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22 October 2013

Local government threatens to demolish homes built on drains

ETLJB 22 October 2013 - According to a report in The Dili Weekly, the Caicoli village chief has threatened to demolish houses built on drains in the village area if the government instructs the dismantling of such residences.

The Dili Weekly quoted the village chief, Hipolito Marques Sarmento, as saying that “I myself walked with the Deputy Prime Minister, and one day we will demolish [house build on drains] and at that time, the community will agree to have them demolished.” He said he already told the community and asked them not to build houses in areas categorised as dangerous, where their homes could be flooded.

TDW also reported that a Member of Parliament, Eladio Faculto, said housing in Dili was slowly becoming tighter because foreigners had bought a lot of land in Timor, so the community built homes elsewhere.  “I also study at UNTL and we conducted research and I saw that in Lahane there were several families in danger,” said MP Faculto.

On 7 September 2013, ETLJB posted a report about fears of foreign domination of the economy of East Timor as well as land, particularly by Chinese and Indonesian investors. Even though the ownership of land by non-citizens is prohibited by the Constitution, foreigners can still lease land in East Timor.  Sources: The Dili Weekly 16/09/2013 ETLJB citing Suara Timor Lorosae via TLMDC 27/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

21 October 2013

Man accused of murdering his girlfriend by strangulation with cord of hair straightener

ETLJB 21 October 2013  -  The Dili Weekly reported on 18 October 2013, that the East TImor Criminal Investigation Service police stopped the investigation process into a murder as the suspect AJ is in a serious condition in hospital.

The man is a suspect in the murder of ST, his girlfriend,who was found dead with her hands boundafter being strangled by the cord of a hair straightener.

The incident itself happened on September 4 at about 5am in Bairo Pite in Dili.

The suspect himself was in serious condition and received treatment at the National Hospital Guido Valadares (HNGV), so the investigation process was put on hold.

The Criminal Investigation Service (SIK) Acting Chief Manuel Alves said the investigation could start again once the suspect recovered.

“Now we see that his condition is a little bit serious so we will continue the investigation process after this,” said Chief Inspector Alves in Kaikoli, Dili.

The victim was found dead with her hands and neck tied, with $30 in her hands and $50 in her pocket. She was a third grade student at a secondary school in Dili.

At the time, the victim was studying to prepare for national exams and the phone rang and her mother, who was baking a cake, heard her receive the call.

When the victim’s mother tried toopen the door it was locked, and later the victim was found dead on the ground about 25 meters away.

 Source: The Dili Weekly 18/10/2013 Written by Venidora Oliveira Edited by ETLJB.

Three AK-33's and 20 pistols still missing since 2006 crisis

Rebel Major Alfredo Reinado shot dead during the 2006 crisis. Photo: Kompas
ETLJB21 October 2013 - Some of the weapons that went missing during the 2006 political crisis in East Timor have still not been recovered some 7 years later. The Timorese National Police (PNTL) Commands has appealed to the National Parliament members to contribute to recovering the weapons.

According to the data and information, rebel groups commanded by Alfredo Alves Reinado who was shot dead in the grounds of the then President's residence during the crisis, snatched three AK-33 weapons from PNTL Border Unit (UPF) at the border area in 2006. Subsequently,  the weapons were taken to the town of Likisa.

PNTL Deputy Commander, Afonso de Jesus was reported by Independente on 9 October as saying that “the weapons were snatched from UPF members and then those weapons were taken to Likisa; therefore, I am calling on MPs who were living in Likisa at that time to contribute to PNTL to recall those weapons.”

Commander Afonso the Jesus said that there were 23 weapons composed of three AK-33 weapons and 20 pistols that still missing and had not yet been recovered. Source: Independente 9 October 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

20 October 2013

Court hands down suspended prison sentences in five cases of domestic violence and sentences defendant to 18 years imprisonment in case of incest

ETLJB 20 October 2013 - JSMP 05 August 2013  - On 31 July 2013 the Baucau District Court conducted hearings to announce its decision in four cases of domestic violence, 1 case of serious maltreatment against a spouse and 1 case aggravated of sexual abuse (incest).

In the four cases involving simple offences against physical integrity the court handed down sentences of three month’s imprisonment that were suspended for 1 year, in the case involving the serious maltreatment of a spouse the defendant was sentenced to 1 year and six month’s imprisonment, which was suspended for one year and 6 months, and in the case involving sexual abuse (incest) the defendant was sentenced to 18 month’s imprisonment.

“JSMP encourages all of the courts to review the effectiveness of applying suspended sentences in case of domestic violence, because JSMP has observed that domestic violence has continued to increase in all locations. This gives the impression that the application of suspended sentences has almost no ability to deter domestic violence in Timor-Leste”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

Everyone should understand that domestic violence is a serious crime according to the Penal Code of Timor-Leste. Therefore, everyone has the personal responsibility and duty to eradicate all forms of violence against women.

In addition to voicing its concern about the application of suspended sentences in cases of domestic violence, JSMP also wishes to congratulate the court on its decision to sentence the defendant in a case of incest to 18 year’s imprisonment. This decision is a step forward in eradicating the crime of incest in Timor-Leste.

These cases were registered respectively as Case No. 57/Crm.S/203/TDB, 24/Crm.S/2012/TDB, 60/Crm.S/2013/TDB, 41/Crm.S/2013/TDB, 21/Crm.C/2013/TDB, and 97/Crm.C/2013/TDB.

The cases involving simple offences against physical integrity were presided over by judge José Gonçalves. The Public Prosecution service was represented by Baltazar Ramos and the defendants were represented by Rui Manuel Guterres. The case involving the serious maltreatment of a spouse and the case involving incest were presided over by judge Ângela Faria Belo. Source: JSMP Press Release 05/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Related posts
Dili District Court hands down a sentence of 20 years imprisonment in a case of incest “Girls live in danger and are unsafe in their own homes” 

The application of suspended prison sentences in cases of domestic violence in Timor-Leste

East Timor Government Approves Draft Press Law

ETLJB 20 October 2013 - On 6 August, 2013, the V Constitutional Government 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
(REP)

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: Government of East Timor Press Release 06/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Violence Quelled at Home in Timor-Leste Explodes Abroad

ETLJB 20 October 2013 The recent Timorese government crackdown on Martial Arts Gangs has proven effective in reducing violence and gang activities within Timor-Leste. However, the ongoing violence and illegal activities conducted by Timorese operating in other countries highlights a need for government policies to increase monitoring and control of Timorese living abroad. Among the recent news of disturbances abroad include the activities of Timorese Martial Arts Gangs in Indonesia, violence between Timorese living in Ireland and Portugal, a stabbing by a Timorese person in Japan, and the rape of a Filipino woman by a Timorese man in the Philippines.

Timorese Martial Arts Gangs continue to be highly active in Indonesia. They launder money and smuggle drugs and other stolen goods into Timor-Leste, which has a detrimental effect on Timor-Leste’s security sector. It is crucial that the Timorese government find a way to reduce this Timorese involvement in organized crime, especially considering that Indonesia claims the highest percentage of Timorese students studying abroad. If these students are not monitored in any way then they may be coerced into involvement in illegal activities.

Fundasaun Mahein recommends that the government send a representative from the Ministry of Labor to Indonesia to both monitor and support Timorese citizens working and studying abroad. It is also Fundasaun Mahein’s position that any delegation sent for this purpose should not be allowed to study while on their post, as it would divide their attention and make them less effective.

Fundasaun Mahein also points to the example of Timorese working abroad in Korea as a model that can be applied to other countries where Timorese are living. The Timorese government holds a bilateral labor relationship with the Korean government, which has proven to be successful for all parties involved. Timorese students taking part in the program can study in Dili before traveling to work at state-sponsored companies in Korea. Every year, Timorese workers in Korea send $9 million dollars back to their families in Timor.

Why does the government settle for displacing violence and illegal activities abroad when there is a proven system for Timorese to work abroad peacefully and successfully?

Finally, Fundasaun Mahein suggests the creation of “communication centers” in each district. These centers will be available to the families of Timorese students and workers abroad to call their relatives at no cost. Fundasaun Mahein believes that encouraging regular communication with family members in Timor will have a positive impact on Timorese living abroad. This will help ensure they do not become involved with illegal or dangerous activities that will hurt Timor-Leste. Source: Fundasaun Mehein 07/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Timor Leste NGO/Civil Society Contact Information July - Sept 2013

ETLJB 20 October 2013 - Belun and the Database Network (FONGTIL and Fundasaun Alola) provide civil society/organisation project information  to the all beneficiaries or development partners (Government, NGOs, Bilateral and Agencies).

The Database strengthens relations and coordination between donors for community development projects, and assists government institutions and civil society organisations to run programs that complement the National Development Strategic Plan.

The Database also prevents the duplication of project objectives by government or civil society programs.

To access the latest organisation and project information for civil society in Timor Leste, click here to download general organisation contact information.

Please lets us know if you have any request about data and any questions. Source: Belun Edited by Warren L. Wright

East Timor Justice Minister calls for lawyers’ commitment to help communities

East Timor Justice Minister Babo-Soares
Justice Minister Dionisio Babo Soares
(Photo: The Dili Weekly)
ETLJB 20 October 2013 - The East Timor Minister for Justice, Mr Dionisio Babo Soares, has appealed to all private lawyers to strengthen their commitment to help provide legal aid for communities for the sake of law enforcement in the country.

The minister made the comments after handing over certificates to the lawyers who had just completed their training course at Dili’s judicial training centre.

”We are pleased as it is the first time in our history that the lawyers were able to complete their training course. I am calling on them to work properly to better serve communities for strengthening justice in the country,” he said.

 Meanwhile, Radio Timor Leste reports that women imprisoned at the Gleno prison have yet received any legal assistance. RTL reported comments by a private lawyer from the Timorese Lawyers Association (AATL) that the imprisoned women in Gleno were not receiving legal assistance from their lawyers.

“Based on my observation the imprisoned women are not getting a legal assistance from the lawyers but AATL guarantees that the legal assistance for the women will be attended to beter in the future,” she said. Sources: Televizaun Timor-Leste 17 October 2013; Radio Timor-Leste 17 October 2013  Edited by Warren L. Wright

Slavery in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 20 October 2013 - The Global Slavery Index provides a ranking of 162 countries, reflecting a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country. The measure is heavily weighted to reflect the first factor, prevalence. A number one ranking indicates a more severely concentrated modern slavery situation; 160 shows the least. The top 5 worst-ranking countries are Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India, and Nepal while the top 5 best-ranking countries are Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Switzerland.


The index assigns East Timor at 120 indicating a relatively low incidence of slavery. By contrast, Australia is rated overall at 138 and Indonesia at 114.

The Index uses the following definition of slavery:

Slavery is the possession and control of a person in such a way as to significantly deprive that person of his or her individual liberty, with the intent of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal. Usually this exercise will be achieved through means such as violence or threats of violence, deception and/or coercion.

The Global Slavery Index 2013 report includes a table entitled "Ranking by prevalences of population in modern slavery, plus national population, plus estimate of absolute numbers of population in modern slavery per country". According to this ranking table, the Global Slavery Index asserts that Calculated Number of Enslaved in East Timor is 1,020, the Estimated Enslaved, Lower Range for East Timor is 970 with the Estimated Enslaved, Higher Range at 1,100.

But the report states that the actual number of enslaved is most likely to be much higher that the Calculated Number of Enslaved because "The calculated number of enslaved is a figure obtained by multiplying the estimated proportion of the population enslaved in each country (derived from random sample surveys and secondary source estimates) by the current population. Although this is a calculation, it is not the true number of enslaved in each country, given that the “dark figure” of slavery (that is, the underreported number of enslaved) is considerably higher than the reported number. We therefore urge due caution in inferring that the calculated number represents
the true number of enslaved. It is, most likely, a gross underestimate."

This implies tha the actual number of enslaved persons in East Timor is much higher than 1020. Turning to the three factors used to measure the incidence of slavery by the Index, namely: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country, there seems to be little empirical evidence of modern slavery in East Timor although this author has heard anecdotal stories of such slavery. Child marriage does not appear to be phenomenon manifesting in East Timor. Certainly, there have been several public reports since independence of trafficking of women from other countries to East Timor to work in the sex industry as well as local prostitution so perhaps it is the human trafficking in and out of the country that is the primary factor taken into consideration by the authors of the index to calculate the numbers of slaves in East Timor.

If any reader has any other sources of information on slavery in East Timor, please let us know by using the ETLJB Contact Us form. Source: The Global Slavery Index 2013. This article written by Warren L. Wright BA LLB on 20 October 2013

Meeting of the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers 01 October 2013

ETLJB 20 October 2013  - The Government gathered on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, at the Council of Ministers meeting room, at the Government Palace, in Dili, and approved:

1. First amendment to the General Labour Inspectorate’s Statute, approved by the Decree Law n. 19/2010, of December 1st

The General Labour Inspectorate was created in 2010, to improve and strengthen the service of labour inspection across the country. Aiming to provide the institution with the necessary technical abilities to the accomplishment of its functions, its statute provided for a special career system, with five categories. Nevertheless, the transitory rule which enabled the Inspectors, under the Public Service’s general career regime, to move to the special career’s regime already created, did not exist. This diploma, thereby, creates the legal basis to enable the inspectors already working to move to the special careers’ regime.

2. Government’s Decree, approving the staff for Technical and Administrative Support Services of the Office of Prosecutor General

This Decree establishes the career of Prosecutor's Office staff, were new vacancies are determined for each one of the career categories, as defined in the organization of the Technical and Administrative Support Services of the Office of Prosecutor General, approved by Decree Law n. 6/2010, of April 14th.

3. First amendment to the Organic of the Technical and Administrative Support Services of the Office of Prosecutor General

This amendment to Decree Law n. 6/2010, from April 14th, sets the Organic Structure of the Technical and Administrative Support Services of the Office of Prosecutor General to the new institutional reality, aiming to fit their real needs, immediately, raising the category of some support services of the Office of Prosecutor General, essential to their goals’ achievement.

By its nature, the Technical and Administrative Support Services are responsible for providing specialized technical support, institutional planning, financial and assets management, and human resources, of the Office of Prosecutor General.

4. Decree Law approving the Legal Regime of Licensing and Control of Buildings and Urbanizations

Following the approval of the legal regimes for certification and enrolment of construction firms and technical civil consulting and sole practitioners’ registration (Decree Law n. 27/2010 and Decree Law n. 26/2010, both from December 22nd), the Government intends to continue the development of legislation on urban construction.

The Legal Regime of Licensing and Control of Buildings and Urbanizations includes rules of administrative nature, defining conditions for previous approval of projects and work licensing, including its control and supervision, yet establishing the sanctions regime. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release 01/10/2103 Edited by Warren L. Wright

19 October 2013

The application of suspended prison sentences in cases of domestic violence in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 19 October 2013 - On 18 October 2013 JSMP will present an exclusive debate on the theme ‘The application of suspended prison sentences in cases of domestic violence – expectations and challenges’.

This debate aims to enhance understanding about the implications of applying suspended prison sentences in cases of domestic violence and also to explore other appropriate punishments set out in the applicable law such as imprisonment, fines or community service in order to reduce incidents of domestic violence.

This debate is a means to disseminate information to the wider community regarding the issue of suspended prison sentences in cases of domestic violence. The debate will take place at Hotel Timor, Dili, from 3.00-5.00 pm.

The following guest speakers will share their opinions during this debate: the Judge Administrator of the Dili District Court, Dr.  Duarte Tilman, the Prosecutor-General of Timor-Leste, Dr. Jose Ximenes and the Director of JSMP, Dr. Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

This debate will involve a limited number of participants such as lecturers and students from the Faculties of Law from UNPAZ, UNTL, UNDIL, UNITAL and representatives of civil society/NGOs who work towards the prevention and eradication of gender based violence such as FOKUPERS, ALFeLa, and AATL, the umbrella organization for private lawyers.

This debate aims to reveal expectations and institutional challenges faced by judicial actors in relation to the sentencing policy applied in cases of domestic violence, especially the tendency to suspend prison sentences.

In addition, the debate aims to explore practical challenges that are encountered and to develop other alternatives to ensure that appropriate punishments are handed down against perpetrators of domestic violence to prevent and reduce domestic violence in the future.

“JSMP believes that through this program we will be able to understand the judiciary’s views regarding a policy of handing down more adequate punishments in cases of domestic violence, which is a public crime according to the applicable law”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

JSMP would like to encourage all parties to actively contribute to strengthening the justice sector and legislation in Timor-Leste to ensure and guarantee that all people can live with legal protection and can obtain justice when their rights are violated.

JSMP would also like to express its deep gratitude for the donor support provided by the Norwegian Embassy that has made this program possible. Source: JSMP Press Release 17/10/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

17 October 2013

Most foreigners violating visa conditions in Timor-Leste are Indonesians

ETLJB 17 October 2013 - According to a report in the daily media outlet, Independente on 11 October 2013, there are numerous Indonesians who violate East Timorese law by not complying with visa conditions.

The Timorese National Police (PNTL) Immigration Service has arrested more than 2,000 foreign nationals so far this year because they misuse their social visit visa. Most of them are Indonesian citizens according to the East Timor National Police Immigration Service Commander, Jose da Costa.

Earlier, Radio TImor Leste had reported that the Deputy Commander of the Immigration Police, Luis Bareto, had said that the immigration Police would hold operations in districts to search for foreign nationals who have violated their visa conditions. Bareto was also reported to have said that foreign nationals who breached the immigration law would be sanctioned with a penalty of between US$200 to US$2000. He added that companies who employ foreign nationals who only hold a social visit visa would also be sanctioned.

But the government of East Timor has decided to let the foreigners return to their country voluntarily.

”We have no budget to deport foreigners. Therefore, we ask them to leave the country voluntarily or we summon the company that is responsible for these people to prepare their documents and send them back to their country,” Commander da Costa is reported to have said in Fatuhada in Dili on 10 October 2013.  Sources: Independente 11 October 2013; Radio Timor-Leste October 4, 2013 via TLMDC Edited by Warren L. Wright

District Commander of East Timor police commander accused of assaulting officers

ETLJB 17 October 2013 - A district commander of the East Timor police force has been accused of physically assaulting police officers under his command.

The case, involving the Lautem District Commander has been referred to the internal disciplinary processes of the police force. Suara Timor Lorosae reported on 16 October 2013, a statement by the Deputy Commander of the police force on Monday last at the Police Academy in Comoro, Afonso de Jesus, that there was evidence that indicated that the district commander had maltreated his officers and that police command would consider imposing sanctions on the district commander.

Afonso de Jesus considered that the case raised criminal issues and the police command would seek to establish the truth through investigations. Source: Suara Timor Lorosae 16/10/2013 via TLMDC Edited by Warren L. Wright

Prisoner apparently commits suicide in East Timor jail

ETLJB 17 October 2013 - The man accused of murdering Cristovao de Jesus was found dead in his cell in Becora prison last Thursday, 10 October 2013 according to a report by daily media Independente.


Mr Cristovao was a soldier in East Timor's Defence Force and was killed in the capital Dili in August last year. It was initially believed that the soldier had been stoned to death but an autopsy showed that he had been struck on the head with a hammer and an iron bar after he had attended a family wedding party in the Dili suburb of Quintal Boot.

The prisoner, Mateus Moniz da Silva, is believed to have committed suicide by hanging himself after the first hearing of the accusation of murder against him in the Dili District Court on Wednesday, 09 October.

The newspaper reported comments by the Becora Prison warden, Joao Domingos, that Mateus did not show any signs that he was suicidal but during a cell check by prison guards, his body was discovered.

However, the family of the deceased man does not believe that Mateus hung himself and has called on the Becora prison administration to produce evidence that he committed suicide.

According to another report in Independente on 16 October 2013, the man's family went to the Natioanal Parliament Committee B on Security to request the Committee's support in investigating the case.

”We are here to seek for the truth because we do not believe Mateus committed suicide in Becora prison because when we arrived at Becora prison the dead body has been taken by the police and we did not see the prisoners’ guard releasing him from the rope that he used to hang himself,” Family spokesman, Joao de Jesus Freitas said after meeting with Committee the B.


According the the report in Independente, there have been "many suicide cases" in 2013.


Source: Independente, 11 October 2013; Independente 16 October 2013 via TLMDC Edited by Warren L. Wright

16 October 2013

Timor-Leste Legal News 14 October 2013

Summary: Police and Customs officers seize knives in container at Dili Sea Port; Railos denies allegation of concealing weapons; Bodies of students murdered in Indonesia returned home; F-FDTL’s marine force captures illegal Indonesian fishers

Police and Customs officers seize knives in container at Dili Sea Port Source: Televizaun Timor-Leste 14 October 2013 -  Dili District Police and Customs officers last Thursday conducted a joint inspection of a container at Dili Sea Port as it was suspected of containing sharp objects which has attracted the authorities' attention.

The container was sent into the country by the Lelabai Company and a company from China. It had been at the port for a long time but had only recently been unloaded as it was suspected of containing knifes and weapons. The Director of the Customs Service said that the inspection was based on the normal procedures and said that knives had been found inside the container.

Railos denies allegation of concealing weapons Timor Post 14 October 2013 -  Vicente da Concecao who is also known as Railos has denied allegations made by Member of Parliament Cesar de Jesus that Railos' group was still hiding weapons that went missing in the 2006 crises.

The MP also called on the Government to launch an investigation into the 23 missing weapons as they had not yet been recovered. Mr. Concecao who led the Railos hit squad in 2006 said the MP could come to his house and conduct an inspection and said that he had never hidden any weapons.

He threatened to take MP de Jesus to the court as he had handed back all the weapons which he and his followers carried during the crises. The Railos hit squad was set up by the ex-Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato during the 2006’s crises to boost his political power.

Bodies of students murdered in Indonesia returned home Timor Post 14 October 2013 -  Two Timorese students who were killed by their Timorese countrymen in Indonesia have been transported to Dili, Timor-Leste.

The bodies of 24-year old Ismenio “Boy” and 22-year old Ubaldo dos Anjos arrived in Dili last Saturday on board Indonesia’s commercial aircraft Merpati. At Nicolao Lobato Airport, relatives of the deceased men called for the National Police (PNTL) to cooperate with Indonesian police to capture the perpetrators for legal proceedings.

Representatives of the families coordinated with Indonesia’s embassy in Timor-Leste on the process of handing back the two bodies of their loved ones.

F-FDTL’s marine force captures illegal Indonesian fishers Timor Post 14 October 2013 -  The Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) has captured three illegal fishers from Indonesia and another Timorese on board a boat in the area of the Timor Sea.

The boat which F-FDTL's marine force captured was full of fish and the three fishers are from Lira, Ambon in Indonesia. Indonesian fishermen said they had no intention to illegally enter the Timor Sea but their boat was hired by the Timorese named Agustino. These Indonesian fishermen have no proper travel documents and license which permitted them to fish in the country’s territorial sea. Source: TLMDC and cites media Edited by Warren L. Wright

Dili District Court hands down a sentence of 20 years imprisonment in a case of incest “Girls live in danger and are unsafe in their own homes”

Image: Arte Moris. Phot credit: W Wright
ETLJB 16 October 2013 The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report and commnetary on a recent case of incest in the Dili District Court. The text of the translation follows.

Dili District Court hands down a sentence of 20 years imprisonment in a case of incest - “Girls live in danger and are unsafe in their own homes”

On 8 October 2013 the Dili District Court issued its decision in a case of incest and sentenced the defendant to 20 years imprisonment for committing sexual abuse against his own underage daughter. This sentence relates to the accumulation of 16 criminal offences that were committed in succession by the defendant against the victim.

The court reached this decision based on the evidence that was presented in the form of the defendant’s admission, the testimony of the witness and a medical report.

The Public Prosecutor alleged that the defendant committed the criminal act of sexually abusing a minor on 16 occasions between September and December 2012. Every month the defendant committed sexual abuse on four occasions.

These acts caused the victim to become pregnant and give birth to a boy. This crime was also categorized as domestic violence because the defendant is the biological father of the victim.

In relation to this case the Public Prosecutor charged the defendant for violating Article177 of the Penal Code on the sexual abuse of a minor and Article 182 (d) of the Penal Code on aggravation as well as Article 35 of the Penal Code on the joinder of crimes as well as Articles 2 and 35 (b) of the Law Against Domestic Violence.

“JSMP deeply regrets that at least once a month the courts conduct trials and convict defendants in cases of incest involving close family members such as biological fathers, stepfathers or other close relatives. This is a major concern and we can never allow this type of behavior to continue in our community,” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, Executive Director of JSMP.

The crime of incest is very severe sexual violence because it involves the exploitation of an authoritative relationship in the family and has multiple consequences for the future of the victim if it is not dealt with in a way that provides adequate and lasting redress.

JSMP praises and applauds the sentences handed down by the court against those convicted of the crime of incest, however JSMP urges all parties to continue to contribute to doing everything possible to prevent such crimes reoccurring in the future, and State institutions in particular need to be more sensitive to this reality.

Previously on 18 and 20 September JSMP observed 2 trials involving incest at the Suai District Court and Baucau District Court with sentences of 8 years imprisonment and 18 years imprisonment handed down against the respective defendants.

“This shows the reality that socially we are facing an extremely serious problem because girls are living in fear of danger and are unsafe in their own homes,” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, the Executive Director of JSMP.

The State has to do something to stop this crime and to protect the victims because nearly all of those victimized are minors.

In 2012, JSMP wrote a report entitled “Incest in Timor-Leste: An unrecognized crime” and recommended that a specific and comprehensive legislative policy be developed to respond to the phenomena of incest in Timor-Leste.

JSMP is also concerned about the process of reintegrating the victim into her family and community because at the moment the victim doesn’t have anybody, including her mother, to care for her and her baby. The victim is currently receiving temporary protection in Fokupers. JSMP believes that the government is responsible for protecting victims and those who are vulnerable, such as the victim in this case.

This case was registered as Case No.135/2013/TDD.  Judge Antoninho Goncalves represented a panel of judges and read out the decision of the court handed down in this case. The Office of the Public Prosecutor was represented by Jacinto Babo Soares and the defendant was represented by public defender Manuel Amaral. Source: JSMP Press Release  9 October 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright Image added by ETLJB

14 October 2013

Summary of the trial process at the Suai District Court First and Second Weeks of July 2013

ETLJB 14/10/2014 -  The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on monitoring proceedings in the Suai District Court during the first and second weeks of July 2013. The text of the translation follows.

Summary of the trial process at the Suai District Court First and second weeks of July 2013

Introduction

During the first and second weeks of July 2013 JSMP observed 20 cases at the Suai District Court (SDC).

These cases comprised 1 case of sexual acts with an adolescent, 2 cases of aggravated theft, 4 cases of domestic violence, 1 case of minor theft, 5 cases of simple offences against physical integrity, 3 cases of rape, 1 case of sexual coercion, 1 case of embezzlement, 1 case of making threats and 1 one case of maltreatment of a spouse.

The information below outlines the hearings conducted:

1.  Crime of sexual acts with an adolescent-Case No. 135/pen/2013/TDS.

11 October 2013

Dili District Court postpones hearings in trials related to Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse (2007 Court Report by JSMP)

ETLJB 11 October 2013 -  (Editor's Note: This is a reposting from the East Timor Law Journal republished here for archive purposes.)

During January and February of 2007, JSMP’s Women’s Justice Unit court monitors observed that Dili District Court has been postponing the hearings for all cases related to domestic violence and sexual assault. JSMP monitored the eight cases which appeared before the court: five of domestic violence and three of sexual assault and in all cases the hearings were postponed.

The reason for postponing the hearing in a trial is as follows:  if the defendant is not present on the fixed day, at the trial hearing, the hearing will be postponed. The WJU notes that after the first hearing and questions posed to the defendant by the Judge, most of the defendants stayed free, because the Judge did not impose pre-trial detention.

WJU understands that according to Article 256 of the Criminal Procedure Code,[1] when a defendant fails to appear at the hearing, the law still gives him the benefit of justifying his absence. If the defendant does not justify his absence during the period of five days following the failed hearing, the Judge fixes a new date for the hearing, imposes a fine and issues an arrest warrant to ensure that the defendant will be present at the new hearing date that the court must fix. When the defendant manages to justify the absence, he or she will be notified of the new date for the hearing including the warning that if he/she fails to appear at the hearing and if his lawyer is present at the hearing it will be held and the defendant will be trailed “in absentia”.

In spite of the situation described above, WJU commends the Dili District Court’s willingness to deal with cases of domestic and sexual violence, especially because there are a large number of these cases. We are pleased that in the cases where the defendants fail to appear in Court, the Court acts according to the law, by fixing the new date of trial and making the new date public.

WJU recommends:

· The court should take the necessary measures to assure the presence of the defendant at the hearing, as the defendant’s presence is compulsory according to Article 253(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

· In cases of domestic and sexual violence the court should impose restrictive measures on defendants, such as pre-trial detention, according to Article 191 of the Criminal Procedure Code and followings of the PPC; this would avoid the defendant's absence from the hearing.

· The court should implement the mandate of Article 256(2), in order to prevent the absence of the defendant from the hearing's new fixed date, when the first date failed. That is, the court should issue an arrest warrant so the police can bring the defendant to the hearing. This would enable the court to proceed with the hearing in the presence of the defendant which is a fundamental fair trial guarantee and also help protect the defendant's rights. 

[1] CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE Art 256

1. Where the defendant fails to appear at the hearing, having been duly notified, the hearing Shall be postponed before evidence begins to be presented.

2. Failure to justify the absence within five days implies the payment of a fine and the issuance of an arrest warrant in order to ensure the defendant’s presence at the hearing to be held on the reset date.

3. Should the defendant justify his or her absence, he or she shall be notified of the reset date for the trial with the warning that, in the case of a new absence, the trial shall be held in absentia and that he or she shall, for all possible purposes, be represented by his or her defender. Source: JSMP Press Release 20/03/2007 Edited by Warren L. Wright

10 October 2013

Murders, sexual abuse of minors, assaults, drugs, theft, tax fraud, forgery, property damageand misappropriation of public assets cases heard in Dili District Court in July 2013

ETLJB 10 October 2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on monitoring of proceedings in the Dili District Court during the month of July 2013. The text of the report follows.

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

 Introduction

During July 2013 JSMP monitored 25 cases that were tried at the Dili District Court.

These cases comprised 7 cases involving simple offences against physical integrity, 6 cases of aggravated murder, 3 cases of sexual abuse against a minor, 1 case of misuse of authority and tax fraud, 1 case of aggravated forgery and embezzlement, 1 case of possessing drugs (narcotics), 2 cases of illegal gambling, 1 case of misappropriation of public assets and driving a vehicle without a license, 1 case of simple fraud and 1 case of making threats.

17 of these 25 cases were decided.  In 7 cases a prison sentence was handed down, in 3 cases settlements were validated by the court, 3 cases resulted in acquittals, in 4 cases suspended prison sentences were handed down and the other 9 cases are still being processed because the parties were not present or because of other procedural issues.

The information below outlines the hearings conducted:

07 October 2013

Fears of foreign domination in East Timor economy and land by Chinese and Indonesian investors

ETLJB 7 September 2013 - A newspaper in East Timor has reported comments by a local citizen expressing fears of foreign domination in the economy and land particularly by Chinese and Indonesian investors. According to a report in the leading Suara Timor Lorosae publication, "[i]n the next five years, foreigners will dominate each village of Timor-Leste and Timorese people themselves will lose their right to live in a piece of land.

The newspaper reported a comment by a Mr Jose dos Santos who said that he "as a Timorese he is sad because after independence, Timor-Leste is full of foreigners who do business in many places in Dili and other districts and these people are mostly Chinese and Indonesian.

“I am sad when seeing there are many foreigners who do small business in Timor-Leste, therefore, I am calling on the Government to control these foreigners because if the leaders cannot control these people, then, in the next five years Timorese people will lose their right to live in a piece of land,” Jose told STL in Caicoli of Dili on Monday 26.

Xenophobic sentiments tantamount to racism were recently attributed to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. On 11 May 2013, ETLJB published a post about an article in another media outlet, Jornal Nacional Diario, that reported public statements by the Prime Minister that  the country's be "capable people...contribute to the thinking of the people, so that the Chinese cannot dominate Timorese in the capital, Dili."

“Organize yourselves, meet together, speak with one another, otherwise the "Shing-Zhang" will rise above you, otherwise we talk about commerce to do what, industry to do what, because the biggest danger to us is that we have money, but if we did not have money then we will feel ashamed when our kids go asking for money, our kids go asking for US$20 but they only give US$10, we thank them and we are happy, but we have money so we don’t worry anymore,” Xanana explained.

At the same time, however, the Government has done nothing to limit the number of Chinese migrant workers in East Timor. When I was living in East Timor (2000-2004), I observed significant numbers of Chinese workers working on building projects doing jobs that were apparently unskilled and that could have been done by local workers. Of course, migrant workers are cheap and easily exploited by those who employ them so the project grantees can make more profit while local youth remain idle.

In East Timor, Chinese migrants were granted land and business concessions by the Portuguese colonial government and the evidence of that can be seen on the streets of Dili. The Chinese-descent East Timorese were targeted by the Indonesians when the invasion began and most fled. Some returned after East Timor broke away from Indonesia and reclaimed their land that they had been forced to abandon.

As one commentator noted at the time, the reported comments by the Prime Minister "provide a glimpse into the xenophobic undercurrent simmering beneath the facade of democratic and tolerant Timorese elites."

But they also carry the danger of incitement to racial hatred and violence against East Timor's Chinese-descent citizens.

The Chinese government has been a significant donor to East Timor which made the Prime Minister's observations even more bewildering.

Under Article 54 of the Constitution of East Timor, only citizens may own land but land is leased for business purposes to foreigners.

Sources: Suara Timor Lorosae 27/08/2013 English translation of article by TLMDC; ETLJB, Diak ka Lae Edited by Warren L. Wright

Tara Bandu for Conflict Prevention - Belun & The Asia Foundation Research in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 07 September 2013 - There follows a precis of the research undertaken by Belun and The Asia Foundation in East Timor on tara bandu and conflict prevention. A link to the full pdf file report is at the end of this post.

This report considers various factors that can influence how effectively tara bandu can be used to prevent conflict in Timor-Leste. The research reviews some of Belun and TAF's experiences in supporting tara bandu ceremonies for conflict prevention, and identifies some processes by which to improve the legitimacy and effectiveness of externally-supported tara bandu efforts with communities. These include increasing the inclusion of marginalized groups, including those who have been involved in previous local conflicts, and avoiding contradictions with the formal law in the formation of traditional regulations, particularly regarding cases of domestic violence.

All 3 categories of tara bandu: (1) regulating people to people relations; 2) regulating people to animal relations; and, 3) regulating people’s relationship to the environment, were viewed positively by interviewees through this research, not only for their environmental or peace dividend but also as a way to enhance traditional culture and mutual respect within society.

Some challenges, however remain. In some instances local leaders and supporting organizations have not sufficiently engaged community members, particularly marginalized groups including youth and women, resulting in tara bandu lacking legitimacy in the eyes of communities. Tara bandu in urban areas face the challenge of connecting to the cultural identities of mixed ethno-linguistic communities living away from their original cultural land, but urban communities are finding other significant symbols through which to promote community cohesion.

The report provides a list of recommendations to key stakeholders, such as the suggestion establish a working group to discuss the possible mandate for a “Customary Practice Unit†within the Ministry of Justice to provide advice to communities developing tara bandu and ensure that traditional regulations do not contradict formal laws.

A 5-part Checklist for Effective Tara bandu encompassed in the report can be used by supporting organizations as a way to help ensure that tara bandu are effective, conflict-sensitive and locally-owned. The checklist emphasizes the importance of ensuring initiatives come from communities themselves rather than external actors, as well as considering the diverse local contexts and cultures within which tara bandu take place.

Belun and TAF recognize that further research on this topic is necessary and that this report can serve as a foundational basis for future studies. Source: Belun Tara Bandu: Its Role and Use in Community Conflict Prevention in Timor-Leste Belun  The Asia Foundation June 2013

Extraordinary Meeting of the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers on August 31, 2013

ETLJB 07 September 2013 - The Government met extraordinarily on Saturday, August 31, 2013 in the meeting room of the Council of Ministers at the Government Palace in Díli, and approved the following:

1. Contracts for major projects

The Government decided to extend its contracts with the companies CNI22 and Bonifica (included in the National Electrification Project) to ensure the successful completion of projects in progress.

The Coucil of Ministers also analysed:

1. Terms of Reference of the United Nations Special Adviser to Timor-Leste

The Council of Ministers reviewed the Terms of Reference of the United Nations Special Adviser to Timor-Leste, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, for her term ending in December 2014.

Although non-resident, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer will ensure a direct link between Timor-Leste and the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations. She will be guided by the priority areas identified in Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan (2011-2030) as well as the four key focus areas of the Government: development of social capital through capacity building and investment in education and health; basic infrastructure; development of the economy particularly agriculture, tourism and the petroleum industry; and consolidation of the institutional framework for good governance.

The United Nations Special Adviser will visit Timor-Leste this September.

2. State Budget for 2014

The Council of Ministers reviewed the proposed State Budget for the financial year 2014, with amounts by expenditure category as revised by the Ministry of Finance.

Source: Presidency of the Council of Ministers Press Release 31/08/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Trial in Baucau District Court adjourned because no interpreter available for local dialect

ETLJB 07 October 2013 - On 12 September 2013 the Baucau District Court was unable to conduct a trial in a case involving the crime of simple offences against physical integrity that was registered as Case No. 87/Crm.S/2013/TDB, because no interpreter was available to provide interpretation from the local dialect of Makalero into Tetum.

This case involved the defendant JM who allegedly committed the offence against the victim MP on 13 September 2012 in Lautem District.

“JSMP observed that the issue of interpreters is a classic problem that continues to occur, and for this reason JSMP requests for the competent institutions to pay serious attention to this issue to ensure that trials can be conducted appropriately”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

To anticipate such circumstances the court stated that for the next hearing the court will send an official letter to the Sub-District Administrator of Iliomar to provide a person who has good knowledge of Tetum and the dialect of Makalero to provide interpretation on the scheduled date because most of the parties involved do not speak Tetum.

The witness MS spoke to JSMP and was very upset because he has lost a lot of time and spent a lot of money on travel and food during the trial, to fulfill the interests of others.

The court decided to adjourn the trial of this criminal case until 6 November 2013 at 10 am.

This hearing was presided over by single judge Afonso Carmona, the Public Prosecution Service was represented by Baltazar Ramos (international prosecutor) and the defendant was represented by Public Defender Rui Manuel Guterres. Source: JSMP Press Release 13 September 2013Edited by Warren L. Wright

Fundasaun Mahein (FM); Undisciplined PNTL Threatens Timor-Leste’s Security

ETLJB 07 October 2013 - A breakdown in discipline within the district of Covaima’s PNTL office has highlighted the more institutionally pervasive problems that are compromising the legitimacy of our National Police Service and the security of Timor-Leste.

Fundasaun Mahein has received reports alleging that one member of Cova-Tima’s PNTL force abandoned his post after failing to pass his promotion test, but has kept possession of his weapon and government issued motorbike with him in defiance.  The ex-officer is a veteran and has not received any disciplinary action to date.

This officer is just one of numerous PNTL members dissatisfied with the government’s process of granting rank promotions.  Out of the 134 PNTL officers stationed at Cova-Lima District, only 40 members have been granted a promotion, a number that is noticeably lower than rates of promotion in other PNTL offices.  This discrepancy has decreased discipline among the Cova-Lima’s PNTL staff and has undermined the Police Service’s system of hierarchy.  The absence of morning PNTL parades in Cova-Lima, which is a routine protocol carried out in every other district, demonstrates the lack of respect Cova-Lima’s PNTL commander garners from his subordinates.

How could the PNTL central command allow one of their district offices to exhibit such a blatant disregard for policy and protocol?

Fundasaun Mahein is particularly concerned about Cava-Lima’s law-enforcement capacity given its location on the border.  If  Cova-Lima’s  District PNTL Service continues to exist in its fractured state of operation, the region will present itself as an easy gateway for criminals to infiltrate Timor-Leste and  will run a high risk of becoming a safe haven for organized crime. If discipline is not restored to the Cova-Lima District PNTL, a very dangerous precedent will be set and officers from other districts may perceive no repercussions to breaking PNTL polices.

What would happen to Timor-Leste if every border-district PNTL office exhibited the same lack of discipline displayed by the Cova-Lima district PNTL office?

Fundasaun Mahein recommends that the PNTL central office conduct a monthly evaluation of district commanders to monitor performance and stay informed on the challenges being faced by each district.  Some factors to be evaluated may include discipline among officers, crime rates, and the overall state of security within each district.  Districts falling below a certain performance level should receive assistance.  Additionally, district commanders not fit for command should be demoted or relieved from duty.

Fundasaun Mahein also recommends that the government review and revise the PNTL promotion process.  The current process, in which the government chooses which officers to promote, is unrealistic and ineffective.  Government officials do not work in the PNTL and therefore have no ability to monitor and accurately assess candidates for promotion.  Good officers should be promoted based on factors such as merit and experience, not on political connections or luck.  Fundasaun Mahein urges the government to eliminate the politicization of promotions by permitting the PNTL autonomy in deciding which of its officers to promote. Source: Fundasaun Mahein 24/09/2013 http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2013/09/24/undisciplined-pntl-threatens-timor-leste%E2%80%99s-security/ Edited by Warren L. Wright

Suai District Court hears assault, homicide, rape, aggravated theft, negligent homicide, domestic violence and currency fraud cases

ETLJB 7 October 2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on monitoring proceedings in the Suai District Court diring the first half of June 2013. The text of the translation follows.

Introduction

During the first and second weeks of June 2013 JSMP observed 17 cases at the Suai District Court (SDC).

These cases comprised 3 cases involving simple offences against physical integrity, 2 cases of homicide, 4 cases of rape, 2 cases of aggravated theft, 2 cases of negligent homicide, 2 cases of domestic violence, 1 case of circulating false currency and 1 case of maltreatment against a spouse.

Most of these cases have already been decided. Several of the cases resulted in prison sentences, namely the cases involving the crime of sexual violence and homicide and in several other cases the court issued fines and suspended prison sentences. In addition, defendants in several cases were acquitted because there was a lack of strong evidence. These cases included one involving the charge of sexual violence and another case was dismissed because the parties reconciled before the matter was heard by the court.  Also several other cases were adjourned because the parties did not appear, and the remaining cases are still being processed. 

The information below outlines the hearings conducted:

Request from Spain for a Timorese postage stamp

ETLJB 7 October 2013 - I would not ordinarily post this sort of thing but I thought it would go to increase awareness of Timor-Leste in Europe (and he seems like a nice boy who is interested in Timor-Leste) so can anyone in East Timor help this fellow out by sending him a post card or letter with an East Timorese stamp on it?

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Timor Leste? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Timor Leste in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)
    Spain

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

05 October 2013

Dissident political group member murdered

ETLJB 05 October 2013 - A member of the dissident political group, CPD-RDTL, has been murdered but the lawyer for the group, has denied allegations that he was murdered by other members of CPD-RDTL. The victim, Aleixo da Costa was murdered in the Sub District of Ossu, Viqueque District. Lawyer Adelino is reported by RTL as saying that Aleixo was murdered by unknown group in Nahareka Village.

He added that the murdered man was himself a member of CPD-RDTL, as were all of his relatives, and it was "therefore impossible that [he] was murdered by other CPD-RDTL members. Mr da Costa was buried under the CPD-RDTL’s flag. Source: Radio Timor-Leste September 4, 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

04 October 2013

New Types of Organized Criminal Operations in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 04 October 2013 - Mahein’s Voice (Mahein Nia Lian) Report No. 60 examines the new types of organized criminal activities occurring in Timor-Leste.  The report is a follow-up to Fundasaun Mahein’s blogpost on organized crime’s increase of civilian recruitment published in September.  This latest report provides an in-depth overview of the current structural network of organized crime in Timor-Leste and the activities they are carrying out.

Fundasaun Mahein (FM) highlights the inconsistency between the increasingly large Timore-Leste State Budget and Timor’s lack of capacity to implement the activities outlined in the budget.  Members of organized crime see this lack of capacity as an opportunity that is ripe for their exploitation.  The evidence for this can be seen in the continually increasing instances of violent organized crime.  As detailed in FM’s previous blog post, the increased presence of organized crime within Timor-Leste has been marked by an increase in theft, murder, and sexual assault.  While it initially seemed as if women were the primary targets, it is now clear that criminal cells are targeting victims indiscriminately.

Recent high profile cases include the kidnapping of a young couple at Tasi-Tolu who were forced to perform sexual acts on camera, as well as the abduction and gang-rape of a woman taking a taxi near the US embassy.  The most recent case occurred in the past couple of weeks, when two men went around Dili on a motorbike attacking people randomly on the road with a machete.  Two people were injured and one was killed as a result.

This report also provides a detailed description of the organizational structure of criminal networks operating in Timor-Leste.  At the top of the organized crime network are actors FM has named the “Intellectuals”.  These are the criminal masterminds that provide instruction, funds, training, and other resources to the organized criminal network working under them.  Directly under the “Intellectuals” are the “Executive Leaders”, who are regional commanders of organized criminal networks.  “Executive Leaders” are responsible for recruiting their immediate subordinates called “Operators”, who are directly responsible for seeing that operations designated by the “Executive Leaders” are carried out successfully.  In turn, “Operators” recruit “Execution Teams”, each of which is led by a designated “Executor”.  These teams are comprised of Timorese youth who are provided with drugs, transportation, weapons, or any other resources needed to complete their assignments.  The “Execution Teams” currently operate mainly in the Dili area.

Fundasaun Mahein has identified the names of several “Execution Teams” in this report: Kibata, Monster, Dewa Mabuk, and Mager, among others.  The organizational structure of these criminal networks is well disciplined and funded.  The chain of command is structured so that each level is only in contact with and aware of the commander immediately above them (for example, “Operators” are in contact with the “Executive Leader” above them but have no knowledge of the existence of the “Intellectuals”).   Additionally, different “Execution Teams” are not in contact with each other.

Recommendations:

1.)  Recommend that the state needs to strengthen the capacity of national intelligence gathering, so that they can monitor and better understand organized crime.  As a result, the state will be able to more effectively prevent the short and long-term consequences of organized crime, and will be able to advise state-actors on effective responses to crime.

2.)  Recommend to all government ministers to act in solidarity to prevent young people from being recruited into organized crime networks.  Given the vast underlying problems responsible for pushing young Timorese towards involvement with organized crime, this is not a task that should be delegated to only the Ministry of Defense.  Many other ministries should collaborate in response to the this issue, including but not limited to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Education, Labor, Social Solidarity, and the State Secretary for Women and Equality.

3.)  Recommend that the government authorize Chefi Suku (village chiefs) to monitor citizens in their villages.  They should report any suspicious activity or persons to the PNTL in their district. 

4.)  Recommend that police increase their presence and visibility in areas know for organized criminal activity with regular patrols and monitoring.  If people encounter trouble they should be urged to notify the police immediately. Source: Fundasaun Mahein Press Release 03 October 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Dili District Court tries case of corruption and forgery against former government officials

ETLJB 4 October 2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has published its report on the monitoring of two cases of corruption against former government officials. The text of the English translation fo the report follows.     

On 25 September 2013 the Dili District Court tried a case of active and passive corruption involving three defendants (AdJL, ASC and IDC).

The defendants previously held the positions of Secretary of State for the Environment, Chief of Staff of the Secretary of State for Environmental Affairs, and the Treasurer of the Secretary of State for Environmental Affairs. This case allegedly occurred in December 2010.

Corruption is a very serious crime because such acts have a direct impact on public interests, threaten national development and are a major impediment to social and economic development.

“Corruption will lead to an inferior system of state governance/management that will no doubt threaten the sustainability of the State if it is not prevented and anticipated as early as possible. Therefore, JSMP encourages the court to ensure that those who violate their functional obligations must be held accountable in accordance with the applicable law,” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, the Executive Director of JSMP.

“JSMP is concerned that if the State Budget is not used in accordance with the prevailing procedures and norms, this can destroy the system of public administration management that we are developing to serve the public interest”.

The public prosecutor alleged that in December 2010 the defendant AdJL asked the defendant IdC, who was the treasurer, to prepare a Commitment and Payment Voucher (CPV) to withdraw petty cash totaling US $ 5,500 for a Christmas get-together.

After taking the money, the defendant AdJL rang the defendant IdC to ask him to bring the money. Upon his arrival at the home of the defendant AdJL, US$200 for taken out for his personal interests, however he asked the defendant IdC to prepare a report on the use of this money.

The defendant AdJL also gave US$ 1,600 to the defendant ASC to be shared with his staff and those who were working as interns at the Office of the Secretary of State for Environmental Affairs and the defendant ASC also received US$ 400 from the defendant AdJL.

In relation to this case, the public prosecutor charged the defendant AdJL with Article 294 and Article 295 of the Penal Code regarding the crime of active corruption and embezzlement, the defendant IdC was charged with Article 292 and 304 of the Penal Code on passive corruption and falsification of documents and the defendant ASC was charged with Article 295 of the Penal Code on the crime of embezzlement.

During the trial the defendant AdJL rejected the charges of the Public Prosecutor and testified that in the position of Secretary of State he only gave instructions to the Section Chief to prepare a Commitment and Payment Voucher and asked for money to be taken from Petty Cash, however the defendant had no knowledge of the amount taken.

The defendant also testified that after withdrawing the money he rang the defendant IdC to take the money to his house to be given to those who came forward and requested assistance because previously the defendant used the money for his own interests. The defendant ASC testified to the court that as the Chief of Staff he never received any instructions to withdraw money. However he testified that perhaps the Secretary of State provided direct instructions to the treasurer and only after the Commitment and Payment Voucher (CPV) was prepared did he sign it.

However, the defendant testified that he went with the defendant IdC to withdraw the money and after taking the money from the bank the defendant AdJL rang them and asked them to bring the money to his house.

After giving the money to the defendant AdJL, the defendant AdJL then took US$ 200 and asked IdC to prepare a report on the withdrawal of this money even though there were no activities being conducted. In addition the defendant also gave US$400 to the defendant ASC without clear justification and the remaining amount of approximately US$ 1,600 was shared with the staff and the interns.

The defendant IdC testified that the defendant AdJL gave an instruction to prepare a Commitment and Payment Voucher after a signature was obtained by the Section Chief and it was validated by the Vice Minister. After withdrawing the money at the bank, the defendant  AdJL rang to say that he would bring the money to his house. After arriving at his house the defendant took out $200 and asked him (IdC) to prepare a report regarding the withdrawal.

The defendant IdC further testified that the Christmas get-together could not take place because the money had been divided up and there was no chance to give it to the organizing committee for the Christmas get-together. Actually the defendant did not want to prepare the report because he did not have the expertise to prepare the report. However, because the defendant AdJL coerced and threatened to remove him from his work, the defendant reluctantly prepared a report about the withdrawal of money.

The trial was presided over by a panel of judges comprising Ana Paula Fonseca, Francisca Cabral and Jumiati Maria Freitas. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Angelina Saldanha and the Office of the Public Defender was represented by Manuel Sarmento, Olga Barreto Nunes and Fernando Lopes de Carvalho.

The trial will continue on 16 October 2013, at 2pm.  Source: JSMP Press Release 30 September 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright
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