31 March 2009

East Timor Legal News 31 March 2009

Forensic team finds more three massacre victims skeletons Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 31 March 2009 - The Australian and Argentinean joint forensic team have found3 more massacre victims skeletons at Hera cemetery on Monday (30/3).

Pessoa pledges to improve Public Prosecution Suara Timor Lorosae 31 March 2009 - Timorese new Prosecutor General Ana Pessoa has pledged to make efforts to improve the country's Public Prosecution service by tackling the problem of backlogged cases in the courts.

Monteiro visits Police Rapid Response Unit compound Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 31 March 2009 - Televizaun Timor-Leste The Timorese new Police Commander, Longinhos Monteiro, has held an official visit to the Rapid Intervention Police Unit (UIR) to examine the difficulties the unit is facing.

Monteiro also held a meeting with the UIR commander and officers to discuss their activities and shortcomings being faced by the UIR. During the meeting, Commander Monteiro said he was proud of the UIR efforts in maintaining security in the country.

Police detain nine in Samalari, Baukau Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 31 March 2009 - Buakau District Police have detained nine people in Samalari in the eastern District of Baukau who are suspected of being engaged in a fight which left three wounded.

Three detained over the attack on police station in Tasitolu Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 31 March 2009 Timorese Operational Police Commander, Inspector Mateus Fernandes, said Task Police officers arrested three people who were suspected of being engaged in the attack on the police station in Tasitolu in Dili.

President Horta criticises donors that blame Government Timor Post 31 March 2009 - President Jose Ramos Horta has criticised international donors that have been partners with the Government for shifting blame to the Government on the poverty levels in the country that remained high in the period 2002-2007.

Horta calls for development partners to review their effectiveness Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 31 March 2009 - President Horta has called for a review to the effectiveness of the development partners in Timor-Leste.

Parliamentary Committee C calls on Government not to amend the petroleum fund law Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 31 March 2009 - Parliamentary Committee C for Economy and Finance has called on the Government and the Parliament not to amend the current petroleum fund law, Article 9, as this law is flexible to allow the Government to withdrawing more than 3% without a clear justification.

President Ramos Horta Calls for MPs to be more active in the Parliament Suara Timor Lorosae 31 March 2009 - President Ramos Horta has called on MPs to be active in the Parliament in conducting their duties as the people's representatives and has urged each party bench chief to monitor their members.

Image: Art work by an unknown East Timorese artist of the Arte Moris art school in Dili, East Timor.

East Timor Law Journal - Promoting the rule of law in Timor-Leste.

East Timor : Trials of Serious Criminal Cases at the Suai District Court

East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program DILI 31 March 2009 - Trials of Serious Criminal Cases at the Suai District Court March 2009

During the third week of March 2008, the Suai District Court conducted trials relating to 4 serious criminal cases comprising 2 cases of murder and 2 cases of obscene acts committed against a minor. JSMP was not able to monitor one of the latter cases because the trial was closed to the public pursuant to Article 76 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

JSMP was only able to monitor three of the four cases scheduled for trial. Based on its monitoring, JSMP ascertained that three of the aforementioned cases will be decided on 30 March and the remaining case has been adjourned until June 2009.

The cases monitored by JSMP during the aforementioned period are described in detail below.

Case of obscene acts committed against a minor

In this case the defendant committed obscene acts against two minors on two separate occasions. In accordance with the prosecutor’s indictment, the defendant who was aged 56 in 2002 committed obscene acts against a 3 year old child. The indictment was filed with the Suai District Court and registered as Case No. 32/PEN/2005/TDS. Then in 2008, the defendant committed the same obscene acts against an 8 year old child. The second case was scheduled for trial on 16 March 2009 and was registered as Case No. 123/PEN/2008/TDS.

For the aforementioned acts the defendant was charged with Article 290 (3e) of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to committing obscene acts against a minor under the age of 15. Both the prosecution and defence requested for the trial to be adjourned on the grounds that the court should settle the first case before proceeding with the second case. The judge advised that the first case had not been settled due to an administrative problem, namely the case was initially dealt with by an international judge and when that judge’s contract expired no clear report was provided on the status of the first case.

In light of the aforementioned circumstances the prosecution and defence requested for the two cases to be combined in one indictment to speed up the trial process because the defendant had committed the same crime on separate occasions. The defendant was detained in October last year in relation to the second case and on 16 March 2009 was granted conditional release pending a final decision.

The trial will continue on 9 June 2009 with the reading out of the indictment and examination of witnesses.

Case of murder

On 7 November 2008 in Maubisse the victim grabbed the defendant around the neck and threw the defendant to the ground. After the defendant fell to the ground the victim grabbed a rock with the aim of striking the victim or stoning him, and as a reflex action the defendant took a knife from his pocket and stabbed the victim in the stomach all the way through to the other side. On the following day the victim died at a local hospital. The prosecution charged the defendant under Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to murder.

In his testimony the defendant stated that initially he did not plan to kill the victim, however the victim grabbed the defendant around the neck and threw him to the ground and was going to stone him, therefore the defendant took a knife from his pocket and stabbed the victim. The witnesses presented said that the defendant did in fact stab the victim during the incident.

Pursuant to the aforementioned facts the prosecutor maintained the charge under Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code and recommended for the court to sentence the defendant to 6 years imprisonment.

The defence objected to the application of Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code in this case. The defence argued that given the circumstances of the case the defendant’s actions should be categorized as self-defence, therefore the appropriate article for deciding this case is Article 49 of the Indonesian Penal Code relating to self-defence, because the defendant had no intention at all of killing the victim, rather he was acting in self-defence because the victim initiated the incident.

The decision in this case will be announced on 30 March 2009.

Case of murder

On 21 September 2008, two defendants (AS & VS) committed a crime that resulted in the death of the victim. The defendant AS kicked the victim once in the stomach then left the scene of the crime. When the defendant AS left the scene the defendant VS, who was approximately five meters away, grabbed a rock and threw it at the victim’s head causing the victim to fall to the ground. The victim died soon after as a result of being struck on the head by the rock.

In his final recommendation of sentence the prosecutor charged the two defendants with Article 338 of the Indonesian Penal Code on murder and Article 55 on participation in a criminal act. The prosecutor recommended for the court to sentence the defendant VS to five years imprisonment and to sentence the defendant AS to 2 years imprisonment.

The defence argued that the actions of the defendant AS, who only kicked the victim once in the stomach, did not fulfill the elements listed in the charge of murder, therefore the defendant AS should be acquitted from the charge of murder as his actions only fulfill the elements of the charge for light maltreatment. In relation to the defendant VS, the defence argued that he did not intend to kill the victim. Therefore the appropriate charge for his actions is Article 351.3 of the Indonesian Penal Code on maltreatment resulting in death.

The decision in this case will be announced on 30 March 2009.

Case of rape committed against a minor

JSMP was only permitted to attend the reading out of the indictment because the examination of witnesses was closed to the public. The indictment read out by the presiding judge stated that in May 2008 the defendant tried to rape the victim who was aged 11 but did not manage to complete the act. At that time the defendant embraced the victim and placed his hand inside the victim’s underpants until he ejaculated. The defendant threatened to kill the victim if she screamed. The prosecutor charged the defendant with Articles 285 and 74 of the Indonesian Penal Code.

For more information please contact: Luis Oliveira Sampaio Executive Director JSMP Email : luis@jsmp.minihub.org Land line : 3323883

Also available in Tetum and Indonesian. Contact us for the Tetum and or Indonesian version at wwright1961@gmail.com

The Catholic Church and Abortion in Timor-Leste

A translation of an article published in Tetum in the East Timor newspaper Suara Timor Lorosa'e just before the Council of Ministers decided to exclude the exceptions to unlawful abortion from the draft criminal code.

"Thank you Mama, because you have allowed me to live!" (A note to MJ Lucia Lobato and Provedor Sebastiao D. Ximenes on abortion)


By Martinho G. da Silva Gusmao*

“The infant is brought to consciousness of himself only by love, by the smile of his mother. In that encounter, the horizon of all unlimited being opens itself for him, revealing four things to him: (1) that he is one in love with the mother, even in being other than his mother, therefore all being is one [unum]; (2) that that love is good, therefore all Being is good [bonum]; (3) that that love is true, therefore all Being is true[verum]; and (4) that that love evokes joy, therefore all Being is beautiful [pulchrum]” (Hans Urs von Balthazar, My Work: In Retrospect, 11).

In the past few days Timor-Leste has faced a tremendous “legal” and “moral” earthquake related to abortion. The AMP government plans to promulgate the penal code in April. This is a huge step for the current government. The situation become a little tense when article 144 of the penal code mentions “interruption of pregnancy” and article 142, “non-punishable interruption of pregnancy”. In article 144 everyone agrees that abortion is crime. Those who perform abortion can be punished between 2, 3 and 8 years.

The problem arose when article 144 introduced an “exception” for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, or when the mother is underage (younger than 16). But the women’s movement (and some civil society organisations), including the PDHJ (Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice) also want to include cases of “incest” (where the father has sexual relations with his own daughter) and “rape”. The PDHJ, Sebastião D. Ximenes even had the courage to declare on TVTL (12 March 2009) that he defends abortion in order to respect others’ (the mothers) “life” and their right to privacy.

It is interesting to note from the TVTL debate that there are two humanist philosophical positions from two sides: (1) from the Provedor’s (PDHJ), it is referred to as the existentialist humanist, which is very close to atheism; and (2) from the MJ (Minister of Justice), which is called personalised-humanism (humanista-personalista). I will cover them in the coming section.

Now, the question of abortion becomes even more complicated when the Catholic Church firmly declare that abortion is a (mortal) sin while at the same time considers it as a “serious crime”. Some members of the civil society were annoyed by the Church’s position and were almost saying that the Catholic Church cannot “force” its position; they even said that the Government cannot listen only to the Catholic Church. There must be a consensus onm the issue of abortion between the Government, the Catholic Church and the Civil Society Organisations (OSC).

After having listened to all that debate I was hoping that the moderator (Paula Rodrigues) would pose this question: is abortion a woman’s problem or a mother’s problem? As some of the proponents for abortion are “women” but sometimes they are not “mothers”. This question may sound like a joke. But I raised this question as it has a profound impact on a philosophical question. With this question I would like to say that abortion is not an issue of the Catholic Church but of the human being; it’s not a religious and moral question only but it is also a metaphysical question: “the mystery of the human being”! Just to add, in Indonesia the practice of abortion is absolutely a “crime” and are punishable with imprisonment. Everyone knows that Indonesia is the biggest Islamic nation in the world. So the majority of the Islamic population is in favour of the criminalisation of abortion. The whole of the religious world which has a strong tradition is against abortion. The reason is simple: “dom da vida” is a sacred thing. Destroying a life is a sin as much as destroying the environment.
“WOMEN” VERSUS “MOTHER”: A METAPHYSICAL QUESTION

Once I had a book titled “Love Beyond Life”. In one section the writer (a doctor and a psychiatrist) talked about a therapy which he performed on a woman who had once performed abortion. From the psychological viewpoint he said that the woman who had performed abortion suffered from trauma for the rest of her life. The woman felt that she has contributed to homicide and the trauma stayed with her throughout her life. Even when she saw other women hold their babies, she would suffer immensely, she felt afraid and trembled at what she had done. She suffers from a feeling of culpability for a very long time. The word “culpability” means that the woman has condemned herself and thinks of herself as a criminal. This psychologist said that cases of abortion can be resolved in a day but its consequences can extend for the rest of life. What this doctor tried to do was to give counseling on love, hope and mercy. But this doctor said that the wound continues to remain in the woman’s heart.

As a student in Rome (Italy), I use my summer holidays working for a parish church. In my work I would listen to anyone who would want to open up (I also took this opportunity to practice my Italian). Once I attended to a woman (she’s 59) who came to me to open up about her abortion experience which she performed 31 years ago. For more than 2 hours I listened to her laments, sadness and trauma. She said that the “image” of the baby whom she lost never left her. I only listened to her grievances, not confession. Because within the Catholic Church, abortions is confessional only to the Bishop or elderly priests (who have been granted special license from the Bishop). As a young priest I listened to many cases like this in lectures. But I never came across it directly. So I could not offer any “guidance”. But this experience left me with a big sign that abortion is not a simple issue.

From the book and this experience in Italy it became possible for me to better understand what MJ Lucia Lobato was referring to in TVTL (12/03/09). She said more or less, “… as a mother, when I am pregnant, … I had a special experience which … very personal, … there was an intimate relationship. I cannot explain, … because this is like a blessing”. I understood these words as an expression from the personal-humanist philosophy. MJ expressed the concept of “mother” which went beyond the “physical” question: a woman who is pregnant. The pregnant woman is an “external” problem. But the word “mother” indicates towards an “intimacy”. Therefore a pregnant woman is at a moment referred to as “maternity”! She is no longer a “subjectivity”, but an “inter-subjectivity” … with an intimate and sentimental relationship.

Sister Lucy’s (i.e. Lucia Lobato) statements show to be a mother is not solely a “physical” (woman) question, but it is also a “metaphysical” question. Philosophically Sister Lucy points towards “actus essendi”. The word “metaphysics” means “beyond the physical”; to step beyond the physical reality. That before we see a child “body”, we already had a relationship with a “life”. Therefore, like it or not sister Lucy’s statements is necessarily follows with an important thought: before we see the real body, we have already found “life”. Mothers (such as sister Lucy) do not feel or think that inside their belly there is a “raw flesh” but a “life”. Life must be an “essence”: trunk and roots. The body is actus existendi, meaning, it has already found its material or physical. That’s why in the Christian philosophy it says, “anima rationalis est forma in homine, qua corpus est corpus”. This is to say that: our rational spirit (the essence of life) takes its human form. Them man is the reincarnated spirit. The human body is the space where the human spirit lives. The human essence is “intimacy” which reveals itself through everyday activity in the physical life (corporeality). Because “intimacy” does not have its own space, so it needs a “material” (physical) one in order to reveal itself.

Then we can say that the problem of abortion is not just a problem of the Catholic Church’s doctrine (or Islamic). It is not the “woman’s” problem. In my opinion the word “woman” refers to a physical identity. It can happen a woman is not a mother. But when a woman becomes a mother she finds herself a very beautiful word, “maternity”. The word “maternity” points to an abstract experience (or metaphysical), not physical. Because, “mother” points to a life because there is an experience of “intimacy” with that life that’s growing inside her. If we can say it, “carrying a child” is a “blessing” from a life which wants to mark its presence in the world. Abortion is no longer about the taking out the “raw flesh”, but it becomes the taking of a “life”. That’s why when article 142 is passed, then “woman’s” politics can win. But a “mother’s” intimacy would loose its sense.

THE QUESTION OF “INCEST” AND “RAPE”

According to the Provedor and Civil Society Organisations (CSO), “incest” and “rape” can also apply for abortion. But this position shows that the activists have fallen into a serious crime against humanity. If the Government and the State accept this argument then along with the CSOs, they are legitimating a serious violence: turning the woman and the baby into victims! This means a victim on top of another victim.

But the basis and the justification provided by the PDHJ are extremely terrible in my view. The Provedor’s position – consciously or not – came from a philosophical basis which in times past gave raise to transpersonal totalitarians. These philosophies were adopted from Lenin-Stalin (communism), Adolf Hitler (Nazism) and Benito Mussolini (fascism). When Hitler undertook “damnatio memoriae” (brain washing), Mussolini was making “fascii di combatimento”.

Let’s examine the 2 arguments put forward by the PDHJ which for me is dramatically horrible. First Mr. Sebastião D. Ximenes says that “the embryo has the potential to be alive as a person … the mother is a person.” On the other hand Mr. Provedor said that we have “duty” and “right”. Estate/Government can enforce someone’s “duty” but they cannot enforce someone’s right. With this 2 basis the Provedor is sustaining the idea that abortion can be performed against “incest” and “rape”.

My dear Mr. Provedor, in the classic thought, “potentia” cannot be separated from “actus”. If the embryo is a potential within the mother’s womb, then the “potentia” is someone’s life. Its consequence, the embryo indicates “actus” (evolving) as a person. No one can be of the idea that “the seed” inside the mother’s womb came from an animal. It’s impossible. Also when the embryo is inside the mother’s womb it is not just any “raw flesh” but a “life”. Just as MJ Lucia Lobato said in relation to the personal and the intimacy. Those with a good sense will recognise that the mother is hot having a relationship and an intimacy with a “raw flesh” but with a life. That’s why I said “potentia” cannot be separated from “actus”. Provedor’s position to separate “potentia” from “actus” is not normal (abnormal). What is normal is when we say that embryonic “potentia” is evolving within “actus” in the human flesh. The Provedor is making a philosophical falsification to justify his political position in relation to “abortion”. The Provedor is taking a political option in the name of human rights. I contest this position.

On the other hand it is a grave disaster the Provedor is making when he argues that we can force “duty”, but we cannot force “right”. Even the Provedor says that not even the State or the law can force it! In my opinion, the Provedor is introducing a “political belief” from the liberal-extremists who want to impose the “homo homini lupus” system (we are wild dogs (wolf) amongst people). In this system, “might” is right. Who is mightiest, he wins; if he wins then he is right. Then once again Nietzsche says that humans should not believe in the “power of logic” (law and morals, religion and the state) but in “logic of power”. In the case of abortion the Provedor’s logic is moving towards a direction which is very “frightening”: because the woman has the right and freedom to life, she can take away another life that is fragile and innocent. In other words, the human rights which the Provedor defends is the right of the mighty, the cream of the crop … not those of the small.

First of all, “incest” occurs when a father commits sexual act against his own daughter. The person who committed the crime is the father, not the daughter. The daughter is the “victim”. It becomes horrible when the women’s movement attempt to “inject” a dreadful idea to support the “victim” to commit a “crime” to “take away life” which is on its way to be alive. Then the young woman changes from “victim” to a “criminal”. She has committed serious crime because she has taken away another “life”. The consequences will become evermore grave: the young woman is living with trauma because she became a victim of her father; at the same time she will live with the stigma of a murderer against another life.

This argument can also be applied to “sexual violence”. The woman is not the criminal but the victim. We can’t help her to get her freedom. But we must show her how she can get her “revenge” by finishing off with the “new seed” sown by the criminal. The women’s movement could not manage to help a fellow woman but they open the way for “revenge”. I am not defending the “rapist”. But I am pointing out that “perhaps the excuse for abortion is not genuine for the female victim, but it’s based on hatred against the rapist”. This is more serious because we are firing up the woman’s hatred and revenge!!! And then under the condition of mental instability we are justifying this action to take away a baby’s life. And then, to cover this up we wrap it around sweet words like “protecting the women’s right”.

To be honest, I am not convinced with the logic of abortion for incest and rape. The Provedor’s (and women’s or the civil society’s movement) pro-abortionist position for “incest” and “rape” represent a philosophical tendency through an atheistic humanist drama. I am not accusing that the Provedor, Mr. Sebastião does not believe in God (the Marxist phillospher ERns Bloch says “in order to become a good atheist, one must have a strong belief in Christianity; and to become a good Christian one must face a strong atheist). Nor am I accusing the women’s movement of atheism. What I am pointing out is a “philosophical tendency”: whether we are conscious or not, the Provedor and our sisters are founding themselves in a philosophy à la Friedrich Nietzsche. For Nietzsche, humans must strive to become a Superman species … “Man is something that should be overcome … Man is a rope, tied between beast and Superman” (cfr., Thus Spike Zarathustra: 41. 43).

According to Nietzsche, to be Superman we must first declare that “God is dead!”; because “we have killed him”. In other words, Nietzsche wanted to say that “life” is in the human hand, we are Superman. “Superman” comes from the “best seed”, an aristocratic and intellectual caste. In order to be Superman, we must kill God. If God continues to exist, then we won’t have personal freedom. In Nietzsche’s thought, God is only for the moral slaves (the slavery of morality), those who constantly speak of “love”, “peace”, solidarity, fraternity, etc. The Superman must show its “power”, domination, expansion, etc. That’s why the philosopher J. P. Sartre declared that “if God exists then human being is nothing”.

Nietzche’s other statements also opens up a new perspective. He said, “we believe ourselves to be the causal agents in the act of willing; we at least thought we were there catching causality in the act. … causality had, on the basis of will, been firmly established as a given fact, as empiricism”.

The result of philosophies similar to Nietzsche’s have given raise to dictatorships like Adolph Hitler, Mao Tze Tung, Mussolinin, Lenin, Stalin, etc. For them, “the human race” and “the human dignity” is measured against “superman” or “the top seed” or the “strongest seed”. When we find a weak “seed”, we must destroy it.

The Nietzschean philosophy has inspired the modern technology to select between the “good seed” and the “bad seed”, including the human seed. But what is the most interesting in philosophy is the use of formal rationalist and logical arguments. We have removed the human feeling. The Provedor and the sisters want to defend a woman’s “life” and her “personal freedom”, but thei are only considering the “best seed” or the “top seed”, not the small and the poor. Not the innocent. They are not discussing the “mothers’” intimacy and maternity.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S POSITION: LIFE IS SACRED

In the discussion the women’s movement asked: “Why should the Catholic Church be anti-abortionist if someone has a strong reason?” First of all the Catholic Church defends the Commandements in the Old Testament which says “Thou shall not kill” (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomi 5:17). In the New Testamnet, Jesus Christ went a step beyond to say that “… anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). The logic which the Catholic Church shows is this: to end a “life” is a consequence of an awful mind, “hatred”, “grudge” and “revenge”. To take away a “life” does not come up spontaneously. To murder or take away a “life” one must have thoughts, make plans and finally take the action. There is nobody who wakes up and grabs a machete and slice another person. There is a priori: hatred, grudge and revenge.

This idea becomes the basis for reflection for the document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), called Donum vitae (the blessing of life), specially in relation to the abortion issue. The Catholic Church holds firmly that the origin of life is sacred because there involves “blessings” from God. Therefore “before you are formed inside your mother’s womb, I already knew you; before you came out of the maternal womb, I have already blessed you” (Jeremiah 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Psalm 22:10-11). Thus it is also said, “My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth” (Psalm 139:15). (Original Portuguese: “Nada da minha substância escapava quando era formado no silêncio, tecido nas entranhas da vida humana”).

The Bible has shown that the “human life” is a silent creation, under the cover of mistery. Right from the Old Testament the people have shown a devotion: life is sacred. But modern science, just like the Old Testament: cannot determine with an adequate manner the hour/minute that “life” begins. Adolf Portamann, a bilogist who won a Noble for Science in 1979 wrote in a book titled “Biology and Spirit” that when we cannot see the beauty in nature, we cannot see “life”. He conducted his research thorugh the theory of evolution and concluded that human evolution is full of mystery and beauty and is full of creative freedom. True! A number of scientists do not want to mention God by name but they are only brave enough to say that “there must be The Greatest Designer”.

Because when we see the mustery and beauty of a new creature, Donum vitae (introduction: 5), it says that “… no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human beign”. The Cathoilic Church defends this fact: abortion is a mortal sin. This position comes from Christianity’s roots. When the Church talks about “sin” there can be no “exception”. So the Bishops and the Priests cannot declare that abortion is sinful with exceptions within it. A sin is a sin. There is no exception for sins.

If we look carefully at the argment from the Civil Society (in particular the women’s movement), the basis for the legalisation of abortion is “antipathy” for the fetus. Cases such as “incest” and “sexual violence” point out that the sisters’ arguments are based on “hatred”, “grudge” and “revenge” against the criminals. We can be hateful, have grudge or avenge against the criminal, I agree. But we cannot use this reason to turn the victom (the woman) in to a criminal to take away another “life” which has no voice. Whatever it is, the Catholic Church must always be “the voice of the voiceless people”.

CONCLUSION

We go back to the question: is abortion a mother’s conflict or is it a woman’s problem? From the above explanation I think that the woman’s problem is merely a “physical” question. This is much easier to perform abortion because what is inside the womb is only a “raw flesh”. But when abortion is performed the mother’s conflict will araise: the conflict of intimacy and maternity. This is a “metaphysical” conflict. This type of conflict, to borrow from Sister Lucy’s words, can never find an explanation. In my opinion, article 142 can bring victory to the women’s politics. But I don’t believe that it will bring any benefit to the “mothers”.

On the other hand the idea about “abortion” comes from the lifestyle of women lib’s which today became a new trend in the world. But they are successful in their political campaign to convince the life of others. Be that as it may, the women lib’s cannot attract the mothers’ personal emotional sentiment. In Timor-Leste we can see it very clearly that the women’s movement is stronger in the political articulation but less os in the cultural contextualisation. I think that if the sisters carried out a “socialisation" campaign on this penal code, you will find a lot of resistance from the mothers in the grassroots community. They will listen but they will remain silent! People would think that “silence means to agree”. But in Timor-Leste, “silence” means to “resist” until “the last drop of blood”.

My experience from Italy has shown that abortion is not a “modern” and “traditional” issue. It is a humanity’s question. For the developed nations there can be exeptions in the legal abortion. When the “woman” is young, they can have abortion. But they cannot resolve the issue of depression and trauma of frustration and culpability which a mother will suffer for the rest of her life. That’s why the comparison with with developed countries will not guarantee that the issue of abortion can be resolved. This comparison is always false. Because the issue of “mother” is always too complicated and personal comparing with the women’s lifestyle.

Therefore, in the end abortion is not only a question for the Catholic Church or religious ethics. Abortion is a qiuestion for the “human being” as humans continue to progress in “actus essendi” and “actus existendi”. We have life first and then we have the “body”. Life is designed through the parent’s “profound love”. This love found “incarnation” when a baby finds a body within the mother’s womb and finds personality when it gives “the first smile” to the world.

There is no conflict between the Catholic Church and the State/Government and the Civil Society. The moderator’s provocation was good! But it was not deep enough. The problem simply showed up because these entities stood in different positions. The church stands on “sensu fidei” (belief and values which it must preach). The State/Government must show its “political belief” (belief and values which it defends). The Civil Society wants to show off its humanist philosophy. The situation became complicated when this “political belief” and the humanist philosophy are changing according to trends, according to contexts, according to political and economic tendencies. While politicians and the civil society can “change their skins” for their beliefs, the Catholic Church continues to hold on to its belief and values which has stood firmly for 2009 years. Like “women” who can change herself according to the latest trend, the Catholic Church as “Mother” and the “mothers” in the Catholic Church never change their love to their child. For a “mother”, the child will always show “unum” (niqueness), “bonum” (goodness), “verum” (truthfulness) and “pulchrum” (beauty).

When I finished this article my heart was filled with joy because my mother never performed abortion and I can be alive. I can exist today, live and perform the good things in my life. If my mother had performed abortion today I would not have existed, would not be alive to do the good and the bad things. Thank you very much mother!

*) Director of CJP (Justice and Peace Commission) Baucau Diocese, lecturer in fundamental ethics, socio-politcal philosophy and contemporary atheism at the Seminario Maior S. Pedro and S. Paulo, Dili. Also teaches politics at UNTL.

Image added by ETLJB.

See further 2005 East Timor Law Journal 6 MORALITY, RELIGION AND THE LAW - ABORTION AND PROSTITUTION IN EAST TIMOR

30 March 2009

East Timor Court conditionally releases Defendant charged with committing obscene acts against a minor

East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program DILI 30 March 2009 - Defendant charged with committing obscene acts against a minor has been granted conditional release

In accordance with the trial schedule, on 16 March 2009 the Suai District Court tried a case relating to obscene acts committed against a minor. The Public Prosecutor charged the defendant in the indictment under Article 290 (3e) of the Indonesian Penal Code for committing obscene acts against a minor less than 15 years of age.

In accordance with the prosecutor’s indictment, in 2002 the defendant, who is currently aged 56, committed obscene acts against a 3 year old child. The indictment was filed with the Suai District Court and registered as Case No. 32/PEN/2005/TDS. Then in 2008, the defendant committed the same obscene acts against an 8 year old child. The second case was scheduled for trial on 16 March 2009 and was registered as Case No. 123/PEN/2008/TDS; however the trial was adjourned until June 2009.

Both the prosecution and defence requested for the trial to be adjourned on the grounds that the court should settle the first case from 2002 before proceeding with the second case from 2008. The judge advised that the first case had not been processed because the case was not handed over properly. The case was initially being dealt with by an international judge and when that judge’s contract expired no clear report was provided to clarify the status of the first case from 2002.

In light of the aforementioned circumstances the prosecution and defence requested for the two cases to be combined in one indictment because the defendant had committed the same crime on separate occasions. The defendant was detained in October last year in relation to the second case from 2008 and on 16 March 2009 the defendant was granted conditional release pending the outcome of the trial.

JSMP believes that the changeover of international judges due to the expiration of their contracts can influence the handling of cases and can also present defendants with an opportunity to repeat their actions.

For more information please contact: Luis Oliveira Sampaio Executive Director of JSMP
Email: luis@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883
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Arguidu Abuzu Sexual Hasoru Labarik Minoridade Hetan Liberdade Kondisional Marsu 2009

Tuir horariu julgamentu, iha loron 16 Marsu 2009, Tribunal Distrital Suai (TDS) sei hala’o prosesu julgamentu ba kazu abuzu sexual hasoru labarik minoridade. Baze akuzasaun no alegasaun Ministerio Publiku (MP) ba kazu abuzu sexual refere mak artigu 290 pontu (3e) Kodigu Penal aplikavel ne’ebe regula kona ba abuzu sexual hasoru labarik ne’ebe mak idade seidauk to’o 15 anos.

Bazeia ba akuzasaun husi MP, iha tinan 2002 arguidu ne’ebe agora dadauk nia tinan 56 anos, komete ona krime abuzu sexual ida hasoru labarik foin tinan 3 no iha surat akuzasaun ba kazu refere rejista ona iha TDS ho numeru prosesu 32/PEN/2005/TDS. Tuir mai, iha tinan 2008, arguidu komete fila fali krime ne’ebe hanesan hasoru labarik foin tinan 8. Ba kazu segundu ida ne’e, tuir horariu loloos atu julga iha loron 16 Marsu 2009 ho numeru prosesu 123/PEN/2008/TDS maibe la konsege prosesa ba kazu ne’e no adia fali ba fulan Junho 2009.

Iha julgamentu laran, tantu MP no defensores sira hato’o pedidu ba juiz koletivu ne’ebe lidera prosesu julgamentu hodi adia julgamentu ho argumentu katak tribunal tenke prosesa uluk lai kazu 2002 no iha desizaun ona mak foin bele prosesa fali kazu 2008. Iha intervensaun juiz koletivu deklara katak kazu 2002 nunka ou to’o agora seidauk prosesa tanba la iha kuñesementu diak ba atendimentu kazu ne’e wainhira iha sirkulasaun juiz ne’ebe kaer kazu refere, signifika katak kazu 2002 uluk juiz internasional ida mak nu’udar juiz da kauza/ou kaer kazu ne’e maibe wainhira juiz refere nia kontratu remata, laiha reportajen/transferensia konaba progressu prosesual kazu 2002.

Ho razaun hirak iha leten, parte MP no defensores sira husu ba tribunal atu junta deit surat akuzasaun ba kazu rua ne’e ho surat akuzasaun ida deit ho argumentu ida katak arguidu komete krime hanesan maske hasoru vitima diferente.

Ba kazu 2008 arguidu hala’o ona prizaun preventiva husi fulan Outubru tinan kotuk kedas, tanba nune’e iha loron 16 Marsu tribunal fo liberdade kondisional ba arguidu hodi hein kontinuasaun prosesu julgamentu.

JSMP hare katak sirkulasaun ou juiz internasional sira ne’ebe troka malu hela deit tanba kontratu remata hamosu impaktu makas ba prosesu julgamentu no sei kria vantajen no oportunidade bo’ot ba arguidu sira atu repete fali sira nia hahalok krime tanba sente laiha prosesu hasoru sira.

Atu hetan informasaun kompletu bele kontaktu : Luis Oliveira Sampaio Diretur Exekutivu JSMP E-mail: luis@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883
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Terdakwa Percabulan Terhadap Anak Dibawah Umur Dinyatakan Bebas Bersyarat Maret 2009

Sesuai jadwal persidangan, pada Tgl 16 Maret 2009, Pengadilan Distrik Suai menggelar persidangan atas kasus percabulan terhadap korban seorang anak dibawah umur. Dasar dakwaan dan tuntutan Jaksa Penuntut Umum (JPU) untuk kasus pidana percabulan tersebut adalah pasal 290 ayat (3e) KUHP mengenai percabulan terhadap anak yang belum cukup umur 15 tahun.

Berdasarkan dakwaan dari jaksa penuntut umum, pada tahun 2002 terdakwa yang saat ini berumur 56 tahun, telah melakukan tindak pidana percabulan terhadap seorang anak berumur 3 tahun dan surat dakwaan telah didaftarkan pada Pengadilan Distrik Suai dengan nomor perkara 32/PEN/2005/TDS. Selanjutnya, pada tahun 2008, terdakwa kembali melakukan tindak pidana yang sama terhadap seorang anak berumur 8 tahun. Untuk perkara kedua ini sesuai jadwal akan disidangkan pada tgl 16 Maret 2009 dengan nomor perkara 123/PEN/2008/TDS namun ditunda sampai bulan Juni 2009.

Dalam persidangan baik pihak kejaksaan maupun para pembela mengusulkan agar sidang dapat ditunda dengan alasan utama bahwa seharusnya pengadilan menuntaskan terlebih dahulu kasus tahun 2002 sebelum memproses kasus 2008. Dalam intervensinya hakim mengatakan bahwa kasus 2002 tidak pernah diproses karena tidak adanya pelimpahan penangganan pada saat pergantian hakim, artinya kasus 2002 dulunya ditangani oleh seorang hakim internasional dan ketika kontrak hakim internasional tersebut berakhir, tidak ada catatan yang jelas mengenai perkembangan pemrosesan kasus 2002.

Dengan berbagai alasan diatas, pihak kejaksaan maupun para pembela mengusulkan agar kedua kasus tersebut digabungkan menjadi satu dakwaan saja karena terdakwa telah melakukan tindak pidana yang sama meskipun terhadap korban yang berbeda.

Untuk kasus 2008 terdakwa telah ditahan sejak Oktober tahun lalu, sehingga pada tgl 16 Maret terdakwa dinyatakan bebas bersyarat sambil menunggu proses persidangan selanjutnya.

JSMP memandang bahwa pergantian hakim (internasional) karena berakhirnya kontrak dapat mempengaruhi proses penangganan kasus sekaligus memberikan peluang kepada terdakwa untuk mengulangi kembali perbuatan yang sama.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut: Luis Oliveira Sampaio Direktur Exekutif JSMP Alamat e-mail: luis@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883
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Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) Through the provision of independent legal analysis, court monitoring and community outreach activities JSMP aims to contribute to and evaluate the ongoing process of building a strong and sustainable justice system in Timor Leste. Visit our website at http://www.jsmp.minihub.org

JSMP does not guarantee the content or endorse the views contained in articles distributed the list other than in respect of those publications prepared by JSMP itself.

29 March 2009

Kriminaliza Difamasaun iha Timor Leste, bele ka lae? Análiza legal ida

DILI 29 March 2009 East Timor Law Journal - This article, which is only available in Tetum, is an analysis of whether defamation is a criminal offence or not in East Timor; principally, whether the executive order enacted by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (1999 - 2002) is legally enforceable or not.

It discusses whether that executive order has the same force as an Act of Parliament and analyses the decision of Chief Justice Claudio Ximenes which stated that that executive order does not have the same force as a law so that the provisions of the Indonesian criminal code still apply to the question of the criminalisation of defamation in East Timor.

The author seeks to explain that the decision of the Chief Justice on the UNTAET executive order which decriminalised defamation is erroneous and defamation can not be prosecuted as a criminal offence. The Court of Appeals has declared a mistaken jurisprudence on the issue.

Click here to go to East Timor Law Journal to read the full article in Tetum.

If anyone can translate this article into English, Indonesian or Portuguese, contact us at wwright1961@gmail.com

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

Image: More erroneous jurisprudence from the Chief Judge of East Timor, Claudio Ximenes.

28 March 2009

East Timor Government/UNMIT PM and SRSG welcome the start of the resumption of responsibilities by East Timorese police

Joint Press Release PM and SRSG welcome the start of the resumption of responsibilities by East Timorese police 27 March 2009, Dili - The first step in the resumption of responsibilities by Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) was announced today by Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (SRSG) Atul Khare. They decided that the resumption would begin in the District of Lautém, followed by Manatuto District. The resumption in these two districts will depend on the conclusion of an agreement between the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) concerning the resumption process and compliance with the certification procedure. Practical arrangements for the resumption are currently being made in the two districts.

Assessments have also been completed in Aileu and Ainaro. However, these two districts were found to require improvements before they can be declared ready for resumption. Government and UNMIT experts are now assessing Oecussi and Manufahi. The remaining districts and PNTL special units will then be assessed.

The Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT have already agreed that the resumption will be a phased process based on a joint assessment on the PNTL preparedness in accordance with mutually agreed criteria. UN Police will remain in the districts where the PNTL has resumed responsibilities to provide advice and to monitor the PNTL, including in the area of human rights protection.

Prime Minister Gusmao congratulated the PNTL and welcomed the agreement. “We will start with two districts because this is a gradual process and in the future other districts will follow. Therefore we ask the state and the government to create conducive conditions, which means adequate facilities, logistics and each of the commands will be prepared to take on leadership responsibilities,” said the Prime Minister.

“Today we happily celebrate the ninth anniversary of the PNTL, with the hope that the police will be able to overcome a number of existing problems in order to move ahead and properly fulfill their duty as a highly professional police force,” stated Prime Minister Gusmao.

SRSG Khare, welcoming that the Government and UNMIT had reached the decision to begin the resumption of the PNTL’s policing responsibilities in Lautem and Manatuto, stated:

“Timor-Leste has taken major steps in the past 12 months towards restoring stability. PNTL beginning to resume full responsibility for policing is a further step in the efforts to ensure that this stability is sustainable over the long term.”

Image added by ETLJB: East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Kay Rala Gusmao

UN-trained national police to take up their beats in East Timor

Timor Leste: UN-trained national police to take up their beats 27 March 2009 – The first areas of Timor-Leste to be policed by national squadrons since the violent clashes that shook the fledgling nation in 2006 have been chosen, the Government and the United Nations mission in the country (UNMIT) announced today.

The resumption of responsibilities by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) represents a significant stride for the country in its quest for stability, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative and head of UNMIT Atul Khare.

“Timor-Leste has taken major steps in the past 12 months towards restoring stability. PNTL beginning to resume full responsibility for policing is a further step in the efforts to ensure that this stability is sustainable over the long term,” he said in a joint announcement with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.

The resumption of PNTL policing in the district of Lautém, followed by Manatuto, now awaits completion of a procedural agreement between the Government and UNMIT and other final considerations.

Assessments for the transition have also been completed in other districts, which were found to “require improvements,” UNMIT said, before they can be declared ready for resumption, after which the remaining districts will be assessed according to agreed criteria.

Prime Minister Gusmão congratulated the PNTL, which marks its ninth anniversary today, and asked all district authorities to create conducive conditions for the transition, including adequate facilities and logistical provisions.

UNMIT was sent in to help stabilize the country and provide intensified police re-training in late April 2006, after fighting – attributed to differences between eastern and western regions – erupted following the firing of 600 striking soldiers, or one-third of the armed forces.

Ensuing violence claimed dozens of lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.

In UNMIT’s most recent mandate extension, the Security Council supported the phased transfer of policing responsibilities now performed by UNMIT to the PNTL beginning in 2009, stressing however that the police must first meet all required criteria.

UN Police will remain in the districts where the PNTL has resumed responsibilities to provide advice and monitoring, particularly in the area of human rights protection.

A problematic division Managing the border between West and East Timor has been an ongoing challenge

Inside Indonesia 96: Apr-Jun 2009 David Gutteling The withdrawal of Indonesian forces from East Timor following the violent weeks of 1999 posed many challenges to the two neighbours, not least in relation to the question of border management. In some instances, the new international border resulted in villages and extended families being split between the two territories, interfering with communal trade and cultural practice. Following the arrival of the United Nations military intervention in September 1999, many of the militias fled to West Timor or based themselves in the border region. Villagers living along the border feared that the militias responsible for much of the rampaging, looting and killing would cause renewed violence and their presence raised concerns about retribution amongst the 250,000 East Timorese who were forcibly relocated to refugee camps in West Timor. Ten years later these issues continue to plague those managing the border region.

Border challenges

In 2001 a Joint Border Committee was created by East Timor and Indonesia to begin negotiations about border demarcation. These talks started positively but real progress has been slow for the last few years. The main dispute concerns the question of whether or not the new border should be defined by a Dutch-Portuguese treaty made in 1904 and which had remained in force until 1974. The East Timorese government wishes to retain the former boundaries, while the Indonesian leadership argues that local customary settlement (adat) has shifted the border and that new border arrangements should take this into consideration. To date 97 per cent of the land border has been demarcated, with the remaining 3 per cent to be decided in the first few months of 2009.

The new land border between Indonesia and East Timor has caused difficulties both for villagers living in its vicinity and for the border patrols guarding it. During the occupation, people could freely cross the border, but with the new international border in place, trade between villages on both sides has become problematic. Visits to extended family, which are an important part of Timorese communal life, have likewise become difficult. The border is 316 kilometres long but it has only four official crossing points. To get to a crossing, people need to travel long distances and when they reach a border post, they need passports and visas, which are hard to come by and so expensive that most people cannot afford them.

The barriers obstructing movement across the border have reduced trade between villages and forced some parts of East Timor to rely on the illegal border crossings to access goods. This is especially the case in the Oecussi enclave, one of the poorest areas in Timor, where even basic goods are much more expensive than in villages just over the border in West Timor. As a result, smuggling and other illegal border crossings have become top security issues for both countries. Another concern is the potential health risk associated with the hidden border crossings. For example, in 2008 it was feared that chickens infected with avian flu were being transported across the border from Indonesia. As it turned out the chickens were not infected, but officials say that because of the porous border it is only a matter of time before an outbreak of the avian flu occurs in East Timor.

The refugees living near the border also represent a problem for both countries. Of the 250,000 East Timorese who fled the violence in 1999 most returned home in the first few years, though some stayed in West Timor. Ten years on, almost 5000 people are still living in abysmal conditions in three refugee camps near the border in West Timor. One of these camps, Noulbaki, is a 15 minute drive from the capital of West Timor, Kupang, a prosperous port city with a population of 300,000. The refugees are undernourished and poor. They have almost no access to clean water and illnesses like malaria and dengue fever are widespread. The Indonesian government wants to close the camps and relocate the refugees, stating that they are now ‘new residents’. Jakarta discourages aid from non-governmental organisations, because it is believed that giving aid to the refugees would prolong their stay. Some former refugees have relocated to other areas in West Timor, where they work for a small salary farming corn and cassava, which is only a small step up from the poor conditions of the refugee camps. Over time, the owners of the land on which the refugees live have become less tolerant of their presence. When the refugees first arrived, the Indonesian government declared that they would stay only a short while. Now, almost ten years later, the original owners want their land back. While these tensions have not resulted in violence they have led to angry disputes between refugees and landowners who want the refugees to go back to East Timor. However, for most of the refugees, returning to East Timor is not an option. Some who had sided with Indonesia fear retribution from their neighbours while others think there is nothing left for them to return to.

Finally, the retreat of the pro-Indonesia militias to the border region and into West Timor in 1999 did not completely end militia activities. Estimates from the UN suggest that as of 2005 almost 3000 refugees in camps were former militia members unable to return home because they feared they would be killed by vengeful East Timorese. Some of these militias intimidated other refugees and crossed the border into East Timor, causing instability. For example, in January 2006 three former militiamen were killed by Timorese border patrolmen in the district of Bobonaro and several others were arrested. It is unclear why the men were shot. The East Timorese said that they were former militia who had attacked the border patrol while the Indonesians said that the men had been fishing and had been shot without warning.
Managing the border

Efforts have been made by both Indonesian and Timorese authorities to manage the border. During the first few years after the referendum, border patrolling in East Timor was primarily carried out by UN forces. The UN also played an important role in establishing, training and advising the East Timorese Border Patrol Unit (BPU), which forms part of the East Timorese police force. After 2002 the UN gradually withdrew its soldiers, giving the East Timorese more responsibility.

The BPU and the UN met regularly with their Indonesian counterparts to talk about what should be done about the militias, smuggling operations and other illegal border crossings. From 2005 the BPU became solely responsible for East Timor side of the border. With only about 300 personnel they were spread thinly. In West Timor the border was defended by a battalion of the Indonesian army. Their task was perhaps more difficult than that of their counterparts since most incursions across the border would come from the Indonesian side. Although smuggled goods travel in both directions across the border, significantly more goods come from Indonesia and move into East Timor where they are sold for a larger profit. Petrol bought in Indonesia, for example, can be sold over the border in East Timor for a 30 per cent profit.

There have been a number of proposals put forward about how to improve border management in the area. The Truth and Friendship Commission report proposed that a ‘peace zone’ be built in the border region to enable official meetings between Indonesians and East Timorese. The report also suggested setting up joint patrols, watch posts and training programs as a means of improving relations between border patrols. Another possible arrangement is a soft-border regime, which will allow people without passports or visas to cross the border in more places. This is essential for traders and others who need to move frequently between East and West Timor. In 2006 the International Crisis Group recommended deploying more police, building better roads so that the border patrols can move along the border more easily and improving cooperation between countries.

For the time being, however, there are many aspects of the border region which are still unresolved. The situation of the refugees remains a poignant reminder of the violent events of 1999 and illegal border crossings continue to be one of the greatest security problems currently facing East Timor. Addressing these issues requires the continuing political will and cooperation of both governments.

East Timor swears in new police chief

DILI (AFP) — East Timor swore in a civilian Friday as the new head of its deeply factionalised police force, despite criticism from the opposition and some officers that he was unsuitable for the job.

The force is still divided after clashes in 2006 among police and military factions and street gangs that left at least 37 dead.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said that former prosecutor general Longuinhos Montiero, who is taking the job for two years, faced "the difficult and heavy work of picking back up the police."

"I ask for all police to know their responsibilities and obligations to bring this institution forward," Monteiro said.

"I will not tolerate anyone who messes around with discipline and uses their position to dirty the image of this institution," he said.

But the opposition Fretilin party and some police officers criticised the appointment, saying Monteiro was a political choice unsuited to handling the difficult handover from United Nations police to the 3,000-strong local force.

"This is an arbitrary use of power that breaks the law," Fretilin lawmaker Fransisco Branco said.

"We should be placing a person from the police itself as chief and we have to be able to trust them."

East Timor won formal independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a bloody 24-year occupation that killed as many as 200,000 people.

The 2006 unrest, triggered by the desertion of 600 soldiers over claims of discrimination, forced 100,000 people to flee their homes and triggered the return of UN forces.
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Image added by ETLJB: An East Timorese woman in distress as police stand by not rendering assistance. Longinhos Monteiro inherits a poorly-trained, corrupt and violent police force that stands accused by HRW of human rights abuses.

27 March 2009

United Nation's Police Withdrawal from East Timor: A Graceful Exit

The Asia Foundation By Silas Everett Silas Everett is The Asia Foundation Country Representative in Timor-Leste. He can be reached at severett@asiafound.org.

The United Nations police (UNPOL) will soon relinquish its lead in patrolling Timor-Leste to the national police force, Policia National Timor-Leste (PNTL). Last month, the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) officially decided that PNTL would resume policing responsibilities and called for a “gradual and phased approach - district-by-district and unit-by-unit in accordance with mutually-agreed and clearly-defined criteria.”

Mr. Xanana Gusmao, Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, added that the first phase of the handover would be held in the districts of Alieu, Lautem, Manatuto, and Ainaro, pending evaluation by a joint technical team of government and UNMIT representatives.

History shows that the process may not be easy. In the past, the UN has had difficulty handing over executive policing authority in Timor-Leste. In 2005, UNPOL’s handover had left a few remaining UN officers behind, when the 2006 crisis broke out. Spurred by political opponents, factions within the PNTL and the National Defense Force (F-FDTL) battled each other. Tragically, eight PNTL officers were shot and killed (one other died later) beneath the United Nation’s flag. These events prompted the full return of the UN police and mobilization of an Australian-led International Stabilization Force. During two months of violence in 2006, 150,000 were displaced. This was a major setback for the country. Almost three years later Timor-Leste is still recovering.

What has been learned? UNMIT and the government plan to base the district-by-district handovers on a set of four criteria, which - on the surface - appear straightforward. However, on closer inspection the criteria raise questions: Will UNPOL play a supportive role to ensure that the PNTL get the hardware they need to perform necessary operational and logistical functions? Will the certification process strengthen professionalism within the PNTL by making sure the few corrupt officials see prison time? Will the parliament ratify the Supplementary Policing Agreement to provide UNPOL the legal recognition for wielding executive policing authority?

Here is a list of the criteria being considered for the handover:

Criterion # 1: the ability of the PNTL to respond appropriately to the security environment in a given district.

This makes sense. If the PNTL can’t respond to security issues, then what good will the handover do? Yet, security in Timor-Leste has been characterized by long periods of stability and short periods of unrest. The very presence of UNPOL may dampen the potential for a spike in a latent conflict. When times are good, the PNTL’s response may look sufficient, if not more culturally appropriate than Western policing models. But what if, when the handover occurs, UNPOL monitors for a bit, then draws down, and crisis breaks out? It’s anyone’s guess what the PNTL’s response to large-scale social unrest might look like.

A recent Asia Foundation survey revealed that citizens rarely have contact with the PNTL. This is not necessarily a bad thing at this point. Timor-Leste’s violent crime rates are low and citizens hold community leaders responsible for security, rarely the PNTL. Murder and serious assault cases are the exception. The Foundation’s recent research shows that citizens prefer restorative measures for most disputes. Yet with murder, citizens prefer punitive measures - this is when the PNTL are sought directly. Bearing in mind that serious crimes have been decreasing since the 2006 crisis, murder cases are uncommon and thus make poor markers for judging the PNTL’s response. Besides, the effectiveness of the PNTL is tied to the ability of courts to adjudicate cases in a timely and effective manner. Bottlenecks in the justice system thwart PNTL’s ability to assist. Without stronger linkages between the community, the PNTL, and the formal justice system, it will be hard to tell when the PNTL is being appropriately responsive or just merely coping with an imperfect situation.

Criterion # 2: “final certification of at least 80 percent of eligible PNTL officers in a given district or unit is required before handover”.

In the aftermath of the 2006 crisis, UNMIT initiated a certification program for the PNTL, to make it a transparent, accountable, and responsible institution, honoring the country’s legal framework and respecting human rights. However, concerns over the effectiveness of the certification process culminated in those raised by the UNMIT Human Rights Report released in 2008 that the PNTL Evaluation Board, the Timorese-led body responsible for certification, had not issued any dismissals based on past human rights violations or criminal conduct, despite pleading from UNMIT on a number of cases. In fact, to date, while 95 percent of the PNTL have passed certification, no PNTL member has served a sentence for criminal misconduct, despite well-documented involvement of PNTL officers in the 2006 crisis. Will the 80 percent certification requirement of PNTL in a district have meaning in real terms, when what is needed is to weed out a few bad apples?

Criterion #3: availability of initial operational logistical requirements.

The PNTL lack resources to reach areas outside of the district centers to the point where some district PNTL commanders have no choice but to walk on foot, which may be welcomed by bird watchers and community-policing enthusiasts, but the net result is poor operations. Outside of Dili and a few of the district centers, instead of radios, the PNTL officers use prepaid mobile phone cards on their own phones. This may seem like another case of technological leapfrogging, but mobile phones don’t access all parts of the district, nor is the public-private telecommunications monopoly likely to provide expanded access in the near future. With 20 times less spending per officer than UNPOL, the PNTL will invariably continue to be frustrated by UNPOL’s critiques of its operations. No doubt that the lack of resources in the PNTL is a barrier to performance, but not addressing the obvious may mean further stymied cooperation between UNPOL and PNTL.

Criterion #4: institutional stability, which includes, inter alia, the ability to exercise command and control, to comply with human rights principles and operate with full community acceptance.

UNPOL’s own control over the PNTL to ensure the handover criteria are abided by is currently in question. The Supplementary Policing Agreement, between the government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations, was to provide UNPOL executive policing authority until the PNTL was reconstituted. However, a recent Court of Appeal decision found that because the Supplementary Agreement was not ratified by parliament, the UNPOL commissioner did not have the legal power to suspend a PNTL District Commander. Whether this ruling sets a precedent is more uncertain in a civil law than in a common law system. It might not be such a bad thing if UNPOL is a paper tiger at the end of the day, but, if so, it does undermine the utility of the given criteria.

On the ground, relations between PNTL and UNPOL vary. When together in public, UNPOL and PNTL officers often resemble awkward guests at a cocktail party - shy to acknowledge each other. Ride-alongs are rare and face-to-face mentoring even rarer. More worrisome are tensions between the PNTL and UNPOL. Portugal’s contingent, Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), in one recent conflagration with the PNTL, even brought the attention of the prime minister. According to Lusa newswire, one government official was quoted as saying: “Timor-Leste was a sovereign country and was not reined in by Portugal, which was why the GNR police should respect the existing human rights convention in the country.” Compared to UNPOL’s public relations challenges, the problem with the PNTL is its lack of contact with citizens, not lack of respect from them. In fact, public confidence in the PNTL has remained high despite the 2006 Crisis.

The bottom line is that those interested will be tuned in to the Government Palace on March 27, when details of the transition plan are expected to be released to public. This coincides with the nine-year anniversary of the PNTL and the swearing in of Mr. Longinus Montero as the new PNTL general commander, who will step down as attorney general to take up his new position.

Technical criteria for handover may partly address the PNTL’s readiness to resume authority. Yet political calculations and the UN’s own internal institutional pressures are likely to prove more important to the handover’s ultimate success. It won’t be surprising if the official burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the PNTL. Most criteria are likely to be swayed by political currents anyway. This only supports the need for a more sound analysis of UNPOL and PNTL. This requires casting a wider net. The belated “comprehensive review of the future role and needs of the security sector,” as specified by Security Council Resolution 1704 in 2006, could serve as such, if taken seriously, and if it goes beyond facts and figures.
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ETLJB Note: In 1967 it was revealed that The Asia Foundation was receiving CIA funds. Victor Marchetti, once an executive assistant to the CIA's deputy director, is less delicate -- he says Asia Foundation was established by the CIA and until 1967 was heavily subsidised by them, even though some of their activities were legitimate.

"These days the National Endowment for Democracy model is preferred over those old, risky, secret CIA conduits, so in 1984 the Asia Foundation Act provided for funds from the Department of State. In 1987 the Foundation received $10 million from State and another $3.7 million from AID, in addition to private support (88 percent of which was in the form of donated books) and matching Asian contributions. We wonder if Asia Foundation is really out of the U.S. intelligence loop after all." Read more on this issue...

East Timor: Institutional Contracts for Development of a Comprehensive Children's Code Draft

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Humanitarian Closing date: 08 Apr 2009 Location: Timor-Leste - Dili Purpose of Assignment: Consultancy aims to develop a comprehensive Children’s Code Draft to establish and safeguard Children’s Rights within the context of legal reform that is being undertaken to enhance justice for all children in contact with the law in Timor-Leste (child victims, witnesses and offenders). The institution will work together with the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF Child Protection section.

Duties:

1.a Conduct comprehensive literature review of all existing legislation in children’s issues (National Laws and Policies, international children’s rights legislation ratified by Timor-Leste (such as the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols etc), traditional justice practices, Draft Juvenile Justice Legislation, Penal Code etc.)

1. b Compile and analyze all consultation reports previously gathered by UNICEF Child Protection and the Ministry of Justice (draft Children’s Code outline 2005, preparation plans for the Children’s Code 2008, district consultation reports from Ailieu, Oecusse, Viqueque, etc).

2. Institution or Project Coordinator visit to Timor-Leste to meet with relevant counterparts and discuss about main objectives to be achieved, activities framework, and coordination in reviving the “Grupo Trabalho” (Working Group) on Justice for Children for the drafting process involving MoJ. Discussions with necessary stakeholders also takes place bilaterally, with MoJ or UNICEF as required (for example with Provedor’s Office, UNMIT, etc).

3. Conduct at least 2 Public Consultations at district level (including one district from the West and one from the East) with children, young people and community members as well as Government, United Nations and NGO partners. Members of the Child Rights Working Group at the Ministry of Justice to be a key source.

4. Drafting of Children’s Code, then submitted to UNICEF, MoJ and Working Group for first comments in English and Portugese.

5. Undertake initial revisions to the Draft based on comments given by MoJ, UNICEF and Working Group which can then be submitted for public review (in English, Tetum and Portugese). The Ministry and UNICEF will ensure distribution to public, including districts, of electronic and hard copies of all translated versions.

6. Public workshop held in Dili to present final Children’s Code draft to all relevant actors involved in the process (children, youth groups, Government, United Nations and NGO partners) and comments collected on the draft.

7. Final draft Code submitted to the Ministry of Justice, with attached documents for Council of Ministers. Support to Ministry to present draft to the Council of Ministers. Necessary revisions made by the Council Of Ministers and Parliament are included in a final version of the Draft Children’s’ Rights Code. It may be necessary for the institution to undertake additional visits to Timor-Leste to support the Ministry in defending the draft legislation to the Council of Ministers and Parliament. This will be determined on a request from the Minister/ Directorate of Legal Drafting.

Deliverable:

1.a/1.b:Comprehensive review summary ready for review by UNICEF and the Ministry of Justice.
2.a. Travel Plan and Activities framework submitted and discussed with MoJ.
2.b. Districts Consultation tool developed and agreed by MoJ.
2.c. Report of first meeting of Working Group issued as well as any notes from other meetings/ stakeholders.

3. Report on Public Consultation findings containing results and also consultation process that can be included in final report.

4. Draft of Children’s Code submitted to key partners (UNICEF, MoJ)

5. Reviewed and translated Draft of Children’s Rights Code ready for submission to public.

6. Reviewed Draft of Children’s Rights Code including comments from public review and documentation from workshop (e.g. agenda, presentations, report).

7. Draft improved with comments from Council of Ministers and Parliament. The selected consultancy will be responsible for revisions of the draft at all stages of the submission process.

How to apply

Proposals to be sent to Ms. Eman A.J.Jawad, HR Officer, UNICEF DILI, ejawad@unicef.org

Reference Code: RW_7QGAVG-67

Image added by ETLJB: East Timorese children.

Enhancing Access to Justice for Women in East Timor

TAF/JSMP-VSS : Press release 27 March 2009 Enhancing Access to Justice for Women: 35 Legal Aid Lawyers Receive Specialized Training in Gender-Based Violence Cases

To enhance the legal assistance provided to Timorese women and young victims of gender violence, The Asia Foundation and the Victim Support Service (VSS) is hosting a three-day legal aid training from 25-27 March, 2009 at the Sao Paulo Training Centre in Comoro, Dili. Speakers at the training will include a representative from the Office of the Prosecutor-General, the Vulnerable Persons Unit of the PNTL, and from local NGOs Pradet and Fokupers.

The activity is part of the USAID-supported Access to Justice Program, which is implemented by The Asia Foundation. The event is co-organized by VSS, which has specialized in providing legal assistance to victims of gender-based violence since 2005.

Thirty-five legal aid lawyers from VSS, Fundasaun Edukasaun Comunidade Matebian (ECM), Fundacao Fatu Sinai Oecusse (FFSO), LBH-Covalima, LBH-Ukun Rasik An will attend the training.

As in many countries, prosecuting gender-based violence cases pose enormous challenges for lawyers. In Timor-Leste, women face the added challenges of the social stigma of domestic violence, as well as a nascent justice system.

'The many obstacles that women face in seeking justice for gender-based violence – such as the lack of women’s voices in traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, inaccessibility of the courts to most women – can only be overcome with access to justice strategies specifically targeting the needs of women,' says Silas Everett, country representative of The Asia Foundation.

Through its Access to Justice Program, funded by USAID, The Asia Foundation in Timor-Leste has been supporting five legal aid organizations, which provide free legal assistance and have a dedicated focus on female clients. Through this program, hundreds of women have received free legal assistance.

“By providing training to lawyers and sharing the experiences of VSS over the past four years, we can hopefully help to strengthen the chances of successful prosecutions for gender-based violence in Timor-Leste,” says Sribuana da Costa, coordinator of VSS. “Through this training, we hope to enhance the gender perspective of lawyers and judicial actors to see that real justice always comes from placing the victim as the central figure in the legal structure”.

For further information or to arrange an interview with either The Asia Foundation (+670 723-0922) or the Victim Support Service (+670 723 3711).

Image added by ETLJB: East Timorese women in church.

East Timor Council of Ministers' Meeting 25 March 2009

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE
IV Constitutional Government
SECRETARIAT OF STATE FOR THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

PRESS RELEASE

THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS’ MEETING ON 25Th OF MARCH 2009


The Council of Ministers held a meeting on Wednesday, 25th of March 2009, in its room in the Government Building, Dili where it approved:

1 - Draft on the Framework Law for Sports

Considering that the social and recreational activities improve human relationship, a healthy cooperation and competition promote dialogue, tolerance and ethics. The Government decided to discipline this activity with the approval of this Draft Law.

2 - Resolution that appoints the Chief of Police and the Deputy Chief of Police of PNTL

Under the new PNTL's Promotion System it is necessary to have a line of command during the transitional period and for that purpose the Government asks for an independent timorese citizen. Thus, based on merit the Government has decided to appoint Afonso de Jesus to the post of Deputy Chief of Police and Longuinhos Rabindranatha Tagore Domingues de Castro Monteiro to the post of Chief of Police.

3 - Government Resolution that appoints a Commission to negotiate the PNTL/UNMIT New Supplemental Agreement

With the aim to ensure that the transfer of responsibility from UNPOL to PNTL is a phased and successful and following on the work that has been developed, the Government has decided to appoint a Commission to negotiate the New Supplemental Agreement between PNTL and UNMIT.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

4 - The presentation of the VISA Regime

The Immigration Department, under the Secretariat of State for Security, has presented to the Council of Ministers a draft proposal to change the issuing of VISAs for aerial and land arrivals alike.
What is intended is to control, in an effective fashion, the permanence of foreigners in the country so as to avoid any infraction/crime and at the same time protecting the citizens of Timor-Leste.

5 - Presentation of the New Regime for Power Tariffs

The Council of Ministers analysed the presentation of the New Regime for Power Tariffs.

The National Electricity System that is tasked with the production, transport and distribution of electric energy. It also seeks to foster its rationing and its proper management. These changes will be reflected in the prices off assets and services to the country and also in the power tariffs to the several client categories.

The Government's concern is also a social one and has as a priority universal access to electric power, although with adequate control.
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East Timor Law Journal - Towards the rule of law in Timor-Leste!

Ramos-Horta's new security sector reform 'mechanism'

The Interpreter Lowy Institute for International Policy by Guest blogger 17 hours ago Jim Della-Giacoma is an Associate Director at the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum at the Social Science Research Council in New York City.

After extensive travels abroad, President José Ramos-Horta addressed the Timor-Leste parliament last week in a speech titled 'Timor-Leste: Reflections on the road to peace and prosperity'. It is a fascinating read for many reasons, but the section on the reform and development of the security sector particularly caught my eye.

Last month, I wrote about the lack of traction the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) was having with its security sector review. On 26 February, UNMIT’s mandate was extended for 12 months; the mandate included a reaffirmation of 'the continued importance of the review and reform of the security sector in Timor-Leste'.

But Ramos-Horta’s speech again demonstrates the Timorese desire to be in control of this vital sector, particularly with the announcement of a new whole-of-government 'mechanism' for security cooperation that appears to omit the UN mission.

The reform and development of the security sector are essential to consolidate the institutions that are now coming into being. Hence, the process represents an important contribution to strengthen and consolidate our democratic State.

In order to coordinate the reform process, the Prime Minister, the President of the National Parliament and myself have agreed to set up a mechanism that enables the cooperation of all sovereign bodies and State departments involved. Our aim is to ensure that there is a consensus on key issues of the reform and that there is a harmonious implementation of the measures aimed at the reform and development of the security sector in the different departments of the State involved. (Emphasis in original text.)

Curiously, there is no mention of UNMIT in the sixteen paragraphs of this speech on the security sector, showing who is driving the process and who is sitting in the backseat. But it could also be argued that not being talked about may be the ultimate in the 'local ownership' that the UN has been striving for.

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2009/03/Ramos-Horta%27s-new-security-sector-reform-%27mechanism%27.aspx

East Timor Directory - All about enigmatic East Timor

ICTJ: An Unfinished Truth in Indonesia and Timor-Leste

http://www.ictj.org/en/news/features/2404.html March 24, 2009 An Unfinished Truth in Indonesia and Timor-Leste - In An Unfinished Truth, ICTJ reviews the final report of the Timorese-Indonesian Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) on atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999. It explains the contributions that the final report made to truth-telling on the violence of 1999, but also identifies the CTF report's weaknesses and shortcomings.

In July 2008 the Timorese-Indonesian Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) submitted its final report on atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999. Previously the CTF had been criticized by human rights groups, especially in relation to its power to recommend amnesties and its controversial public hearings. Many saw it as a tool of impunity. Against this backdrop, the CTF's final report came as a surprise to many. It concluded that crimes against humanity had been committed by Indonesian security forces in East Timor during 1999.

An Unfinished Truth explains the contributions that the final report makes to truth-telling on the violence of 1999, but also identifies the CTF report's weaknesses and shortcomings. It concludes that while the CTF's report is a victory in some respects, there is much more work to be done.

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An Unfinished Truth: An A nalysis of the Commission of Truth and Friendship's
Final Report on the 1999 Atrocities in East Timor

Executive summary

I. Introduction

II. The CTF Report: Content, Findings and Recommendations

A. The substantive content of the report
B. Principal findings of the CTF report
C. Recommendations of the CTF

III. Commentary on the CTF report
A. The CTF’s review of previous mechanisms
B. The CTF’s findings

IV. The CTF’s Recommendations
A. Creation of the recommendations
B. Substance of the recommendations
C. Implementation and impact

V. The Way Forward

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full document http://www.ictj.org/static/Asia/Timor/UnfinishedTruthHirst.pdf

An Unfinished Truth:

An A nalysis of the Commission of Truth and Friendship's
Final Report on the 1999 Atrocities in East Timor

Executive summary

In July 2008 Indonesia and Timor-Leste’s bilateral truth commission, the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) submitted its final report. The commission had been tasked with reviewing the work of previous transitional justice mechanisms and revealing the “conclusive truth” regarding institutional responsibility for violence committed in East Timor in 1999.1 During the CTF’s three years of operation, it attracted significant criticism. This focused largely on the commission’s power to recommend amnesty and on the problematic public hearings that it conducted.2 The UN refused to participate in CTF processes, and human rights groups condemned the commission as a whitewash designed to perpetuate impunity.

Against this context, many were surprised when the CTF produced a report confirming that Indonesian security forces and civilian authorities committed crimes against humanity. By endorsing the report’s findings at the ceremony to mark its submission, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono provided Indonesia’s first official recognition that its state institutions had systematically violated human rights in East Timor. These developments were justifiably greeted with both relief and praise. However the CTF’s final report deserves a closer investigation and a more nuanced appraisal. This paper reviews the CTF’s document review and research, its findings and its recommendations. It is intended to supplement the ICTJ’s first monitoring report, which covered the CTF’s establishment, mandate and public hearings.3

The CTF’s document review and fact-finding work

The CTF’s terms of reference required it to review documents collected and created by the four main transitional justice mechanisms that predated the commission. Those mechanisms were:

• The Indonesian National Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in East Timor in 1999 (known in Indonesian as KPP-HAM);

• The Indonesian Ad Hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor;

• The Special Panels for Serious Crimes; 4


1 CTF Terms of Reference (TOR), art.12.

2 For background on the CTF and an analysis of its establishment process, mandate and public hearings, see Megan Hirst, “Too Much Friendship, Too Little Truth: Monitoring Report on the Commission of Truth and Friendship in Indonesia and Timor-Leste,” ICTJ Occasional Paper Series (January 2008).

3 Ibid.

4 Note that the CTF’s terms of reference only referred expressly to the mechanisms established in Indonesia and Timor-Leste for the trial of international crimes, not those that conducted investigations and prosecutions. However, the commission gave this mandate a broad, purposive interpretation and thus also reviewed investigative files created by the prosecuting authorities involved in both processes.

• The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (commonly referred to by its Portuguese acronym, CAVR).5

This process of document review was undertaken by a team of researchers recruited by the CTF’s expert adviser. This process was ultimately the basis for the CTF’s most meaningful contributions for two reasons.

First, it allowed the CTF to provide critiques of the previous transitional justice mechanisms and the conclusions they had reached. Since all four previous mechanisms have been the subject of controversy in either Timor-Leste or Indonesia, an objective review of their work by a bilateral institution was a worthwhile endeavor. Ultimately the CTF concluded that the reports of KPP-HAM and the CAVR (including the OHCHR report) had some limitations, but it did not disagree with their findings.6 In contrast, the commission’s review of the ad hoc trials in Indonesia demonstrates the fundamental flaws in that process and in doing so throws considerable doubt on the results of those trials.7

Second, thedocument review provided the commission with the strongest evidence in support of its findings. Much of this came from the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU)’s case files, which had not been reviewed by previous truth-seeking mechanisms.

The CTF’s findings

Despite the shortcomings of the commission’s research, valuable findings were made.

• The CTF’s findings corroborate those already made by KPP-HAM, the CAVR, the OHCHR report and others: namely that crimes against humanity were committed in East Timor in 1999 by Indonesian military, police and civilian officials. Two annexes to the CTF report, produced by the CTF’s expert adviser through the document review process, collate and analyze a substantial volume of evidence to support these findings.

• The CTF explains that the commission of serious crimes by security apparatus was not an aberration. In fact it resulted from established policies and practices within the Indonesian security sector.

• Although the commission was required to focus on institutional rather than individual responsibility, its report nonetheless presents evidence that implicates senior Indonesian officials. In addition, the framework used to analyze this evidence (notably the definition of crimes against humanity) is principally relevant to questions of individual criminal responsibility. Thus the CTF’s findings are readily transferable to discussions or proceedings concerned with individual accountability.

5 TOR, art.14 (a) (i). The CAVR was mandated to look at human rights violations that took place between 1974-195, covering the periods of the civil war (1974-1975) and the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999.) See www.cavr-timorleste.org

6 The OHCHR report was commissioned bythe UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and written by Geoffrey Robinson. See Geoffrey Robinson, East Timor 1999: Crimes Against Humanity. (Dili and Jakarta: HAK Association and ELSAM, 2006). It was annexed to the CAVR’s final report and formed the basis for many of the CAVR’s findings on events in 1999. For this reason the CTF also included the OHCHR report in the scope of its document review.

7 All 18 men tried through this process were eventually acquitted – either at trial or on appeal.

And yet, the CTF report also has some weaknesses:

• The report avoids touching on a number of important questions relating to institutional responsibility. Did senior officials instigate the violence or simply fail to prevent it? What was the role of discrete units, such as the special forces? The report likewise fails to address a number of poorly founded accusations made against individuals and institutions during the commission’s public hearings.

• The findings made about the responsibility of pro-independence groups are based on minimal evidence and flawed legal analysis. They appear to have been motivated by a desire to share blame for the events of 1999. They are unconvincing.

• The commission’s discussion of the history and causes of violence is scantily researched and poorly reasoned. The report seeks to excuse this on the basis that its mandate was to focus only on events during 1999. However it is clear that an understanding of earlier events would have helped develop a more coherent, meaningful truth, as well as provide a stronger basis for designing useful recommendations.

The CTF’s recommendations

The CTF made a number of recommendations. They are, in broad terms, beneficial. While some of the recommendations concerning bilateral ties appear to bear little relation to the past human rights violations discussed in the report itself, others deal with institutional reform, reparations, documentation and research relating to past violations and creating a commission for disappeared persons.

The recommendations most significant weakness is their generality. They are broadly termed and provide little detail. Because most were intentionally phrased so they apply to both Timor-Leste and Indonesia, they do not respond to the specific circumstances of each country.

However, many of the recommendations agree with those made by the CAVR or other bodies. They therefore may serve to add extra political momentum to these more detailed existing recommendations. As in the case of the CAVR, the greatest challenge lies in ensuring implementation. There is a danger that only the less controversial recommendations, such as those relating to border management, will be implemented.

The minimal movement on implementation since the report’s submission and the absence to date of parliamentary debate on the report in either country are concerning.

With these issues in mind, the CTF’s final report should be viewed as the beginning rather than the end of a process. Despite the commission’s mandate, its truth is not conclusive. Revealing a more complete truth must be an ongoing process, as the CTF’s own recommendations for future research demonstrate. Concerted effort is required to ensure that the recommendations are not neglected and to make the most important of its findings known, especially in Indonesia.
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