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31 August 2013

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers 9 July 2013

ETLJB 31 August 2013 - The V Constitutional Government met on July 9, 2013, in the Council of Ministers meeting room at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the following:

1. Proposal of Law on Expropriation

The right to private property is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. There is however one exception foreseen in the Constitution, giving the State the opportunity to expropriate property for reasons of public utility. This prerogative of the State is essential for the development of infrastructures that serve the population. But taking into consideration the implications of expropriation on the lives of citizens, the Constitution establishes clear limits to its exercise, being only possible to apply when the public interest is concerned and upon payment of fair compensation.

This law regulates this constitutional precept and the administrative procedure to make the expropriation for reasons of public utility, establishing the necessary mechanisms to ensure respect for the rights of those affected by expropriation.

The drafting of this law resulted from knowledge accumulated over several years of studies and public consultations on issues related to the ownership of real estate. Taking into account the impact of this law on the lives of people, there was special care to standardize it with the instruments of international laws, to which Timor-Leste is party, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), all of which are an integral part of the Timorese legal system.

2. Decree-Law that approves the creation of the National Commission for Combating HIVAIDS in Timor-Leste

The National Commission for Combating HIV-AIDS in Timor-Leste (CNCS-TL) succeeds the National Commission to Fight AIDS, assuming the coordination and consolidation of the multiple-sector response to the disease and of the implementation of the National Strategy to Fight HIV -AIDS.

In 2003, with the aim of coordinating the multiple-sector activities to prevent and combat HIV-AIDS, the I Constitutional Government created the National Commission to Fight AIDS, named its President and delegated to him the competencies to develop its Statute and to name its other members. Since this Commission has been unable to fulfill its mandate, the Council of Ministers decided to create the CNCS-TL, with a reinforced structure, assuming the assets, rights and obligations of the National Commission to Fight AIDS.

3. Government Resolution extending the mandate of the Temporary Committee of Management and Operation of SAMES E.P.

The Council of Ministers decided to extend the mandate of the Temporary Committee of Management and Operation of the Autonomous Service of Medicines and Health Equipment - SAMES E.P. until the end of the year. The current mandate expires on the 13th July.

This extension was decided after the presentation at this meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Report of the Temporary Committee for Management and Operation of the financial and human resources situation of SAMES. The report also provided an action plan for the institution.

The Council of Ministers also analyzed the situation of the supply of pharmaceuticals in the country and took emergency measures to solve the problem.

The Council of Ministers also analyzed:

1. Presentation of proposed creation of the Air Transport of Timor-Leste

The company Citra Perdana Mahesa submitted to the Council of Ministers a proposal to create the
commercial airline of Timor-Leste. With an implementation plan of five years, benefiting from the strategic
geographical position of Timor-Leste, the Indonesian company proposes to create a prestigious airline
with a particular influence in the Asia-Pacific Region.

2. Presentation of the proposed remodeling of Dili Airport

The Ministry of Transport and Communications submitted to the Council of Ministers a redevelopment proposal for the Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport. The airport receives about 150 000 passengers annually and has regular connections to Darwin (Australia), Denpasar (Indonesia) and Singapore.

According to the vision of the Strategic Development Plan (SDP), the “Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport will be a modern international standard airport with a capacity to handle over one million passengers per year”, to handle an increasing number of passengers and facilitate access to new markets and meeting international safety and service standards. The project presented proposes a phased construction tailored to the need for the capacity to receive large aircraft and meet the demands of the country's national and international growth.

3. Presentation of the 2nd and 3rd Combined Report of CEDAW

In the context of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Secretariat of State for the Promotion of Equality submitted the second and third combined periodic report covering the period August 2009 to May in 2013 to the Council of Ministers. This quadrennial report evaluates the performance of the State in the implementation of the CEDAW Convention, identifies best practices and methods to ensure gender equality, and provides the Government with an identification of priorities in this regard so that the Government can plan the implementation of measures that will be evaluated in the next report. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release Edited by Warren L. Wright

20 August 2013

Organised crime in Timor-Leste responsible for rise in violence, says Fundasaun Mahein

ETLJB 20 August 2013 Security sectory monitoring NGO, Fundasaun Mahein says that "the recent increase in violence and crime in Timor-Leste reflects a growing effort by organized crime to recruit Timorese for participation in illegal activities.  Timorese citizens of all backgrounds are turning towards organised crime in the midst of an economy that leaves them little hope or opportunity. The groups most heavily recruited from include government employees, taxi drivers, gang members, security guards on the border, and airport security guards and personnel.

The increased presence of organized crime within Timor-Leste has been marked by an increase in theft, murder, and sexual assault.  Sexual assault in particular has been marked by two recent high-profile cases.   A young man and woman were recently kidnapped in Tasi-Tolu and forced to perform sexual acts while being filmed.  In a separate event, a woman taking a taxi near the US embassy was abducted and gang-raped.  These cases highlight the disturbing rise of violent incidents in Timor-Leste in which both the perpetrators and victims are Timorese.

The Timorese economy is stagnating and Timorese have fewer places to turn for career opportunities.  With inflation rising, high unemployment, low salaries for government workers, and minimal government oversight of criminal activity, the temptation to participate in organized is too attractive for many Timorese to resist.

What incentive do Timorese have to make honest livings when the reward for participating in organized criminal activities can be so much more lucrative?  If the government does not focus its efforts on a preventative framework to fight the underlying causes of Timorese involvement in organized crime, the problem will never be resolved.

Furthermore, why should only one government ministry be responsible for combating this problem when the causes behind the rise in organized crime are so widespread and diverse?

Fundasaun Mahein urges various government departments to unite in fighting this important and growing problem.  The ministry of Defense should collaborate with the ministries of Social Solidarity, Labor, Education, Youth and Sports, State Secretary for Women and Equality, as well as others.

Fundasaun Mahein recommends that people travel in groups and exercise extreme caution when traveling through areas associated with organized criminal operations.  These areas include Dili Beach Road, Liquica up to Tiber, the beach of Tasi-Tolu, and the area from Area Branca all the way up to Metinaro (One Dollar Beach).  Criminals have mainly targeted young couples or single women passing through or sitting in these areas, but it should be noted that anyone passing through could be a potential target.

Fundasaun Mahein also recommends that police increase their presence and visibility in these areas with regular patrols and monitoring.  If people encounter trouble they should notify the police immediately.

Finally, more stringent monitoring of people traveling in and out of Timor-Leste is needed to crack down on travelers conducting operations for organized crime.  The increasing number of Timorese students studying in Indonesia involved in smuggling stolen motorbikes into Timor is just one example of organized crime’s presence along Timor’s border.  As part of this effort, the departments of Immigration and Foreign Affairs should work together to conduct more effective background checks of people traveling to work in Timor-Leste on tourist visas. Source: Fundasaun Mahein (FM) Press Release 15 August 2013 http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2013/08/15/organized-crime-increases-civilian-recruitment/ Edited by Warren L. Wright

One-year Anniversary of the Timor Leste Fifth Constitutional Government

ETLJB 20 August 2013 - Díli, Timor-Leste The passing of the 8th of August has marked the one-year anniversary of the Fifth Constitutional Government of Timor-Leste.

On the 7th of July 2012 the Timorese people, voting in free and democratic elections, supported three parties
to govern the nation from 2012 to 2017. Just over a month later, in the Solemn Hall in Lahane, at the Official
Presidential Residence, the members of the Fifth Constitutional Government gathered to be sworn in by the
President of the Republic, His Excellency Taur Matan Ruak.

The Prime Minister, His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, declared that the Government’s five-year
mandate was a mandate for action and consequently the Council of Ministers met the following day and
began what has indeed been a very active year since.

The Five Year Program of the Fifth Constitutional Government, fully aligned with Timor-Leste’s Strategic
Development Plan, was presented to National Parliament on the 12th of September 2012. Annual Action
Plans for the State Budget, based on the five-year plan, were prepared by each Ministry. A supplementary
Budget to accommodate the new structures in the Government was presented and passed.

The Government then turned to the detailed planning required for the 2013 Annual Budget with the Council
of Ministers approving the Final Draft Budget on November the 20th and the official Budget approval given
with a unanimous vote the National Parliament on the 18th of February 2013.

In the first twelve months of the Fifth Constitutional Government the Council of Ministers has approved the
Organic Law of the Fifth Constitutional Government, the Five Year Program, 14 Decree Laws, 6 Proposed
Laws, 17 Government Resolutions, 2 Proposed Resolutions as well as appointing 3 Electoral Commissioners and two members of the Superior Council of Magistracy. More than 15 other laws have
been considered by the Council of Ministers with outcomes still pending.

Other activities undertaken by the CoM have included the oversight of national celebrations such as the 38th
Anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence and National Celebrations 25-30th of November 2012, and
analysis and response to commissioned reports including those on Education, Natural Disasters, the Special
Social Market Economy Zone Oe-Cusse Project Pilot, Coordination Mechanisms for the SDP and Budget

The Council of Ministers has also over the one-year period considered over 50 Presentations given by
various Ministries and State Institutions. These range from the presentation of plans such as the Dili Master
Plan for Sanitation and Drainage, updates on key projects such as road rehabilitation, techniques proposed
for the improvement Government systems and international issues such as Timor-Leste’s Accession to
ASEAN, to name but a few.

To mark the anniversary Government members gathered for a three-day retreat to debate future plans,
improve inter-ministerial coordination and consider the best ways to overcome obstacles.
Minister of State and Presidency of the Council of Ministers, His Excellency Agio Pereira, noted “while there
is always more to do the one-year anniversary offers a moment to reflect on our achievements to date. The
Council of Ministers of the Fifth Constitutional Government, spurred on by the call to action of the Prime
Minister, began its mandate enthusiastically and has continued with a high pace and heavy workload. We
continue to pledge ourselves to the overarching commitment of this Government as articulated by our Prime
Minister: ‘to support and promote the development of Timor-Leste and strive to improve the living conditions
of our people’”. ENDS Source: V Constitutional Government Media Release August 16, 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

19 August 2013

Baucau District Court hears cases of domestic violence, assault, theft, arson, threats, unlawful electoral canvassing and attempted rape

Baucau District (Inage:wikimedia commons)
ETLJB 19 August 2013 - The Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on monitoirng proceedings in the Baucau District Court for the month of June 2013. The text of the translation follows.

JSMP Case Summary June 2013 Summary of the trial process in Baucau District Court


In June 2013 JSMP noted that 14 cases were tried at the Baucau District Court. These 14 cases comprised 6 cases of domestic violence, 2 cases involving simple offences against physical integrity, 1 case involving a serious offence against physical integrity, 1 case of aggravated theft, 1 case of arson, 1 case of making threats, 1 case regarding unlawful electoral canvassing and 1 case of attempted rape.

7 of these cases have been decided by the court, 5 cases are still ongoing and 2 cases have been adjourned because the parties did not respond to the summons issued by the court. In the 7 cases that were completed the court handed down a prison sentence however the execution of the sentence was suspended, and in only one case a defendant was sent to prison for 3 years 6 months for committing the crime of a serious offence against physical integrity, whilst fines were handed down in the other two cases.

From the aforementioned hearings JSMP was concerned about once particular case and wishes to take issue with the case involving a simple offence against physical integrity which was tried as Case No.157/Crm.S/2012/TDB.

The indictment of the public prosecutor stated that the defendant did not only commit assault against the victim, but he also used a knife to wound the victim in the head. JSMP is very concerned because if the defendant used a weapon/instrument that could potentially harm or threaten the life of the victim then the charge should not be ordinary maltreatment. A knife is an instrument that has the power/capacity to take the life of the victim. However, the public prosecutor only charged the victim with ordinary maltreatment. The public prosecutor also alleged that the defendant had assaulted the victim on numerous occasions, however the public prosecutor did not charge the defendant with serious maltreatment against a spouse, and preferred the charge of ordinary maltreatment.

JSMP hopes that in the future the public prosecutor and the court will carefully and thoroughly examine the elements of the crime relating to an offence committed by a defendant.

The information below outlines the hearings conducted:

17 August 2013

Selamat memperingati hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia

ETLJB 17 August 2013 The independence of the Republic of Indonesia from its Dutch colonial masters who had ruthlessly and brutally occupied and exploited the peoples and resources of the islands of the Indonesian archipelago for three and a half centuries was proclaimed on this date in 1945 by Soekarno.

After the euphoria of independence, Indonesia entered yet another dark period of its history with the ascension of the Orde Baru under the even more brutal leadership of the cleptocratic Soeharto during which half a million Indonesians were murdered by the State, separatist movements crushed violently and East Timor invaded and occupied illegally.

Only recently, in 1998, did Indonesia start on the long journey away from its horrifying past with the toppling of the ferocious Orde Baru and the instigation of the beginnings of the democratic transformation of the country.

This period also marked the beginning of the end of the illegal occupation by Indonesia of East Timor which saw almost a further 200 000 deaths and whose proclamation of independence on 28 September 1975 was, with the complicity of the West, thwarted by Indonesia. It took another 24 and half agonising years of terror and bloodshed before East Timorese independence was restored formally on 20 May 2002.

Recalling the long history of violence and foreign political domination in both nations, ETLJB expresses the hope that democracy will continue to grow in both Indonesia and East Timor including the proviso that the perpetrators of human rights violations and crimes against humanity in East Timor during the Indonesian occupation that were committed by both sides in the armed struggle be prosecuted by the competent international criminal law authorities. Written by Warren L. Wright

East Timor Probes Gun Deal with Indonesia

ETLJB 17 August 2013 Dili - The East Timor National Parliament urges its government to immediately complete the investigation over the procurement of 77 MP1-V2 firearms from an Indonesian company, Pindad Indonesia. An independent commission has been investigating the weapons deal for a year now, yet there has been no result.

"The Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Guterres, must immediately complete the investigation. The gun procurement did not go through [proper] procedures. The price is also still unknown," said Cesar Valente, member of East Timor's Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Commission, Tuesday, July 30.

The National Parliament, said Cesar, had no knowledge of the gun procurement done by National Police Commander Longuinhos Monteiro. The unclear purchase process is suspected to have been triggered by the lack of communication and coordination between Longuinhos Monteiro and Francisco Guterres. "There might be a conflict between the two," he said.

Cesar suspects that firearms are already in the hands of police officers stationed at the East Timor- Indonesia border.

Francisco Guterres said that the Parliament had actually passed a budget to buy weapons from Indonesia. However, the purchase was without the knowledge and consent of the Council of Ministers-- which was then led by Xanana Gusmao. All of the sudden, the guns entered East Timor through Dili customs.

To uncover the mystery surrounding the gun procurement, Francisco Guterres established an independent commission in 2012. "The process of investigation is still ongoing," Guterres said in Dili on Tuesday. He ensured that all weapons are still being held in custody. Source: July 31, 2013 Tempo.co Edited by Warren L. Wright

East Timor’s oil fund totals US$13.6 billion in June 2013

ETLJB 17 August 2013 - East Timor’s Oil Fund totalled US$13.6 billion at the end of June, which was a rise of US$796 million against the first quarter of the year, according to figures published by the East Timor Central Bank for the second quarter of 2013.

According to the document published by the Central Bank, “gross capital inflows into the fund from royalties and taxes totalled US$796 million,” and capital increased to US$13.6 billion.

The Oil Fund Law was outlined in 2005 in order to contribute to the effective management of East Timor’s oil resources.

The fund is managed by the East Timor Central Bank, which is responsible for its operational management, and the Finance Ministry, which is responsible for overall management. Source: macauhub 13/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

15 August 2013

JSMP provides training in Betano-Manufahi on democracy and the role of the State’s sovereign organs

ETLJB 15 August 2012 - On 8 August 2013 the Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) through the Parliamentary Watch Project (POP) provided training to community members in Betano Village, Same Sub-District, Manufahi District. This training covered topics such as democracy and the role of the State’s sovereign organs.

There were 30 participants, comprising 15 women and 15 men. The participants were representatives of their villages and members of the village leadership at all levels, as well as representatives from the Timor-Leste Women’s Organization (OPMT), representatives of young men/women and several community members.

“Through this training we can raise the awareness of the community about democracy and the role of the State’s sovereign organs so  the community can channel their concerns, express their views and interests, as well as raise any issues that arise in their community” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

A customary elder, José da Conceção, who was representing the local village thanked JSMP in his welcoming speech for choosing his village as the site of this training. He requested for the participants to pay close attention to the material provided by the facilitators so that they could understand the information and then they would be able to disseminate this information to other members of the community who did not attend the training.

The participants were very enthusiastic and were very interested in the material provided and requested for JSMP to continue the same kind of training in other villages in the future.

In the final session of the training the deputy chief of  Betano Village once again expressed his appreciation to JSMP for travelling a long way to provide this training to the residents of his village. He also requested for the participants to pass on the knowledge that they have obtained through this training to other residents, including the manual that was provided to them.

Before the end of the training JSMP distributed 230 copies of the training manual to the participants to be shared out amongst the community members. Source: JSMP Press Release 12 August 2013
Edited by Warren L. Wright

Meeting of the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers on August 13, 2013

ETLJB 15 August 2013 - The V Constitutional Government met on 13 August 2013 in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the following:

1. Government Resolution that Approves Annual Enlistment to the F–FDTL

The Council of Ministers approved the Resolution that approves the enlistment of new recruits into the F– FDTL for 2014. This Resolution arises from the need to meet the objectives set in the strategic guidelines (Força 2020), which provides that by the year 2020 the military will have a roster of 3600 men and women. In 2014 an additional 500 recruits will be enlisted to the class of “Praças”.

2. Decree-Law that approves the First Amendment to the Decree-Law approving the Statute of the University Teaching Career

The Ministry of Education has the approval of the Decree for the first amendment to the Decree-Law No. 7/2012 of 15 February on the Statute of the University Teaching Career. The system of career promotion contemplated in this law establishes a set of rules giving credibility to teaching staff through the promotion of excellence within the higher education institutions in Timor-Leste, both public and private.

This first amendment focuses mainly on the professional categories of the career regime, the official approval and certification process for the university professors’ career advancement, the criteria for assessing their performance and revision of the provisions concerning calculation of wages and supplements as well as the sabbatical regime.

3. Decree-Law that Approves the Structures of Administrative Pre-Deconcentration

The Council of Ministers approved the Decree-Law that approves the structures of administrative predeconcentration presented by the Ministry of State Administration.

The Decree-Law establishes the organizational and structural functions of administrative predecentralisation, which are peripheral services under the direct administration of the State, with administrative autonomy endowed to the Ministry of State Administration.

The structures of administrative pre-deconcentration aim to ensure the implementation of Government programs and the maintenance of the coordinated actions of all State services, and to support the activities of the traditional community leaders and non-governmental organisations in their geographical areas of operation.

4. Government Resolution Approves the Representative for the Integrated Economic Development Project

Following the presentation made at the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 29 July, the Council of Ministers has approved a Resolution appointing João Mendes Gonçalves, Minister of Economy and Development under the IV Constitutional Government, as the representative of the State of Timor- Leste, and Head of Mission, for the negotiation and establishment of a cooperation platform for integrated regional economic development between Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia. The Council of Ministers also analysed the following:

1. Survey of infrastructure damaged by climate change

The Secretary of State for Public Works presented to the Council of Ministers a survey of bridges and roads which have been damaged by the effects of Climate Change and therefore need prioritised repairs. Source: Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Press Release 13 August 2013Edited by Warren L. Wright

13 August 2013

Dili District Court hears murder, arson, fraud, assault, domestic violence, theft and other property offences cases in June 2013

ETLJB 13/08/2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on observations conducted in the Dili District Court during the month of June 2013. The text of the translation follows.

Case Summary June 2013 Summary of the trial process at the Dili District Court Period: June 2013


In June 2013 JSMP observed 17 cases at the Dili District Court. These 17 cases comprised 7 cases involving the crime of simple offence against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence, 3 cases of aggravated murder, 1 case of aggravated property damage, 1 serious crimes case (past crime), 1 case involving the misuse of authority, 1 case of arson and 1 case involving a simple offence against physical integrity.

From these 17 cases, the following 7 cases have been decided by the court: 1 sentence of imprisonment, 3 fines, 2 suspended sentences and 1 validation of a settlement whereby the defendant was ordered to pay compensation to the victim, whereas the other 10 cases are still ongoing.

The following information provides a summary of the cases that were heard by the court:

1. Crime of aggravated murder, Case No.105/C.Ord/2012/TDD

Composition of judges            : Panel

Judges                                     : Julio Gantes, Helder do Carmo and Jaçinta Correia

Public Prosecutor                    : José Luis Landim

Public defender                       : Leonídio Marques (trainee lawyer)

Conclusion                              : The defendant MSA was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment and the defendant ACC was acquitted

On 6 June 2013 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing in a case involving aggravated murder committed by the defendant MSA who was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment after being found guilty of committing aggravated murder against an UNDIL student in Hera. However, the other defendant ACC was acquitted from all charges relating to the crime of simple offence against physical integrity, because the victim is now deceased and the family of the victim did not lodge a complaint.

The two defendants were PNTL officers from the Becora Police Station who were under the supervision of the Dili District Command. This case allegedly occurred on 16 July 2012 in Hera, Dili District.

12 August 2013

Suai District Court hears gender-based violence, assaults and sex crimes cases

ETLJB 12 August 2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on observations of the Suai District Court proceedings in July 2013. The text of the translation follows.

Between 24 - 26 July 2013 the Suai District Court conducted a mobile court in the District of Same-Manufahi. The mobile court was supposed to try 14 cases, including 7 cases of gender based violence. From the 7 cases of gender based violence, 4 cases involved offences against physical integrity characterised as domestic violence, 1 case of rape, 1 case of sexual coercion and 1 case of attempted rape.

From these 7 cases, 5 cases have been decided by the court, 1 case was adjourned to 6 August 2013 for the announcement of the decision and the other case was adjourned until 26 October 2013 because the defendant did not appear in court and is in Indonesia.

The defendant in the case involving sexual coercion was sentenced to 2 years 2 months imprisonment that was suspended for 4 years, and the defendant in the case of attempted rape was acquitted because the testimony provided by the witness and the victim was contradictory and the defendant chose to remain silent during the trial. In the 3 cases involving domestic violence, the first defendant was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment that was suspended for 1 year, the second defendant was ordered to pay a fine of US$ 30 together with court costs of US$ 10, and the third defendant had an agreement validated by the court because the parties had reached and amicable settlement.

Based on JSMP observations, the mobile court has taken a positive step forward in terms of protecting the identity and privacy of victims in cases involving sexual violence and minors. In these hearing the court made a request for all of those present to leave the court room before the hearings commenced.

“This is a very progressive step forward because it is important to ensure that victims of sexual violence and minors are given sufficient protection during proceedings. JSMP believes that the judges handling these cases should be praised for changing their approach towards protecting victims,” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, Executive Director of JSMP.

The judges presiding over these hearings were Costânsio Barros Basmery, Pedro Raposo de Fiquieredo (international) and Lorencia Freitas. The public prosecution service was represented by Felisminio Cardoso (international) and Benvinda da Costa Rosario. The Office of the Public Defender was represented by Marçal Mascarinhas and João Henrique.

The court clerks who assisted the mobile court were Samuel Moniz Araújo, Jose Feliciano Mauleto and Augusta Neves.

This publication has only covered the cases involving gender based violence handled by the aforementioned mobile court. Source: JSMP Press Release 7 August 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

East Timor Court acquits defendant in case of sexual abuse of a minor but questions raised over method of cross-examination of the child

ETLJB 12 August 2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on a case in the Dili District Court regarding the alleged sexual abuse of a child by his father. The text of the translation follows.

On 30 July 2013 the Dili District Court read out its decision in a case of sexual abuse committed by a father against his own daughter.

The public prosecutor alleged that in 2010 the defendant sexually abused the victim on two occasions, firstly in the kitchen and secondly in the bedroom. This incident occurred when the victim was 10 years old.

During the trial the defendant denied all of the charges against him and the victim also testified that the facts that were contained in the indictment were not correct.

The witness, who was the mother of the victim, testified that the victim told the witness that the defendant had committed sexual abuse against her.

Because the testimony of the parties was contradictory, the court decided to cross examine the testimony provided by the witness, the victim and the defendant. Cross examination is a method used by the court to examine evidence given to the court in the form of testimony.

After the cross examination the court was still unsure, so the court decided to acquit the defendant.

“JSMP is concerned that the method of cross examination employed by the court is not the appropriate method to use. JSMP believes that cross examining a child aged 13 together with the perpetrator who is the father of the victim will subject the child to fear and intimidation”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

JSMP hopes that in the future the court will be more sensitive towards the use of mechanisms and approaches that are less confronting for cases that involve children. When children are involved in the capacity of victim or witness the court should avoid applying the same mechanisms that would be applied in trials involving adults. The court must protect children from trauma and apply more appropriate means to gather evidence.

The public prosecutor charged the defendant with Article 177 of the Penal Code regarding the sexual abuse of a minor as well as violating Article 35 of the Law Against Domestic Violence.

This case was registered as Case No.178//2012/TDDIL. The hearing was presided over by judge Antoninho Gonçalves who was representing a panel of judges. The public prosecutor Jose Luis Landim was not present in the hearing and the defendant was provided with legal representation by public defender Marçal Mascarinhas. Source: JSMP Press Release 7 August 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

09 August 2013

Meeting of the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers 6 August 2013

ETLJB 09/08/2013 - The V Constitutional Government met on August 6, 2013, in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room at the Government Palace in Díli and approved the following:

1. Proposal of the Press Law

The Secretary of State for Social Communication presented the Council of Ministers with a Proposal on the Press Law. This law protects the rights of citizens to their full exercise of freedom of thought and expression and allows media professionals the guarantee of the confidentiality and safeguards their independence.

The Press Law aims to ensure the freedom of the press while at the same time promoting the necessary balance between the exercise of that freedom and other fundamental rights and values contained in the Constitution. Its purpose is primarily to regulate the activity of professionals adequately prepared and ethically responsible, so that they can inform the public objectively and impartially and encourage active and enlightened citizenship by the population, thus contributing to a democratic society.

This Proposal on the Press Law was approved by the Council of Ministers and will be submitted for
approval by the National Parliament.

2. Resolution that Approves the Implementation Guide of the Rural Employment Programme

The Council of Ministers approved a resolution approving the Implementation Guide of the Rural
Employment Programme (REP) submitted by the Secretary of State for Professional Training and
Employment Policy (SEFOPE).

The REP is implemented by SEFOPE with the aim of creating jobs in rural areas and, at the same time, is intended to finance the rehabilitation and maintenance of local infrastructure through the use of local enterprises and human resources.

The PER Implementation Guide contains a set of rules for the use of the public transfer attributed to
SEFOPE by the General State Budget for 2013 and intended for the Rural Employment Programme.
The Council of Ministers also analysed the following:

1. Decree-Law that approves the First Amendment to the Decree-Law approving the Statute
of the University Teaching Career

The Ministry of Education submitted a proposal for what is the first amendment to the Decree-Law No. 7/2012 of 15 February on the Statute of the University Teaching Career. This draft of Decree-Law will again be submitted for approval in a future meeting of the Council of Ministers. Source: V Constitutional Government Press Release 6/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright 

06 August 2013

Extraordinary Meeting of the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers on August 2, 2013

ETLJB 6 August 2013 - The V Constitutional Government met extraordinarily on Friday, August 2, 2013 in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room at the Government Palace in Díli and approved the following:

1. Public-Private Partnerships – Tibar Bay Port

The Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications along with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), presented to the Council of Ministers some of the structures for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), including requirements related to infrastructure and technical recommendations concerning the Tibar Bay Port.

The presentation to the Council of Ministers set out some examples of Public-Private Partnerships and a perspective of the investment and revenue scenarios to the Government. Particular to the case of the Tibar Bay Port’s infrastructure, the study was designed with the perspective of future growth and technical recommendations about the legal, environmental and social questions and on the tender process.

The Council of Ministers approved the Public-Private Partnership model for this project through concessions as well as further work, which according to the proposed business plan, provides that the construction of the Tibar Bay Port will start in 2015. Source: Preisidency of the Council V Constitutional Government Press Release 2 August 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

01 August 2013

Government takes land on Atauro Island to establish military security posts

ETLJB 01 August 2013 - The government is taking land on the island of Atauro off the coast of Dili to establish military security posts so that the armed forces can better control illegal fishing in the Timor Sea according to an English translation of a report on Televizaun Timor-Leste on 29 July 2013.

Speaking to journalists, the State Secretary for Defense, Julio Thomas Pinto, said that the government had identified space for constructing the security posts and that the Land Property Directorate was currently measuring land for the construction.

Mr. Pinto called on communities in the island to collaborate with the defence force in order to facilitate the construction of the posts.

Meanhile, F-FDTL Commander, Major General Lere Anan Timur, said the deployment of his soldiers in Atauro would help control activities in the country’s sea.

“We have found space to construct security posts as what we have said that Oe-Cusse and Atauro are the same status and it is about the country’s sovereignty,” Lere said.

It is not recorded in the translation of the report whether the land is land that belongs to the communities on Atauro Island or whether it is state land claimed by the government pursuant to its succession to the lands claimed as state land during the Indonesian or Portuguese occupations. In any event, neither of the foreign occupying forces of East Timor acknowledged or respected the communal or customary individualised land rights anywhere throughout the territory even though no land in East Timor was ever terra nullius (empty land belonging to no one). The occupying powers simply disregarded customary land rights and granted state-based land rights to those it deemed worthy or appropriated the land to the state itself - all without just compensation for the extinguishment of pre-existing indigenous land tenure systems.

As there is no due process for such acquisitions, in disregard of the applicable Indonesian laws regulating the acquisition of land in the public interest under which compensation is payable to land owners (whether individuals or communities), the owners of land taken by the state have little or no bargaining power when their land is taken. The lack of juridical status of communal land tenure systems permits the arbitrary taking of communal land by the state.

During the UNTAET period when the defence force headquarters were established at Metinaro, the government's land surveyors were confronted by members of the community who owned that land armed with weapons and the police and defence force personnel were deployed to quell resistance to the taking of the community land in that instance. Faced with the armed force of the state, the community had to surrender their land for some bags of rice; hardly just compensation.

Subsequent acquisitions and resumptions have followed this pattern and will continue until there is a just legal framework within which the taking of land by the state in the public interest is enacted by the Parliament.

The second problematical aspect of this security base is that it is intended for the purpose of the military to combat illegal fishing in the territorial waters of East Timor. The unconstitutional deployment of the military to enforce the civil law has been an all-too-common phenomenon in East Timor. The enforcement of the civil law is the role and function of the police. The confusion of the roles of the military and the police force raises serious problems for the rule of law as Wilson describes in her paper Joint Command for PNTL and F-FDTL Undermines Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste.

Related posts
Community land in East Timor - A New Tragedy of the Commons? 
Community Land in East Timor: Compensation for Acquisition for Public Purposes
Government and Community celebrate agreement on land use for Suai Supply Base
Land Disputes: From the Security Perspective
Mass executive evictions in Dili as government plans airport extension
Land use, practice and tenure in south central East Timor: some illustrations

 Source: TLMDC translation of report on TVTL 29/07/2013. Edited by Warren L. Wright
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