossess, degrade and devastate the Aboriginal peoples and leave a national legacy of unutterable shame.

The acts and events ... (of Aboriginal) dispossession ... constitute the darkest aspect of the history of this nation... The nation as a whole must remain diminished unless and until there is an acknowledgment of, and retreat from, those past injustices.

Soon after the decision of the High Court, the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia enacted the Native Title Act, 1993 whose objects were to:

(a) to provide for the recognition and protection of native title; and

(b) to establish ways in which future dealings affecting native title may proceed and to set standards for those dealings; and

(c) to establish a mechanism for determining claims to native title; and

(d) to provide for, or permit, the validation of past acts, and intermediate period acts, invalidated because of the existence of native title.

In East Timor, traditional lands - and people - remain susceptible to unjust dispossession by the State. There is no constitutional protection of traditional lands in the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor. Article 2 (Sovereignty and constitutionality) provides, inter alia, that the "State shall recognise and value the norms and customs of East Timor that are not contrary to the Constitution and to any legislation dealing specifically with customary law." Article 141 provides that "ownership, use and development of land as one of the factors for economic production shall be regulated by law. The juridical status of traditional land tenure systems in East Timor is therefore entirely dependent on the enactment of legislation. No such legislation exists in East Timor.

There have already been instances of arbitrary appropriation of traditional communal lands in East Timor. The earliest was in 2002 when traditional lands of the people of the Metinaro area to the east of Dili were acquired by the State for the establishment of the Falintil-East Timor Defence Forces base.

The negotiation process was accompanied by armed military personnel and the compensation was in the form of rice and other consumables. There was no market value valuation of the land prior to the resumption. When the land was surveyed by the Land and Property Unit from the East Timor Department of Justice, local people, armed with traditional weapons, challenged the cadastral officers but any further questioning of the process was extinguished by the presence of armed military personnel in subsequent stages of the resumption.

The possibility of the Metinaro traditional owners disputing the resumption by appealing for a judicial review was far beyond their circumstances. This approach to the resumption of traditional lands in the pubic interest by the State was also deployed by the Indonesian state in East Timor and throughout Indonesia during the New Order regime.

Cases such as this clearly demostrate the need for legislation in East Timor for the recognition and protection of traditional land tenure systems.

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Image - Mr Eddie Mabo (deceased), of the Meriam people in the Torres Strait.

ETAN urges dropping of defamation charges against East Timorese editor

26 January 2009 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today called on Timor-Leste's (East Timor) prosecutor-general to drop criminal defamation charges against the local weekly Tempo Semanal and its editor, Jose Belo.

"Tempo Semanal and Jose Belo should not have to face charges under this obsolete and repressive law," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "We urge the prosecutor-general to immediately drop any charges."

In October 2008, Tempo Semanal published an article alleging that Timor-Leste's Justice Minister Lucia Lobato had improperly awarded government contracts to friends and business contacts. The report cited leaked mobile phone text messages. Lobato filed the defamation charges in November, accusing the paper of breaching her privacy and violating the ethical code of journalists.

Belo argues that his publication wrote only about Lobato's performance in her role as a public official, not her private activities. "

"Information about government activities should not be subject to defamation laws. Rather than attack the messenger, Timor-Leste's leadership should support freedom of expression and encourage a dynamic, investigative media," said Miller.

Background

The government of Timor-Leste has proposed decriminalizing defamation under a new penal code. Although drafted several years ago, it has not yet been enacted.

Timor-Leste's criminal defamation statutes are a leftover from Indonesia's criminal code. Journalists and activists in Indonesia are still charged with criminal defamation, although the 1999 Press Law created a body to adjudicate disputes involving the press.

Belo was notified of the defamation charges in mid-December. On January 19, he was questioned for 3 hours by the prosecutor's office. Tempo Semanal was told by the Office of the Prosecutor-General that they would not be given copies of relevant documents because they are confidential.

In an interview with ABC Radio Australia, Jose Belo, Tempo Semanal's founder, said "we don't have any money or any resources. So we can't fight a person who has influence [and] who has money. So I presume it is very, very difficult to win this case in the court."

If convicted, Belo could face fines or prison. During Indonesia's brutal, illegal 24-year occupation of Timor-Leste, Belo was imprisoned or arbitrarily detained many times for passing information about human rights violations to foreign journalists and human rights groups, for a total of about three years. It is ironic that in democratic, independent Timor-Leste he could face double that time for exposing government corruption.

The Office of the Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro, has reportedly told Belo that the truth of what he published in his newspaper is not relevant to the charges against him and will not be admissible in court. This contradicts legal precedent set in April 2006, when the same prosecutor, charged Yayasan HAK (a human rights NGO) with defamation. accusing him of abuse of power by interfering with the justice process in a case where HAK served as the defense attorney. In that case, a judge ruled that the defamation charges could not be adjudicated until the original case was resolved. That case was brought to trial. Under that precedent, the allegations of corruption against the Minister of Justice should be tried before the defamation case, but the prosecutor has not begun a legal case against her.

ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East Timor and Indonesia. For more information, see www.etan.org. In April 2006, ETAN urged then-President Xanana Gusmao to veto the criminal defamation provisions of the proposed penal code.

-end-

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See also Newspaper Editor Faces Criminal Defamation Charges in Timor

24 January 2009

Return of Australian troops signals continued stability in East Timor

24 January 2009 - Continued stability in East Timor has allowed for a Company-sized group of about 100 ADF soldiers to return to Australia after a four-month deployment, with over 80 returning today.

This adjustment in the ADF’s deployment in East Timor was announced by the Minister for Defence on 22 October 2008 and is appropriate given continued improvements in the security situation in East Timor.

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, The Hon. Warren Snowdon MP met members of the returning contingent at Darwin Airport today, thanking them for their important service.

“You can be proud of the contribution you have made in providing security support to the Government of East Timor and the United Nation’s Mission in East Timor. You have played an important role in Australia’s ongoing commitment to assist East Timor.

“The Australian Government continues to be encouraged by the growing ability of the East Timorese security agencies, with support from the United Nations, to deal with security,” Mr Snowdon said.

The soldiers, from the Darwin-based 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment returned today after a four-month deployment.

Lieutenant Colonel Darren Huxley, Commanding Officer of the Timor-Leste Battle Group praised their service.

“They have played an important role in East Timor’s growth as a nation over the last year; the security situation is vastly improved and local forces are now taking on more responsibility.”

The soldiers were awarded the Australian Service Medal with Timor-Leste clasp during a parade in Dili before their departure.

About 650 Australian and 140 New Zealand troops will continue to provide security support to the Government of East Timor and the United Nations in order to maintain a stable environment.

Source - http://www.australia.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4085:return-of-troops-signals-continued-stability-in-east-timor&catid=72:australian-news&Itemid=29

Image added by ETLJB - Exhausted Australian troopers rest in East Timor.
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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Matthew 5-7.

ETLJB salutes the Australian troopers in East Timor.

Documents Show Admiral Dennis Blair Knew of Timor Church Killings Before Crucial Meeting

US Intel Nominee Lied About Church Murders By ALLAN NAIRN - On the eve of his Senate confirmation hearing (due for 10am, Thurs. Jan 22), new information has emerged showing that Adm. Dennis Blair - President Obama's nominee for US Director of National Intelligence - lied about his knowledge of a terrorist massacre that occured before a pivotal meeting in which Blair offered support and US aid to the commander of the massacre forces.

The massacre took place on at the Liquica Catholic church in Indonesian-occupied East Timor two days before Blair met face-to-face with the Indonesian armed forces commander, Gen. Wiranto (the massacre occurred on April 6, 1999; Blair and Wiranto met April 8).

A classified US cable shows that rather than telling Wiranto to stop the killing, Blair invited Wiranto to be his guest in Hawaii, offered him new US military aid, and told the Indonesian general that he was "working hard" on his behalf, lobbying the US government to restore US military training aid for Indonesia. Read more...

Read an account by a survivor of the massacre at the Catholic church in Liquica in 1999
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1999 East Timor Crimes Against Humanity

UNICEF says death of Timorese children under five years of age has not doubled

UNICEF says death of Timorese children under five years of age has not doubled

22 January, TIMOR-LESTE – “UNICEF regrets that the adjustment of figures may have given the wrong impression that under-five mortality rate seemed to have almost doubled – from “55” in 2006 to “97” in 2007. The difference between the 2006 and 2007 data is because the 2007 data had to be adjusted to reflect a more accurate situation of children in Timor-Leste. This does not mean that that under-five mortality rate has doubled.” This was the statement of UNICEF Representative Mr. Jun Kukita.

Under-five mortality rate is the number of children out of 1,000 live births who die before reaching the age of 5 years. It is one of the indicators that is used to help measure the health status of children. The UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report showed “55” under-five mortality rate in 2006 and “97” in 2007.

“The under-five mortality rate of 55 used in last year’s State of the World’s Children Report was based on statistical calculation and was not reflecting the actual situation in Timor-Leste,” Mr. Kukita further explained. “My office has informed our New York Headquarters, which coordinates with the UN Population Division, on the discrepancy of data. The UN Population Division issues the unified UN statistical figures extrapolated from internationally accepted statistical sources such as the 2003 Demographic Health Survey and the 2004 Timor-Leste National Census. Last year’s figures were also based on old data before 1999 and treated different survey data equally, since they did not have enough background information. We explained that they have not considered the 1999 and 2006 crisis which affected the whole country – including the health delivery system.”

“We acknowledge that our Headquarters have carefully reviewed additional information that we had sent to them and the under-five mortality figure as well as other figures were adjusted to more realistic ones. Thus, the adjusted under-five mortality figure is now at 97 – which is very much closer to the 130 official government figure based on 2004 Census data. I repeat that this figure does not in any means reflect that there was a doubling of children under five years old dying in Timor-Leste. It reflects the proper adjustment of figures.”

Mr. Kukita further stated that UNICEF has been working very closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners on health and nutrition programmes to address the issue of health of children and women.

“We should vigorously continue our joint efforts to tackle the high under-five mortality and overall mortality rates here in Timor-Leste. Second, we should also continue to support building the capacity of the government in establishing a strong statistical data base,” Mr. Kukita continued “In this regard this year’s Demographic Health Survey and the National Census of 2010 will be critical to help provide more accurate figures on how children and women are faring in terms of their health.”

*END *

For additional information, please contact:

Mary Ann Q. Maglipon, Chief of Communication Section, UNICEF Timor-Leste +670-723 1103 Email: mmaglipon@unicef.org

Domingus Monemnasi, Senior Communication Assistant, UNICEF Timor-Leste +670-724 0601; Email: dmonemnasi@unicef.org (For Queries in Tetum)

Image added by ETLJB - An East Timorese child.
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East Timor Directory - Revealing enigmatic East Timor online.

80% of premature babies die while government triples MPs' salaries, says Timor opposition

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media Release

Dili: January 20, 2009


80% of premature babies die while government triples MPs' salaries


Eighty per cent of babies born premature in Timor-Leste are dying because hospitals, including the national hospital in the capital Dili, still have no incubators, despite a massive increase in government revenue from petroleum reserves.

Mr Arsenio Bano, a FRETILIN MP, party Vice President and former Minister for Labour and Community Reintegration (Social Affairs), said today the health service would receive only 4.5 per cent of the 2009 budget compared to its 15–16 per cent share under FRETILIN governments from 2002 to 2007.

"The Gusmao government cannot find US$20,000 to US$30,000 for a single incubator to keep premature babies warm and ventilated, yet it is budgeting in 2009 to triple the salaries and benefits of MPs and Ministers to US$3,300 per month – equivalent to 38 times the average monthly income – and spend US$5.6 million on overseas travel for government members," Mr Bano said.

"The X-ray unit at Dili hospital cannot function on some days because the health service cannot afford essential supplies. Yet the government just spent over US$2.1 million to buy a luxury four wheel drive vehicle for each MP, and the 2009 budget proposes to spend US$600,000 to renovate the official residences of the existing Deputy Prime Minister, as well as the new deputy PM post proposed by the de facto Prime Minister.

"Dili Hospital, like other hospitals around the country, also suffers a severe shortage of medication, forcing patients to buy at expensive private pharmacies. Under the former FRETILIN government medication prescribed at the hospital outpatient department was available and free of charge."

In the parliamentary budget debate yesterday, de facto Prime Minister Gusmao argued against investing in education and health, saying they "gave no returns".

Mr Bano reaffirmed FRETILIN's decision to vote against pay rises for MPs when parliament debates the 2009 budget.

"These pay increases and other examples of obscene, selfish largesse are simply a ploy by the Gusmao government to buy the support of MPs to shore up its numbers in parliament," he said.

He said the 2008 budget of US$788 million was equivalent to the seven annual budgets available to previous governments, thanks to revenue from the Petroleum Fund established by the former FRETILIN government.

"There is something desperately wrong when so much money is available to the government but the people's basic health needs get such a low priority.

"This budget contains so much waste and the priorities are all wrong. Instead of improving people's health they propose to damage it by purchasing outdated, second-hand, high-polluting heavy fuel power stations.

"FRETILIN promotes higher spending in health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation and investment in public housing as priorities, because these will be key drivers in eradicating poverty, followed by targeted investment in important economic infrastructure.

"The de facto government's high spending, wasteful approach will only benefit a small minority who are already well off and privileged.

"Just look at the imbalance in direct investment into the districts. An analysis by our parliament's international advisors' team shows that 49 per cent of the direct investment budget of US$187 million is destined for Dili, which has 18 per cent of the national population. The remaining 51 per cent of the budget is distributed amongst 82 per cent of the population. Dili already has services and opportunities that people outside the capital only dream of, yet public investment is so skewed. We think this is wrong and we will oppose it," Mr Bano said.

For information contact: Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728 7080

Image added by ETLJB - East Timorese new-born babies.
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East Timor Law Journal Blog

23 January 2009

Sacked aviation workers in East Timor win back pay

International Transport Workers' Federation Sacked aviation workers in Timor Leste win back pay 22 January 2009 - Aviation workers in the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, who were sacked from a ground handling company, have won US$30,000 thanks to the concerted efforts of their union.

Some 14 workers, employed by Timor Aviation Services, which used to provide Dili Airport with ground handling services, were sacked after they made official complaints over workers being underpaid. The union representing the workers, the ITF-affiliated Sindicato Maritime, Energy and Transport Workers of Timor Leste (SMET-TL), embarked on a year-long struggle to see the workers win justice and Timor Aviation held accountable. As a result, the Timorese government awarded the workers more than US$30,000 in back pay. The company, which went out of business, had its assets seized by the government. These were then sold to pay the workers, all of whom are now employed for SDV which took over Dili airport's ground handling contracts. All the workers are employed under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by SMET-TL.

Brant Connors, who works on the ITF Seafarers' Union Development Programme and visited Timor recently, reported: "While this victory was 100 per cent the result of efforts by Timorese union membership and union leadership, it should also be noted that international solidarity, specifically from the Maritime Union of Australia and the ITF, has played a large role in helping to develop the union movement in Timor Leste."


Image - Maritime, Energy and Transport Workers Union National Secretary Paulino da Costa (left) with the union's Deputy National Secretary
http://www.itfglobal.org/news-online/index.cfm/newsdetail/2982

East Timor Labour Code

Social Democratic Party President Mario Carrascalao named Second Vice Prime Minister of East Timor

Mario Carrascalao named Second Vice Prime Minister

Dili- The former governor of Dili during the Indonesian era, the founder and ex-President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalao, was today named the Second Vice Prime Minister of East Timor alongside Jose Luis Guterres, to take charge of five Administrative Departments that have faced allegations of corruption in the last 16 months of AMP rule. Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão declared to the Timor Post (22/1), "Carrascalao will work to develop the country's administration."

In his post as deputy, Mario Carrascalao guaranteed to the Timor Post (22/1) that his party will propose the ex-petitioner Major Augusto Tara to occupy the seat he is vacating in the National Parliament. The same source added that this nomination is a cause of worries within the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice, which is against the executive initiative to create an Anti-Corruption Commission without prior approval by the PDHJ. However, opposition parties have yet to issue statements on this political nomination.

Dr. Fernando Lasama de Araujo, in his capacity as President of the National Parliament and in the name of the Timorese people, officially congratulated the new President of the United States, inaugurated this past Tuesday (20/1). In a broadcast on Radio Television Timor-Leste, Minister of Finance Dr. Emilia Pires pleased Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) by delivering an executive report on the completion of the portion of the state budget allocated to these organizations in 2008.

The newly approved state budget designated $6 million US to subsidize the activities of NGOs, against the will of the opposition, which had suggested a reduction of the subsidy to $5 million US from the previous amount.

RTTL, TP [22/1/2009]

Image added by ETLJB - Mario Carrascalao, Leader of the Social Democratic Party in East Timor and Indonesian period provincial Governor.
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Quinta-feira, Janeiro 22, 2009

Mario Carrascalao nomeado II Vice-Primeiro Ministro


Dili - o antigo governador de Dili na era Indonesia, fundador e ex-Presidente do Partido Social Democrata (PSD) Ing.º Mario Viegas Carrascalao foi nomeado hoje II Vice-Primeiro Ministro de Timor Leste ao lado do José Luís Guterres para tomar conta de cinco Departamentos Administrativos alegados de corrupçâo nos últimos 16 meses da governação da AMP. O Primeiro Ministro Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão na sua declaração ao Timor Post (22/1) "Carrascalão vai trabalhar para desenvolver a administração no país".

No seu lugar de deputado, Mario Carrascalão garantiu ao Timor Post (22/1) que o seu partido irá propor ao ex-peticionario Major Augusto Tara para ocupar o lugar deixado por ele no Parlamento Nacional. A mesma fonte adiantou que esta nomeação causa preocupações na Provedoria de Direitos Humanos contra com a iniciativa do executivo em criar a Comissão de Anti-Corrupção sem consulta prévia com PDHJ. Embora, os partidos da oposição ainda não se pronunciaram sobre esta nomeação política.

Dr. Fernando La´sama de Araújo na qualidade do Presidente do Parlamento Nacional e em nome do povo timorense congratulou o novo Presidente dos Estados Unidos, oficialmente, empossado na passada terça-feira (20/1). Numa altura, em que, a Ministra das Finanças Dra. Emilia Pires através da Televisão e Radio de Timor Leste (RTTL, 22/1) deu prazo as Organizações Não Governamentais (ONG) sobre a entrega de relatórios de contas ao executivo relativas a execução do orçamento do estado alocados a estes organismos em 2008.

O novo orçamento do estado aprovado destinou 6 milhões US$ para subsidiar as actividades das ONG´s mas a oposição votou contra, sugerindo que este subsídio deveria ser reduzido a 5 milhões US$ do montante total referido.

Fonte: RTTL, TP [22/1/2009]

English translation provided by East Timor Action Network.
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Voices of East Timor

22 January 2009

East Timor Legal News 22 January 2008

Prime Minister Gusmao calls on deputy prime minister to improve administration Timor Post 22 January 2009 - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has called on the newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister II for Anti-Corruption, Mario Viegas Carrascalao, to help improve the five Administrative Departments the subject of corruption allegations.

Social Demoratic Party will push for ex-commander Tara to replace Carrascalao Timor Post 22 January 2009 - Former President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalao, said his party would push the former defense force commander, Major Agusto Tara, to replace him as MP in the Parliament.

Human Rights and Justice Ombudsman concerns about the Govt on setting up anti-corruption commission Timor Post 22 January 2009 - The Timorese Human Rights and Justice Ombudsman (PDHJ) has expressed concerns over the establishment of the proposed anti-corruption commission because the Government did not consult their office.

Govt sets a deadline for NGOs to submit report
Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 22 January 2009 - Minister for Planning and Finance, Emilia Pires, said the Government had set a deadline for the NGOs to submit their financial reports to the Government regarding the state budget allocated to their programs in 2008.

US$,6 million for NGOs passed
Timor Post 22 January 2009 - The subsidy to be allocated for NGOs of US$,6 million has passed, but the majority of parliamentary members from Fretilin opposed it and wanted to reduce it to US$,5 million from the referred total subsidies.

Fretilin waging brutal campaign against AMP Government by falsely reporting deaths of premature babies

IV Constitutional Government of East Timor

Dili 21 January 2009

Media Release

Fretilin falsely reports the deaths of premature babies


As the National Parliament approved the 2009 General State Budget and debates continue on line expenditure for ministries, Fretilin continues to launch a brutal campaign of misinformation to discredit the Government. The worst yet, Fretilin has falsely reported the deaths of premature babies to promote their political agenda.

A recent Fretilin media release reported that 80% of premature babies die in hospitals in Timor-Leste because of lack of incubators. In fact, only 16% of premature babies die in East Timor hospitals, and of those deaths, none are attributed to lack of incubators.

Every hospital in Timor-Leste is equipped with incubators and ventilators and there have been no deaths reported because of lack of access to life saving machinery.

Furthermore, Fretilin claims they are committed to spending in health yet their record proves contrary to their statement.

In 2006, Fretilin only committed $16.884.000USD on health despite their ability and responsibility to increase the expenditure. The 2009 budget has doubled expenditure to health to $32.893.000 USD. The minister for Health, Dr. Nelson Martins pointed out" The AMP Government has committed close to double which what Fretilin spent. This clearly demonstrates our commitment to improve the health and welfare of the people of our nation."

And quite opposite from what Fretilin is falsely reporting, the increased spending under the AMP Government has shown a radical decrease in infant mortality rates. In 2006, 98 in every 1000 children under the age of 5 died, since the AMP Government took office, the rate has dropped to 68 in every 1000.

Because of these successes, Donor confidence has radically increased, as has the funding. In 2005 under the Fretilin Government, the Global Funda refused a request for an extension to fund for malaria program and stopped the fund for TB control. This year, under Xanana Gusmao's Government they reinstated funding for 25.6 million USD for TB and HIV.

The hard working public servants of the Ministry of health have achieved a record rate of 81% of the population in health assistance, down to the village level by diligently managing 67 community health centers and 460 health posts. These well deserved public servants will be awarded a pay increase under the new public service pay scheme, the first national increase since independence.

Martins closed by saying "We have a long way to go in health in Timor-Leste but the improvements thus far give us hope that the foundations the AMP Government is setting, will establish the basics for a well functioning health system through both education, prevention and treatment of all citizens." ENDS

For more information, please contact: Iris Hamberg 731 8814
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