17 October 2017

Correction ETLJB Chief Judicial Officer of Timor-Leste Incumbent is SE Dr Deolindo dos Santos

President of the East Timor Court of Appeal SE Deolindo dos Santos
ETLJB apologises to readers for posting out dated information on the occupant of the highest judicial officer in East Timor.

We had previously posted that the incumbent was Guilhermino da Silva. We only recently became aware that Judge da Silva retired on health grounds in April this year.

ETLJB wishes Judge da Silva the best in health recovery and notes him as an historic leader of the judicial organs of the State.

Deolindo dos Santos was subsequently appointed as the President of the East Timor Court of Appeal and his office began on 28 April 2017 following the end of the interim President's term of SE Drs Maria Natércia Gusmão Pereira. to whom ETLJB also expresses highest regards as the first woman chief judicial officer in Timor-Leste.

ETLJB apologises for posting outdated information and any confusion caused thereby.


16 October 2017

TIMFO: Agreement on Draft Treaty between East Timor and Australia on Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary

TIMFO Full story here More news from the Compulsory Conciliation. The "complete text of a draft treaty" has been agreed on by Timor-Leste and Australia concerning the matters signaled in the last Press Release:

·      delimitation of the maritime boundary

·      agreement on the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field

·      the establishment of a Special Regime for Greater Sunrise,

·      establishing pathways for

o   development of Greater Sunrise

o   sharing of the resulting revenue

14 October 2017

New dawn on Greater Sunrise energy dispute

Australia and Timor-Leste have reached a new agreement on the contested $31 billion oil and gas field, motivated in part by China's rising influence over the tiny new nation. Full article here: http://www.atimes.com/article/new-dawn-greater-sunrise-energy-dispute/

Visions of prosperity and conspiracy in Timor-Leste

Judith BovensiepenAbstract:


In Timor-Leste, visions of radical societal transformation and future wealth derived from gold and oil are accompanied by concerns that outsiders might be conspiring to rob the country of its riches, as well as conjuring up dysto-pian scenarios of sinister plots and future mayhem. Examining national narratives and local accounts, this article argues that visions of prosperity and visions of con-spiracy are two sides of the same coin; both are embedded in an understanding that power works in invisible ways. In discussing these visions in relation to the literature on “conspiracy theories” and “cargo cults” (terms that have recently been imported to the study of Timor-Leste), it explores the critical potential of these  visions. Whereas the labels “conspiracy theory” and “cargo cult” create distinc-tions between the “rational” perspective of the West and the “irrationality” of non-Western others, as practices these visions end up collapsing such distinctions by appropriating the power oo the outside...

13 October 2017

Timorese minority government faces first test next week in parliament

 WARNING machine translation original at http://noticias.sapo.tl/portugues/lusa/artigo/23097212.html

Dili, 13 Oct (Lusa) - The 7th Government - The 7th Timorese constitutional government, minority, faces next week in Parliament the first great test with the debate of the Executive program to be able to condition life in the country by the middle of 2018.

A possible lead of the text, which requires two motions to reject the opposition that controls 35 of the 65 seats of the National Parliament, implies the fall of the government, which took office a month ago, and opens the scene to possible early elections, conditioning the next year's state budget and the political stability of the country, in accordance with the legislation in force in Timor-Leste.

The three remaining parliamentary forces, the National Congress of East Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), the People's Liberation Party (PLP) and the Liberation Party of Timor-Leste (PLP) Kmanek Haburas National Unity Timor Oan (KHUNTO), were constituted in block of alternative of governance.

On Thursday, the three forces consolidated the agreement with the signing of a document on the "Platform of Parliamentary Majority Alliance" (AMP), which brings back to the country the debates of 10 years ago when a coalition led by the CNRT - second most voted at that time as this year - led the first MPA to take over the Government.

After weeks of negotiations, PLP and KHUNTO eventually rejected being part of the coalition government and the CNRT, whose leader Xanana Gusmao had rejected any coalition and guaranteed stability for the executive, again led an alliance against Fretilin.

The Constitution and legislation in force determines that the Government Program has to be discussed for a maximum of five consecutive days and does not even require the document to be voted on. Parliament has scheduled this for the next week.

Voting will only take place if the Government submits a vote of confidence - unlikely - or the opposition submits a motion of rejection which will have to be approved by a majority of Members.

If this happens - and the rejection motion can be presented at any time during the five days of debate - the Government then has up to a maximum of 30 days to submit a new Government Program that has again five days to debate.

If this second program is the subject of a new rejection motion the Government falls.

The decision on what happens next is in the hands of the Timorese President who will have to choose between finding a solution within the current parliament or calling early elections.

The constitution stipulates that the parliament can not be dissolved within six months after its election, which in this case occurred on July 22, which means that this can only occur after January 22.

The following deadlines are dictated by the electoral law that explains that in case of dissolution of the National Parliament, the head of State "fixes, by decree, the date of the election of the Deputies (...) at least sixty days in advance".

This deadline is required to comply with all procedures related to the electoral process, from registration of parties to the electoral campaign, and implies that at least early elections can only take place after March 22.

In the case of the previous elections of July 22 last, the Court of Appeal only validated the final results eight days later (on August 1) and the members of parliament only took office more than a month later (to September 5), and it is only almost two months after the vote that the government has taken office, and only a month after that the executive's program begins to be debated.

The possible rejection motions would postpone the process of eventual adoption of the amending budget for this year and would also condition the debate and approval process of the State Budget for 2018 which, according to the Budget and Financial Management Law, would have to be submitted to the National Parliament until Sunday, October 15, term that can not be fulfilled.

Without a State Budget, the duodecimal regime is applied, which means, in practice, that in each month the Government can only spend a maximum of one-twelfth of the Budget of the previous year, in this case 2017.

Given the expected electoral calendar, Timor-Leste may have to live with a duodecimal state budget for much of the year, as the entire process - parliamentary takeover, government formation, government takeover, program approval the Government and the State Budget - will take several months.

Despite the growing role of the private sector, the public sector in Timor-Leste continues to have a dominant weight in the economy, so prolonging the effects of the major slowdown in public spending this year would be punitive for all economic sectors.

Although the state is running day-to-day management in many cases, the poor real budget execution - only 51 percent at the end of the third quarter in a year that was already heavily budget constrained - shows that large investment and large projects will be paralyzed.

With several sectors of activity already feeling the effects of the electoral period and the moment of political instability, more delays further amplified these effects.


Lusa / The End

Domestic Violence Cases Dominate Oecusse District Court in July 2017

Image: W.Wright (c) 2008
22 TALES OF WOE IN EAST TIMOR AS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DOMINATES COURTS Extract from JSMP Report on Oecusse District Court July 2017

1. The prosecutor stated that the defendant was guilty of committing the crime against his wife and the defendant had a strong intention of hitting the victim, even though the defendant knew that the victim was powerless to resist the defendant.

2. The public prosecutor alleged that on 13 March 2017 at 8am the defendant grabbed the victim by the hair and punched her 6 times in the head. The victim ran to her neighbour's home, the defendant ran after the victim and grabbed her and dragged her inside and then punched the victim once on the back.

3. The public prosecutor alleged that on 10 December 2016 at approximately 1pm the defendant took a small bag and struck the victim once in the head and choked the victim and this caused the victim to suffer pain to her head and throat.

4.  The public prosecutor alleged that on 12 December 2016, at approximately 7pm, the defendant threatened the victim AdJT by saying that “just wait, I will beat you to death”. The defendant followed the victims to their house, and the victim AdJT ran away and tossed aside her two younger siblings. The defendant took a branch and beat the victim NEF and the victim NMdF on the back and caused the victims to suffer pain and feel afraid. This incident occurred because the victim AdJT hit the defendant's grandchild on the back when the 3 victims passed by in front of the defendant's house and the defendant's grandchild threw a mango at the victim AdJT's shoulder.

5. The public prosecutor alleged that on 29 September 2016, at 4pm, the defendant grabbed a broom and struck the victim above her right eye and struck the victim once on her right elbow which caused the victim to suffer pain to her eye, swelling and redness to her elbow.

East Timor's Chief Judicial Officer Judge Guilhermino da Silva

Guilhermino da Silva. Foto: António Amaral @Lusa
PR Timorese Appoints Judge Guilhermino da Silva President of the Court of Appeal February 28, 2014, 09:04 The Timorese Head of State, Taur Matan Ruak, yesterday appointed Judge Guilhermino da Silva to the post of President of the Court of Appeal of Timor-Leste, after accepting on Wednesday the dismissal of Judge Cláudio Ximenes.

"The decision of the President of the Republic has taken into account the seniority and experience of this magistrate, who has been a judge since the time of the UNTAET administration, and has therefore served for 14 years in national courts," the Timorese presidency said in a statement released to the press .

According to the statement, Guilhermino da Silva, a judge of the Court of Appeal since October 2011, takes office on Monday.

The new President of the Court of Appeal began his judicial career in 2000 at Suai District Court, where he was president, and where he was until 2005.

In July 2007, he was placed in the Dili District Court.

Judge Guilhermino da Silva graduated in law in 1991 and took training courses at the Center for Judicial Studies in Lisbon in 2003-2004 and at the Legal Training Center in Dili in 2005-2006.

On Wednesday, Taur Matan Ruak announced in a statement that he accepted Claudio Ximenes' resignation request, presented on 10 October.

@Lusa !warning machine translation original Portuguese text appears below!

Source:  http://noticias.sapo.tl/portugues/info/artigo/1368675.html

PR timorense nomeia juiz Guilhermino da Silva presidente do Tribunal de Recurso

28 de Fevereiro de 2014, 09:04

O chefe de Estado timorense, Taur Matan Ruak, nomeou ontem o juiz Guilhermino da Silva para o cargo de presidente do Tribunal de Recurso de Timor-Leste, depois de ter aceitado na quarta-feira a demissão do juiz Cláudio Ximenes.

"A decisão do Presidente da República teve em consideração a antiguidade e experiência deste magistrado, que é juiz desde o tempo da Administração da UNTAET, exercendo, portanto, funções há 14 anos em tribunais nacionais", refere a Presidência timorense em comunicado divulgado à imprensa.

Segundo o comunicado, Guilhermino da Silva, juiz do Tribunal de Recurso desde outubro de 2011, toma posse na segunda-feira.

O novo presidente do Tribunal de Recurso iniciou a sua carreira de juiz em 2000, no Tribunal Distrital do Suai, do qual foi presidente, e onde esteve até 2005.

Em julho de 2007, foi colocado no Tribunal Distrital de Díli.

O juiz Guilhermino da Silva licenciou-se em Direito em 1991 e fez cursos de formação no Centro de Estudos Judiciários, em Lisboa, em 2003-2004, e no Centro de Formação Jurídica, em Díli, em 2005-2006.

Na quarta-feira, Taur Matan Ruak anunciou em comunicado ter aceitado o pedido de demissão de Cláudio Ximenes, apresentado no passado dia 10.


JSMP Case Summary The Oecusse District Court July 2017

Timor-Leste’s Presidential Election: Several Firsts, but no Generational Change

Lu-Olo East Timor's New President
Article by Sue Ingram First Published 29 March 2017 Timor-Leste’s Presidential Election: Several Firsts, but no Generational Change

Extract: Timor-Leste’s presidential election on 20 March produced a number of firsts.

For the first time, a candidate from a political party rather than an independent has been elected; for the first time since Timor-Leste became a nation in 2002, a candidate has won office in the first round of voting; for the first time, an election was conducted without the logistical and security support of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission deployed in the country; and for the first time, some out-of-country Timorese were able to vote.

But in one important respect this election marks more of the same: once again, a senior figure from Timor-Leste’s historical resistance movement has won the office of president...

Source: https://www.academia.edu/34835468/Timor-Leste_s_Presidential_Election_Several_Firsts_but_no_Generational_Change

Image added by ETLJB

Recent Paper by Sue Ingram - What will the new coalition government look like?

Published 2 August 2017 Extract: "The two new parties entering parliament, PLP and KHUNTO, won eight and five seats respectively. PLP was formed only months before the election. It is headed by the former President, Taur Matan Ruak, a trenchant critic of the last government’s expansive spending and mega infrastructure projects, and a staunch advocate of the needs of the country’s poor and of rural development.

KHUNTO, which reportedly has martial arts group affiliations, fell  just short of the minimum threshold to win any seats in 2012 but may have benefitted this time round from the growing cohort of voters under 30."

See full article at:

1. https://www.academia.edu/34835482/Timor-Leste_will_soon_have_a_new_coalition_government_but_what_will_it_look_like

2. https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/ao-blog-post/timor-leste-new-government/

See also on ETLJB: CNRT and KHUNTO Parliamentary Benches' Political Statements to the National Parliament

12 October 2017

East Timorese President Lu-Olo - An Insight into the Transformation of a Freedom Fighter into Politician

CNRT and KHUNTO Parliamentary Benches' Political Statements to the National Parliament

Source: Parlamento Nacional de Timor-Leste

The Parliamentary Benches of KHUNTO and CNRT, in an ordinary Plenary Session, on September 25, 2017, presented political statements.

In his political statement, the KHUNTO bench referred to the Anti-Corruption Law, and asked the remaining parliamentary benches to pay close attention to this matter. However, in its political declaration, the CNRT bench referred to the financial cycle linked to the formation of the 7th Constitutional Government.

At this Plenary Session, Members of Parliament also raised a number of concerns about the national development process. Also in this session, the structure of the Permanent Specialized Committees was announced.

This Plenary Session was chaired by the President of the National Parliament, Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, accompanied by Vice Presidents, Júlio Sarmento "Meta Malik" and António Verdial de Sousa and by the Secretary of the Board, Lídia Norberta dos Santos Martins.


As Bancadas Parlamentares do KHUNTO e do CNRT, em Sessão Plenária ordinária, no dia 25 de setembro de 2017, apresentaram declarações políticas.

Na sua declaração política, a bancada do KHUNTO referiu-se à Lei de Anticorrupção, e pediu às restantes bancadas parlamentares que deem atenção máxima a este assunto. Entretanto na sua  declaração política, a bancada do CNRT referiu-se ao ciclo financeiro ligado à formação do VII Governo Constitucional.

Nesta Sessão Plenária, os Deputados, nas suas intervenções, deram ainda conta de diversas preocupações sobre o processo de desenvolvimento nacional. Ainda nesta sessão, foi anunciada a estrutura das Comissões Especializadas Permanentes.

Esta Sessão Plenária foi presidida pelo Presidente do Parlamento Nacional, Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, acompanhado pelos vice-Presidentes, Júlio Sarmento «Meta Malik» e  António Verdial de Sousa e pela Secretária da Mesa, Lídia Norberta dos Santos Martins.

Original: http://www.parlamento.tl/noticia/pt/2017/07/Bancadas%20do%20KHUNTO%20e%20do%20CNRT%20apresentaram%20deklarasaun%20politicas.php

The Indonesia Genocide in East Timor

JSMP Launches Report on Legal Aid in Timor-Leste

JSMP Launches Report on Legal Aid in Timor-Leste On 21 February 2017, through a USAID project named ‘Mai Munisípiu’, which was formerly known as the ‘Ba Distrito’ project, JSMP launched a thematic report based on research it has conducted on legal aid in Timor-Leste, which covers both legal aid provided by the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and legal aid offered by private lawyers.

The report entitled “Legal Aid in Timor-Leste” has considered and examined the resources and capacity of the Office of the Public Defender and the private lawyers who are providing legal aid services to the community and has identified the challenges that they face.

The report and research carried out under the ‘Mai Munisípiu’ project was made possible through the generous support of the American people, though the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and was implemented by international counterparts.

This research has identified serious problems relating to the accessibility and quality of legal aid and the effect on the rights of citizen to access these services. This report also highlights other problems relating to the selection process, training at the Judicial Training Centre (JTC), and the scope of training and language at the aforementioned training centre. Therefore, this report highlights the need to have ongoing and sustainable training for lawyers in the future.Posted February 21, 2017

Full press release here: http://jsmp.tl/en/jsmp-launches-report-on-legal-aid-in-timor-leste/

Timor-Leste Council of Ministers Meeting 06 October 2017

Council of Ministers Meeting on the October 6, 2017

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Seventh Constitutional Government

Press Release

Council of Ministers Meeting of October 6th, 2017

The Government met this Friday, October 6th, at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the Program of the Seventh Constitutional Government. The document will be presented to the National Parliament, for discussion on October 10th.

The final text, which includes changes suggested by the several ministries, was presented by the Minister of the Presidency of Ministers Council, Adriano do Nascimento.

The Program indicates the commitments for the next five years of governance, which include:

1. actions against isolation (highlighting the Oe-Cusse Ambeno enclave and Ataúro Island),

2. the creation of quality infrastructure, the improvement of public services provision, especially in health and social protection, and

3. the development of the economy and consequently the conditions of life for the Timorese.

4. The issue of the borders’ final delimitation and defense also remains at the top of the priorities.

Education, health, employment and economic capacity of the Timorese are identified as areas for priority intervention, for which the Government proposes to create a new global and integrated development model, supported by the consolidation of public finances.

The main political objective is to provide better quality of life to people, granting them general access to energy and drinking water, to better food and to better housing. For this, the Government proposes to provide the conditions to allow a greater involvement and initiative to the population, associations and private sector.

The Government ensures that this program responds to “the construction process of a more inclusive, fair and prosperous Timor-Leste with equal opportunities for everyone”, as defined in the Strategic Development Plan and which respects the Sustainable Development Goals. ENDS

11 October 2017

The Timorese Resistance Archive and Museum (English pages available)

The Timorese Resistance Archive & Museum (Arquivo & Museu da Resistência Timorense, AMRT) was established in 2005.

Its aim is to preserve the memories and national historical heritage and to disseminate the values of the resistance struggle undertaken by the East Timorese people, especially among the younger generations.


East Timor Council of Ministers Meeting 10 October 2017

Council of Ministers meeting on October 10, 2017

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Seventh Constitutional Government

Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of October 10th, 2017

The Government met on October 10th, at the Government Palace in Dili, to analyse the strategy to disseminate the Program, while at the same time the Minister in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Adriano do Nascimento, delivered the document to the National Parliament.

The members of the Government analysed the communication plan to inform the entire population, especially in the most remote areas, of the content of the document containing the Government's objectives for the next five years of governance.

The Program converges the commitments of the parties, based on the Strategic Development Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals, providing consistency and a new dynamic to these two major guides, and, above all, to the Nation. The major concern of the Seventh Constitutional Government is to carry out spending in a more efficient and effective way, within the country building process, so that it is possible to provide all Timorese with their long desired opportunities, in a more inclusive, just and prosperous Timor-Leste.

The Minister of Planning and Finance, Rui Gomes, presented the work that is being developed to prepare the State Rectification Budget, with the necessary adjustments to accommodate the new Government structure and to evaluate assumed commitments, while also ensuring the fulfilment of the Executive’s objective of containing expenses. ENDS

07 October 2017

East Timor's opposition threatens minority government

SMH 7 October 2017 East Timor's three opposition parties say they are ready to form a parliamentary majority alliance to take office if programs of a newly sworn-in minority government fail to gain support, as political tensions rise again in Asia's newest democracy. Read the full story here

05 October 2017

East Timor Council of Ministers Meeting on 04 October 2017

Council of Ministers meeting on October 4, 2017

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Seventh Constitutional Government

Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of October 4th, 2017

The Council of Ministers met with all members of the Seventh Constitutional Government, this Wednesday, October 4th, at the Government Palace in Dili, to analyse the Government Program and the Implementation Guide. The Program will be presented to the National Parliament, after its approval at an extraordinary meeting scheduled for Friday.

The Minister in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Adriano do Nascimento, who coordinated the technical team in the preparation of this project, presented the developed work and the content of the document.

The Program of the Seventh Constitutional Government complies with the Strategic Development Plan (PED) 2011-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals over the next five years, based on four fundamental pillars: Social Sector, Infrastructure Development, Economic Sector, and Good Governance and Institutional Reform, with objectives defined for these sectors.

For the Social Sector, the Government's objectives are: access to quality education for all, access to quality health services for all, support for vulnerable people, sustainable development for all generations, vibrant creative industry and healthy, educated youngsters with ethical values.

For Infrastructure Development, the following objectives were set: increase productive capacity and increase potential GDP, improve people's access to services and improve sustainability.

The objectives for the Economic Sector are to increase agricultural production, develop the natural resources industry, increase income through job creation and an environment conducive to economic diversification.

Finally, the objectives set for Good Governance and Institutional Reform are: guaranteeing national defence, security and stability, ensuring an accessible and effective justice system, the global integration and positioning of Timor-Leste, strengthening the democratic culture through accountability and transparency and effective, efficient and responsible public sector management.

Following the presentation of the Minister in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, a team from the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the Prime Minister's Office presented the Program Implementation Guide, which, based on the PED goals implemented so far per sector defines the activities that support the implementation of the policies and objectives established in the Program of the Seventh Government.

Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister for the Delimitation of Borders, Agio Pereira, presented an update on the current negotiations of the Conciliation Commission for the delimitation of the country's maritime borders, which was the subject of a press release from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, on September 1st.

The Council of Ministers also approved the appointment of the Deputy Regional Secretaries of the Authority for the Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno. Arsénio Bano is appointed Deputy Regional Secretary to Support the Coordination of the Social Area and Administration, and Leónia Costa Monteiro is appointed Deputy Regional Secretary to Support the Area of Finance and Economic Development. ENDS

27 September 2017

A Tribute to Sister Susan Connelly and her Work in East Timor

ELTJB wishes to express acknowledgement to Susan Connelly of the Josephite Sisters in Sydney, Australia. Susan has been a dissident agitator against the Australian governments' policies on East Timor, particularly the finalisation of the maritime boundary between Australia and East Timor in the old Timor Gap and the cessation of the misappropriation of East Timor's sovereign wealth from the impoverished State by both our government and the international energy cartels.

All the while, East Timor continues its struggle to recover and reconstruct national identity so savagely attacked during the 1975-1999 illegal invasion, occupation and genocide by Indonesia for 24 years; to build an economy and create employment for the youth, address housing, health, education and sanitation problems. As well as dealing with the legacy of the violent past. Domestic violence and violent dispute resolution are terrible social problems. Dislocation and social and cultural disintegration were forced upon the communities.

Sister Susan has been a central leader in the raising of the consciousness of the Australian community to the injustices perpetrated against our small, poor neighbour in such dire circumstances of poverty, lack of infrastructure, an economy largely dependent on foreign investment but where foreign companies exploit foreign workers leaving the East Timorese youth without jobs or hope for their and their family's future.

I have witnessed the conditions and have closely monitored East Timor since 2000 when I was assigned by the UNCHS to go to East Timor. I then became the UNTAET Property Rights Adviser and later managed the University of San Francisco Centre for Law and Global Justice's Legislative Drafting Initiative in the national Parliament and the Community Legal Education Project with community leaders, students, CSO's and the Church.  In 2008,  I evaluated a project for the European Union and travelled far into the remote isolated communities of East Timor and saw with my very own eyes the condition of the people and their villages.

Many of our compatriots still know nothing at all about East Timor. Many do not even know where the country is or why its roles in international and human affairs on this planet have been crucial events in history.

After the 1999 explosion of violence upon independence, the 2006 disintegration of the rule of law and the 2008 assassination attempts on Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta, the western media has simply not been interested because there has been no blood on streets. But the sufferings of poverty and deprivation continue their terrible toll.

As good neighbours, we ought to be interested and we ought to give a care. And that is what Susan's exemplary conduct and integrity demonstrate for us. That all of us, as Australians, as a righteous member of the community of nations, should be doing as much as we can to assist our neighbour in distress.

Even the purchase of a pack of East Timorese coffee grind will help. You can do more significant gestures such as making representations to the Parliament and your local Member seeking a just and quick resolution of the maritime boundary with East Timor founded upon modern principles of international maritime boundary law that, in cases such as this, the boundary must be drawn on the median line and not on the archaic continental shelf theory. It was the continental shelf theory that underlay the finalisation of the Australian-Indonesian maritime boundary so one might imagine the Jakarta would be disgruntled if, after having lost East Timor through its own barbarity, Australia settled the remaining maritime boundary with East Timor on a different theory. Perhaps the Indonesians have been keeping pressure on the Australian government to adopt this hard-line discredited and outdated theory.

Susan's indefatigable efforts and concentration of her knowledge, humanity, compassion equity between our country, one of the wealthiest on Earth, and East Timor, one the poorest, prompts citizens of good conscience to engage in the continuing demands for reforms and stand in solidarity with East Timor.

Have we lost our capacity for reason? Have we forgotten the great sacrifices made by the East Timorese people who provided aid to our soldiers in WW2? Have we forgotten how we turned our backs on the East Timorese during one of the greatest crimes against humanity of the twentieth century perpetrated right under our noses. How, in fact, and as history will record to our great shame, were we the only State to recognise the illegal annexation of East Timorese national territory by Indonesia?

Susan Connelly's and the Josephites' work goes very far towards the alleviation of suffering and deprivation in East Timor, towards constantly keeping the spotlight on East Timor and our government on its toes, towards a constant struggle for justice. Her efforts warrant attention and applause. Many thanks sister for your brave and unwavering advocacy on behalf of our brothers and sisters in East Timor.

You can find out more about Sister Susan's work at TIMFO and about the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

Edited 10 October 2017.


Prime Minister appreciates Australia's willingness to strengthen ties with Timor-Leste

Prime Minister appreciates Australia's willingness to strengthen ties with Timor-Leste

Prime Minister

Seventh Constitutional Government

Dili, September 26th, 2017

Prime Minister appreciates Australia's willingness to strengthen ties with Timor-Leste

On September 19th, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri sent a letter to his Australian counterpart, Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, thanking the Chief Executive of Australia for his message congratulating the new Timor-Leste Executive, and where he ensured the commitment of his Government in strengthening the special bond that unites both countries.

In his letter, sent on September 25th, the Head of the Seventh Constitutional Government highlighted that this bilateral relationship is particularly evident in special moments and circumstances. He recalls that their "shared history since World War II illustrates how both peoples came together in difficult times to help each other," stressing that this is a responsibility that leaders must continue to take on.

Mari Alkatiri, also thanked Malcolm Turnbull's commitment in the recently achieved agreement, through the Conciliation Commission in Copenhagen.

In his letter of September 19th, the Australian Prime Minister considers this "a historic opportunity" to strengthen existing ties and "start a new chapter in the relationship" between Timor-Leste and Australia. He committed to promote the existing partnership between the two countries and to work together on the development of resources shared throughout the maritime border. He further highlights that Timor-Leste is "an important regional partner, neighbour and friend" to his country and guarantees his Government’s support to Timor-Leste in its objective to diversify the economy and create sustainable opportunities for the people.

Mari Alkatiri expressed his hope that the agreement "will not only strengthen the already strong relationship between both countries, but will also show the world how international law assists neighbouring countries to solve their problems".

The Prime Minister concluded his letter assuring the Government's commitment "to work with important partners such as Australia, in the development of Timor-Leste and of peace and stability of our region." ENDS

JSMP Sumáriu Kazu Tribunál Distritál Oe-Cusse Períodu Jullu 2017


Sumáriu Kazu Tribunál Distritál Oe-Cusse Períodu Jullu 2017

Totál desizaun ne'ebé JSMP monitoriza: 26

1.     Krime ofensa ba integridade fízika simples ho natureza violénsia doméstika

Nú. Prosesu                             : 0003/17.OEOSL
Kompozisaun Tribunál           : Singulár
Juis                                          : Dr. João Ribeiro
Prokuradór                              : Dr. Mateus Nesi
Defeza                                     : Dr. Marcelino Marques Coro
Tipu pena                                : Pena prizaun tinan 1 suspende ba tinan 1

Iha 04 Jullu 2017, Tribunál Distritál Oe-Cusse prezide julgamentu leitura sentensa ba krime ofensa ba integridade fízika simples ho natureza violénsia doméstika ne’ebé envolve arguidu BB hasoru nia feen, iha Distritu Oe-Cusse.

Akuzasaun Prokuradór
Prokuradór akuza katak iha 19 Fevereiru 2017, iha tuku 17:00 lokraik, arguidu basa dala 2 iha lezada nia-hasan loos, dala 1 iha lezada nia-hasan karuk no tebe dala 1 iha lezada nia-matan fukun sorin loos. Aktu hirak ne’e rezulta lezada sofre moras no mean iha lezada nia hasan no matan-fukun. Kazu ne’e aneksa mós ho relatóriu médiku hosi Ospitál Referal Oe-Cusse no fotografía hosi Polísia –VPU.

Prokuradór akuza arguidu kontra artigu 145 KP kona-ba ofensa ba integridade fízika simples ho moldura penál to’o tinan 3 ka multa no konjuga ho artigu 2, 3 no artigu 35 letra (b) LKVD.

Prodúsaun ba prova
Arguidu konfesa faktus hotu iha akuzasaun no deklara katak arrepende ona nia hahalok, di’ak malu ona ho lezada  no foin primeira-vez  komete krime hasoru nia-feen. Arguidu mós promete sei la repete ninia hahalok iha futuru. Arguidu nu’udar to’os-nain, laiha rendimentu fíksu no iha oan nain 5.

Prokuradór husu ba Tribunál atu prezinde lezada nia deklarasaun tanba arguidu konfesa faktus hotu iha akuzasaun no Defeza mós konkorda ho pedidu ne’e.

Alegasaun finál

Eric Hotung dead at 91

NOTEWORTHY In 1998, Eric Hotung bought a former Royal Australian Navy survey ship so that East Timorese refugees could be repatriated from Indonesia. More than 12,000 were returned. Read more...

VII Constitutional Government analyses its Program for presentation to the National Parliament of East Timor

Government analyses the Program

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Seventh Constitutional Government

Press Release

Government analyses Program

The Seventh Constitutional Government met this Tuesday, September 26, at the Lahane Noble Palace in Dili, to analyse Ministerial proposals for the Government Program, which shall be presented to the National Parliament in the first fortnight of October.

The Program, guided by the Strategic Development Plan and the coalition parties’ commitments, will update and reinforce on-going measures and projects. It will also reflect the Government's intention to strengthen existing services, to provide more effectiveness and efficiency to the system.

The Prime Minister instructed the Government members to plan and design the policies and measures with special attention to the interconnection and strengthening of the Public Works and Major Infrastructure sectors; of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment; and Youth and Labour.

A technical team, composed of members from all ministries, and coordinated by the Minister in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, will ensure the articulation of all the projects and policies of the Program, and prepare an explanatory note of the Government's proposal, to facilitate the assessment by the Parliament members, as well as any suggestions that may be submitted.

The Government also decided to propose the renewal, for two more years, of the current leadership of the FALINTIL – Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (in Portuguese FFDTL). ENDS ETLJB

22 September 2017

Are we the bad guys? Australia’s ruthless past with East Timor

Source: Crikey In her new book Crossing the Line Kim McGrath exposes Australia's brutal opportunism towards East Timor, and the atrocities we were willing to condone to serve our national interest. 

Read more here: https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/08/30/crossing-the-line-east-timor/

19 September 2017

Coat of arms of East Timor

The Democratic Republic of East Timor - This state coat of arms was introduced on 18 January 2007 under the Law 02/2007. It is based on a design first used when the country unilaterally declared independence on 28 November 1975.
The motto in Portuguese is "Unidade, Acção, Progresso" ("Unity, Action, Progress"). 
On the centre of the coat of arms, there a curved pyramid with red edges and black core, symbolise Mount Ramelau, the highest peak in Timor Leste. 
On the black field in the centre there is a five-pointed star with five rays of light. 
Under it there is an open red book rest upon a yellow industrial gear. 
On the left side there is a rice ear (hare fulin) and on the right side there is a corn ear (batar fulin). 
Under the industrial gear there is an AK-47 assault rifle, bow and arrows (rama inan). 
Under the Mount Ramelau there is a ribbon banner written in Portuguese: "Unidade, Acção, Progresso" ("Union, Action, Progress"). 
Around the emblem there is a circle band written with the official name of the state in Portuguese: "República Democrática de Timor-Leste" (Democratic Republic of East Timor), and the acronym is written under "RDTL". Read more to understand the other images

JSMP: Sumáriu Kazu Tribunál Distritál Suai Periódu Jullu 2017

Judicial System Monitoring Programme Programa Monitorizasaun Sistema Judisiáriu

Sumáriu Kazu Tribunál Distritál Suai Periódu Jullu  2017

A. Sumáriu prosesu julgamentu kazu iha Tribunál Distritál Suai

1. Totál kazu ne’ebé JSMP monitoriza: 21

2. Totál desizaun ne’ebé JSMP monitoriza: 19

3. Totál kazu sira ne’ebé adia tuir JSMP nia monitorizasaun: 2

B. Deskripsaun sumáriu ba desizaun kazu sira

1.       Krime ofensa ba integridade fízika simples

Nú. Prosesu                           : 0021/16.CVMCT
Kompozisaun Tribunál       : Singulár
Juis                                         : Dr. Constáncio Barros Basmery
Prokuradór                            : Dr. Napoleão Soares da Silva
Defeza                                    : Dr. Francisco Caetano Martins
Tipu pena                              : Omologa dezisténsia keixa

Iha 05 Jullu 2017, Tribunál Distritál Suai prezide julgamentu tentativa konsiliasaun ba krime ofensa ba integridade fízika simples ne’ebé  envolve arguidu DC, TG no QA hasoru lezadu MSP, iha Distritu Covalima.

Akuzasaun hosi Prokuradór

Prokuradór akuza katak iha  02  Jullu 2016, arguidu QA tuku dala 1 iha lezadu nia hasan parte karuk, arguidu DC tuku dala 1 iha lezadu ninia ibun, no arguidu TG tuku dala 1 iha lezadu nia  reen-toos. Agresaun ne’e rezulta lezadu sofre moras, bubu iha lezadu nia-hasan, ibun-kulit no reen-toos. Kazu ne’e akontese wanhira lezadu fila hosi Rogerio nia-uma no to’o iha ponte leten lezadu hasoru malu ho arguidu sira, arguidu sira hakilar katak “kalan boot ona la’o buka saida, hafuhu ami ka hafuhu ami nia feen?”

Prokuradór akuza arguidu sira kontra artigu 145 Kódigu Penál kona-ba ofensa ba integridade fízika simples ho moldura penal too tinan 3 ka multa.  

Produsaun ba prova

FRETILIN and PD form government coalition in East Timor

Members of the Seventh Government meet to prepare the start of the mandate
Presidency of the Council of Ministers
Sixth Constitutional Government

Dili, September 19, 2017

Press Release

Members of the Seventh Government meet to prepare the start of the mandate

The Seventh Constitutional Government met this Tuesday, September 19, at the Lahane Noble Palace in Dili after taking office last Friday. In this first meeting of the Executive, the members of Government discussed the fundamental issues for the start of the mandate, namely the Government Program and the State Budget.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri assured that the formation of Government is expected to be completed soon.

The eleven Government members present at the meeting discussed the priorities of the Government Program. The Prime Minister also assured that it will be drafted taking into account three components: the commitments of the parties forming the coalition - Fretilin and PD -, on-going activities and the Strategic Development Plan.

Steps were also defined to prepare the General State Rectification Budget, coordinated by the Ministry of Planning and Finance, which will be completed shortly after the Government formation is finalized.

The various members of the Government also presented a summary on the information collected in these first days of governance, where the transfer of portfolios to the current ministers is on-going.

The Minister of State and Counsellor for National Security, José Ramos-Horta, did not attend the meeting because of his visit to United States representing the President of the Republic at the United Nations. ENDS Source: Government of East Timor

17 September 2017

Final Composition of East Timor National Parliament 2017

The East Timor final composition following the legislative elections earlier this year has been settled.

The National Parliament (the IV Legislature) is comprised of 65 Deputies with the following numbers of seats:

(a) 23 Deputies from the FRETILIN (The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor)

(b) 22 Deputies from CNRT (Council of Timorese Reconstruction)

(c) 8 Deputies do PLP Partidu Libertação Popular

(d) 7 Deputies from PD (The Democratic Party)

(e) 5 Deputies from the KHUNTO Kmanek Haburas Unidade Nasional Timor Oan

16 September 2017

National Parliament elects the members of the Council of Administration


The National Parliament, in a Plenary Ordinary Session, on September 12, 2017, unanimously elected the members of the Board of Directors, with 59 votes in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

The members of the Board of Directors elected are: Aurelio Freitas Ribeiro (FRETILIN, effective), Noémia Sequeira (FRETILIN, alternate), Manuel Tomás de Carvalho (PD, effective), Ernesto Fernandes «Dudu» (PD , Deputy Armanda Berta dos Santos (KHUNTO), José Agostinho (KHUNTO, alternate), Brígida Antónia Correia (CNRT, effective), Mr Patrocínio Fernandes dos Reis (CNRT, deputizing for Deputy Merícico Juvenal dos Reis (PLP, effective) and Signi Candrawati Verdial (PLP, alternate).

On the same day, the National Parliament also approved Draft Resolution No. 3 / IV- Anticipation of the normal period of operation of the 1st Legislative Session of the Fourth Legislature, and also gave assent to the President's move abroad.

This Plenary Session was chaired by the President of the National Parliament, Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, accompanied by Vice Presidents Júlio Sarmento da Costa "Meta Malik" and António Verdial de Sousa, by the Secretary of the Board, Lídia Norberto dos Santos Martins and the Vice Secretaries , Elvina Sousa Carvalho and Angelica da Costa.

Does the gay marriage vote in Australia mean anything for East Timor?

ETLJB 16092017 AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE EQUALISATION VOTE & INFLUENCE ON EAST TIMOR It is expected that the Australian people will vote to express their view on whether the national Parliament should amend the definition of marriage in the federal Marriage Act 1961 so that it does not preclude people of the same gender from lawfully marrying. This follows a wave of enlightenment in western democracies and, critically, the United States Supreme Court's declaration that discriminatory marriage laws are unconstitutional.

Similar plebiscites were held in other foreign jurisdictions of most note, Ireland, where there is no clear separation of church and state.

What, if anything, does this mean for East Timor? The Catholic Church is a powerful institution in East Timor, having been in close solidarity with the people during the genocide and the resistance. Its power extends to influencing public policy and laws, even the Constitution itself when it objected to the inclusion of sexual orientation in the anti-discrimination provisions of the constitution. It's stance on gay marriage is clear but so is the intention of the East Timorese gay community as demonstrated in the recent pride event in Dili.

Being geographically close and having common strategic interests - peace in the south east Asian peninsula - Australian and East Timor will continue to interact at both political and personal levels.

One question is, will the East Timorese government recognise marriages between persons of the same sex under Australian law? This will be a tricky question for the East Timorese policy makers and law enforcement administration.

A second question is will the East Timorese truly comply with international law-making instruments against discriminatory laws referenced to gender or sexual orientation? The whole nation suffered so horribly during the occupation from human rights abuses. Have the lessons been learned or will supernatural bigotry hold the day and marginalise gay citizens?

Thirdly, how will the East Timorese community react to Australian gay married couples who are living in East Timor? There is a significant gay community in East Timor but there is still much social aggression towards gay men and women.

The desire of the young generation to join the modern community of nations is great. Their continuing struggle for economic justice and prosperity motivates their activism and agitation towards unjust government policies including far too much corruption in the state administration. Even the Justice Minister Lucia Lobato was sent to prison for 5 years for abuse of state power.

The democratic social transformations that are happening in relation to same sex marriage are remarkable and lay a challenge to those polities that still practice constitutional and legal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The gay community in Australia should try to support our brothers and sisters in East Timor at least by recognising their struggle and standing in solidarity with them.

See also Komunitas LGBT gelar aksi langka di Timor Leste

ETLJB has long agitated for abolition of legal and social discrimination against citizens in Timor-Leste based on their sexual orientation. Several articles can be found by using our search tool top right.

15 September 2017

Mari Alkatiri gets second shot as East Timor’s prime minister 11 years after first stint

East Timor President Francisco Guterres announced Thursday that Mari Alkatiri, the only candidate nominated for the premiership, is the country’s new prime minister, with a new cabinet line-up to be revealed the following day.

Full story

14 September 2017

A Critical Review of International Unitisation Agreement (IUA) Signed by Timor-Leste and Australia on 6 of March 2003

by Tomas Freitas

On 1 September 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Permanent Court of Arbitration called a press conference to update the results of the conciliation between Timor-Leste and Australia. According to the announcement both parties are to be congratulated on their achievements. However, an interpretation of the statements from the Timor-Leste chief negotiator Xanana Gusmao and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, leave more questions to be answered. As per Xanana Gusmao:

“I thank the commission for its resolve and skill in bringing the parties together, through a long and at times difficult process, to helps us achieve our dream of full sovereignty and to finally settle our maritime boundaries with Australia. This is an historic agreement and marks the beginning of a new era in Timor-Leste’s friendship with Australia” (Permanent Court Arbitration, 2017,pp1) Lebihlanjut more mais

12 September 2017

Timor-Leste holds First Plenary Meeting of the IV Legislature


The National Parliament held, on September 5, 2017, its first Plenary Meeting of the IV Legislature. This meeting began at 10:30 am and was chaired by the President-in-Office, Adérito Hugo da Costa.

After his initial speech, which referred to what was achieved in the III Legislature, and the challenges for the IV Legislature, Adérito Hugo da Costa delivered a symbolic memory to the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Maria Teresinha Viegas, symbolizing the good relations between the National Parliament and the Government.

After that, the new Members took their seats in the Plenary. The Plenary of the National Parliament is composed of 65 Deputies, and in this IV Legislature, 23 Deputies of the FRETILIN party, 22 Deputies of the CNRT party, 8 Deputies of the PLP party, 7 Deputies of the PD party and 5 Deputies of the KHUNTO party.

Subsequently, an Eventual Committee for Verification of Credentials was set up. The Commission confirmed the legality and the absence of incompatibilities, and the Plenary unanimously voted to approve the Commission Report.

After this process, the oath of the Members of the IV Legislature was sworn in.

The Plenary Meeting continued with the announcement that there were two lists for the office of President of the National Parliament. There followed a period of heated debate on procedural and procedural issues related to voting patterns.

The candidates for President of the National Parliament were Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes of the Fretilin party and Deputy Adérito Hugo da Costa of the CNRT party.

The vote was held at 9:30 p.m., and at 10:15 p.m., the result was announced, and the deputy Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes of the Fretilin party won the election with 33 votes against 32 by Deputy Adérito Hugo da Costa, of the CNRT party.

The new President of the National Parliament, Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, in his speech, began by declaring that he will be president of the whole Parliament and not of parties or factions. He then addressed the various organs of sovereignty, guaranteeing the respect and solidarity of the National Parliament. He also appealed to Members to work together, resolving differences and joining forces in defense of the national interest, without, however, leaving the critical spirit of each Member. Finally, he pledged his full commitment to Parliament to work for all East Timorese.

The work of the National Parliament continues today, September 6, for the election of the remaining members of the Bureau.

Timor-Leste realiza a primeira Reunião Plenária da IV Legislatura

O Parlamento Nacional realizou, no dia 05 de setembro de 2017, a sua primeira Reunião Plenária da IV Legislatura. Esta reunião iniciou-se pelas 10:30, e foi presidida pelo Presidente em exercício, Adérito Hugo da Costa.

Depois do seu discurso inicial, em que se referiu ao que foi conseguido na III Legislatura, e aos desafios para a IV Legislatura, Adérito Hugo da Costa entregou uma lembrança simbólica à Secretária de Estado dos Assuntos Parlamentares, Maria Teresinha Viegas, simbolizando as boas relações entre o Parlamento Nacional e o Governo.

Depois disto, os novos deputados tomaram os seus lugares no Plenário. O Plenário do Parlamento Nacional é composto por 65 Deputados, tendo sido eleitos, nesta IV Legislatura, 23 Deputados do partido FRETILIN, 22 Deputados do partido CNRT, 8 Deputados do partido PLP, 7 Deputados do partido PD e 5 Deputados do partido KHUNTO.

Logo de seguida, procedeu-se à constituição de uma Comissão Eventual para Verificação de Poderes. A Comissão confirmou a legalidade e a ausência de incompatibilidades, e o Plenário votou, por unanimidade, a aprovação do Relatório da Comissão.

Após este processo, realizou-se o juramento dos Deputados da IV Legislatura.

A Reunião Plenária continuou com o anúncio de que existiam duas listas para o cargo de Presidente do Parlamento Nacional. Seguiu-se um período de aceso debate sobre questões processuais e regimentais, relacionado com os moldes da votação.

Os candidatos a Presidente do Parlamento Nacional foram o Deputado Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, do partido Fretilin, e o Deputado Adérito Hugo da Costa, do partido CNRT.

A votação realizou-se cerca das 21:30, e pelas 22:15 foi anunciado o resultado, tendo o Deputado Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, do partido Fretilin, ganho a eleição, com 33 votos, contra 32 do Deputado Adérito Hugo da Costa, do partido CNRT.

O novo Presidente do Parlamento Nacional, Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes, no seu discurso, começou por declarar que será presidente de todo o Parlamento e não de partidos ou fações. De seguida, dirigiu-se aos vários órgãos de soberania, garantindo o respeito e a solidariedade do Parlamento Nacional. Apelou também aos Deputados para que trabalhem em conjunto, resolvendo as diferenças e juntando esforços em defesa do interesse nacional, sem contudo, deixarem o espírito crítico, próprio de cada Deputado. Por fim, prometeu todo o seu empenho para que o Parlamento trabalhe em prol de todos os timorenses.

Os trabalhos do Parlamento Nacional continuam hoje, dia 06 de setembro, para a eleição dos restantes membros da Mesa.


05 September 2017

04 September 2017

New Book: Manual Prático da Contratação Pública available in Portuguese and Tetum

Author Helena Manuela Ferreira Igreja

ISBN 978 -989-20- 7573-0

The book is available in the following outlets in Timor-Leste:

Loja & Companhia
located in Bidau and in Timor-Plaza
Ph: (670) 77 24 94 33

ETLJB recommends this new book and congratulates Sra. Helena Manuela Ferreira Igreja for her great opus.

ETLJB Editor

03 September 2017

East Timor Meeting of the Council of Ministers 29 August 2017

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 29th August 2017

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Sixth Constitutional Government

Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 29th August 2017

The Council of Ministers met this Tuesday at the Government Palace in Dili and clarified with the members of the Government issues raised regarding the exercise of management powers by a caretaker Government. By way of a circular letter, it was explained that management powers "must be exercised in a proportional, appropriate and necessary manner as acts of day-to-day management, for the proper functioning of the institutions". It further clarified that "after the election date and up to the inauguration of the new Government, the members of the Sixth Constitutional Government should restrict themselves to the practice of political and legislative initiatives characterised as urgent or emergency", to solve unexpected, unforeseen or unavoidable matters that are critical or threatening.

Following a proposal by the Minister of Social Solidarity, the Council of Ministers approved the extension of the final deadline for registration in the first phase of the social security contributory scheme to the 31st October this year. It also authorised carrying out all administrative and operational procedures to ensure that all public and private entities comply, within the same period, with the submission of statements of remuneration and social contribution payments.

The Council of Ministers analysed a proposal from the President of the Authority for the Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno (RAEOA) regarding the appointment of two Deputy Regional Secretaries. This proposal was presented taking into account the need to reorganise existing human resources in the Region and strengthen the organisational structure to meet the new challenges of the second phase of development and investment, which is now beginning. ENDS

02 September 2017

Timor-Leste and Australia Achieve Breakthrough in Maritime Boundary Conciliation Proceedings


Conciliation between the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Commonwealth of Australia

COPENHAGEN, 1 September 2017

Timor-Leste and Australia Achieve Breakthrough in Maritime Boundary Conciliation Proceedings

Through a series of confidential meetings with the Conciliation Commission in Copenhagen this past week, Timor-Leste and Australia have reached agreement on the central elements of a maritime boundary delimitation between them in the Timor Sea. The Parties’ agreement constitutes a package and, in addition to boundaries, addresses the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field, the establishment of a Special Regime for Greater Sunrise, a pathway to the development of the resource, and the sharing of the resulting revenue.

These meetings are part of a structured dialogue in the context of the conciliation between the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (“Timor-Leste”) and the Commonwealth of Australia (“Australia”) being conducted by a Conciliation Commission (the “Commission”) pursuant to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (the “PCA”).

The Parties and the Commission will now turn to formalizing the Parties’ agreement and to addressing a number of remaining issues and points of detail. Until all issues are resolved, the details of the Parties’ agreement will remain confidential. Nevertheless, the Parties agree that the agreement reached on 30 August 2017 marks a significant milestone in relations between them and in the historic friendship between the peoples of Timor-Leste and Australia.

The leader of Timor-Leste’s delegation, Chief Negotiator and former President Xanana Gusmão, hailed the agreement and stated:

I thank the Commission for its resolve and skill in bringing the Parties together, through a long and at times difficult process, to help us achieve our dream of full sovereignty and to finally settle our maritime boundaries with Australia. This is an historic agreement and marks the beginning of a new era in Timor-Leste’s friendship with Australia.

Timor-Leste’s Agent in these proceedings, Minister Agio Pereira, echoed these sentiments, noting:
This agreement was made possible because of the strength and leadership of the father of our nation, the Chief Negotiator, Xanana Gusmão, who worked with the Commission and Australia to secure the political and economic sovereignty of our nation and secure the future of our people. With our joint success at resolving our dispute through this conciliation process, Timor-Leste and Australia hope to have set a positive example for the international community at large.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, stated:

This is a landmark day in the relationship between Timor-Leste and Australia. This agreement, which supports the national interest of both our nations, further strengthens the long-standing and deep ties between our Governments and our people. I thank the Commission for its role in bringing the Parties together.
The Chairman of the Commission, Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the Commission, made the following statement:

I commend the Parties for being able to reach an equitable and balanced solution that benefits both Timor-Leste and Australia. These negotiations have been challenging, and this agreement has only been possible because of the courage and goodwill shown by leaders on both sides. The key moment in these negotiations transpired on the evening of 30 August, and the significance of that date is not lost on the Commission. Both countries will now look back on this date fondly.

Next Steps
The Parties will continue to meet with the Commission in order to finalize their agreement in October 2017. At the same time, the Parties will begin to engage with other stakeholders in the Timor Sea regarding the implications of their agreement, in particular with respect to the Greater Sunrise resource.

The Commission will continue to conduct its meetings in a confidential setting in order to provide an environment conducive to maintaining and finalizing the agreement reached in Copenhagen this week. Further public statements will be made from time to time.

Following its engagement with the Parties in October of this year, the Commission will prepare and issue a report on the proceedings as anticipated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Background on the Conciliation Process

The Commission was constituted on 25 June 2016 pursuant to the procedure set out in Annex V of the Convention. The five-member Commission is chaired by H.E. Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen (Denmark). The other members of the Commission are Dr. Rosalie Balkin (Australia), Judge Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone), Professor Donald McRae (Canada and New Zealand), and Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum (Germany). With the agreement of the Parties, the Permanent Court of Arbitration acts as Registry in the proceedings.

These conciliation proceedings were initiated by Timor-Leste on 11 April 2016 by way of a “Notification Instituting Conciliation under Section 2 of Annex V of UNCLOS” addressed to Australia.

On 2 May 2016, Australia submitted “Australia’s Response to the Notice of Conciliation”.

On 28 July 2016, the Conciliation Commission held a procedural meeting with the Parties at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands.

On 29, 30, and 31 August, the Commission convened the Opening Session of the Conciliation and a Hearing on Competence at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands.

On 19 September 2016, the Commission rendered its Decision on Competence, finding that the Conciliation would continue.

From 10 to 13 October 2016, the Commission met with the Parties in Singapore.

On 9 January 2017, the Foreign Ministers of Timor-Leste and Australia, together with the Commission, issued a Trilateral Joint Statement on the termination of the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea.

From 16 to 20 January 2017, the Commission met with the Parties in Singapore. From 27 to 31 March 2017, the Commission met with the Parties in Washington, D.C. From 5 to 9 June 2017, the Commission met with the Parties in Copenhagen.

From 24 to 28 July 2017, the Commission met with the Parties in Singapore.

Further information about the case may be found at www.pca-cpa.org/en/cases/132/, including the full text of the Commission’s Decision on Competence, earlier Press Releases, a video recording and transcript of the Opening Session, the presentations of the Parties and previous press releases and Trilateral Joint Statements.
Background on the Permanent Court of Arbitration
The Permanent Court of Arbitration is an intergovernmental organization established by the 1899 Hague Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. The PCA has 121 Member States. Headquartered at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands, the PCA facilitates arbitration, conciliation, fact-finding, and other dispute resolution proceedings among various combinations of States, State entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties. The PCA’s International Bureau is currently administering 6 interstate disputes, 77 investor-State arbitrations, and 46 cases arising under contracts involving a State or other public entity. More information about the PCA can be found at www.pca-cpa.org. Contact: Permanent Court of Arbitration E-mail: bureau@pca-cpa.org

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