31 July 2009

Judge Phillip Rapoza heads back to East Timor for third time

By: O Jornal Staff 07/30/2009 - For the third time in 8 years, the Justice system of East Timor is calling and Judge Phillip Rapoza is answering the phone.

Rapoza, is being asked by the United Nations to work on a task force that will conduct "an extensive evaluation of East Timor's Justice System," and will be taking "a working vacation" to offer his legal expertise in one of the world's newest nations.

"I am honored that I have been asked by the United Nations to return to East Timor to lead the team of experts that will conduct this important evaluation" he said in a prepared release.

"These are challenging times, but I know that the Timorese have a strong desire to develop and improve their justice system. I am grateful that I will have this opportunity to assist both the Timorese and the United Nations in the pursuit of that goal. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to serve others in this way."

Rapoza, the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, will not only serve on the task force but lead the evaluation of East Timor's justice system.

He says despite violence which has erupted in the past there, he has no fears. "I have no such concerns," said Rapoza. "Although Timor Leste has experienced a number of difficulties in recent years, safety is not an issue."

The team will be looking at Timor's court system and will focus on the judiciary, the prosecution service, public defenders and the private bar. The team will also assess the Timorese prison system. Following the evaluation, the task force will prepare a report summarizing its findings and will make recommendations to both the United Nations and Timorese authorities.

Rapoza will leave the United States for East Timor on Saturday and will return by the end of the month to continue his duties as Chief Justice of the state Appeals Court in Boston.

This will be the third go around for Rapoza.

He says that the one thing that he cherishes about being in Eat Timor, are the people.

"What I have missed the most are the Timorese friends that I made while serving there," he said. "The people of Timor Leste should be an inspiration to all of us. They have demonstrated a remarkable resilience and a commitment to their country's advancement despite the many challenges that they have faced."

Between 2003 and 2005, Rapoza was on an unpaid leave of absence from the Appeals Court to serve in East Timor as chief international judge on the Special Panel for Serious Crimes, a war crimes tribunal established by the United Nations. The tribunal conducted trials in cases involving crimes against humanity and other serious offenses committed during Timor's struggle for independence.

Chief Justice Rapoza returned to Timor in July 2006 to head the rule of law section of a special UN mission in that country following an outbreak of fighting between the country's army and national police force. Timor remains a hotspot for violence as demonstrated by last year's assassination attempts on both Timorese President Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. Rapoza's team will be monitoring the proceedings of those charged with that crime.

Rapoza is quickly becoming known as an international justice after working in several countries in addition to East Timor.

He lived in Haiti for two months in 2005, where he headed a UN Criminal Justice Advisory Team that included participants from around the world. Similarly, he has traveled several times to Cambodia, where he has been involved in a variety of programs in support of the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal, which was established with UN support. In addition to being Vice-President of the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, which is headquartered in Switzerland and which promotes studies in the field of crime prevention and the treatment of offenders, Rapoza is a member of the Board of International Consultants for a UN initiative dealing with revised standards for the treatment of prisoners in Latin America. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the International Expert Framework, which is drafting rules of criminal procedure for trials conducted before international criminal tribunals.

Chief Justice Rapoza has also been very active in judicial affairs in the Portuguese-speaking world. He developed the "Justice Across the Atlantic Program" between Portugal and the United States and in 2002 was awarded the rank of Commander (Comendador) in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator (Ordem do Infante D. Henrique). At the time, President Jorge Sampaio noted that he had made the award to Rapoza "for promoting closer relations between the judicial systems of our two countries." In 2007, Rapoza received the Brazilian Medal of International Merit "in recognition of your contribution to strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation between the judicial systems on the American continents." Since 2007, he has served on the Advisory Council of the Portuguese-American Legal Dialogue Initiative at Catholic University of America School of Law in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Roger Williams University School of Law awarded Chief Justice Rapoza an honorary Doctor of Law degree in recognition of his judicial service, his work in the international community, and his contributions within the Portuguese-speaking world.

Rapoza is a Dartmouth native and an active member of the Fall River Chapter of the Massachusetts Prince Henry Society, serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the UMass Dartmouth, and has received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States.
Rapoza is the son of Othelia Rapoza and the late Armand Rapoza.

29 July 2009

East Timor Legal News 28 July 2009

Salsinha and Caetano appoint new legal adviser Timor Post 28 July 2009 Following the consecutive absence of Legal Adviser, Benevides Correia Barros, in the court, his clients, former rebel leader, Gastao Salsinha and Marcelo Caetano, have decided to appoint new legal advisers to defend them in the trial.

Reinado is my enemy: Agustinho Timor Post 28 July 2009 A witness from the Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL), Agustinho Freitas, said former military police commander Alfredo Reinado was his enemy, as he deserted from the defence force's barracks.

Budget plans should follow priorities: Minister Pires
Timor Newsline 28 July 2009 Minister for Planning and Finance Emilia Pires said the Government's budget plans for 2010 should follow priorities and should be in respect of the Timorese Constitution.

PNTL should respect human rights: Atul Khare Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 28 July 2009 Chief of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Atul Khare said the Timorese National Police in Manatuto should respect human rights and should be responsible for providing security to the community, so that people could move forward with the country’s development.

Budget for Anti-Corruption Commission will be augmented Suara Timor Lorosae 28 July 2009 The Minister for Planning and Finance Emilia Pires said the Government was trying looking at ways of increasing the budget for the anti-corruption commission.

Legalizing “SDSB” gambling has negative impacts: Luta Hamutuk Timor Post 28 July 2009 General Manager of the national economic justice NGO Luta Hamutuk (Struggle Together) Joazito Viana said the Government should not legalize the “SDSB” gambling game as it would have a negative impact on the country's young generation.

ETLJB Editorial Note: In an Analysis in relation to the issue of the Circulation of Lottery Tickets (SDSB) in the Democratic Republic of East Timor by Civil Society Working Group F Health, Social Affairs, Labour & Solidarity, several national NGO's, applying the ROCCIPI methodology of analysis of social problems in the context of legislative drafting for democratic social change, found that it was precisely the lack of regulation of gambling (legalisation) that is the essential problem. The intervention of the government to regulate previously illegal SDSB gambling is a positive step forward. Most democratic societies have found that the prohibition on gambling - like the failed and disastrous prohibition on alcohol - only promoted much greater social evils; and produced no social benefit.

Country needs to recognise PNTL and F-FDTL’s work: MP Riak Leman Timor Post 28 July 2009 MP Riak Leman from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) said recognition of the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) and the Timorese National Police officers who have been working well was necessary.

I like the way justice in the country is going, says Bishop Nacimento Timor Post 28 July 2009 Bishop of Baucau Diocese, Monsignor Basilio do Nacimento, said it was good to see the process of justice in the country going on smoothly, because Timor-Leste started to put justice as its top priority.

ETLJB Editorial Note: The justice system is not, in fact, going very well at all. Though staffed by some competent and honorable jurists and, despite the efforts of those dedicated to building a democratic justice sector in East Timor, the judiciary is headed by a judge whose jurisprudence has been repeatedly demonstrated to be inadequate and fundamentally erroneous, a court system replete with maladministration and inefficiencies, judges who can not read the applicable law because they do not understand Indonesian, multiple executive interference in the judiciary, violations of the separation of powers doctrine, corruption in the public administration and a Parliament that only publishes the laws of the country in a language that the vast majority of citizens or law enforcement agencies can not read because they do not understand Portuguese.

These are not the circumstances of a justice system that most lawyers would consider worthy of endorsement.

The justice system in East Timor is a matter of grave concern - particularly the questions whether comprehension and manifestion of the rule of law, the separation of powers, constitutionality of laws, judicial independence and democratic social transformation through policies and legislation that are informed by reason and experience are in fact taking root in Dili. There is growing evidence to suggest that these matters are not the guiding principles of the state and its agents in East Timor.

Alkatiri challenges Prime Minister Gusmao to fight in the court Suara Timor Lorosae 28 July 2009 Fretilin Secretary General Mari Alkatiri has challenged Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to fight in the court, because the current Government had accused the former Fretilin Government of engaging in corruption.

ETLJB Editorial Note: Fretilin does not apply the same standards to its constant and groundless challenges to the constitutionality of the AMP government and take the matter to court instead of issuing irresponsbile and destabilising allegations that the government is a mere de facto government. In truth, and in law, the AMP government is not only the de facto government of East Timor, it is also the legitimate
de jure government. If there were legal grounds for saying that it is only a de facto government, then the proper course of action is to submit the matter to the court.

Government of East Timor - Economic Achievements 2008

Ministry of Finance - Top 10 Economic Achievements in 2008



1. The nation has seen an unprecedented 12% growth despite the global economic crisis. a turning point for the country that only knew negative and low growth rates since 2002

2. The IV Constitutional Government budget execution rates have been the highest recorded since independence, a 283.6% percent increase from 2006/2007

3. The Government managed to execute more in 1.5 years than all former Governments combined over the previous five years

4. The reforms to the tax system saw a 44% increase from 2007 in the total number of tax payers.

5. Direct taxes increased by 46%, business taxes increased by 56% and taxes collected from non ] Government individuals increased by 29% demonstrating improved systems results in increased revenue

6. Customs revenue increased some 30%

7. Spending on Health, Education and Agriculture has doubled in 2008 and minor and major capital development increased by an impressive 339%.

8. The Government was able to create direct and indirect wage generation for some 38,000 Timorese in 2007 and 47, 500 in 2008. The number of jobs projected to be generated by Government expenditures in 2009 will approximate 45,000.

9. The balance of the Petroleum Fund as of 31 December 2008 was $4,197.0 million. 2008 saw a positive investment return equal to 6.9% compared to most other Sovereign Wealth Funds and 1% above the average 5.6% return since the fund was established.

10. The MoF successfully introduced decentralization of procurement to line Ministries, ensuring more effective and efficient budget management.

For More Information, Please contact: Jose Abilio +670 723 0113

Closure of Metinaro IDP Camp in Dili, East Timor

Closure of Metinaro Camp: From Humanitarian Assistance to the Promotion of Social Peace and Stability with the financial support of the European Commission

The European Commission is supporting the effort of the Government for the reintegration of IDPs from Metinaro and others IDP camps for a total amount of € 1.5 million (2 million US Dollars). This financial support is enabling IOM to effectively improve social and economic conditions within communities receiving IDPs so as to create the space needed for the transition to long-term stability and development programming.

[] Since June 2006, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (DG ECHO) has provided relief assistance to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) for a total amount of € 7.8 million (11 million US Dollar). This support had enabled International Organisations to effectively support the Ministry of Social Solidarity in the provision of critical humanitarian assistance to the IDP camps.

During the closure of Timor-Leste’s major IDP Camp in Metinaro, IOM, with DG ECHO funds, provided essential assistance to the Government of Timor-Leste with the voluntary return of over 950 families. The 9,000 inhabitants of Metinaro living at the site for the past three years are part of up to 100,000 of people displaced by the 2006 civil unrest. The return and resettlement of Metinaro camp IDPs marks the closure of the last of 65 tented IDP sites in Timor-Leste.

However, European Commission support to IOM goes beyond key funding for emergency response activities. Understanding the need to work toward the sustainable and peaceful return of the displaced, the European Commission also provides financial support to a series of activities with the objective to promote social peace and stability in areas and communities suffering from the 2006 crisis.

In addition of ECHO contribution, the EC, with the support of the Instrument for Stability is also funding IOM’s project “Enhancing Stabilisation through Sustainable Reintegration of IDPs” in Timor-Leste. This project with a total budget of € 1.5 million (2 million US Dollar) seeks to enhance community stability by improving community infrastructure in high-tension areas and by assisting these communities to deal with challenges related to the return of large numbers of formerly IDPs. Among other activities, this project will also develop and broadcast a locally produced Soap Opera that aims to launch a reflection on the impacts of the violence and displacement.

"One cannot over-emphasize the importance of these initiatives which are essential to lay the early foundations for the return and reintegration of IDPs in the communities. The European Commission recognizes the need to assist host communities in order to reduce the risks in a context of fragility as a contribution to support the commendable efforts of the Government to assure a long term stability in Timor-Leste", said Mr. Juan Carlos Rey, Ambassador of the European Commission to Timor-Leste.

- END -

Delegation of the European Commission to Timor-Leste
CASA EUROPA, Avenida Presidente Nicolau Lobato, Acait Dili – Timor-Leste, P.O. Box 52
Tel: (+670 3) 311 580 Fax (+670 3) 311 581/582 e-mail: delegation-timor-leste@ec.europa.eu

27 July 2009

Genocide and land in Australia

ETLJB 27 July 2009 European domination of Australia was effected through one of the most sustained genocides in the history of the human race. It was made justified by the most antihuman of all ideologies - racism - and ushered through it all by one of the world's greatest religions: Christianity.

The application of the doctrine of terra nullius in Australian constitutional and land law history - and the contemporary hegemony of racism that accompanied the invasion of the tribal lands of the indigenous people (and which continues to manifest in Australian society today) was one of the greatest legal lies ever told by lawyers that contributed to the extinction of nations, cultural destruction, and the centuries of sufferings, loss and grief of the indigenous Australians.

It was the obscurantism of racism that blinded the human intellect and tainted social policies and lead our ancestors to the perpetration of grave and widespread violations of human rights and the nigh extinction of the world's most ancient civilisation - the Australian aborigines - whose culture now lies laregly in ruins; whose lands which were misappropriated by the violent newcomers are now the engine of Australian capitalism and the foundation of the prosperity of the Australian nation.

According to the doctrine of terra nullius, there were no human beings on the Australian continent. Terra nullius obfuscated the terrible truth of the genocides.

Terra nullius provided the foundation of the moral justification for the genocides against the indigenous Australians.

The collapse of indigenous social organisation in Australia was the direct result of the massacres - though accompanied by other both planned and non-intentional deaths through the introduction of diseases previously unknown to the indigenous people and the soaking of indigenous communities with alcohol.

These massacres and abuses were committed in order to appropriate, occupy and exploit the tribal lands through the capitalist undertakings of the establishment of agriculture and animal husbandry and the harvesting of natural resources and to further the undertakings of the military dictatorship in creating a British colony - the establishment of settlements, the construction of roads, communications, prisons and courts. Land was the treasure sought by the Europeans.

And they meant to have it. At any cost; even to drenching the land with the blood of entire nations - of women, children and men. Innocent men, women and children. The emerging Australian state's hand was held through all these terrible traumas by none other than the institutions of Christianity who subsequently participated in the cultural destruction, the slave trade and other human rights abuses including sexual assault, and physical and psychological abuse.

The despicable inflictions of harm by the state and the church against the aboriginal people through the so-called aboriginal protection laws ensured the continued repression of the aborginal nationalism and that there would never be a resurgence of aboriginal culture that might once again challenge the new order of land misappropriation by demanding just recognition of their immemorial ownership of the continent; just compensation for resumed tribal land and compensation for past abuses. The land ownership of the whites would never be challenged.

The Crown began the alienation of tribal lands to the whites; practically giving away the most productive lands on the continent to the newly arrived private entrepreneurs. The system of Crown grants rested on the sovereign powers of the state. These powers are virtually unchallengable - even in the democratic courts. For 200 years, the British, then the Australian Crown, granted huge swathes of the Australian continent to private entities in fee simple.

The fee simple land grant extinguished the underlying native title forever.

In the endless plains of the dry region, the Crown granted less fee simples preferring; perpetual or long-term leases. This latter change of practice unwittingly permitted the survival of many native titles as the courts found that the farmers' leases did not extinguish native title as the fee simple grants had done.

At about the turn of the 20th century, the Australian states, beginning with South Australia, started enacting a statutory system of land title known as the Torrens title system. The central constitutive principle of the Torrens system is that the registered title to a fee simple (or any other registered estate or interest in land) is "absolutely free from all other estates and interests." The language of the law is rarely as unambiguous as this extract from section 42 of the New South Wales Real Property Act 1900.

These legislations were the final death-blow to native title. The process of the invasion, misappropriations and genocides proceeded unabated. The aboriginal nations were crushed.

The aborigines bravely defended their ancestral homes from the invasions. Mass armed confrontations between aborigines and the newcomers as well as a guerilla war of resistance was fought by the indigenous people but ultimately they succumbed to the genocide, abuses and slavery that was imposed on them by the civilised Europeans; within and outside the law. The ultimate weapon of the genocide was the Crown grant in fee simple.

Our illustrious nation's history revealed in the tragedies of the foundations of our land law was finally denounced by the High Court in 1992. In Mabo v Queensland (No. 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1; 107 ALR Deane and Gaudron JJ, spoke of the dispossession of Aboriginals from their land 'as a conflagration of oppression and conflict which was, over the (19th) Century, to spread across the continent to dispossess, degrade and devastate the Aboriginal peoples and leave a national legacy of unutterable shame' [at CLR 104]; and that it represented 'the darkest aspect of the history of this nation' [at CLR 109].

26 July 2009

East Timor Police resume policing in Manatuto

PNTL resumes primary policing responsibilities in Manatuto 25 July 2009, Manatuto – Today the Special Representative of the Secretary - General of the United Nations for East Timor (SRSG) Atul Khare and Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao presided over the ceremony marking the resumption of primary responsibilities for the conduct of police operations by Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) in the District of Manatuto.

Manatuto is the third district where the PNTL is resuming primary policing responsibilities since the process started in May 2009 in the district of Lautem and continued in June 2009 for the district of Oecussi.

The Government of East-Timor and UNMIT are jointly implementing the resumption process in a gradual manner –“ district by district, unit by unit. The decision for Manatuto PNTL to resume primary policing responsibilities was made based on the result of rigorous assessments on the preparedness of PNTL in the district. The assessments were conducted by joint teams comprising representatives of the Government of East Timor and UNMIT, including PNTL and UNPOL, using mutually agreed criteria.

For a time UN Police will maintain their presence in the districts where the PNTL have resumed responsibilities, in order to monitor, advise and support the PNTL, including in the area of human rights protection.

Manatuto is one of the 13 districts of East Timor, located in the central part of the country, bordering capital Dili to the west. It reaches both the south and north coasts of the island, and is only one of two districts to do so (the other is Lautem in the far east) and has the most geographical diversity. The city of Manatuto is known for its salt production and abundance of tamarind. It has a population of 38,580 (census 2004) and an area of 1,706 km2.

East Timor Positions Vacant: Lawyer Lecturer (2 Positions)

Location : Dili, Timor Leste
Application Deadline :05-Aug-09
Additional CategoryDemocratic Governance
Type of Contract :SSA
Languages Required : Portuguese
Starting Date :
(date when the selected canditate is expected to start)07-Sep-2009
Duration of Initial Contract :6 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :6 months
Refer a Friend Apply Now

Under overall direction of the Executive Board of the Legal Training Centre (LTC), the Lawyer Lecturer will report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Justice System Programme through the Training Coordinator of the LTC. The incumbent will contribute to the design and development of training plans for the specialized courses for lawyers and other courses conducted at the LTC. He/she will be responsible for the implementation of the training plans through lecturing, coaching and evaluating the students, applying his/her specific experience as a judicial actor and using pedagogic methods. The Lawyer-Lecturer will provide advice to the Training Coordinator and the CEO on the general implementation of the training.

Important notes:
Interested candidates should submit their financial proposal together with Curriculum Vitae.
Financial proposal should include cost of the airfare on economy class from place of departure to Dili and return.

Duties and Responsibilities

* Design, develop training curricula in cooperation with the Training Coordinator and according to the policies set by the Executive and Academic Boards.
* Implement comprehensive training programmes, design materials and training plans.
* Adapt training curricula according to the policies set by the Boards.
* Lecture on a full time basis at the LTC on Penal, Civil and Procedural Law.
* Contribute to the identification and implementation of capacity-building strategies and mentoring guidelines.
* Transfer skills and provide full time, post-graduate, professional training for persons who have legal background and are seeking appointment as a lawyer and other legal/judicial functions.
* Advise the Training Coordinator as well as the Executive and Academic Boards of LTC ensuring submission of progress reports on students and identify complementary training needs.
* Conduct examinations and evaluation of students.
* Ensure that graduated students have the required level of competency to assume judicial functions, according to the regulations set by the Executive Board, and in compliance with the Law.
* Coordinate and mentor the national lawyers during their probationary phase to assist the introduction of routines, systems and processes learned during the training.
* Transfer practical knowledge and skills to the national trainees and evaluate their level of competency in practice.


* Ability to teach Timorese legislation.
* Ability to write legal training plans, programmes and syllabi and write and develop comprehensive training manuals.
* Ability to deliver specialized legal training for lawyers and other court actors.
* Ability to perform in an advisory role.
* Strong communication skills - spoken, written and presentational.
* Strong cultural sensitivity and ability to work in multi-cultural environments.

Required Skills and Experience

* Masters Degree or Advanced university degree in law or judiciary studies from a civil law country.
* A minimum of 7 years of relevant and effective experience as a senior legal practitioner, in a civil legal system.
* At least 3 years as a law teacher or trainer.
* Full proficiency in Portuguese required. English and Tetum skills are assets.


The Last Resistance Generation’: The Reintegration and Transformation of Freedom Fighters to Civilians in Timor-Leste

The Last Resistance Generation’: The Reintegration and Transformation of Freedom Fighters to Civilians in Timor-Leste[1]

Jose Kai Lekke Sousa-Santos

paper presented at the rmit university ‘harii nasaun iha timor-Leste urbanu no rural’ conference, dili, 8-10 july 2009

The process of nationbuilding is a notoriously exclusive exercise despite the often used, but ill-exercised catch-cry ‘principle of participation’. The reality tends to be that the best intentions of the members of the international community often create an environment in which elements of the new society are often sequestered to the margins. In the case of Timor-Leste, these elements are mostly comprised of the last generation of freedom fighters to form the resistance movement and armed struggle against the Indonesian occupation. Referred to here as ‘the last resistance generation,’ this paper advances the argument that the failure to reintegrate and transform elements of this young demographic – many of whom are disenfranchised, unemployed, and poorly educated – has been a critical but not unforseen oversight of ten years of nationbuilding.

The failure to reintegrate and transform the last resistance generation is a paramount issue which continues to be, and has the potential to remain, in the worst case scenario, one of the central pillars or dynamics of instability in the process of nationbuilding and security sector reform(SSR). On the other hand, the best case scenario is that this issue will remain a fundamental socio-economic challenge to current and future leaders which will be responsible with the critical tasks of addressing the challenges of nation and statebuilding in a complex state such as Timor Leste. This paper examines the lack of a holistic approach addressing the reintegration and transformation of former informal and formal resistance groups leading to the marginalisation and disenfranchisement of this significant demographic, . This paper also highlights past and current state and international initiatives to reintegrate former recognized independence fighters into society, as well as unrecognized or uncategorized members of the resistance movement and also explores methods to positively transform, and engage this invaluable albeit potentially destabilising demographic.

A large number of these individuals and groups gained international notoriety as a consequence of the 2006 crisis. An underlying theme of this paper – in the words of one such prominent figure, “are we forgotten heroes or bandidos? And if they continue to call us bandidos, we will show them bandidos.” Unfortunately due to the attitudes sometimes shown by the international security forces, United Nations Police, and certain INGOs, the inadvertent demonization of these former heroes of the struggle for independence continues to occur and entrenches this culture of marginalisation.

Ten Years On

Timor-Leste now faces the same central predicament that most nations emerging out of war or civil strife experience: how does the state integrate those who fought or actively supported the struggle for independence and self-determination. Ten years of internationally managed or assisted initiatives, have yet to resolve this fundamental issue. Key grievances arisen from this demographic remain only partially addressed. Many of the youth who fought or were actively engaged in the struggle for independence – the last resistance generation– remain unacknowledged and are not included or able to fully participate in the economic, educational and state development accessible to many. This is mainly due to the traumatic factors which these young men and women faced during the Indonesian occupation from 1975-99. Moreover, during the ten years since the referendum, the opinions and solutions espoused by many well-meaning countries, humanitarian agencies, and international NGOs, on how to build the national security infrastructure,[2] have failed to fully take into account the historical and socio- cultural complexities. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless man-hours have been spent addressing the issue of security sector reform as part of the broader nationbuilding exercise – issues deemed by international stakeholders as paramount to the future stability of an emerging democracy in Timor-Leste. This paper does not advocate an across-the-board identification or solution to all these problems but rather seeks to address one of the key topics which, Timorese NGOs[3] advocating for disenfranchised youth and disaffected groups have red flagged as one of the few critical issues yet to be addressed and resolved.

The Marginalisation and Disenfranchisement of the ‘Last Resistance Generation’

Comprising what is termed here as ‘the last resistance generation,’ are a complex mix of countless remnants consisting of young former FALINTIL fighters; ritual arts groups and semi religious sects, of secret societies a education and socio-economic prosperity. A singularly common denominator – and occasionally unifying factor - amongst the majority of individuals and elements within these groups scattered throughout urban and rural Timor-Leste is the poverty of opportunity they have experienced and an overriding sense of not belonging. It is of no coincidence that a proportion within these groups are well-represented by a frequently quoted and critically important demographic fact: the largest demographic within Timor-Leste’s population is our youth and up to two-thirds of Timorese youth are either directly involved with or affiliated to martial arts, ritual arts or disaffected groups. This demographic combined – this last resistance generation – is potentially volatile as demonstrated during the 2006 crisis and presents an uncompromising security landscape which needs to be understood and engaged with by stakeholders, not demonised or further marginalised. This militaristic and often feared demographic should and could become Timor-Leste’s greatest resource.

Early DDRR Initiatives

Despite early efforts in disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and rehabilitation (DDRR) programmes, many young former FALINTIL remain at the margins of society. Over 1000 former FALINTIL fighters went through the reintegration program, but thousands of others remained dissatisfied with their treatment and the manner in which the new army had been established.[4] In 2001 this dissatisfaction led to the creation of a number of veterans’ organisations and riots in December 2002.[5] Former FALINTIL fighters under the age of 35 who do not qualify to be considered as veterans under current government legislation are to a large extent uneducated, lacking in vocational skills, and suffering from extensive post-traumatic stress disorder. For instance, young former FALINTIL fighters who were not integrated into the newly-formed defence or police forces mainly due to high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder and / or the lack of educational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, are relegated to accepting menial positions in the very State that they have sacrificed so much to create.

The FALINTIL Reinsertion Assistance Program or (FRAP) developed in 2000 under the UNTAET administration attempted to assist in the social and economic reintegration into civilian society of the 1,308 guerrilla fighters not selected to join the new East Timor Defence Force. Although a package consisting of: transport to their host communities; a transitional safety net of USD$500.00 provided over a 5 month period; a reintegration package or income generating activity; training; as well as job and medical referrals, it was not a long-term solution but rather provided initial support to the former combatants and did not engage or guarantee participation in the broader nation-building process.[6]

The Alkatiri / Fretilin Government created a secretary of state for veteran’s affairs and undertook the registering of veterans with the intention of granting pensions.[7] The caveat, however, is that only 350 veterans with service of fifteen years or more will receive monthly payments of calculated at USD$407 ($100 more a month than the public service salary). Veterans who have served eight to fourteen years only become eligible to receive a pension after the age of fifty-five. For many young fighters experiencing difficulties in accessing employment, education and vocational training, feel this to be unjust and discriminatory.

The transition from combatant life to civilian is shaped by context and it is arguable that for the transition, and therefore reintegration and transformation, to have a lasting impact, the unique cultural, historical, and social fabric and context of Timor-Leste must be an integral part of any strategy that seeks to address this issue. Particularly, the role of traditional leadership and power structures within Timor Leste, which comprises of large numbers of former combatants and clandestine elements – as central figures. The difficulties regarding the identification and validification of members of the clandestine movement has meant that as of yet there have been no similar programmes or initiatives to address and support the needs of these former clandestine elements and groups.

Former key elements of the independence movement such as formal and informal clandestine groups; ritual art groups; cells and elements within martial arts groups are at risk of morphing into disenfranchised and violent armed groups, organised criminal elements, and / or guns for hire.

Trauma and A Sense of Not Belonging = Violence and Instability

One of the critical and largely unaddressed consequences of the occupation is the widespread trauma experienced by those engaged both directly and indirectly in the struggle. Severe and untreated post-traumatic stress disorder has led to the elements who have contributed to the struggle being left at a disadvantage as opposed to the youth demographic which was not involved in the struggle for independence and was able to pursue and access a semi-normal life, for example, through educational, employment, and health care opportunities. Access to opportunities has better enabled this demographic to more easily integrate into an independent Timor-Leste and thereby overcome a certain level of trauma. Those who have little or no experience beyond the jungle and minimal opportunity to develop their skills beyond that of guerrilla warfare, civil disturbances, and the instigation of instability during the occupation, now find themselves within a vacuum regarding their identity, skill-sets, and a place and means in which to contribute to a now independent Timor-Leste. The lack of opportunity and sense of not belonging compounded by post-traumatic stress disorder can manifest in deep-seated resentment which will continue to maintain the availability of these groups as a source of political and civil instability.

A Source of Instability: Alternative Security Structures

The reintegration and transformation of young resistance veterans – including both FALINTIL and clandestine - into mainstream society is an essential component of nationbuilding and the mitigation of future conflict. It is of little coincidence that a number of the martial arts and ritual arts groups involved in the 2006-07 violence have their origins in the clandestine and guerrilla movement. Strong affiliations to both of the respective national security institutions – the F-FDTL and PNTL – as well as political parties and / or economic elites further necessitates the need for a comprehensive and holistic understanding and approach to transform past security and clandestine structures into the state apparatus. Due to their moral authority and legitimacy established during the occupation, many of these groups pose a challenge – and legitimate alternative - to state authority, specifically to the security sector and administrative institutions at the local and national levels.

Where to from here?

The approach advocated in this paper is a far more holistic, comprehensive, and socially appropriate approach that challenges those involved in SSR – the Government, the United Nations, international security stakeholders and INGOs– to engage this demographic not only in discussion but also into the security sector reform and nationbuilding process itself. Programmes initiated by local Timorese NGOs such as Uma Juventude, Ba Futuru, and many others, where selected young leaders from groups such as(7-7, 5-5, 3-3, 12-12, Fitar bua Malus, PSHT, KORK, Colimau Duah Ribuh and Sagrada Familia as well as Former FALINTIL fighters under the age of 35) were given the opportunity to engage in intensive training in conflict mediation, peacebuilding, and nationbuilding techniques, after completion of the programs the majority of participants have shown their effectiveness as agents of conflict mediation and change both at the grass-roots and national levels.

Academics and practitioners alike need to think outside the box and utilise programmes such as those conducted within the region in response to conflict in Bougainville and the Solomons Islands which gave young combatants the opportunity to experience possibilities beyond the jungle.

For instance, in response to the protracted civil war in Bougainville, the New Zealand Government invited leaders from the two warring factions from Bougainville on a study-tour of New Zealand where they were able to meet with Maori representatives and discuss traditional methods of maintaining nationhood and identity within a modern democratic state.

This eventuated in a change of attitudes on the part of the leaders of these warring factions, created bonds and understanding between the leaders based on mutual experience, and opened their eyes to the possibilities and benefits of dealing with long-standing conflicts and animosity through peaceful means within cultures similar to their own. This enabled Bougainvilleans to then peaceably address the long-standing self-determination movement between the Bougainvillean people and the Papua New Guinean state.

It is critical for the future peace and stability of Timor-Leste that all stakeholders involved in security sector reform – from the Timorese Government to the United Nations and all in between – that increased engagement with the last resistance generation is prioritised as it this group who themselves hold both the answers and the key to long-term security and stability in Timor Leste.

Selected References

International Crisis Group, ‘Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform,’ Crisis Group Asia Report No 143, 17 January 2008.

King’s College of London, ‘Independent Study of Security Force Options and Security Sector Reform for East Timor,’ The Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London, September 2000.

McCarthy, John, ‘Falintil Reinsertion Assistance Program (FRAP), A Final Evaluation Report,’ (USAID: Dili, East Timor), June 2002.

Rees, Edward, ‘The UN’s failure to integrate FALINTIL veterans may cause East Timor to fail,’ Online Opinion Australia, 2 September 2003.

Sousa-Santos, Jose, ‘Forgotten Heroes or Bandidos? The Last Resistance Generation of Timor-Leste’ [draft research paper], July 2009.

Sydney Morning Herald, ‘East Timor at flashpoint as disillusionment sets in,’ 14 December 2002.

[1] This paper was presented at the RMIT University‘Harii Nasaun iha Timor-Leste Urbanu no Rural’ conference, Dili, 8-10 July 2009, and is based on the research paper, ‘Forgotten Heroes or Bandidos? Timor Leste’s High Risk Youth: The long road to stability.’ [Sousa-Santos, draft, July 2009].

[2] The earliest and most influential of which was the King’s College of London, ‘Independent Study of Security Force Options and Security Sector Reform for East Timor,’ The Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London, September 2000. For a recent critique of security sector reform initiatives, see International Crisis Group, ‘Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform,’ Crisis Group Asia Report No 143, 17 January 2008.

[3] Such as the national NGO Uma Juventude

[4] For a critical evaluation of the Falintil Reinsertion Assistance Program, see John McCarthy, Falintil Reinsertion Assistance Program (FRAP), A Final Evaluation Report, (USAID: Dili, East Timor), June 2002.

[5] ‘East Timor at flashpoint as disillusionment sets in,’ Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 2002.

[6] John McCarthy, Falintil Reinsertion Assistance Program (FRAP), A Final Evaluation Report, (USAID: Dili, East Timor), June 2002, ibid. See also, Edward Rees, ‘The UN’s failure to integrate FALINTIL veterans may cause East Timor to fail,’ Online Opinion Australia, 2 September 2003.

[7] International Crisis Group (2003), ‘Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform,’ p.20.

25 July 2009

Dadolin - Poetry from the Land of Lafaek

Dadolin is a space for poetic mind and poetic feeling. Come, let us sing! Come, let us dance! Shalom,
ABE BARRETO SOARES Dili, January-February 2007

Indonesian liars continue to deny Balibo truth

The Jakarta Post July 24, 2009 RI Dismisses 'Balibo Five' Film as 'Fiction' by Ary Hermawan - Indonesia dismissed as fiction the recently premiered Australian film describing the murder of five Australian journalists by the Indonesian Army during the 1975's war in East Timor, saying the so-called "Balibo Five" case was closed.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah also downplayed the impact of the film on bilateral relations between Jakarta and Canberra, which he said had already officially stated the five journalists had not been murdered, but accidentally killed in crossfire when Jakarta was fighting the Fretilin rebels.

They [the five journalists] were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Faizasyah said.

Directed by Rob Connolly, Balibo is to be premiered Friday at the Melbourne International Film Festival. In the film, the five journalists were murdered by the Indonesian Military to keep the news of the invasion from spreading outside Indonesia.

"It's quite clear the journalists were murdered," Connolly said, as quoted by AFP.

We have to look at the case according to the facts, not a film script...Is the film based on facts, or on the filmmaker's imagination? We consider the film as fiction," Faizasyah said.

Indonesia will not protest the airing of the film in Australia and has not decided whether it will ban it from being aired here, Faizasyah said. "We cannot ban people from making films, otherwise the film industry will die."

A documentary film on the plight of a Chinese Uighur leader, alleged to have incited the worst race riots in China last month, was also screened at the festival to the ire of Beijing, currently in a row with Canberra over the Rio Tinto spy case.

The Chinese government failed to block the screening of the documentary, but Chinese filmmakers canceled their participation in the festival to protest the documentary's screening.
Image added by ETLJB - The Balibo 5: Tortured and murdered by Indonesian troops in Balibo, East Timor, 1975. Jakarta continues to deny the truth surrounding their deaths.

24 July 2009

Radio Australia: East Timor Ombudsman Recommends Prosecution of Justice Minister [Transcript incl: Sebastiao Ximenes and Jose Ramos-Horta]

Radio Australia July 23, 2009 -transcript- East Timor Ombudsman Recommends Prosecution of Justice Minister

East Timor's Ombudsman is calling for the country's Minister of Justice to be prosecuted, over allegations of corruption, following calls from the country's opposition for Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to resign, following revelations he authorised a multi-million dollar rice-importation contract to a company linked to his daughter.

The Ombudsman says his office has launched an investigation into the Ministry of Commerce and Industry over that - and a number of other deals - authorised by Mr Gusmao.

Presenter: Stephanie March

Speakers: Sebastiao Ximenes, East Timor Ombudsman; Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timorese President

MARCH: East Timor's ombudsman Sebastiao Ximenes says corruption is a serious problem in the country's administration

XIMENES: The corruption in Timor-Leste, we can say that maybe the problem is the control of our Ministers against civil servants, or maybe the control from the top leader, to the minister, so that is the problem we face in Timor Leste.

MARCH: Late last year, allegations surfaced that East Timor's Justice Minister Lucia Lobato had colluded with a friend in order for that friend to secure a $US1 million contract to rebuild a wall at the Becora prison in the capital DIli.

At the time Ms Lobato said she welcomed an investigation by the ombudsman into the allegations.

She said she was prepared to face justice - without using her ministerial immunities - if it found she was involved in any wrongdoing.

The ombudsman, Sebastiao Ximenes, has now passed on his findings to the office of the Prosecutor General.

MARCH: So have you recommended to the Prosecutor General to prosecute the Justice Minister or just investigate further?

GRAB: Yes, investigate further, and also to prosecute. Not only Minister of Justice, we also found some companies involved in this project

MARCH: So both the minister and the companies?


The Minister of Justice has not responded to requests by Radio Australia to comment.

The recommendation follows recent revelations East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao signed off on a $US3.5 million contract to a company part owned by his daughter, Zenilda Gusmao.

The company - Prima Food - was one of 17 companies awarded government contracts to import rice into East Timor.

Several of the companies are part owned by the wife of another government minister.

The contracts totalled $UA 56 million.

The opposition has called for Mr Gusmao to step down.

Mr Ximenes says his office has now launched an investigation into the the circumstances surrounding the Prime Minister and Commerce Minister's approval of the contracts.

XIMENES: I receive a letter from Mr Ramos-Horta, the President of the Republic, to request to our office to conduct investigation against Minister of Commerce and tourist, that is why I mention we already start.

MARCH: President Jose Ramos Horta has conceded there's a chance of making mistakes when multimillion dollar contracts are signed by government officials.

Dr Horta has defended the Prime Minister's role in authorising the contract to the company linked to his daughter.

HORTA: I think corruption is serious in Timor Leste but I reject the charges that top government officials are involved like the prime minister. Tthe prime minister is a very very honest person, he wants to do things fast.

MARCH: Sebastiao Ximenes say he hopes the investigation into the issuing of rice-import contracts will be complete in two months.

But he says that depends heavily on cooperation of the government officials and companies involved.

XIMENES: When our office invite them to come the office, sometimes they have some excuse not to come... So that's a problem that we face.

MARCH: Even if the investigation is completed in the expected time frame and passed on to the prosecutor general, Mr Ximenes says East Timor's legal system already has a backlog of corruption cases.

XIMENES: The Prosecutor General already received from our office 28 case for corruption, but not one case they forward to the court... but I believe the problem they face is manpower - no prosecutors.

MARCH: East Timor's parliament recently passed legislation to set-up an anti-corruption commission that would take on the role of the Ombudsman in dealing corruption allegations.

The commission has not yet been properly established.
Image added by ETLJB - East Timor's Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Leader of the armed liberation of East Timor and national hero. His government is embroiled in corruption, cronyism and nepotism allegations. Portrait by Arte Moris artist 2006

Indonesia 'tortured' Balibo Five

BBC News 24 July 2009 East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta has said five foreign journalists who died in Indonesia' 1975 invasion were tortured and shot by the military.

He made the allegation at the Melbourne launch of the film Balibo, which depicts their deaths as Indonesia's army crossed into East Timor.

Jakarta has always said that they were killed in crossfire with rebels, which Australian governments have accepted.

The film shows them being shot on the orders of Indonesian army officers.

Mr Ramos Horta was a rebel commander at the time and is a central figure in the film. He said he had looked into the deaths of the "Balibo Five" soon after they were killed in the border town of Balibo.

At the Melbourne premiere, he claimed the film was largely accurate, but that its makers were unable to convey the full horror of the killings because it would be too shocking for cinema audiences.

He said the journalists were not just killed by the Indonesian military but, as he put it, "brutally tortured".

Their bodies were burned to dispose of the evidence of their killings, he said.

Diplomatic reticence?

Balibo is the first feature film to be shot in East Timor.

It tells the story of Australians Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart, Britons Brian Peters and Malcolm Rennie and New Zealander Gary Cunningham - who were killed when Indonesian troops overran Balibo in October 1975.

The filmmakers have said that the official Indonesian and Australian view that they died in crossfire is absurb.

That film's version of events was validated by an Australian coroner in 2007.

After a fresh review of the evidence, the coroner ruled that the journalists had been killed as they tried to surrender to Indonesian forces.

The filmmakers are hoping that Balibo will spur the Australian government into action.

Almost 18 months on, it still has not given its response to the coroner's findings - a reticence which may stem from its fear of upsetting diplomatic relations with Jakarta, says the BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney.

Indonesian troops invaded East Timor shortly after Portugal withdrew in 1975, ending 450 years as its colonial ruler.

At least 100,000 people are estimated to have died as a result of Indonesia's 25-year occupation, which ended with East Timor's independence in 2002.

At the Balibo premiere, Mr Ramos-Horta applauded the changes which had taken place recently in Indonesia.

"It is better. Indonesian democracy today is one of the most inspiring in the south-east Asia region."

23 July 2009

Bring remains home, pleads Balibo widow

smh.com.au Paul Mulvey July 23, 2009 - 7:59PM - On the eve of walking the red carpet at the premiere of Balibo, Shirley Shackleton has called on the government to bring her husband's remains home, 34 years after the Balibo Five were killed in East Timor.

Ms Shackleton wants the film to educate and outrage a new generation.

But she also hopes it will prompt Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to repatriate the ashes of Greg Shackleton and his four colleagues which lie in a single coffin in a Jakarta cemetery. Go to Source for full text.

President's lesson on Balibo

The Age Miki Perkins 23 July 2009 EAST Timor will not pursue the soldiers who killed five Australian television journalists in 1975 because it is Indonesia's responsibility, President Jose Ramos Horta says.

In Melbourne for the world premiere of the film Balibo tomorrow, Mr Ramos Horta said most of the military leaders who directed the attack on the village of Balibo at dawn were dead.

"I would leave it to the Indonesians to deal with those who led the soldiers … I trust in Indonesian democracy," Mr Ramos Horta said. Go to Source for full article

East Timor Legal News 22 July 2009

A soldier reveals he was the one who shot Reinado and Leopoldino Timor Post 22 July 2009 A Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) soldier has testified in the court saying he was the one who shot dead former rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado Alves and his follower, Leopoldino Exposto, during the attacks on President Horta’s residence on February 11 last year.

Costa Motor Company denies allegation of threatening Gusmao Timor Post 22 July 2009 The Costa Motor Company Director, Manuel Soares, has denied rumor mongering that it had threatened Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao by a short message service (SMS) regarding a re-tender for a tractor purchase.

PM Calls for STAE and CNE to be independent Timor Post 22 July 2009 Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has called for the National Electoral Commission (CNE) and Technical Secretariat of the Electoral Commission (CNE) to be independent in conducting their tasks and should make proper preparation in the run up to the forthcoming local elections.

Nepotism appears in re-tender process of purchasing tractors Suara Timor Lorosae 22 July 2009 Deputy Prime Minister for Management and Public Administration, Mario Viegas Carrascalao, said nepotism had appeared in a re-tender process for the purchase of tractors by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Traffic accident involving UN Car Timor Post 22 July 2009 Manuel Correia has to receive medical treatment in Baucau regional hospital as the motor bike he was riding was hit by a UN car on Wednesday (15/7).

Local elections to be held on October 9: STAE Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 22 July 2009 The Director of the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE), Thomas Cabral, said the village chiefs elections would be held on October 9.
East Timor Law Journal - Towards the rule of law in Timor-Leste!

Artwork by Arte Moris artist 2006

21 July 2009

East Timor Ombudsman: prosecute Justice Minister

Australia Network News 21 Jul 2009 21:10:50 GMT+1000 East Timor's Ombudsman says the Justice Minister should be prosecuted. Stephanie March and Steve Holland Last - East Timor's Ombudsman is calling for the country's Justice Minister to be prosecuted following allegations of corruption.

The new call follows earlier ones from East Timor's opposition asking Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to resign, after disclosures he authorised a multi-million dollar rice importation contract to a company linked to his daughter.

The Ombudsman says his office has launched an investigation into the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry over a number of deals authorised by Mr Gusmao.

Calls for prosecution

Allegations surfaced late last year that East Timor's Justice Minister, Lucia Lobato, had colluded with a friend in order for that friend to secure a $US1 million contract to rebuild a wall at the Becora prison in Dili, the capital.

At the time Ms Lobato said she welcomed an investigation by the Ombudsman into the allegations.

She said she was prepared to face justice, without using her ministerial immunities, if it found she was involved in any wrongdoing.

Following an investigation, the ombudsman has recommended the Prosecutor General investigate the case further, and prosecute Ms Lobato.

"Not only Minister of Justice, we also found some companies (were) involved in this project," Mr Ximenes said.

The Minister of Justice did not respond to requests by Radio Australia to comment.

More investigations

The recommendation follows recent revelations Mr Gusmao signed off on a $US3.5 million contract to a company part-owned by his daughter, Zenilda Gusmao.

The company - Prima Food - was one of 17 companies awarded government contracts to import rice into East Timor.

Several of the companies are part-owned by the wife of another government minister.

The contracts totalled $US56 million.

The opposition has called for Mr Gusmao to step down.

Mr Ximenes said his office has now launched an investigation into the the circumstances surrounding the Prime Minister and Commerce Minister's approval of the contracts.

"I received a letter from Mr Jose Ramos-Horta, the President of the Republic, to request to our office to conduct an investigation against the Commerce Minister," he said.

"Right now we (are) asking for some documents and maybe after that we can invite department officials and also maybe the Minister to come to our office and (get) some information and a declaration from him."

President defends Gusmao

East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta has conceded there's a chance of making mistakes when multimillion dollar contracts are signed by government officials.

Dr Ramos-Horta has defended the Prime Minister's role in authorising the contract to the company linked to his daughter.

"I think corruption is serious in Timor Leste but I reject the charges that top government officials are involved like the prime minister. The Prime Minister is a very very honest person," Dr Ramos-Horta said.

Investigation challenges

Mr Ximenes say he hopes the investigation into the issuing of rice-import contracts will be completed in two months, but he says that depends heavily on the level of cooperation from the government officials and companies involved.

"Because when our office invites them to come the office, sometimes they have some excuses not to come," he said.

Even if the investigation is completed in the expected time frame and passed on to the Prosecutor General, Mr Ximenes says East Timor's legal system already has a backlog of corruption cases.

"Prosecutor General already receive 28 case for corruption, but not one case they forward to the court," he said.

"I believe the problem they face is manpower."

East Timor's parliament recently passed legislation to set up an anti-corruption commission that would take on the role of the Ombudsman in dealing corruption allegations.

The commission has not yet been properly established.

Draft land law provisions on land rights for foreigners in East Timor will smother development

ETLJB 21 July 2009 SYDNEY - In a press release dated 20 July 2009, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor stated that '[t]he Gusmao–led AMP government’s consultation process on the draft land law is woefully inadequate and the law itself would open the door to foreign ownership and control of land.

Fretilin further stated that '[a]ccording to the draft, a company wishing to own land in Timor-Leste only needs to have its head office in Timor-Leste, meaning foreigners could set up companies here and through their majority controlling shareholdings purchase large swathes of land at vastly discounted values.

'The major productive asset of most families, land, would potentially be ripe for exploitation by international speculators as nearly all East Timorese have little experience in land valuation, and being desperate for cash, would be vulnerable to unfair deals. This would lead to the displacement of many people and exacerbate social tensions and inequality.'

The press release continued to account a recent history of foreign land grants in East Timor and said that the draft law demonstrates the AMP government’s willingness to put the interests of powerful interest groups ahead of vulnerable East Timorese citizens.

According to Fretilin, last year, 'the current Minister for Agriculture Mariano Sabino agreed to hand over 100,000 hectares of scarce agricultural land to an Indonesian company for use as a sugar-cane plantation.

This deal was followed by the Secretary of State for Energy Policy Avelinho Coelho signing a contract with the Australian-based biofuel company Enviroenergy Developments Australia for Jatropha development on 59 hectares of prime agricultural land at Baucau.

Both deals were signed at a time of sky rocketing food prices and despite clear evidence that the projects were highly polluting and severely damaged Timor-Leste’s capacity to become self sufficient in food production.'

But a closer examination of the draft land law poses some more fundamental issues.

The following provision is in the East Timor Draft Land Law 2009:

Article 11 (Foreigners)
1. Properties whose previous right holder is a foreign claimants revert to the State, unless there is special adverse possession.
2. The State shall grant usufruct to foreign holders of previous rights who maintain the current possession of a property that has reverted to the State's private domain.
3. The usufruct referred to in the above number is automatically re-granted in favor of the heirs and legatees of the usufruct holder (upon the death of the grantee).

Firstly, the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor restricts the right of ownership of land in East Timor to citizens (presumably, this included national bodies corporate, but it may not).

But this so-called constitutional prohibition on land ownership in East Timor does not mean that foreigners can not gain any land rights. There is a similar provision in the Indonesian constitution. Such a provision is usually interpreted to mean that foreigners may not hold the fullest rights in land that exist in the jurisdiction that prohibits such ownership. Lesser rights such as lease - or, in the case of Indonesia - the right of use (hak pakai) - are created and granted for the purposes of foreign investment.

As the elucidation of Articles 41 and 42 the Indonesian Basic Agrarian Law of 1960 (which is presently part of the applicable land law in East Timor),

Hak pakai (right of use) is the 'collective definition' of the rights which are known in land law by different names, all of which --with slight differences due to differences in circumstances amongst regions-- provide the holder with powers as meant in this article. In the context of simplification as described in the General Elucidation, the new agrarian law uses the same term (i.e. hak pakai) to refer to these rights.

Foreign embassies can be granted with a hak pakai because this right can be valid for as long as the land is used for that purpose.

Foreign individuals and foreign corporate bodies can be granted with a hak pakai because this right only provides limited powers.

Prohibiting access to land by foreign entities or entrenching such a juridically limited and restricted right to land for foreigners such that it provides no security of tenure for a sound and sufficiently empowering land right that is necessary to induce capital investment is not a policy that exists in legal systems whose economy is based on the principles of capitalism and democracy. Land - and secure rights on land - are indispensable preconditions for foreign investment. Foreign investment - in the absence of an economy that is capable of existing without it - is crucial for poverty alleviation and eradication goals as well as general economic and social development.

To argue that foreigners should have no access to land in a developing country's legal and economic system or that they should only be entitled to a right that is not compatible with or sufficient for investment is to argue that country into perpetual poverty, political instability (unless the state is strengthened to suppress dissent) and international isolation.

The draft land law does this by actually inhibiting foreign access to land by restricting the right which a foreign entity may hold to a mere usufructuary right - one of the most primitive forms of land right - and one that is totally useless for international capital because it will not be transferrable (if it is, it will probably require state consent.) Certainly the draft implies that it may only devolve to successors to the original grantee. Most importantly, however, it can not be used as collateral for loans from financial institutions. Such a situation will smother foreign investment and contribute to the exacerbation of East Timor's many social and economic woes.

It is extraordinary that such a critical matter should be regulated in the way proposed by the draft land law and that only a short provision exists in a land law that is supposed to be directed to more fundamental determination of land ownership issues and the resolution of disputes over land in East Timor.

It is even more extraordinary, considering the very long gestation period for this draft land law and the considerable resources that have been expended in its production, that any policy maker or legislative drafter could conceive of such an inadequate and, in the end, detrimental, regulation of the critical issue of foreign land ownership in East Timor.

Guard's gun didn't kill rebel - AFP report will rock Dili trial of Reinado's lover

The Australian Monday, July 20, 2009 Paul Toohey EXCLUSIVE A 'HIGHLY protected' Australian Federal Police ballistics report shows that one of Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta's personal guards, who claims he shot dead the rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado, could not have done so.

Other highly damaging documents obtained by The Australian show the AFP believes political figures could have lured Reinado to the President's compound on February 11 last year to be executed, stating that it may have been a 'successful trap to finally silence Reinado'.

The AFP's ballistics report, secret until now, will shake the foundations of the trial of Australian-Timorese citizen Angelita Pires and 27 of Reinado's rebels and associates, which began last week in the Dili District Court.

The 28 defendants are charged with numerous counts of conspiring or attempting to kill Dr Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

The AFP's special forensic investigation into February 11, Operation Oportet, makes a very different case to that presented by East Timor prosecution authorities and lays open questions as to whether third-party figures -- neither soldiers nor rebels -- were involved.

The reports were provided by the AFP under a Freedom of Information request from Ms Pires's Australian lawyers, Jon Tippett QC and Peter Maley.

In his witness statements, F-FDTL (East Timorese army) presidential guard Francisco Lino Marcal claims he shot both Reinado and his offsider, Leopoldino Exposto, with an FNC Minimi automatic weapon.

The Minimi takes the standard NATO-approved 5.56mm bullets. The AFP ballistics report states that not only were Reinado and Leopoldino shot with non-NATO calibre bullets, each rebel was shot with different bullets from different guns.

The East Timorese army -- including the President's guards -- are issued with FNC and M16 automatic weapons, both of which take 5.56mm bullets. Likewise, the guns in the possession of the rebels were HK33 automatics, which also take 5.56mm bullets.

The metal-jacketed bullets are designed not to fragment on impact in order to minimise tissue damage and make surgery easier.

The AFP report finds Dr Ramos Horta was shot with 5.56mm NATO bullets.

While there was minor fragmentation, the bullets largely stayed intact in his body.

The bullets that killed Reinado were different to the one bullet that killed Leopoldino, but both types fragmented inside their bodies.

Experts test-fired all the guns supposedly used (or not used) by the rebels and the President's guard, including Marcal's FNC Minimi.

Of the fragments found in Reinado, the reports states: ``The characteristics excluded it from being fired from any of the test-fired firearms. The make, model or calibre of the firearm from which it was fired could not be established.''

It states that the rifling characteristics on the Reinado fragments ``are different to the rifling characteristics on the bullet fragments recovered from Ramos-Horta and (Leopoldino) Exposto''.

Likewise, it finds the fragments recovered from Leopoldino were not fired from any of the tested weapons.

The two weapons that killed the two rebels have disappeared.

While the AFP was able to confirm Dr Ramos Horta was shot with 5.56mm NATO bullets, they were unable to match the bullets to any guns they test-fired.

Marcal states that he took a concealed position in the door of a bathroom at the back of the President's compound and shot both rebels simultaneously. He says Reinado was 30 to 40m away, and Leopoldino was 15 to 20m away.

However, as The Australian revealed in August, Reinado's autopsy showed he had significant burning and blackening around his entry wounds. Ballistic experts said this could only mean he was shot at point-blank range.

Reinado was shot in the eye, the neck, the chest and had what appeared to be a defensive wound to his hand. Leopoldino's autopsy showed he was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head, execution-style, as though he'd been put on the ground.

This supports the AFP theory -- and rebel claims -- that Reinado believed he had an arranged meeting with Dr Ramos Horta. Someone who was apparently friendly with Reinado was able to get close to him in open ground within the compound.

One of the AFP documents also undermines a prosecution claim that Ms Pires, Reinado's girlfriend, sent him a text message at 2am on the morning of February 11. The report says 'analysis of Reinado's phones indicates that this message may have been sent by another woman named (name deleted)'.

The AFP says there are many media theories for what happened -- a planned assassination or coup attempt; or that Reinado planned to kidnap the leaders -- but says there might be ``a different story''.

It states: 'Another explanation may be that it was a successful trap to finally silence Reinado.'

The report says that one of the last calls made from Reinado's phone was to a member of MUNJ, or the Movement for National Unity and Justice. This shady civilian group was accused in a UN report of stirring up trouble in the 2006 crisis but was appointed by Dr Ramos Horta in 2007 to act as a conduit between him and the rebels. The documents confirm two members of MUNJ spent the final evening with Reinado.

They are listed to appear in the trial as witnesses for the prosecution, but the AFP asks: 'Did they accompany Reinado in their vehicles to Dili?'

One group of rebels led by Reinado went to the President's compound and another, led by Lieutenant Gasta Salsinha, positioned themselves near Mr Gusmao's compound and allegedly ambushed his motorcade.

However, a non-AFP intelligence report seen by The Australian states that the only 'visible shooter' in the Gusmao roadside ambush was wearing 'civilian clothes, a sports jacket with a hood'. All the rebels were wearing military fatigues.

The Dili court heard last week from the President's two bodyguards, who said they saw just one masked gunman on the road as they escorted Dr Ramos Horta home from his morning walk.

One of the bodyguards, Sergeant Pedro Joaquim Soares, said he saw the accused rebel Marcelo Caetano take aim and shoot at Dr Ramos Horta. But Soares admitted the man he identified as Caetano was wearing a balaclava.

A confidential UN report has witnesses stating that Reinado and his men were inside the President's compound for at least 50 minutes before they were shot. During this time, none of the nine civilians or the 13 soldiers that were present thought to notify authorities.

In fact, as the report notes, nine of Dr Ramos Horta's 13 guards mysteriously disappeared altogether when Reinado turned up.

More than ever, it appears the official version of events is a cover-up. It now seems possible that immediately after Reinado and Leopoldino were shot, the rebels fled for the hills and were nowhere near the compound when an unknown masked gunman shot Dr Ramos Horta.

Speaking inside the courtroom, a grim Caetano told The Australian: ``I never used a mask. I didn't use anything to cover my face''.

He agreed he was at the compound that morning but said none of the rebels used masks and none saw Dr Ramos Horta being shot: 'I had no bad intentions for the President. I am innocent.'

The AFP reports on background to the events, saying Mr Gusmao had lost patience with Reinado, to whom Dr Ramos Horta had promised an amnesty on May 20 last year.

In the days prior to February 11, it is known Dr Ramos Horta had been in discussions to call early elections, which could have seen Mr Gusmao's fragile coalition lose power.

Mr Tippett believes the AFP documents, which are yet to be put to the Dili court, outline a substantially different set of events and lend weight to Ms Pires's claims of innocence.

However, he said the information provided by the AFP under FOI had been dramatically edited and redacted. 'We believe the AFP are in possession of further exculpatory material which they haven't provided and could assist in the acquittal of my client,' Mr Tippett said.

The available documents do not offer an explanation as to who shot Dr Ramos Horta.

What the AFP report said about ...

* The reason for Reinado's rebels attacking Jose Ramos Horta

"Another explanation may be that it was a successful trap to finally silence Reinado"

* The gun used to kill Reinado

"The characteristics excluded it from being fired from any of the test-fired firearms (those used by Ramos Horta's guards and the rebels). The make, model or calibre of the firearm from which it was fired could not be established."

* The claim that Angelita Pires sent Reinado, her lover, a text message at 2am on the day of the shooting:

"Analysis of Reinado's phones indicates that this message may have been sent by another woman named [name deleted]"

Trials begin over 2008 Horta-Gusmao 'assassination attempt'

By Patrick O’Connor 18 July 2009 wsws.org - Dual East Timorese and Australian citizen Angelita Pires is now on trial, facing a series of charges relating to last year’s so-called assassination and coup attempt against the country’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and President Jose Ramos-Horta. The court, which convened last Monday, has heard the prosecution allege that Pires is guilty of attempted murder and conspiring to kill the president on the grounds that she was the “indirect author” of
these events.

Initial proceedings have underscored the numerous unanswered contradictions and
far-reaching political interests involved in the events of February 11, 2008.

The official account, first promoted by the Timorese government and the
Australian media and now advanced by Pires’s prosecutors, is that Alfredo
Reinado—Pires’s partner and former military-police commander—had led his
men in an unsuccessful coup attempt and was killed after attacking Ramos-Horta
and his security detail. Along with Pires, 23 ex-soldiers and 4 of their
associates, including Reinado’s senior colleague Gastao Salsinha, are on
trial. President Ramos-Horta has suggested that he may pardon the men.

The official account is unsupported by the evidence and believed by virtually
no-one in East Timor. Based on what is now known, it is almost certain that
Reinado and his men were lured into Dili, after being told they had an
appointment for a discussion with Ramos-Horta, in order to be executed. The
World Socialist Web Site was alone in raising this possibility immediately
after the February 11 events.

Pires has rejected the charges laid against her. Her Australian barrister Jon
Tippett, QC has said that the trial highlights the disastrous state of the
Timorese legal system, which he described as “one of the most substantial
failures that the United Nations has ever engaged in”.

Pires’s legal team received access to the prosecution’s voluminous files
just days before the trial opened, rather than the months normally granted to
allow adequate preparation. “I’m very concerned about it being a fair
trial,” Tippett told the ABC, “because I’ve now had complete access to 25
volumes of the prosecution case and there is no substantive evidence or
properly admissible evidence that could possibly support any of the charges
that have been brought against her. Now in those circumstances I would expect
any responsible prosecuting authority to withdraw these charges against her at
the earliest opportunity. The fact that the case is still going to trial gives
me concern that this is not a legal case, it’s a political case.”

Significantly, Tippett has indicated that he intends to prove Pires’s
innocence by demonstrating that Reinado was killed after attending what he
believed was a meeting arranged with Ramos-Horta. “The evidence seems to
point to a different story to the one which people have been receiving through
the media and certainly from sources in the government of Timor-Leste to
date,” the lawyer told Timorese newspaper Tempo Semanal. “The [real] story
seems to be one of Reinado coming to meet the president and in the course of
that event he’s shot at extremely close range ... in what appears to be an

Prosecutors last week attempted to have Tippett and Pires’s other senior
counsel, Brazilian Zeni Arndt, thrown out of court on the grounds of their
alleged lack of standing in Timor’s legal system. The two lawyers were told
to sit in the viewing gallery for part of the first day’s proceedings, but
the presiding judge ultimately decided to permit them to participate.

Pires’s defence lawyers have said they may call 150 witnesses, likely
resulting in court proceedings lasting several months.

The trial has the potential to prove highly damaging to both the Timorese and
Australian governments. The immediate questions raised by the charge that
Reinado was set up for assassination is: who was responsible and what was the
motivation? In line with the legal adage cui bono?—who benefits—suspicion
must firstly fall upon forces around Gusmao as well as Australian personnel in
Dili and Canberra.

/Reinado, Gusmao, and the Australian government/

Born in 1967, Reinado fled Indonesian-occupied East Timor for Australia in
1995. He returned during the country’s transition to formal independence and
joined the newly created armed forces; from 2003 to 2005 he spent several
months studying and training with the Australian army in Canberra. Then in May
2006, as commander of a platoon of military police, Reinado and his men joined
the mutiny of a section of the army known as the “petitioners”, who had
rebelled against the Fretilin government led by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

The exact circumstances leading up to the split in the military remain unclear,
but there is evidence suggesting that then President Xanana Gusmao was
centrally involved in preparing the provocation as a means of destabilising the
Alkatiri administration. Gusmao had been openly siding with the most right-wing
sections of the Timorese elite, who were opposed to the Fretilin
government—including former Indonesian militia members, criminal gangs,
larger landowners, and the powerful Catholic Church.

The Australian government was also a leading participant. It seized upon the
petitioners’ uprising to dispatch more than one thousand Australian and New
Zealand soldiers to the impoverished state as part of a calculated
regime-change operation. The media played an especially foul role, with the
ABC’s “Four Corners” program promoting baseless accusations that the
prime minister had formed a hit squad to assassinate his opponents. Alkatiri
eventually acquiesced to the pressure, and chose to hand over power in June
rather than risk a popular movement against the coup plotters developing beyond
Fretilin’s control.

Reinado enjoyed close relations with both Gusmao and the Australian forces.
After he had taken up arms against the elected government, and killed several
security force personnel in a vicious ambush in Dili, Gusmao wrote Reinado a
friendly letter encouraging him to withdraw his men from the capital. The
president subsequently paid for Reinado’s hotel bill when the soldier stayed
in the central town of Ailieu for six weeks. During this time the “rebel”
held talks with high-ranking Australian military personnel and was feted in the
Australian media as a “folk hero” heading a popular movement against the

What followed was a series of murky episodes that pointed to the close ties
between Reinado and Australian military and intelligence personnel. In July
2006, Portuguese police arrested the former soldier in a Dili house, which he
had used to store weapons and which was located directly opposite an Australian
military base. A few weeks later Reinado was somehow able to walk out of a
prison that Australian and New Zealand troops were responsible for guarding. In
March 2007, shortly after a proposed deal on Reinado’s surrender—negotiated
with Gusmao and Ramos-Horta—fell through, the Australian government deployed
100 elite SAS troops to lead a raid on Reinado’s base in the central mountain
town of Same. The former major was again somehow able to evade detention,
walking away from the clash unscathed. Later, after Gusmao and Ramos-Horta
called off the official manhunt, Reinado and the Australian army exchanged
information about each other’s movements—using Angelita Pires as the

The turning point in Reinado’s various manoeuvres came in January 2008, when
he released a DVD accusing Gusmao of being behind the 2006 crisis, and
threatened to provide additional details in future statements. Reinado’s
damning allegation, apparently triggered by a breakdown in negotiations with
Gusmao over the terms of his surrender, exacerbated the crisis of the prime
minister’s unstable coalition government.

On February 7 last year, President Ramos-Horta convened a meeting of
parliamentarians from both government and opposition parties to announce his
support for Fretilin’s demand for new elections, which Gusmao was bitterly
resisting. Canberra no doubt also viewed with extreme alarm the prospect of
another national vote, having expended significant resources, firstly in
ousting Alkatiri in 2006, and then in assisting the coming to power of the
Gusmao government through the 2007 parliamentary elections held under
Australian military occupation.

Ramos-Horta scheduled further discussions on the question of a fresh
election—but these were never held. Reinado was killed just four days after
the initial meeting. His death fortuitously eclipsed the threat that Gusmao’s
true tole in the 2006 crisis would emerge. Moreover, Gusmao seized on the
so-called coup attempt to announce a “state of siege”, under which he
assumed sweeping authoritarian powers. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd meanwhile
rushed to dispatch another 190 soldiers and federal police, bolstering the
increasingly unpopular Australian occupation force.

There was, therefore, ample reason for both Gusmao and Canberra to want Reinado
eliminated. On the other hand, no-one has ever provided a plausible explanation
as to why Reinado would want to kill Ramos-Horta. Certainly prosecutors in the
Pires trial have so far provided no motive. The president had visited Reinado
in mid-January and agreed to a secret amnesty deal that would see the former
major avoid imprisonment in return for surrendering his arms and returning to
Dili. Ramos-Horta, in other words, was Reinado’s best—and last—hope of
securing his freedom.

/Prosecution contradictions/

There are countless outstanding questions regarding the events of February 11.
How did Reinado and his men avoid detection by Australian troops and police as
they travelled as an armed convoy up to President Ramos-Horta’s residence?
Did Australian intelligence agencies have prior knowledge of what has being
planned, given that Reinado made dozens of mobile phone calls, including to
Australia and Indonesia, in the days before his death? Did the alleged ambush
on Gusmao’s vehicle, led by Reinado’s associate Gastao Salsinha, actually
take place, or was it a staged fraud, as Fretilin leader Mari Alkatiri has

A full and comprehensive account of what happened may never emerge; critical
evidence was deliberately sabotaged in the aftermath of Reinado’s shooting.
The bodies of Reinado and Leopoldino Exposto were moved and tampered with by
Timorese police and soldiers, Reinado’s clothing was removed, his mobile
phone used, and his weapon interfered with. The rifle used to shoot Reinado and
Leopoldino from point-blank range has never been properly examined.

The prosecution’s case has already begun to unravel, after just five days of
court proceedings.

Reinado’s fellow “rebel”, Marcelo Caetano is accused of shooting
President Ramos-Horta. This is despite Ramos-Horta himself previously telling
the media that Caetano was not responsible. “Marcelo Caetano was wrongly
accused,” the president told the Age in October last year. “I never said it
was him. It was a media beat-up.”

This “media beat-up” is now the central pivot upon which the prosecution
apparently hopes to build its case. Two of Ramos-Horta’s guards testified
this week that the gunman who shot Ramos-Horta was wearing a balaclava at the
time. One, Pedro Soares, said he could not identify the man because his face
was hidden, but the other, Isaac da Silva, insisted that the attacker was
definitely Caetano and that he recognised him, “from the way he was standing
and his attitude”. Lawyers for the accused noted that da Silva’s testimony
contradicted his earlier statement to investigators in which he said that he
had not recognised the gunman. Also unexplained is the contradiction between
the prosecution’s charge that Ramos-Horta’s attacker was wearing a
balaclava with the president’s statement, again made to the Age last year,
that he had seen the gunman’s “face and eyes” immediately before the

Ramos-Horta, who has issued numerous statements against Pires in the lead up to
the trial, is now remaining silent.

Draft law opens door to foreign ownership of land in East Timor



20 July 2009 Media Release

Draft law opens door to foreign ownership of land

The Gusmao–led AMP government’s consultation process on the draft land law is woefully inadequate and the law itself would open the door to foreign ownership and control of land, former Prime Minister and FRETILIN MP Estanislau Da Silva warned today.

Da Silva said the government’s brief and tokenistic public consultations would heighten community tensions and mistrust.

“This is the most important piece of legislation since Timor-Leste regained its independence in 2002 but many people will not understand or be prepared for the great impact the law will have on their lives,” he said.

“The law is supposed to resolve land disputes and issue the first set of ownership rights to East Timorese citizens.

“But the first two public consultations held in Manatuto on 6 July and in Baucau the following day provided little opportunity for the community to ask questions and voice their concerns.

“According to media releases issued by Land Network, a group of 20 national and international NGOs, the people of Manatuto were only allowed 59 minutes to ask questions and in Baucau, participants got just 90 minutes to ask questions.

”Land Network complained that the Minister for Justice Lucia Lobato has been misleading the people on the length of the consultation process, which will last for 11 weeks only.

“This law requires a much longer period of effective grassroots consultation, particularly considering that half the population is illiterate, most people earn less than a dollar a day and that land is the only real productive and valuable asset which continues to provide livelihoods to East Timorese citizens.

“The government’s consultation process is farcical and inadequate and makes a mockery of the rights of East Timorese citizens.”

Da Silva warned the law as currently drafted would open the door to foreign ownership and control of land in Timor-Leste.

“According to the draft, a company wishing to own land in Timor-Leste only needs to have its head office in Timor-Leste, meaning foreigners could set up companies here and through their majority controlling shareholdings purchase large swathes of land at vastly discounted values.

“The major productive asset of most families, land, would potentially be ripe for exploitation by international speculators as nearly all East Timorese have little experience in land valuation, and being desperate for cash, would be vulnerable to unfair deals.

“This would lead to the displacement of many people and exacerbate social tensions and inequality.”

Da Silva said the draft law again demonstrated the AMP government’s willingness to put the interests of powerful interest groups ahead of vulnerable East Timorese citizens.

“Last year, the current Minister for Agriculture Mariano Sabino agreed to hand over 100,000 hectares of scarce agricultural land to an Indonesian company for use as a sugar-cane plantation.

“This deal was followed by the Secretary of State for Energy Policy Avelinho Coelho signing a contract with the Australian-based biofuel company Enviroenergy Developments Australia for Jatropha development on 59 hectares of prime agricultural land at Baucau.

“Both deals were signed at a time of sky rocketing food prices and despite clear evidence that the projects were highly polluting and severely damaged Timor-Leste’s capacity to become self sufficient in food production.”

For more information, please contact Estanislau Da Silva on +670 733 5062

An unofficial translation of the draft land law is available in English at http://www.sprtl.tl/docs/Land_Law_Draft_English_June09.pdf