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29 November 2012

Role of military in internal security re-emphasised by Prime Minister Gusmao

ETLJB 29 November 2012 - In an ongoing trend in the policies of the governments headed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and his political allies, the role of the military in internal security has again been emphasised in the latest reported remarks on the matter.

Televizaun de Timor-Leste reported on 27 November 2012 remarks by the Prime Minister following his attendance at the Community of Portuguese Language Nations Police Meeting at Hotel Timor the previous day.

An English translation of the report states that the Prime Minister, in that capacity and as the Minister for Defence and Security, said that the Government would not tolerate any acts of crime in the country. 

He called on the Timorese people to cooperate with defense and security institutions to strengthen peace and stability in Timor-Leste saying "I am the Minister of Defence and Security and I will not tolerate any acts of crime. I am calling on you (the people) to cooperate with the security institutions to strengthen peace and stability in the country," he said.

Firstly, in the opinion of ETLJB, it is problematical to resolve the responsibilities of both positions of Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Security in one person. It would be better if those functions were exercised by different members of the Government with the Prime Minister acting on the advice of a separate Minister for Defence and Security and his Council of Ministers. This would resolve any real or perceived conflict of interest of having both functions vested in the same person. One of the central tenets of democracy is the division of powers not just between the organs of state but within the executive as well so that power is spread more evenly and there are clear divisions between the different functions of the ministries. Each ministry requires particular competencies and specialisations and the critical functions of security and defence should be focused on exclusively by one Minister. Decisions by the Prime Minister relating to defence and security interventions by the government might also be perceived to be more impartial and independent of the Prime Minister's own caprices.

Secondly, and much more importantly, the military has no constitutionally proper role in internal security and law enforcement. That is the mandate of the police and only the police. That is clearly spelt out in Part V of the Constitution, the relevant parts of which are set out below.

PART V NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY

Section 146 (Defence Force)
1. The East Timor defence force, FALINTIL-ETDF, composed exclusively by national citizens, has the responsibility of providing military defence for the Democratic Republic of East Timor and shall have a single system of organisation for the whole national territory.
2. FALINTIL-ETDF shall guarantee national independence, territorial integrity and the freedom and security of the population against any external aggression or threat in respect for the constitutional order.
3. FALINTIL-ETDF shall be non-partisan and shall owe obedience to the competent organs of sovereignty in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, and shall not intervene in political matters.

Section 147(Police and security forces)
 1. The police shall defend the democratic legality and guarantee the internal security of the citizens, and shall be strictly non-partisan.

Those provisions are consistent with and express the proper roles of the defence force and the police in a democratic state under the rule of law - not one under the arbitrary will of the executive.

The confusion of the roles of the military and the police constitute a clear and present threat to the constitutional democratic order and the rule of law. Wilson has written on the matter in relation to the joint military-police operations during the 2008 crisis in East Timor following the attempted assassination of the President and the subsequent hunt for the rebel soldiers lead by Reinado.

Wilson, in her article, Joint Command for PNTL and F-FDTL Undermines Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste notes, in relation to the shooting of then-President Ramos-Horta, that:

"The events of last Monday are a terrible setback for peace and stability in Timor-Leste. However, the events also highlight serious existing problems of ambiguity regarding responsibilities for public security, police reform and wider security sector reform processes currently underway in Timor-Leste [3]. More alarmingly, the hasty decision of the Timor-Leste Government, last Sunday 17 February to place the police under military command is a time bomb that has the capacity to seriously affect not only the security sector reform process in Timor-Leste, but also further undermine the extremely fragile rule of law."

She noted further that the state leaders "unanimously and vociferously supported the decision to deploy F-FDTL, commencing an early contribution to public confusion about the respective roles of PNTL and F-FDTL.

The case not only illustrated the lack of understanding of the applicable law by the leadership but also the lack of legislative and policy framework for enlisting military aid to a civil power. It also indicated a much deeper problem of a perceived lack of legitimacy of the PNTL, and a widespread belief in the affected communities that it was only F-FDTL who could really provide internal security (Wilson 2008).

The clear separation of the roles of the police and the military, and their conduct in accordance with the law, should be a fundamental tenet of the rule of law in any country. This is clearly not happening at present in Timor-Leste."

That set a bad precedent and the tendency to refer to the military as one of the guarantors of internal security in contradiction to its constitutional role to the present day is an ominous sign of things to come should social instability lead to further disintegrations of the rule of law in East Timor in the future.

In the meantime, as the presence of the international community is winding down, the voice of the military, through the Chief of the Defence Forces, Major General Lere Anan Timor has been growing louder and has been heard in relation to matters upon which the military should remain silent.

Let us hope that East Timor does not become a monstrous military dictatorship as happened in so many other Southeast Asian states following national independence such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma, for example.

Read Wilson's full article here on the East Timor Law Journal.


Author: Warren L. Wright

Unconstitutional discrimination in Defence Force recruitment policy declared by Major General Lere

Image of Major General Lere Anan Timor
Major General Lere Anan Timor
ETLJB 29 November 2012 - As we know, the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor prohibits discrimination against citizens on several bases. Those bases are set out in Article 16 of the Constitution, the unofficial English translation of the provisions of which provides as follows:

Section 16
(Universality and Equality)
1. All citizens are equal before the law, shall exercise the same rights and shall be subject to the same duties.
2. No one shall be discriminated against on grounds of colour, race, marital status, gender, ethnical origin, language, social or economic status, political or ideological convictions, religion, education and physical or mental condition. (emphasis added)

However, in an extraordinary statement of the chief of the East Timor Defence Forces (FALINTIL-FDTL) as reported by Timor Post on Monday, 26 November 2012, a clear and unambiguous declaration of discrimination of the basis of real or presumed political or ideological conviction has been articulated.

The report by Timor Post states that Major General Lere Anan Timor has promised to change the recruitment system for members of the defence forces so that the sons and daughters of pro-Indonesian autonomy supporters do not continue to be recruited into the F-FDTL.

According to the Timor Post report, the General acknowledged that the recruitment system for members of the F-FDTL last year continued to fail in that it was unable to identify those candidates who were the sons and daughters of pro-Indonesian autonomy supporters.

The English translation of the Major-General's comments reported by Timor Post is: 


"It is my fault. But I promise you that this failure will not reoccur next time," Major General Lere told the Timor Post following his participation in the certificate award ceremony for the Sacred Family organization which took place in the Dili suburb of Vila-Verde last Saturday, 24 November 2012.

The English translation of the report continues as follows:- "Lere acknowledged that there is a current serving F-FDTL major whose parents were militia members and who are currently living in Kupang, Indonesia, whose promotion has been questioned by many people but whom Lere said he could stop the promotion of because he was an officer already.

"These failures that occurred in the past will not reoccur in the future.  In the future I will set up a recruitment team that is professional in ensuring that they undertake a thorough investigation of individual candidates before they formally accept their application forms," Lere promised."  


In the opinion of ETLJB, such a policy is in flagrant violation of the non-discrimination provisions of the Constitution of East Timor as cited and emphasised above. It is of central importance that the basic principles and dictates of the Constitution be adhered to by all and particularly by the institutions of the State. Violation of these principles render the actions of the state unconstitutional and unlawful. Once the state begins to act in contravention of the Constitution, then the idea of the state under the law is eroded and begins a dangerous process that can lead to the capricious and arbitrary state of a dictatorship.

Warren L. Wright BA LLB



28 November 2012

CPD-RDTL and its actions are illegal but state fails to act

ETLJB 28 November 2012 - The dissident political group known as CPD-RDTL are in violation of the law because they continue to wear military uniforms and are not part of the East Timor Defence Forces, according the country's peak security sector monitoring NGO, Fundasaun Mahein, and the authorities should not allow its unlawful activities.

Timor Post reported on 26 November comments by FM's Director, Nelso Belo, stating that "[w]e have seen that CPD-RDTL members are in military uniform and this is against the existing law. It is a big question for all the Timorese citizens.”Belo added that the presence of CPD-RDTL was a political issue which the country's leaders had failed to resolve.

Despite the illegal activities of CPD-RDTL such as wearing military uniforms, illegally using land to create cultivation communes and hunting the people's livestock, the chief of the Defence Forces, Major General Lere Anan Timor, is reported by Timor Post on the same day as saying that CPD-RDTL is a credible organisation and that he was not preoccupied by them. He did, however, call on the Coordinator-General of CPD-RDTL, Antonio Aitahan Matan, to control his members during their presence in Fatuberliu in the District of Manufahi.


“I trust in them and they should always display their responsibility,” Major General Lere told journalists last Friday at the Dili Convention Center.He added that, CPD-RDTL’s members could do their activities there, but should show respect local residents and should not hunt people’s livestock.

CPD-RDTL member Mario dos Reis said CPD-RDTL was there to set up cooperative to help support the people’s economy.

Suara Timor Lorosae reported on the same day that the Major General believed that CPD-RDTL would not create problems and appealed to local residents not to panic because the security institutions would control them. On the basis of the President of the Republic’s request, F-FDTL has sent one platoon of soldiers to control CPD-RDTL’s activities.

Lere also said he would delegate two or three officials from F-FDTL to act as mediators for CPD-RDTL and local residents in Fatuberliu. He conceded that CPD-RDTL did not inform local leaders about its members’ presence in Fatuberliu before undertaking activities and that was their fault.


In the meantime, Televizaun Timor-Leste reported on 26 November, that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao last Friday met with President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, to discuss the presence of CPD-RDTL in Fatuberliu. The PM had also met with the Parliamentary Committee B on Defence and National Security to discuss the issue.

Sources: Timor Post, Televizaun Timor-Leste, Suara Timor Lorosae. Edited by Warren L. Wright 

Related stories
CPD-RDTL using land for communal cultivation, President calls on security forces to control CPD-RDTL
CPD-RDTL using residents' land, MP calls for action against CPD-RDTL's wearing of military uniforms
CPD-RDTL accused of slaughtering the people's livestock in Fatuberliu, Defence Force Chief warns against protests against the State
CPD-RDTL members continue wearing military uniforms and carrying machetes intimidating local residents
CPD Asks PM Xanana to Keep his Promise: “CPD-RDTL Demands a Veteran Replaces Longuinhos”
Timor Police say a new coup plot from CPD-RDTL & Bua-Malus
CPD-RDTL accuses PNTL of human rights violations
RDTL Constitution does not ban dissident group
Dissident political parties accused of involvement in ninja crime in Timor-Leste
Political Killings in Timor-Leste? Fretilin alleges East Timor Democratic Party follows involved in murder of resistance organisation member's daughter   





Additional Public Holidays 27 and 29 November 2012

ETLJB 27 November 2012 - The IV Constitutional Government of Timor-Leste grants a full day-off on November 27 and 29, 2012 to all employees and agents of ministries and the departments under their responsibilities, as well as organizations and institutes involved indirectly in State administration.

This decision is based on Law No 10/2005 from August 10 determining national holidays, official commemorative dates and days-off. Among those national holidays with fixed dates, the November 28 is the Day of the Proclamation of Independence and, this year, also celebrates the Centenary of the Revolt of Dom Boaventura (1912 – 2012) festivities to be held in Same, Manufahi district.

Article 3. of Law No 10/2005 stipulates that it is the civic right of all citizens, including students and government employees to participate in the festivities and ceremonies which commemorate the Proclamation of Independence Day.

In order to allow the population to attend celebrations being organized to commemorate this centennial and in particular to allow for travel to Manufahi district, the Government grants tolerance days on 27 and 29 November, 2012.

Source: Presidency of Council of Ministers


25 November 2012

Two Indonesians arrested for drug smuggling in detention in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 25 November 2012 - The two Indonesians arrested last week at the international airport on suspicion of  smuggling drugs into East Timor are now in detention following their appearance in the Dili District Court last Tuesday.

Jornal Independente reported on 23 November 2012 comments by the police operational commander, Armando Monteiro, that the Indonesian citizens would be handed over to Indonesian authorities once investigations into the case are complete in East Timor.

Commander Monteiro said the Indonesian man came to Timor-Leste for six months to survey the situation and found the security sector was still fragile. He then went to Colombia to bring the drugs back to Timor-Leste.

Related stories
Three arrests on suspicion of drug smuggling to Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste becoming transit zone for international drug smuggling
Drug traffickers handed over to Indonesia
Plenty of drugs in Timor-Leste, SPI helpless to stop it
Prostitution and Drugs in Timor-Leste blamed on foreigners
Police will not tolerate people who smuggle drugs into the country
Indonesians and Mozambiquans arrested on suspicion of importing 8 kgs of methamphetamine to Timor-Leste
Murders, Drugs, Assaults, Embezzlement, Corruption & Land Disputes: Summary of Cases Heard by the Dili District Court in May 2011

CPD-RDTL using land for communal cultivation, President calls on security forces to control CPD-RDTL

ETLJB 25 November 2012 - There are more than 11000 members of the dissident group, CPD-RDL, still in Fatuberliu in the southern district of Manufahi causing problems for both local residents and the state authorities.

According to a report broadcast by Radio Timor-Leste on 23 November, the CDP-RDTL members are using land in the area to create communal corn and rice fields which are intended to provide food security and strengthening the Tmorese prople's economy.

A spokesperson for CPD-RDTL, Ivo Sequira, made the comments this effect in responding to the local residents' protests over the CPD-RDTL's presence in the area and the use of their land. There have also been allegations that CPD-RDTL have been slaughtering the local residents' livestock.

Mr Sequira said "We are using this land for farming and is abandoned land not belonging to anyone like some people said this is belonged to them. This land was used by the Indonesian Government for its transmigration program, meaning that it belongs to the state," he said.

But President Taur Matan Ruak has said that he will call on the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Security, Xanana Gusmao, to deploy the East Timor Defence Forces to the area.

Radio Timor Leste also reported on 23 November that the President made the statement during a dialogue with the CPD-RDTL members and the local community that was conducted to facilitate the process of communication last Wednesday 21 November.

"I will contact the prime minister to send F-FDTL members, especially the veterans, here to help communicate with both sides to avoid conflict," he said.

The dialog has not reached any solution as the two parties, CPD-RDTL and local residents did not accept each other.

In addition, the President has called on both the police and the military to control CPD-RDTL and to provide security for the people in Fatuberliu who have been intimidated and frightened by the CPD-RDTL members' presence, their wearing of military uniforms and forcibly using land in the area for cultivation.

According to a Timor Post report on 23 November, the President said that people should not panic about the presence of CPD-RDTL because F-FDTL and PNTL would provide security during the CPD-RDTL's cooperative activities.

Deputy President of the National Parliament, Adriano Nascimento, also called on the police to control CPD-RDTL's activities.

"Civilians have no right to use force within the community, therefore we are calling on PNTL to control CPD-RDTL's activities in Manufahi District," Nascimento said.

The mobilisation and congegration of so many of CPD-RDTL's members is an ominous sign of what may happen in East Timor once the UN mission ends and all international security forces are terminated.

Related stories
CPD-RDTL using residents' land, MP calls for action against CPD-RDTL's wearing of military uniforms
CPD-RDTL accused of slaughtering the people's livestock in Fatuberliu, Defence Force Chief warns against protests against the State
CPD-RDTL members continue wearing military uniforms and carrying machetes intimidating local residents
CPD Asks PM Xanana to Keep his Promise: “CPD-RDTL Demands a Veteran Replaces Longuinhos”
Timor Police say a new coup plot from CPD-RDTL & Bua-Malus
CPD-RDTL accuses PNTL of human rights violations
RDTL Constitution does not ban dissident group
Dissident political parties accused of involvement in ninja crime in Timor-Leste
Political Killings in Timor-Leste? Fretilin alleges East Timor Democratic Party follows involved in murder of resistance organisation member's daughter   

Sources: Radio Timor Leste, Timor Post. Edited by Warren L. Wright

23 November 2012

Court of Appeal rejects Samson's appeal

Mr Samson is taken away in handcuffs
ETLJB 23 November 2011 - The East Timor Court of Appeal has soundly rejected an appeal by a foreigner, Mr Christopher Samson, relating to his conviction for the falsification of documents he used to obtain East Timorese citizenship.

Mr Samson, who was the director of one of East Timor's anti-corruption civil society organisations, LABEH, was convicted by the Dili District Court and sentenced to three and a half years in prison for his offence.

At his trial in December last year, which was heard by a panel of judges composed of Rosa Brandao, International judges Antonio Fonseca and Jose Goncalves, Public Defender Pedro Apolinario and Sergio Hornai, Public Prosecutors, Remiza de Fatima and Felismino Cardoso, the Immigration Police's investigation findings showed that Samson came from Angola to Timor-Leste with a false document.

The Public Prosecution had data that proved that he is not Timorese but a foreigner, therefore the Public Prosecution had asked the Immigration Police and Ministry of Justice to investigate this case. It was found that he [Samson] was not a Timorese and had brought false documents to be in East Timor. 

According to a report by Suara Timor Lorosae yesterdy, the Court of Appeal firmly maintained the first verdict and sentence.

One of the Court of Appeal officers said the Court would not make any changes to the verdict as everything had been clearly stated in the initial decision.

"We will not explain the process anymore to the defendant as everything is outlined in the decision made in the first instance," he said.

On the blog for his organisation, Mr Samson declared: "I mark my presence on the cyberspace through this Blog to unmask fraudsters worldwide. One of the biggest frauds in our time is currently taking place in Timor-Leste."

As it turns out, he himself was a fraudster all the while he had purported to be monitoring and fighting corruption and fraud in East Timor. In his blog, The Real Christpher Henry Samson (Accessed by ETLJB on12/12/2011), he claimed that he was born in Rumah Adat Thama-Op, Bobonaro of an Angolan father and Timorese mother; he left Timor-Leste with his father when he was still a baby. Christopher Henry Samson returned to Timor-Leste in 1995, In search of his family, and then lived for some years in Malaysia and Indonesia. After a lifetime of separation from his parents, friends, and family members, he finally rejoined his family in Bobonaro in 2002.

Source: Suara Timor Lorosae. Edited and expanded by Warren L. Wright

CPD-RDTL accused of slaughtering the people's livestock in Fatuberliu, Defence Force Chief warns against protests against the State

ETLJB 23 November 2012 - CPD-RDTL has denied an allegation that its members are suspected of hunting and slaughtering the local residents' livestock in Fatuberliu in the southern district of Manufahi.

The CPD-RDTL Secretary-General Marito Segena made the comments during a press conference which was held yesterday at the CPD-RDTL offices, Dili. Mr. Segena affirmed that the allegation was false as the CPD-RDTL members were currently doing their activities based on the organization's internal rules.

"This is a kind of propaganda as politicians do not want to see the reality. The president of the republic and the prime minister are now there to have a dialog with our members," he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, has held separate dialogs with CPD-RDTL members and local residents in Fatuberliu during which the President agreed with CPD-RDTL's proposal of a program for a national cooperative.

President TMR agreed with the national cooperative idea as it would help produce local food for the people throughout the country.

The president also held dialog with the local residents in SP2 Giras during which the residents  expressed their concerns over the presence of the CPD-RDTL.

Deputy Prime Minister Fernando Lasama de Araujo said the Government also agreed with the idea of a cooperative but he also suggested that the CPD-RDTL reduce the numbers of its members in the area as it had made the people panic.

Independente reported on 22 November, however, that the President had also appealed to CPD-RDTL not to provoke the people and create problems in the country.

The President said that CPD-RDTL should respect the country's local leaders and should inform them before conducting activities in the community.

Finally, the East Timor Defence Forces Commander, General Lere Anan Timor, has warned groups such as martial arts organisations and CPD-RDTL against holding rallies to protest against the state after the UN mission ends in December.

According to a report in Suara Timor Lorosae yesterday, the General said that "The State is sometimes is concerned about martial art groups and CPD-RDTL. But those groups are not the State. They should not rule the State. Rather, the State rules them."

Lere called on all the Timorese people to understand the concept of state in the world and that only Almighty God is superior to the state.

He added that, the state of Timor-Leste was built with bloodshed; therefore people should not speak recklessly.

CPD-RDTL members continue wearing military uniforms and carrying machetes intimidating local residents
CPD Asks PM Xanana to Keep his Promise: “CPD-RDTL Demands a Veteran Replaces Longuinhos”
Timor Police say a new coup plot from CPD-RDTL & Bua-Malus
CPD-RDTL accuses PNTL of human rights violations
RDTL Constitution does not ban dissident group
Dissident political parties accused of involvement in ninja crime in Timor-Leste
Political Killings in Timor-Leste? Fretilin alleges East Timor Democratic Party follows involved in murder of resistance organisation member's daughter
Sources: Radio Timor-Leste, Radio Timor-Leste, Jornal Independente, Suara Timor Lorosae. Edited by Warren l. Wright

Council of Ministers extraordinary meeting on November 20, 2012

ETLJB 23 November 2012 - On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, the Council of Ministers convened in
the training room at the Ministry of Finance in Díli and approved:

1. Government Resolution approving an allocation of financial aid to hurricane victims Sandy
in Haiti


Following the declaration of a state of emergency and an appeal for international assistance from the
Government of Haiti due to Hurricane Sandy and rainstorms which ravaged the country, causing a
devastating loss of life and property, the V Constitutional Government Timor-Leste will donate one million dollars for humanitarian assistance to the affected population.

Nearly two million Haitians are struggling from food insecurity and a lack of basic infrastructure. Severe floods have also increased the risk of a resurgence of the Cholera epidemic which has killed  about eight thousand people and has affected 600,000 in total since October 2010.

It is important to remember that Haiti was the victim of a violent earthquake in 2010, resulting in a wave of international solidarity which Timor-Leste joined.

The courage and dignity the Haitian people have demonstrated through these natural disasters is an
example for the world of the resiliency of the human spirit and it reinforces the need for stronger and more effective international cooperation on the global scale.

2. 2013 State Budget
The Council of Ministers also used this opportunity to review and discuss the results of the reports of the technical and political meetings of the Commission for the Revision of the General State Budget (OGE) for the financial year 2013, and approved the overall amounts allocated to each ministry for next year.

Source: Government of East Timor Council of Ministers Press Release 20 NOvember 2012
-----
ETLJB Editor's Note: The Government of East Timor, in its third largest public procurement contract, recently awarded an Indonesian company a contract to construct 11,140 new houses for US$86,898,684. That works out at $7800.60 per new house. With the financial aid provided to Haiti of $1000000, 128 new houses for East Timorese citizens could have been built. Charity begins at home.

22 November 2012

CPD-RDTL using residents' land, MP calls for action against CPD-RDTL's wearing of military uniforms

manufahi map
Map showing Manhfahi District
ETLJB 22 November 2012 - The Sub-District Administrator of Fatuberliu in Manufahi District, Tobioas Hornai, stated yesterday that local residents in his area did not want to accept the presence of more than 7000 CPD-RDTL members who were currently moving around there.

Mr. Hornai said the residents reject their presence because they were forcibly using the residents' plantation land as their base for carrying out activities.

"The local residents do not accept their presence in Fatuberliu as they are using the people's land for their activities. I met with them with some police officers and requested that they commence a dialog with the local residents, but they refused," he said.

The President of the Republic is planning to meet with CPD-RDTL members and the local residents in the area.


Meanwhile, a member of Parliament has called for the necessary action to be taken against CPD-RDTL if its members are violating the law.

Jornal Independente reported yesterday that the Deputy President of the Parliament, Aderito Hugo, said that while Timor-Leste's Constitution stated that every Timorese citizen had right to establish an association or organization, it did not permit semi-military movements which was in contradiction with the law.

In relation to CPD-RDTL's movement in which its members are in military uniform and frightening the people, Mr. Hugo called on Ministry for Defence and Security to order the police to respond to it because according to the Constitution, only Timorese National Police (PNTL) and the Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) were allowed to wear military uniforms.

Related stories
CPD-RDTL members continue wearing military uniforms and carrying machetes intimidating local residents
CPD Asks PM Xanana to Keep his Promise: “CPD-RDTL Demands a Veteran Replaces Longuinhos”
Timor Police say a new coup plot from CPD-RDTL & Bua-Malus
CPD-RDTL accuses PNTL of human rights violations
RDTL Constitution does not ban dissident group
Dissident political parties accused of involvement in ninja crime in Timor-Leste
Political Killings in Timor-Leste? Fretilin alleges East Timor Democratic Party follows involved in murder of resistance organisation member's daughter 

Sources: Radio Timor-Leste, Jornal Independente. Edited by Warren L. Wright. Map: en.wikipedia.org

International stabilisation force in Timor-Leste concludes mission

ISF Shoulder Patch
ETLJB 22 November 2012 - The Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr in a press release yesterday announced the pending end of Australia's security operations in Timor-Leste.

The Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) will cease its security operations on 22 November and commence withdrawal from Timor-Leste. The ISF has supported peace and stability in Timor Leste since 2006.

The Ministers congratulated the Timor-Leste Government on establishing Timor-Leste as an independent nation and noted that the country has seen its economy grow and institutions strengthen, culminating this year in three successful rounds of national elections, celebrations for Timor-Leste's 10th anniversary of independence, and the formation of a new government.

Timorese security services have risen to the challenge and served their nation well throughout these events.

The UN peacekeeping mission, UNMIT, also made an important contribution during Timor-Leste's transition. UNMIT will end its operation in Timor-Leste at the end of the year. ISF support to UNMIT is an excellent example of Australian forces working alongside regional partners in support of UN efforts to build peace and stability.

Australian Defence Force personnel who served in Timor-Leste have shown great courage and dedication, and built strong personal relationships with Timor-Leste that will last long after the withdrawal of our security forces.

The Ministers also extended thanks and appreciation to their ISF partner, New Zealand, who participated in the ISF from the outset.

The ISF withdrawal will continue through to April 2013 as equipment is repatriated, bases closed and property and buildings returned to the Government of Timor-Leste.

Australia's defence and police engagement with Timor-Leste will continue through the Defence Cooperation Program and Australian Federal Police support to Timor-Leste's police forces.

Through the international aid program, Australia is strongly committed to its partnership with Timor-Leste to provide ongoing assistance to support the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve greater prosperity. The Ministers said they they look forward to a positive and enduring relationship between the two countries that will only grow in strength.


Source: Joint media release: Senator the Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Defence. Edited by Warren L. Wright. Image: Department of Defence

Five kilograms of cocaine smuggled by Indonesians into Timor-Leste

ETLJB 22 November 2012 - The two Indonesian citizens arrested at the Nicolau Lobato international airport in Dili on Monday (19/11) now stand accused before the courts of smuggling 5 kilograms of cocaine into the country.

Airport staff found the five kilograms of drugs while x-raying the passengers’ baggage after a flight from Singapore. The drugs are believed to have originated in Colombia and taken to Singapore before being brought to Timor-Leste.

The suspects have appeared in the Dili District Court according the National Criminal Service (SIC) Commander, Calisto Gonzaga. The Commander told journalists that the suspects would be processed according to the law and a further thorough investigation would be undertaken.


Meanwhile, the Parliament has thanked the police and in particular the immigration police for arresting foreigners who are suspected of drug smuggling.

MP Maria Adozinda from Frenti Mudanca said she was confident that the police would conduct a proper investigation and processing of the two Indonesians arrested.

"I thank and congratulate our national police as they were able to seize the drug and its smugglers," she said.

Another Member of Parliament, Inacio Moreira, said that he suspected certain people had backed this drug trafficking and he therefore called on the country's intelligence services to be more vigilant with the issue.

But according to MP Natalino dos Santos, the reason Timor-Leste is being used as a transit zone is because the law is still weak. He was reported by Suara TImor Lorosae yesterday as saying that "I think the law in the country is not yet strong; therefore people from other countries use Timor-Leste as a transit point.". He called on the Immigration Police officers to work more effectively in controlling foreign nationals who were coming in and out of the country.

The drug trade is not just one way. Last month, the Indonesian customs office thwarted the smuggling of 1.06 kilograms of heroin worth more than US$249,360 from India through the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta that was on its way to Timor-Leste.

Sources: Diario Nacional, Radio Timor Leste and Suara Timor Lorosae. Edited by Warren L. Wright

Related stories

Timor-Leste becoming transit zone for international drug smuggling
Drug traffickers handed over to Indonesia
Plenty of drugs in Timor-Leste, SPI helpless to stop it
Prostitution and Drugs in Timor-Leste blamed on foreigners
Police will not tolerate people who smuggle drugs into the country
Indonesians and Mozambiquans arrested on suspicion of importing 8 kgs of methamphetamine to Timor-Leste
Murders, Drugs, Assaults, Embezzlement, Corruption & Land Disputes: Summary of Cases Heard by the Dili District Court in May 2011

21 November 2012

CPD-RDTL members continue wearing military uniforms and carrying machetes intimidating local residents

ETLJB 21 November 2012 - Member of the National Parliament, Mr. Arao Noe from the CNRT Party, has expressed his concerns over the ongoing movement of CPD-RDTL (a Timorese resistance organization) in Fatuberliu in the southern district of Manufahi and called on the Government to look at the issue.

According to a report by Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste yesterday, Mr. Noe made the comments during a plenary session on Monday (19/11) in the House of the Parliament and affirmed that the presence of the CPD-RDTL members in the area had made the local residents panic and traumatised.

“People do not want their presence as they are staying in places that belong to the local residents. They also move around with machetes and this makes people scared,” he said.

Another MP, Francisco Branco from Fretilin recognized that the presence of the CPD-RDTL had made the people in the area scared and called on the Government to take the necessary action against this group.

There are more than 1000 CPD-RDTL members in Fatuberliu to hold national cooperative activities but they are in military uniforms.

But the General-Coordinator for CPD-RDTL, Antonio Aitahan Matan, has called on the National Parliament not to consider his organisation (CPD-RDTL) an illegal organisation. He said that CPD-RDTL was one of the resistance organisations and its members were truly the country’s veterans who had fought for the country’s independence for 30 years.

According to a report by Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste yesterday, he explained that his members’ presence in Weberek and Fatuberliu was to farm for developing the people’s economy so that Timor-Leste would not depend on imported goods.

Aitahan Matak also denied an allegation that his members were involved in illegal money collection. In response, he said CPD-RDTL members gathered money for realizing their activities.
Meanwhile, Timor Post also reported yesterday that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has called on CPD-RDTL , especially in the Fatuberliu Sub district to remain calm to celebrate Don Boaventura’s hundred year anniversary of the rebellion against Portuguese colonialism.

He said all the Timorese people should be proud of the commemoration of the historic day, therefore, he believed that all mass organisations, and especially CPD-RDTL, should cooperate with all authorities to make the celebration a success.

“I have talked with President of the Republic and Mr. President has sent his adviser to Manufahi to contact the district administration, the sub district, local authorities, police and people in the area,” he told the journalists at Nicolau Lobato Airport in Comoro of Dili on Monday 19.

Mr. Xanana made the comments regarding CPD-RDTL’s movements in Manufahi District, frightening the people in the district.

Background to CPD-RDTL - CPD-RDTL Conselho Popular pela Defesa da Republica Democrática de Timor-Leste (Popular Council for the Defence of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste)

Leading figure/s: António “Ai Tahan” Matak, General Coordinator; Cristiano da Costa. Matak was a former FALINTIL resistance fighter. He was captured by the Indonesian military and taken to Kupang where he was tortured Origins CPD-RDTL was established in 1999 to restore the 1975 Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Links Links CPD-RDTL opposes both FRETILIN and the CNRT. Parliamentary seats: None. Status: CPD-RDTL is not a registered political party.

CPD-RDTL was founded in 1999 as a movement to restore the original Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste proclaimed on 28 November 1975. It is not a political parties and does not contest elections which it regards as illegitimate.

CPD-RDTL rejects the legitimacy of the state and constitution founded in 2002. It demands that Timor-Leste  return to the constitution of 1975. Its leaders and supporters include former resistance fighters associated with dissident FALINTIL groups. They represent themselves as the ‘real FRETILIN’, and that the true FALINTIL resistance has the right to govern Timor-Leste. CPD-RDTL has issued its own identity cards, dismissing official identity cards as invalid.

CPD-RDTL has had links with Sagrada Família, the millenarian movement led by Cornelio (Elle-Sette, L-7), now a Member of Parliament and, as the leader of UNDERTIM, part of the AMP governing coalition. In Bobonaro and Cova Lima districts CPD-RDTL has operated alongside Colimau 2000 and Bua Malus, political/ritualist groups.

Allegations were made, including by then Interior Minister, Rogerio Lobato, that CPD-RDTL was secretly supported by military elements in Indonesia seeking to destabilise the East Timorese government. CPD-RDTL is most active in the western districts adjoining Indonesia but it is also organised in Daili, Baucau and Verqueque and is the largest political movement operating against the state. The government attempted to negotiate an arrangement with the movement in 2003 but this failed. In December 2003 through to early 2004 police mounted nationwide raids against CPD-RDTL members.

Matak was tried and placed under eight months’ house arrest in June 2007 for defaming the police involved in the shooting of two CPD-RDTL members in 2004. He was summonsed in September 2009 for allegedly plotting to disrupt the October 2009 local elections. In early 2010 there was another crackdown against CPD-RDTL supporters and alleged “ninja” gangs, but Matak was not detained for lack of evidence. CPD-RDTL protested police brutality against their members in the March-April raids.

As Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão has held talks with Ai Tahan Matak, for instance, in Viqueque in April 2011. The movement remains active and may represent a potential problem. (Source: Political Parties and Groupings of Timor-Leste Dennis Shoesmith An initiative of Australian Labor International under the auspices of the Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program http://www.alp.org.au:6020/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?nodeguid=db25b77b-6314-4351-b5c7-05c1a9500145 Accessed 21/11/2012.)

Related posts
CPD Asks PM Xanana to Keep his Promise: “CPD-RDTL Demands a Veteran Replaces Longuinhos”
Timor Police say a new coup plot from CPD-RDTL & Bua-Malus
CPD-RDTL accuses PNTL of human rights violations
RDTL Constitution does not ban dissident group
Dissident political parties accused of involvement in ninja crime in Timor-Leste
Political Killings in Timor-Leste? Fretilin alleges East Timor Democratic Party follows involved in murder of resistance organisation member's daughter

Sources:  Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste, Timor Post. Edited by Warren L. Wright

Xanana Threatens to Starve Youth Engaging in Criminal Conduct

Xanana Gusmao
ETLJB 21 November 2012 - According to a report in Jornal Independente on 20 November 2012, the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, as Defence and Security Minister, said that he will not tolerate  young people who intend to create instability in the country when the United Nations mission finishes its mandate in December this year.

Xanana told the youth not to attack each other with stones. “If you attack each other with stones, I will order that you be arrested and that you not be fed while you are in custody,” the Prime Minister is reported to have said to journalists at the Nicolau Lobato International Airport in Dili on 19 November last after returning from his overseas visit .

Speaking as the Minister for Defence and Security, he said that he did not fear being condemned for violating their human rights by ordering that those who involve themselves in problems such as assaulting or stoning each other not be fed whilst being held in custody.

“I, Xanana, speaking as the Minister for Defence and Security, say that whoever makes trouble, I will order the police to arrest you, then afterwards you can scream about your human rights being violated and take me to the International Court,” Xanana is reported to have said.

Xanana said that he too had heard information that some groups intended to create instability in the country after the UNMIT mission has finished.

“I say, whoever is so hard headed, we will put human rights aside then we can resolve the problem. I will do this because I am thinking about your future, I am thinking of the future of the nation,” Xanana affirmed.

In the meantime the PNTL Operations commander Superintendent Armando Monteiro said that the PNTL is currently in full operations throughout the country to anticipate any possibility of instability in the country.

But the Police Commander, Commissioner Longuinhos Monteiro has also appealed to all local residents  not to panic about rumours that people dressed as ninjas will cause security problems when the UN leaves.

Suara Timor Lorosae reported yesterday that the Commissioner said that the local authorities needed to have a dialog with communities to discuss these widespread rumours that are causing fear in the population.

He called on the local authorities to cooperate with the police in order to transmit factual information to the people.

Sources: Jornal Independente 20 November 2012; Suara Timor Loro Sae 20 November 201. Edited by Warren L. Wright 

Three arrests on suspicion of drug smuggling to Timor-Leste

ETLJB 21/11/2012 - Police have made three arrests on 19 November 2012 at the Nicolau Lobato International Airport in Dili in connection with international drug smuggling.

In the first arrest, a Columbian woman was detained by the Immigration Service and Customs Department officers as she was attempting to bring sabu-sabu into the country that was discovered by immigration officers.

Suara Timor Lorosae reported that the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and his Deputy Fernando Lasama de Araujo attended the crime scene to directly see the illegal drugs.

The prime minister thanked and congratulated the immigration officers on their success in detaining the suspect.

“We need to congratulate our immigration police officers, intelligence services for the success. It also tells the world that we are also capable of dealing with this problem,” he said. 

 In the second case, police arrested two Indonesians at the airport who are suspected of smuggling 5 kilograms of drugs into Timor-Leste.

According to a report by Jornal Independente on 20 November, the Indonesian man and an Indonesian woman are in detention pending further investigation before being handed over to Indonesia.

Airport staff found the five kilograms of drugs while x-raying the passengers’ baggage after a light from Singapore. The Supervisor of Civil Aviation at Dili airport, Atancio de Jeseus Maia Fernandes, said after he found the drugs they called police to arrest the two people. “I can detect everything, including gun, bomb and drugs,” Mr. Fernandes told

He said the drugs were from Colombia and taken to Singapore before being brought to Timor-Leste.

Related stories
Timor-Leste becoming transit zone for international drug smuggling
Drug traffickers handed over to Indonesia
Plenty of drugs in Timor-Leste, SPI helpless to stop it
Prostitution and Drugs in Timor-Leste blamed on foreigners
Police will not tolerate people who smuggle drugs into the country
Indonesians and Mozambiquans arrested on suspicion of importing 8 kgs of methamphetamine to Timor-Leste
Murders, Drugs, Assaults, Embezzlement, Corruption & Land Disputes: Summary of Cases Heard by the Dili District Court in May 2011

Sources: Suara Timor Lorosae and Jornal Independente. Edited by Warren L. Wright

20 November 2012

Timor-Leste becoming transit zone for international drug smuggling

Suspected drug smugglers in East Timor
ETLJB 20 November 2012 Tempo Semanal reported yesterday (19/11/2012) that yet another Indonesian citizen has been arrested in Timor-Leste on suspicion of being part of an international drug smuggling network.

According to Tempo Semanal, since mid-August 2012, dozens of foreigners, including Indonesians as well as citizens of African and European countries have been arrested in connection with narcotics smuggling in East Timor. The total value of the drugs that have been seized is estimated to be between US$10 - $15million.

The Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao acknowledged yesterday that East Timor is being used as a transit zone for criminals attempting to traffic drugs into Indonesia and possibly Australia as well.
 
According to data which Tempo Semanal has acquired, a suspect with the initials EP is a Indonesian of Javanese descent who has been living in Bali for a long time who came to East Timor on 31/10/2012. He stayed only one day in Dili and then flew on to Colombia via Singapore.

He then returned to Dili on 13/11/2012 from Colombia with more then five kilogram of cocaine. He has been held by the authorities since then  and yesterday an Indonesian woman whose name initials are HH arrived from Bali to collect the narcotics and take them to Indonesia.

HH was captured in the same hotel used by EP in Dili by the authorities and was presented to PM Xanana in Dili airport before being taken to police custody yesterday.

As Tempo Semanal notes, as the Indonesian middle class expands so its desire for drugs also grows as in other wealthy countries. Lesser developed countries with weak institutions often end up becoming transit routes for drug smugglers as in the case of Guinea Bissau which has become hijacked by drug barons and is now known as a narco-state experiencing chronic instability.

Timorese authorities are working hard to ensure this does not happen in East Timor. However questions remain as to why drug smugglers have chosen Dili as a transit route. It suggests they some officials may be on the drug rings' payroll so that they look the other way when the drugs come into the country. This seems to have come to an end. But the authorities must remain vigilant to ensure that this does not become a chronic problem.

Related stories
Drug traffickers handed over to Indonesia
Plenty of drugs in Timor-Leste, SPI helpless to stop it
Prostitution and Drugs in Timor-Leste blamed on foreigners
Police will not tolerate people who smuggle drugs into the country
Indonesians and Mozambiquans arrested on suspicion of importing 8 kgs of methamphetamine to Timor-Leste
Murders, Drugs, Assaults, Embezzlement, Corruption & Land Disputes: Summary of Cases Heard by the Dili District Court in May 2011

Source: Tempo Semanal. Edited by Warren L. Wright BA LLB

19 November 2012

Drug traffickers handed over to Indonesia

ETLJB 19 November 2012 - The National Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) has handed over the drug trafficking case, involving four Indonesian nationals to Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency for legal proceedings according to the National Police (PNTL) Deputy Commander Afonso de Jesus.

An article published in Suara Timor Lorosae reported on 15 November 2012 that Commander de Jesus said that four of the suspects are from Indonesia and one is from Africa.

"It does not mean that our law is week to process these people but this case has been under the control of international organisations and it has therefore been handed over to the Indonesian authorities," said.de Jesus

These five foreign nationals were arrested at the Dili airport after trying to smuggle drugs from Malaysia to Indonesia, passing through Timor-Leste and Indonesia's land border.

The explanation by Deputy Commander Afonso de Jesus does not make any legal sense at all. This case raises some serious questions. Firstly, the alleged crime of drug trafficking was committed in East Timor. No crime has been committed in Indonesia so there is no jurisdictional power in the Indonesian authorities to prosecute the case. It is most peculiar that the matter has been handed over to the Indonesian authorities. It amounts to an abdication by the East Timor criminal authorities to prosecute a crime committed within the territory of East Timor which would be the ordinary due process of the law.

Secondly, the East Timorese Constitution prohibits the death penalty. Article 29 (The Right to Life) includes clause (3) that provides that: There shall be no death penalty in the Democratic Republic of East Timor. By handing over the suspects to the Indonesian authorities, East Timor has exposed those suspects to the death penalty which may be applied in drug trafficking cases in Indonesia in violation of the principle of the right to life enshrined in the Constitution of East Timor.

Therefore, in the opinion of ETLJB, the actions of the East Timorese authorities raise critical legal questions involving the rule of law and the Constitution.

Perhaps there was a request from the Indonesian authorities to the government of East Timor to hand over the suspects or perhaps the government of East Timor requested the Indonesian authorities to take custody of the suspects and process them under Indonesian law. In either event, those interventions would be a wrongful political interference in the rule of law.

Trials for serious crimes committed during occupation require careful consideration

ETLJB 19/11/2012 - A member of the East Timor National Parliament, Mateus de Jesus, from the Congress for Timorese Reconstruction, said that there needs to be careful consideration of conducting trials for serious crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation because it would impact on the relationship between East Timor and Indonesia.

Suara Timor Lorosae reported on 15 November 2012 that Mr de Jesus said that: "I think the Government could continue processing the serious crimes committed in 1975 up to 1999. I am appealing to all victims to be patient as it takes time."

He said that everything has to go through a process and there is still a lot of work to be done which has not yet been completed by UNMIT even though its mandate is about to end.

17 November 2012

Man stabbed on Dili street

ETLJB 17 November 2012 - The Criminal Investigation Services has submitted the case of the stabbing of a 23 year old man from Bairro Pite, in Dili, to the Prosecutor’s Office.

“Just recently the victim’s family reported the incident and I personally sent it on to the Personal Crimes Unit and after undergoing appropriate process, it was referred to the Prosecutor’s Office,” said SIC Director Calisto Gonzaga, in Caicoli, Dili.

The incident took place on 29 September 2011 around 7:20 in the evening during a fracas near the Bairro Pite roundabout.

“The victim was stabbed straight after alighting from a microlet [small bus] just a hundred or so meters from where an altercation seemed to be taking place. I am not sure under what circumstances the victim was stabbed, however information points to someone from the fight actually having committed the deed,” said Director Gonzaga.

Member of Parliament (MP) Inacio Moreira said the incidence of stabbing has risen alarmingly and the National Police (PNTTL) must make greater efforts to reduce it.

“PNTL must work harder to prevent this sort of crime, however it’s hard to say whether the stabbing at Bairro Pité was spontaneous or pre-meditated and the PNTL must establish that,” said the MP.

According to him patrols must increase and asked the courts deal severely with criminals who disturb the peace.


Source: The Dili Weekly

Related Stabbing Stories
Military officer stabbed to death by wife
Hotel manager and wife stabbed to death in Dili hotel
Radio Reporter stabbed in stomach 3 times
Police identify suspects in journalist stabbing case and report second stabbing
Lasama calls for arrest of suspect who stabbed veteran
Likisa district police recover a dead body in a river close to Eritu sub-village
Cuban doctor knifed by unknown person in Manatuto
Crime in Dili on the rise or not?
A soldier murdered in Maliana
Suspect who stabbed CNRT member indentified
 

MP calls for Courts in all thirteen districts of Timor-Leste

The 13 Districts of East Timor
ETLJB  17 November 2012 - Member of Parliament Pedro da Costa has called for the establishment of a District Court in all of the 13 Districts, saying this was necessary to ensure people in the Districts have access to justice and any information relevant to the sector.

The Dili Weekly reported on 14 November that Mr da Costa had told the Parliament that “[t]hese Courts must be set up in each District to alleviate the backlog of cases and reduce the lengthy delays which people are used to endure. This would speed up the legal processes in the country and while some Districts already have their courts,some have not.” He added the Ministry of Justice should have a plan to ensure all Districts will eventually have a court.

Presently, there are District Courts in only 4 Districts: Dili, Oecusse, Suai and Baucau. The Vice-Minister for Justice Ivo Valente said the Justice Ministry's strategic plan foresees the installation of a court in the remaining Districts.

“The National Strategic Development Plan exists, however to do so means we must look at human resource issues which are not easy to resolve and we do not have sufficient numbers of judges to handle all the cases, as well as defence and prosecution lawyers. Many things are still lacking,” said the Vice-Minister.

According to him, efforts are being made by the Ministry of Justice to provide an office of the Prosecutor General in the Districts such as Ermera, Viqueque and the sub-District of Maliana.


Source: The Dili Weekly. Edited by Warren L. Wright Map: Page F30

Government needs to allocate adequate budget for witness protection law

ETLJB 17 November 2012 - The Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) held a one-day seminar on the new witness protection law on November 15. The Director for JSMP said it was hard for witnesses to come to the Court because they feared intimidation, threats, and pressure.

Minister for Justice, Dionisio Babo-Soares acknowledged that the implementation of the witness protection law effectively needed proper facilities such as transport, teleconferences, and others.

JSMP called on the Government to allocate State Budget adequately to implement the witness protection law to assist the witnesses.

Source Timor Post 16 November 2012

Court sentences former militia members to 15-30 years in prison

ETLJB 17 November 2012 - In a landmark decision, the Dili District Court has sentenced members of the former Indonesian-backed militia Besi Merah Putih which engaged in serious crimes in 1999 during the violent breakaway from Indonesia to between 15 and 30 years in prison.


Suara Timor Loro Sae reported the Court's decision yesterday. The former militia members were names as Faustino Filipe, Salvador and Miguel Soares. They were found guilty of killing two victims in Ulmera village, in Bazartete of Liquisa district. The court sentenced them under Article 124 of the Penal Code.

Besi Merah Putih was a militia group armed with weapons by the Indonesian military force before and after the referendum held in 1999.

16 November 2012

Law No 5 of 2012 Strike Law of Timor-Leste

ETLJB 16 November 2012 - Shortly after the enactment of the new labour code for East Timor on 20 December 2011, the national parliament enacted the strike law on 16 January 2012. It was promulgated by the President of the Republic on 17 February 2012 and came into force on that date . The following is an extract from the preamble:

"The recent approval of the Labour Law marked the beginning of the process of conformation of the new legal framework regulating labour relations in Timor-Leste. In furtherance of this process, and in compliance with article 51 of the Constitution, the present law approves the legal regime for the exercise of the right to strike. In accordance with the constitutional text, the law shall define and prohibit lock out and shall provide for sanctions applicable to it, in addition to establishing other guarantees aimed at protecting workers from any conduct limiting the exercise of their right to strike.

The legal framework defined by the present law takes into account the different interests at stake and attempts to find a balanced and proportional solution by establishing vital moderating rules for the growth of the economy and the dynamisation of labour relations in the country.

The full text of the unofficial English translation of the strike law may be read here.

See also Law No 4 of 2012 Labour Code
.

Law No 4 of 2012 Labour Code of Timor-Leste

ETLJB 16 November 2012 - On 20 December 2011, the National Parliament enacted a new labour code for East TImor. Industrial relations in East Timor had previously been governed by the former UNAET Regulation No 5 of 2002 which established the first labour code. The following is an extract from the Preamble:

"The Labour Code of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste was approved through UNTAET Regulation No. 2002/05 of 1 May. Since then, labour relationsin the country have been governed by such Code.

The country’s social and economic progress over the last decade requires the approval of a legislative instrument that responds to the current needs of the labour and entrepreneurial market in the country, thereby enabling investment in, and development of, entrepreneurial activities as well as the protection and professional development of workers in a harmonious manner.

In this connection, the drafting of a new legal framework regulating the labour relations represents a critical contribution towards the development process of the Timorese society and economy."

The full text of the unofficial English translation of the new labour code may be read here.

See also The Strike Law No 5 of 2012

15 November 2012

Land disputes continue to rage in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 15 November 2012 Land disputes continue to threaten both the physical integrity of people and the civil peace in East Timor even though the Government has had 10 years to formulate a just land policy and enact legislation to clarify land ownership and resolve dipustes. The multi-million dollar USAID Land Law Program has failed catastrophically to assist the Government in this most central problem. A draft land law drawn up under the IV Consitutional government was vetoed by the then-President Horta on the ground that it was not fair to the ordinary people of the country.

Recent murders and violence have been attributed to land disputes and yesterday yet another incident occurred in the capital caused by another land dispute.

In this most recent case, Diario Nacional reported comments by Fretilin Member of Parliament David Dias Ximenes that a spouse of a police officer has used a pistol to threaten people involved in the land dispute in the central suburb of Bidau.

According to the report, the police officer's spouse fired a warning shot from a pistol during a quarrel with the owner of the property in which the police officer and his spouse live.  


“There is a land dispute between the police officer and the owner of the land and the police officer's spouse used the pistol to give warning shot,” Mr. Ximenes told the Journalists at the National Parliament.

He added that PNTL should sanction the officer who had misused his/her power and a state weapon to oppress ordinary people.


Related stories:
Land disputes a continuing cause of violence in Timor-Leste
Murder in East Timor the result of land dispute
Violence flares as police beat protestors over land dispute
Land dispute triggers more violence in Timor-Leste 

Massacre leaving 5 dead the result of a land dispute  
Still no land title certainty a decade after independence
Timor Leste Land Network asks Hilary Clinton ‘not to abandon the people’s land rights’ and criticises USAID-funded land program
The East Timor Land Law Program: Four Years On - Still No Land Law 


Source: Diario Nacional. Edited by Warren L. Wright
 

Public Servant murdered

ETLJB 15 November 2012 - Police are investigating the murder of an employee of the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s (MSS), Roberto Caero Alves.

Mr Alves was killed on 5 November 2012 in Tibar in Likisa District to the west of the capital, Dili. 
 
The Timorese National Police (PNTL) Criminal Investigation Service Commander Calistro Gonzaga said that the police had submitted the case to be processed according to the existing laws in the country.

“The late Roberto Caero Alves’ dead body has been handed back to his family for a funeral after the autopsy and the case has been filed to be processed according to the applicable law,” he said.

He added that the police had already identified several persons suspected of involvement in the murder and they would be subject ot the normal legal processes.


Source: Diario Nacional. Edited by Warren L. Wright

14 November 2012

JSMP will hold a national seminar regarding the application of the Witness Protection Law

Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release 14 November 2012 - JSMP will hold a one day national seminar on 15 November 2012, at Delta Nova, Comoro, Dili. The topic of the seminar is the implementation of the Law on Witness Protection. The aforementioned law has been approved and was published in the State Gazette on 6 May 2009.

This seminar aims to: firstly, review progress regarding the application of the aforementioned law. Secondly, to review the obstacles and challenges regarding the implementation or application of the aforementioned law. Thirdly, to find out about good practices from other countries in relation to witness protection especially with consideration towards principles of international law regarding witness protection, before, during and after a trial.

“JSMP believes that this seminar will allow us to measure progress, identify challenges and obstacles in order to improve the application of the aforementioned law in the future”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The following speakers have been invited to take part in this seminar: President of the Court of Appeal, Prosecutor-General, Minister of Justice, President of the Timor-Leste Lawyers Association (AATL), a representative from Amnesty International, the Dean from the faculty of law at UNTL and the Director of JSMP as a representative of civil society.

Those invited to attend the seminar include judicial actors, relevant entities from the justice sector, students from the faculty of law, representatives from civil society and the media.

For more information, please contact: Luis de Oliveira Sampaio Executive Director of JSMP E-mail:luis@jsmp.minihub.org Landline/Mobile: 3323883/77810637

13 November 2012

Indonesian company awarded US$87million contract for housing construction

ETLJB 13 November 2012 - According to a report by Tempo Semanal, an Indonesian company styled Carya Timor Leste Pty Ltd has been awarded contracts by the Government of Timor-Leste in 2010 and 2011 the total worth of which is more than $110 million; to be exact $110,933,275.57.


The single largest contract awarded to Carya Timor Leste Pty Ltd was on 5 October 2012 for the construction of 11.140 new houses. Timor-Leste MDG Contract No RDTL 11004352 is worth US$86,898,684 making it the third largest act of public procurement after power plants and the FDTL patrol boats.  It was awarded by prime Minister and President of the Council of Mnisters Award with the contract signed on 12-10-2011.

In 2010 the company was awarded 15 contracts worth US$17,598,712.20

But it was in 2011 that this company won five contracts with a total staggering value of $93,334,563.37; as follows:

    05-10-2011 Construction of New Houses (Total 11,140 houses) Timor- Leste MDG Project. (Contract no. RDTL 11004352) $86,898,684.00

    25-08-2011 Construction of Road and Drainage for the Integrated Boarder Posts at Batugade, Salele and Sakato (Contract No. RDTL-11004012) $2,837,998.37

    05-07-2011 Supply of equipment for Postos Integrado fronteira Batugade, Salele e Sakato (Contract No. RDTL-11002608) $312,161.00

    07-06-2011 Rehabilitation and Maintenance of Runway in Comoro, Stage 2 - under agreement/contract no. (RDTL - 11001711) $2,385,720.00

    02-06-2011 Special Contract Continuation Project, Jardim Metinaro for Heroes (Contract No. RDTL - 11005254) $900,000.00


All of these procurement contracts are published on the Timor-Leste eProcurement Portal.

Tempo Semanal notes that "while most Timorese remain impoverished, an Indonesian business man is becoming extremely wealthy in Timor-Leste."

According to Tempo Semanal, the company was one of the largest political contributors to the CNRT party election campaign.

Many people asked why this Indonesian compnay has been awarded the most government contracts? This question remains because only those in the government can answer.


Source: Tempo Semanal

Interrogating the "Gap" Between Law and Justice: East Timor's Serious Crimes Process

Lia Kent. Human Rights Quarterly 34, no. 4 (2012): 1021-1044. - Abstract: War crimes trials are claimed to hold the capacity to contribute to a range of ambitious justice goals in post-conflict societies, such as the public recognition of victims' experiences, the promotion of respect for the rule of law, and the fostering of reconciliation. This article unsettles these claims through a case study of the UN-sponsored Serious Crimes Process in East Timor. It charts the practical and political constraints upon the Serious Crimes Process which undermined its ability to achieve its own goals. In addition, it draws on interviews with East Timorese survivors to demonstrate the difficulties faced by the Serious Crimes Process in fully meeting locally grounded demands for justice. This analysis illustrates the inherent limits of war crimes trials in responding to calls for justice, which transcend the possibilities of the criminal law.

ETLJB Editor's Note: Unfortunately, access to the full article is only available for payment. Search for the Human Rights Quarterly if you can afford to pay for this edition of the journal to read the full article. Hopefully, the Human Rights Quarterly will make this article available in East Timor's educational institutions free of charge.



ETAN Urges UN and US to Act for Justice for Timor-Leste

ETAN November 12, 2012 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) urged the United Nations, the U.S., and other governments to fulfill outstanding promises of justice for the many victims of Indonesia's illegal invasion and occupation as the UN Security Council meets to wraps up the current peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste,

The Security Council meets today on the 21st anniversary of one of the most notorious attacks on civilians during Indonesia's brutal occupation. On November 12, 1991, Indonesian troops attacked a peaceful demonstration at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, Timor-Leste's capital. Hundreds were killed and injured and the final resting place of many of the victims of the Santa Cruz massacre remain unknown.

"As the latest UN mission ends, promises of justice remain unfulfilled," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "The UN should state clearly that there can be no impunity for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Indonesia's invasion and occupation of Timor-Leste from 1975-1999."

"The East Timorese people can not fully overcome their past until they know the fate of the bodies of their relatives and friends," said Miller. "Impunity for decades of systematic Indonesian military and police atrocities prevents both countries from consolidating the rule of law as they transition from  military dictatorship do democracy."

ETAN continues to urge Congress and the Obama administration to respond to the recommendations of Timor-Leste's Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation, including its calls for an international tribunal to try perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the Indonesian occupation, reparations from Indonesia and other countries that supported the occupation, and restrictions on foreign assistance to the Indonesian military.

"The U.S. and others should press President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately release all information that can help identify and locate those who were killed or disappeared during the occupation," said Miller.

"President Obama must restrict U.S. military assistance until the Indonesian generals and political leaders who organized and directed numerous crimes during the 24-years of illegal occupation are credibly tried. Instead, the Obama administration is plans to sell deadly Apache attack helicopters to the Indonesian military. "

President Obama is expected to meet Indonesia's President along with other ASEAN leaders at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia next week. Officials credibly accused (and in some cases indicted) of crimes against humanity in Timor and elsewhere continue to hold important positions  as civilians or in the Indonesian military in West Papua and elsewhere.

"Without sustained pressure on the Indonesian government, U.S. government support for the rights of the East Timorese will end at the Indonesian border," said Miller. "The U.S. needs to back up its talk of rights with actions."

During a joint media conference in Timor-Leste on September 6, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "we are standing with you as you work to build a strong democracy with robust institutions, the rule of law, and protecting the rights of all of your citizens. Strong democracies, we know from long practice, make more stable neighbors and capable partners, which is one of the reasons why the United States is advancing democracy and human rights as a central pillar of our engagement throughout Asia."

Background

The UN is ending the UN Mission Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), but will remain engaged in the country through its agencies.

On November 12, 1991, Indonesian troops opened fire on a memorial procession - turned into a peaceful pro-independence demonstration - at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. More than 270 mostly-young Timorese were murdered. Unlike previous mass atrocities committed during Indonesia's 24-year occupation, the massacre was witnessed by the NY-based Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn and other international journalists. Their first-hand reports, video and photographs were shown worldwide. The Santa Cruz massacre galvanized international support for Timor-Leste and was the catalyst for U.S. congressional action to stem the flow of U.S. weapons and other assistance for Indonesia's security forces.

During more than two decades of U.S.-backed occupation of Timor-Leste, Indonesian soldiers committed serious crimes with impunity, taking as many as 184,000 Timorese lives and torturing, raping and displacing countless others. Timor-Leste became independent in 2002.

Earlier this month, the Timorese organization La'o Hamutuk wrote to the Security Council "Acquiescence with impunity for serious crimes perpetrated by Indonesian actors against Timor-Leste people between 1975 and 1999 betrays the global consensus 'to put an end to impunity' achieved in the Rome Statute,10 besmirches the reputation of the United Nations, and imperils security and rule of law in Timor-Leste, Indonesia and around the world."

In her May 2012 report, the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights wrote "[E]nding impunity is an essential prerequisite to ensuring stability, peace and sustainability, and she reminded "the Government of Indonesia, the United Nations and the international community of the role they must play in ensuring that the perpetrators of crimes during the Indonesian occupation are brought to justice." 

Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation researched and documented the nation's experiences during the occupation. The Commission's comprehensive 2,500-page report recommended establishment of an international criminal tribunal and also advocated that countries (including the U.S.) which backed the occupation and corporations which sold weapons to Indonesia during that period should pay reparations to victims. The Commission urged the international community not to support Indonesia's military until it was thoroughly reformed and respectful of human rights.

Indonesia has failed to provide information about the fate of the disappeared. This despite an agreement to create a Commission for Disappeared Persons "to acquire information about the fate of disappeared people and cooperate to gather data and provide information to their families."

Source: ETAN Press Release 12 November 2012

Related stories
Youth who died on 12 November 1991 are heroes of Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste Civil Society and Amnesty International call for and end to impunity
Santa Cruz Massacre 12 November 1991 Commemoration
ANTI: Timor-Leste demands justice - Because we love peace, and we want the truth to strengthen reconciliation
Joint Statement from ANTI on case involving Besi Merah Putih Militia Member Valentim Lavio
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