05 November 2008

East Timor Legal News 15 October 2008

A Police officer suspected of stealing hardwood trees - Televizaun Timor-Leste, 15 October 2008 - A police officer in the southern district of Kovalia have been alleged to have stolen residents' hardwood trees recently, the case is yet to be processed for a further legal charge.

A couple yesterday (13/10) appeared in the Parliament presenting the case to the MPs, because the police have not taken any legal action to the police officer who was suspected of being engaged. Manuel dos Santos and wife, Francelina dos Santos with their legal advisor discussed the case with the Parliamentary Committee for Justice and Public Administration to follow it up.

Dos Santos said about two hectares of his hardwood tree were stolen by the police officer selling them to Indonesian businessmen.

Dos Santos’ legal advisor said the case had been investigated, but the police of Kovalima did not want to cooperate with the court. MP Vital dos Santos said they would set up a team to directly probe into the case and would coordinate with the Ministry of agriculture and Forestry, as well as the state secretary for security to look at the case.

FRETILIN reopens the case of Papito’s resignation - Timor Post, 15 October 2008 - Fretilin party in the National Parliament demanded Tuesday explanation from the government in relation to the reasons surrounding the resignation of the Secretary of State for Rural Development and Cooperatives, Papito Monteiro.

MP Francisco Branco said that the reason for resignation was due to ill health however the rumors spread is that he was forced to resign because he was caught in stealing a mobile in Bali, Indonesia.

“We want to have clear information for the government on the question in that we are cleared of what really happened,” said Branco.

Reportedly, after tendering his resignation Monteiro went to continue his study in Indonesia on a government scholarship.

Branco argued that if it was the case that Monteiro stole a mobile phone and that he was not processed due to his misconduct, then the government has licensed the same to happen in the future. He said that Monteiro had to be punished instead of being awarded for the misconduct.

“Those who should go to study are denied but those who should be sanctioned are privileged to study,” he exemplified.

MP Mario Carrascalao of PSD said that he himself as the president of the PSD had demanded the same clarification from the government but there is no response from the government in relation to the issue.

President cements culture of impunity, says ANTI - Timor Post, 15 October 2008 - East Timor’s National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI) said that the statement of the Jose Ramos Horta recommending general amnesty for those who committed human rights violations in East Timor in 1999 is only to create culture of impunity in the country.

A board member of ANTI, Edio Saldanha, stressed that based on the Constitution specially article 95 section 3, it is the competence of the National Parliament to recommend general amnesty to any criminal. He said that he does not agree with the recommendation of the president to give amnesties to the pro-Jakarta militias and Indonesian generals involved in the 1999 mayhem. He also said that by recommending public amnesty the president had violates the Constitution and the principle of separations of powers.

“Constitution of the Republic article 160 said that crimes committed between 1974 and 1999 have to be prosecuted by either a national or international court,” he explained. He said that the president should not above the Constitution and does whatever he likes by intervening into justice systems.

He also recommended that before making such statement, it would wise for the president to hear the views of the victims and their families whether a general amnesty should prevail or justice to ensure that the process is democratic.

Saldanha also mentioned the media report which says that the president would like to close UN Serious Crimes Unit, which he sees as a serious intervention into justice systems here. Saldanha then said that Horta should not worry about the relationship with Indonesia because democratization process in Indonesia also means to promote justice.

TL wants UN to give back powers to PNTL - Timor Post, 15 October 2008 - East Timor's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Zacarias Albano da Costa, said Tuesday that recently he had a meeting with Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Timor-Leste, Finn Rieske-Nielsen where they discussed, among other things, the transfer of executive power from UNPOL to PNTL.

Da Costa said the transfer of power is deemed to be done as the screening for the PNTL members is done. Among the issues discussed were the abuse of UN in using diplomatic plates for their vehicles and the designation of a space for the UN mission here.

“UN should not use it (diplomatic plate) as they wish; only representatives and certain agencies can use diplomatic plate,” said Da Costa. He explained it is important to have an agreement about a uniformed and identified plate number for the vehicles belonging to the United Nations.

As for the designation of a premise for the UN mission here, it was agreed that the government continued to designate the Obrigado Barrack to the UN though the previous government decided award Aitarak Laran for the purpose.

Fretilin denies pamphlets on long march to topple down the Government - Diario Nacional, 15 October 2008 - Fretilin MP Arsenio Paixao has denied an allegation of distributing pamphlets about toppling down the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) Government.

The rumors mongering on the pamphlets has made the MPs in the Parliament worried and has severed impact on the residents' lives.

“The Long March will be realized, as we have never recognised this Government and we want it to step down, but should no be going through acts of violence,” Bano said. He added they would let the public once it would about to conduct, it might 15 days before and they would not get any official request from the president.

Long march is coup against the country, says Carrascalao - Suara Timor Loro Sa'e, 15 October 2008 - Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Mario Viegas Carrascalao, said he agreed with Fretilin's upcoming long march, as it would be strengthening peace and stability in the country.

Carrascalao stressed he supported the long march, yet it should be peaceful and if the long march appeared with act of violence and that ought to be considered as coup against the state.

“If the long march urged to topple down the Government, significantly means coup against the state,” Carrascalao said. He said only the president had the power to make changes to the Government, but if Fretilin wanted to topple down the Government and that they would face the president not the Government.

PM Gusmao discusses status of Timorese in Indonesia - Timor Post, 15 October 2008 - The minister for social solidarity and minister for foreigner with UNHCR director Aknur, met Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to discuss the status of Timorese in Indonesia “We discussed about Timorese people who are currently living in Indonesia if they want to return home,” Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa said.

He said, the Timorese people who had decided to become Indonesian citizen, but if they wanted to return they would be accepted as foreigners. The minister for solidarity, minister for Foreign Affairs and the UNHCR director introduced a new UNHCR representative, Alberto Carlos as a first Timorese people who would work in Sudan for implementing the UNHCR’s programs.

Horta urges Government to watch over prices in the market - Televizaun Timor-Leste, 15 October 2008 - President Jose Ramos Horta has urged the Government led by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to set up soon an inspectorate for investigating price in the market which is staying in high.

President Horta also called on the Government to make table for prices which could impact people’s needs. Horta said the Government should make price table, so that it would be easier for the Government to control it, otherwise would only bring profit for the businessmen.

Horta stressed the Government had made efforts amending the tax law, but the prices kept staying in high and this would only bring profits for the businessmen and that the Government should control it.

State secretary for natural resources calls on people to not commit violence - Televizaun Timor-Leste, 14 October 2008 - State Secretary for Natural Resources, Afredo Pires has called for the country's people to not commit violence, so that foreign investors will come to invest.

The state secretary made the comments Tuesday (14/10) after signing an agreement on petroleum cooperation with Korean economy minister. “Timor-Leste is a rich country, rich of gas and oil and that I am calling on all the Timorese people to not commit acts of violence which can deter the investors,” Pires said. Pires added if the country’s stability was good, the investors could come for creating jobs field for the people.

AMP Youth promises to defend the govt - Radio Timor-Leste, 14 October 2008 - The President of the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) Zito Matos declared Tuesday in the CNRT Headquarter that the AMP Youth are ready to defend the AMP government led by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

The AMP Youth are from the youth of political parties that formed the AMP such as PD, PSD, CNRT and others. During a press conference Matos said they recognize that there are corruption practices in the current government.

He also urged Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao of CNRT to replace independent incompetent minister or secretary of state with those who are from the AMP in order to better defend the interests of the AMP. He also called on to the Timorese population not to be easily swallowed by rumors spreading in the country.

Again martial arts groups fight each other in Vikeke - Radio Timor-Leste, 14 October 2008 - A police source from Lacluta in Vikeke reported that two martial group were again involved in a group fighting last Saturday (11/10) in Umatolu Village of Lacluta.

Agent Eduardo Campos said that five members of the conflicting martial arts were arrested Saturday for creating public disturbance. The case was then heard on Monday at the Baukau District Tribunal and all the members are now conditionally free.

Campos said that the suspects were released because no one got killed during the disturbance and that there was no strong evidence against them. Three suspects were from Kera Sakti while the other two are from Korka.

Fretilin disagrees with the initiative to invite TI to TL - Radio Timor-Leste, 14 October 2008 - MP Estanislau Aleixo da Silva of FRETILIN said Tuesday that Fretilin does not agree with the initiative of the President of the National Parliament to invite Transparency International to speak to the National Parliament to clarify their findings on corruption in the AMP government.

The former Prime Minister also said that based on the report of the Transparency International, the government had to evaluate itself and then to adopt strong measures to fight corruption in the country.

“We may have strong laws but if the government does not take any strong measures to fight corruption, all these laws will be useless,” Da Silva added. He said that the proper reaction should be to consider that there are corruption practices in the AMP government instead of questioning thefindings on corruption carried out by international institutions.

Meanwhile PD bench leader, Adriano do Nascimento said that he agrees with the ‘goodwill’ of the President Fernando ‘La Sama’ de Araujo to invite the Transparency International to clarify their findings to the National Parliament. “It is the right of the Transparency International whether to come or not but the problem is that the result of the report has impacted the political stability of the country,” he said.

Nascimento also said that any international institutions reporting on the corruption in Timor-Leste had to make their clarification about their finding to the organs of the state as the state is committed to fighting corruption in the country.

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