04 September 2012

East Timor Legal News 3 September 2012

 Major General Lere Anan Timur
Those who provoke the armed forces are enemies of the country - The Commander of the East Timor Defence Forces (F-FDTL), Major General Lere Anan Timor, has said that those who provoke the armed forces are enemies of the country.

The Major General made the comments during a speech at a ceremony marking the anniversary of Falintil (the armed independence military organisation) attended by armed forces personnel and members of the Fatuhada neighbourhood in Dili.

"As the F-FDTL commander, psychologically, I cannot accept it when one of my soldiers dies. We have internal rules in this institution to regulate the conduct of our members but if someone provokes the institution, then they become the enemy of the country", he said, according to a report by Timor Post today.

He added that in other countries no one killed their armed forces' soldiers. If a soldier makes a mistake, he should be reported to the command structure.

The Major General's comments follow a number of killings of defence force personnel this, and in previous, years; all of which remain unsolved.

Interestingly, Lere also noted that the armed forces was not a political party but that it had been divided into five or six factions as if it were a political party. The armed forces need to be united in order to strengthen peace and stability.

"During the commemoration of FALINTIL day this year, only a few veterans participated in the ceremony and some of them had commemorated it in Baucau separately to the commemorations in Dili", he said.

These observations seem to indicate that there is internal conflict within the armed forces and imply that it is this conflict that may be the cause behind the recent killings of soldiers.

It was a rift in the armed forces in 2006 when several hundred "petitioners" were summarily dismissed by the then Commander of the Armed Forces and now President, Taur Matan Ruak. The petitioners had protested against perceived discrimination against soldiers from the western regions of the country in the promotion processes and was a contributing factor to the 2006 crisis.
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Government spends large amount of money on poor-quality weapons - The Director for Human Rights Association (HAK), Rogerio Viegas Vicente, said the State Secretariat for Security (SES) and the Timorese National Police (PNTL) command had no proper plans and had therefore purchased weapons that were no good.

He said before purchasing the weapons, they should have undertaken a study of them and decide whether to buy them from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia or Portugal.

"The government purchased weapons that have no proper quality. This means they do not have proper plans and there is no good management in the police and security secretariat institutions," he explained.

Regarding the missing police weapons, Mr. Viegas said the police should improve their control and management of weapons that they had and there was no need to buy more weapons.

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Media should better monitor implementation of labour law - Deputy President of the Parliament Adriano Nascimento has called on the media to monitor the implementation of the new labour law in private institutions, according to a report by Radio Timor-Leste broadcast today.

MP Nascimento said the media and the National Parliament had played very important roles to better control wages for the country's workers, referring to the new basic salary of US$115 per month. He said the media should better control the implementation of the law in the private institutions because many companies were yet to abide by the law.

This seems to be an unusual request because it it not the role or function of the media to control the implementation of laws enacted by the Parliament. Instead, it is the duty of the government and the Parliament itself to monitor the implementation of all laws because the media has no power to do that.

The media can only report in the various newspapers, television and radio about known violations of the labour law or public complaints made by workers who are not being paid the basic wage as well as raise public awareness of workers rights under the law.
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Lasama presents Government's programs to President - The Deputy Prime Minister Fernando Araujo presented the new coalition government's programs to the President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, last Friday (1/9). Speaking to journalists, the Deputry Prime Minsiter said "I have just met with the president to present to him the Government's Five-Year Program", Diaro Nacional reported today.

Edited by Warren L. Wright BA LLB
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