29 September 2009

Meeting Of The Council Of Ministers 23 September 2009

Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers Díli, Government Palace, September 23 rd, 2009 IV CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT

The Council of Ministers held a meeting this Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, in its Room, in the Government Palace, in Dili, and has approved:
1. Government Resolution that approves a Commission to review the ISF mission.

In view of Timor-Leste’s steady security situation. Considering its social and political stabilization, the country security and defense forces now able to accomplish their mission, the Government has decided to appoint a Commission to conduct an assessment over the needs to sustain ISF in the territory. The ISF statutes were established in May 2006, through an agreement signed by the Government of Timor-Leste and Australia, with the aim of restoring the national security in country. According to this agreement, an Australian military commander should control all the military and police forces, both national and international.

By August 2006, the United Nations Security Council has partially revoked this agreement through UNMIT’s mandate ad to restore and maintain public order in Timor-Leste.

In December 2006, both national and international Police Command has been handed over to the United Nations after celebrating an agreement with UNMIT to adjust the relationship between UNPOL and the State of Timor-Leste.

In January 2007, a trilateral agreement between Timor-Leste, Australia and the United Nations sets a new path and the powers conferred through the May 26 agreement loose their applicability.

Hence, vis-a-vis the changes regarding the ISF Mission, based upon the Constitution of the Republic of Timor-Leste and the recent High Defense and Security Council decision, the Government has decided to appoint a Commission to conduct an assessment over the ISF Mission in Timor-Leste.
2. Decree-Law that approves the Organic of the Migration Service.

The establishment of a Migration Service – separated from PNTL – represents an opportunity to develop an organization which enables professional services to reach out the goals set by the Government for migration affairs.

The Migration Service assumes the general responsibilities provided by the Immigration and Asylum Law to take control over the movement of people from the moment they arrive in country to the moment they depart. It also allows the control and monitoring of foreigners inside national territory. The organic law of the Migration Service was developed to ensure managerial and legislative conditions needed to accomplish a good migration administration.
3. Decree-Law which approves the Statute for Migration Service Staffs.

The Migration Service (MS) was established as an independent body; dependent of the Government Member Responsible for Migration, hence its statutes should be regulated separately. The implementation of the Organic Law for Migration Service demands a special carrier regime (having in mind the Public Servants laws) that fits the new MS structure.

4. Resolution which approves Cultural National Policy.

“Using Culture towards the Nation and the Timorese State” is one of the priorities defined by the IV Constitutional Government in its program.

The preservation and dissemination of both Timor-Leste’s patrimony and cultural values are set in this policy through a sum of action lines, which includes the making of legislation, investigation support, education and training programs, and the creation of infrastructures.

Thus, the Government shall coordinate and execute the policies by now defined for the preservation of cultural patrimony, as well as by increasing the support to cultural institutions and performances. It will also support the publications that allow cultural information to propagate countrywide, as well as the cooperation with other organizations which unsure relevant actions in cultural areas.

The foregoing Organic Law of the Ministry for Education regulates and defines the future National Bibliotheca as a Public Institute and assumes responsibility for its management.

28 September 2009

East Timor sets hub land aside

Upstream, 18 September 2009 East Timor sets hub land aside RUSSELL SEARANCKE Darwin, Australia - East Timor has allocated 950 hectares of land along its southern coast that will be used as a services and supply base for the upstream oil and gas industry and for downstream processing including liquefied natural gas.

Alfredo Pires, the country’s Minister for Natural Resources, said the land designated was part of the government’s plan to create a gas hub to service the northern Timor sea fields, while Darwin in northern Australia could continue to service the southern part of the Timor sea.

Currently, all of the main services requirements for exploration and production in the Timor sea between East Timor and Australia come from the Northern territory in Australia.

Pires said the government had allocated 400 hectares in Suai for the development of a supply base, 300 hectares of land in Betano for refineries and petrochemicals, and 250 hectares in Beaco for an LNG facility with production capacity for up to 20 million tonnes per annum of LNG.

These towns are closer to most oil and gas exploration activities and in an area where there are numerous oil and gas seeps, which potentially will be explored in the future,” said Pires. “The shorter distance to the new centres (compared to Darwin) also means savings for the industry. Having these new centres will literally foster a new frontier for East Timor.”

The government is determined that the sunrise LNG plant be located along its south coast, contrary to the Woodside-led Sunrise team’s wishes. the sunrise owners want to develop the project as a floating LNG scheme or via pipeline to Darwin.

The owners aim to file a field development plan to the joint East Timor-Australian commission this year for approval.

Pires said: “One development in the Timor Sea, the Bayu Undan project, has benefited the people of Australia through its infrastructure in Darwin. It is only fair that this time East Timor will benefit from the development of infrastructure from the Greater sunrise (project) with an LNG plant in East Timor.

Maybe future generations could reconcile an alternative agreement (for Sunrise), but our commitment to this project makes it very difficult to reconcile any other agreement than a development, pipeline and LNG plant based in East Timor.”

The government had carried out its own technical and commercial studies on the viability of a pipeline across the Timor trough and found the pipeline and LNG plant are technically feasible, commercially viable and legally merited, said Pires.

The development of Greater sunrise will either transform our nation on shore or remain a distant dream,” he said.

27 September 2009

HIV-AIDS and Homophobia in Timor-Leste

In its Comments on the U.S. Department of State Country reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) noted that, in East Timor:

There is pervasive bias against homosexuals, keeping nearly all closeted.

People with HIV/AIDS are largely unidentified due to lack of public information and testing.

HIV may be far more widespread than public health officials admit, according to some experts.

AIDS casualties are listed as dying from tuberculosis or other opportunistic diseases.

The lack of access for HIV-positive people to information, testing and health care, combined with common extramarital sexual relations, will likely kill many people in coming years.

In 2005, the author of the blog Dilly Dallying posted an account of encounter with homophobia in East Timor. On 10 November 2005, the author wrote that a Timorese woman had expressed
virulent homophobic comments. The woman was young, supposedly well educated, from a very well to do family and worked for a Human Rights NGO. Her comments, the blog author reports, in particular about gay men were outrageous. She said that there were no gay people in Timor before Indonesia invaded and that gay men were responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS.

That blogger also reports on a chapter in a Tetun language book called “Kuidadu an” (Taking care of yourself). Under the sub section called "Extramarital Sex", were included the following words: prostitute (three different words), cross dresser, man who acts or dresses like a woman; homosexual (all one word); effeminate heterosexual male; tomboy, woman who acts like a man; homosexual; lesbian; cheap (easy to get; mainly applied to women); mistress (in addition to the wife); take a mistress. To make matters worse, the woman who wrote the book is a Dutch Australian academic.

Then, more was to come, says the Dilly Dallying blogger:

"My Tetun tutor told me that he didn’t like any of “this”. When I questioned him as to what “this” was, he said, “all these people”. I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked as this young man has expressed so many views concerning women (eg there is no such thing as rape in marriage because of course, if I want sex with my wife, she must give it to me!), gender and children that adding homosexuality to the bag covers thoroughly the whole issue of sex and gender.

However, at times like this, I simply cannot shut my mouth and say nothing. I explained to him that being homosexual is a human right and that in countries such as my own, such people are (generally speaking) accepted and protected from discrimination in law (mostly). I also told him that homosexual couples could marry in four countries including two that are Catholic and that perhaps one day, this too will happen in Timor. He just tut tutted and shook his head in disbelief that this was so and was probably thinking how strange and appalling we Westerners are. Little did he know that in my mind, I was thinking how bloody lucky I was to be born in the West and not in Timor."

Dilly Dallying is right to point out these expressions of homophobic slander of homosexuals because they reveal how deeply entrenched the primitive ideology of homophobia is in East Timorese society - thanks to the Catholic Church's antihuman, intolerant and vilificatory doctrines on homosexuality.

Its impacts from programs to reduce the transmission of HIV that do not take due account of the gay community as a most-at-risk group are fatal for the people those programs are supposed to be focused on.

The East Timor National Strategic Plan for a Comprehensive and Multi- Sectoral Response to HIV/AIDS/STI. 2002 –2005 from the Ministry of Health does not contain a single reference to homosexuality, homosexuals or homophobia. There is only a single reference to "men who have sex with men".

And this exposes yet another conceptual error in the strategy. It ought to be clear to even the least informed HIV-AIDS policy decision maker and advisers that not all men who have sex with men are homosexuals. Nor is there any inclusion of bisexuality. Programs must at least be able to identify the MARG's which this policy document does not do. It is the MARG profile that dictates the policy response. So, it is necessary to consider programmatical objectives in relation to men who have sex with men but who are not homosexual, men who have sex with men who are homosexual and men who have sex with both men and women (as well as sex workers and their clients, intravenous drug users, people who have received blood transfusions of blood products before testing of blood supplies was introduced, to name but a few).

These conceptual failures have meant a misformulation of policy and the deployment of defective programs to combat HIV-AIDS in East Timor; such as the Timor-Leste Red Cross HIV-AIDS Reduction Program which reinforces the separation and marginalisation of the gay community from the straight community. It does this by excluding the gay community as a MARG from its program (the principle, most active international NGO in this area).

That has been hived away from the Red Cross program and programming for men who have sex with men (but not homosexuals) has been assigned to a small, inexperienced, under-resourced national NGO which would be even less enthusiastic about combating HIV-AIDS by combating homophobia as a central programming theme.

How can it reasonably be expected that the critical issue of homophobia will be properly addressed under the East Timor National HIV-AIDS strategy as it is presently cast? There would be much more chance of success if an international agency were to put homophobia as part of its HIV-AIDS reduction program and that this be undertaken with the entire community as the target.

Policies based on moral or religious dictates are of no avail in the minimisation of HIV transmission and this is because a moral or religious doctrine can not prevent infection.

Socialisation and the open availability of condoms*, national public information campaigns about safe sex, treatments, and civil rights guarantees are known to minimise infection. Policies based on science, legal rights and guarantees - as well as common sense - turn out to be the best ones; able to turn the peak of new infections into a plateau and eventually into a downward trend. Policies that seek to advance a moral or religious framework for the suppression of HIV ought to be discarded since they do not prevent HIV transmission.

Consequently, the rights of persons diagnosed as HIV-positive must also be a pillar of any national HIV strategy. Discrimination in the provision of health care services for people living with HIV contributes to a hastened demise of those people and is a strong disincentive for people to be tested leaving the entire community at greater risk. Guarantees of confidentiality of HIV status must be set in law; as do anti-discrimination laws and laws prohibiting criminal vilification of homosexuals, homosexuality or HIV-status.

East Timor is a long way from that. But the longer and further away from that kind of policy reform East Timor is, the more of its citizens will suffer and die terrible deaths - and the further HIV will spread into the general community.

* This post author conducted a work shop with the East Timor National Parliament Committee on Health in 2004 under the University of San Francisco (Centre for Law and Global Justice) Legislative Drafting Initiative (part of The Asia Foundation's Access to Justice Program).

The work shop topic was health care policy and law for mothers and the question of birth control through condom use came up. The author noted that condoms could be bought at certain shops in Dili but was quickly informed that the condoms were only there for "Misters" - that is to say, foreigners (malaes)!

See also Homosexuality in East Timor

Timor Leste Legal News 23 September 2009

Sexual assault cases registered by Victim Support Service is 48% Timor Post 23 September 2009 The are 152 cases including 48% of sexual assault cases registered by the Victim Support Service Unite (VSS) which is under the auspices of the Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP).

President Horta gives pardon to prisoners Timor Post 23 September 2009 Three prisoners have been freed from jail because their term of imprisonment has come to end in which President Horta gave pardon to those prisoners in 2008.

Fretilin calls for PM Gusmao to explain Bere's release Timor Post 23 September 2009 MP Aniceto Guterres during a plenary session of the National Parliament has called on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to appear in the Parliament to explain the reason for freeing the ex-militia commander, Maternus Bere.

Vote of no confidence is a political instrument Timor Newsline 23 September 2009 Deputy Parliamentary President Vicente Guterres said vote of no confidence was a political instrument for the oppositions to transmit their concerns over the decision of releasing the ex-militia commander, Bere.

Three members of the CPD-RDTL detained Timor Post 23 September 2009 Three of the CPD-RDTL [the Timorese Resistance Organization] members were detained by the Timorese National Police (PNTL) in Baucau district because they were alleged of being engaged in concealing weapons.

Criteria for KAK’s commissary should not be amended Suara Timor Lorosae 23 September 2009 Acting Parliamentary President Vicente Guterres has called for the Government not to amend the criteria for nominating commissary for the anti-corruption commission (KAK), as the commissary should have moral, integrity, and professionalism for leading the commission.

Parliament supports court to investigate Bere’s case Suara Timor Lorosae 23 September 2009 Acting Parliamentary President Vicente Guterres said the Parliament had totally supported the court to investigate the state leaders who had freed the ex-militia commander Maternus Bere.

Police summons Aitahan Matak Suara Timor Lorosae 23 September 2009 The Timorese national Police (PNTL) has summoned the CPD-RDTL [a Timorese resistance] Coordinator Antonio Aitahan Matak as he was alleged of making plan to hamper the upcoming community leaders’ elections.

Decision of releasing Bere is crime: Appellate court Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 23 September 2009 President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes said the decision of releasing the ex-militia commander, Maternus Bere was an act of crime, and therefore the one who released him should face legal charge.

Community leaders’ candidate sign peace pact with CNE Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 23 September 2009 Eighty one of the community leaders’ candidates have signed a peace pact with the National Electoral Commission (CNE) in Vikeke district as a guarantee for the upcoming community leaders elections.

Police discovers five grenades in Ainaro Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 23 September 2009 The Timorese National Police (PNTL) has discovered five grenades in the southern district of Ainaro on Tuesday (22/9).

TEMPO SEMANAL: Pualaka Scandal: 3 Million Misappropriated? BPA makes BNU official Pay the Price

Tempo Semanal Saturday, 26 September 2009 - The Director-General Ajunto da Caixa Geral de Depositios, Succursal Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) Timor-Leste, Mr. Artur Amaral Jorge was seen in Nicolau Lobato National Airport today. He was acoompanied by his wife and friends. Today Mr. Artur departed Timor-Leste for Singapore, and onwards to Portugal. He leaves after being foiund guilty of being in breach of Regulamento 2000/8 Article 36 No 3 Line A.

Mr. Artur lost his post because of complaints made against him on 13/04/2009 by Joao Alves and Luis Oliveira (shareholderss in Pualaka Petroleo) to the Banking and Payments Authority (BPA). The BPA verified the irregularities made in the transaction of $3,029,000.00 USD from the bank account of of Pualaka Petroleo Lda. to bank accounts held in the names of Atauro Oil, and Mau Huran Printing without appropriate authorisation. The Third Shareholder in Pualaka Petroleo is Americo Lopes (click here and here for related stories), husband of Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato.

More than 100 Timorese business people have signed a petition in support of Mr. Artur in an effort to force the BPA to stop its decision to expel him from BNU. The petition states that he "is very helpful to Timorese business people", said a well known Timorese businessman who did want to be identified. There is strong pressure from high level government officials to BPA to reconsider the decision.

Tempo Semanal was told by its source close to the BNU in Dili that the BPA did not give opportunity to Mr. Artur to defend himself against the accusations.

While Tempos Semanal tried to get a comment from Mr. Artur at the airpor he refused to comment. According to Tempo Semanal sources Mr. Artur has registered a complaint against the Banking and Payments Authority (BPA).

26 September 2009

President Horta Defends His position on Maternus Bere

Friday, 25 September 2009 (Video release) TEMPO SEMANAL TV - During the two days of National Kongress of Victims of Human Rights Violations 1975-99 Dili 8-9 September 2009 the victims and family of victims criticised the Timorese President and Prime Minister position with regards to the matter of justice for human rights abuses in Timor-Leste.

President Ramos Horta in his speech during the 10th anniversary of East Timor Referendum on 30 August 2009, criticised Amnesty International and other defenders of human rights inside and outside Timor and declared that he does not agree with efforts to create an international tribunal for human rights violations in Timor-Leste.

On the same day East Timor Government released Maternus Bere, the second Command of Laksaur Militia, who was indicted by the United Nations Special Panel for Serious Crimes.

In August 2009 Bere was arrested by the community in Suai after crossing the border from Indonesia - and handed over to police authorities - as a warrant for his arrest was issued when he was indicted in 2001 by the UN.

However, the UN Police, under their executive police mandate, allowed Bere to roam free in Suai district for 3 days and only took Bere once the community arrested him.

On 02/09/09 the UNHR Commissioner criticised East Timorese President but the UN is trying to wash their hand in terms of Justice by removed the Special Panel for Serious Crimes Unit.

For the full coverage of Mr. Bere case please read Tempo Semanal's next edition. Tempo Semanal has obtained leaked copies of Bere's passport and other documents which reveal much about the case, including a 4 September 2009 letter from the National Director of the Timorese prison service.


UN: East Timor broke international law with Bere's release

Radio Australia News Asia Pacific 16 Sep 2009 07:59:44 GMT+0800 Christine Webster, Asia Pacific - The United Nations has accused East Timor of breaking international law.

It follows President Jose Ramos-Horta's decision to release to Indonesian authorities a militia leader who crossed into East Timor last month.

Martenus Bere is wanted for his alleged involvement in the Suai church massacre in which up to 200 people died in the lead-up to East Timor's 1999 vote for independence.

Fernanda Guimaraes, the UN Human Rights deputy chief in East Timor, told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program, the release or detention is up to the courts, and not the Government, to decide.

"There can be no impunity for crimes against humanity, for war crimes and gross human rights violation," she said.

"Timor Leste ratified the Rome statute that established International Criminal Court and is a party to the international covenant on civil and political rights."

Human rights progress report

The United Nations has released its third human rights report on East Timor, which highlights the fact that the country made progress in key human rights areas in the past year.

These include the strengthening of the judicial system, no confirmed reports of torture by security forces and the introduction of laws such as making domestic violence a crime.

The report covers the period between July 2008 and June 2009.
East Timor Law Journal - Towards the rule of law in Timor-Leste!

UNDP continues to entrench dysfunctional justice system in Timor-Leste

UNDP Legal Advisers from Portugal and Cape Verde arrive in Dili East Timor Press Release 24/September/2009 - The UNDP Justice System Programme (JSP) is supporting the arrival of four Judges, four Prosecutors and four clerks from Portugal and Cape Verde to support the national judicial institutions over the next one year. The advisors arrived in Dili on the 18th September, 2009.

The advisors are provided under agreements of cooperation that UNDP has promoted and supported both logistically and financially. An induction course was held for the advisors to familiarize them on the Timorese judicial system and they were provided with guidelines that have been developed for advising and building capacities of their national counterparts. Several of the advisors will be assigned to the districts outside of Dili, including international judges to each of the district courts, on a permanent basis for the next one year.

Senior Advisor for the JSP, Maria del Mar Bermudez, commented that “the UNDP Justice System Programme is pleased to facilitate and support the national authorities in increasing the capacities of the Timorese judicial system. We expect these advisors to support the national actors to be part of the decentralizing of justice services and bringing justice to the citizens of Timor’’.

The UNDP JSP has closely worked with the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Council of Justice and the Office of the Prosecutor-General, to develop the national capacity of the Courts, the Prosecution and the Public Defender's Office, increasing the effectiveness of the justice system and improving access to justice for all citizens.

The UNDP Justice System Programme is supported by Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

For more information please contact Shaila Noronha on +670-730-4445 or on shaila.noronha@undp.org



PNUD nia Programa Sistema Justisa (PSJ) fó apoiu daudaun hela ba juíz na’in haat, Prokuradór haat no eskrivaun tribunál haat hosi rai Portugál no Kabu-Verde para fó suporta ba instituisaun judisiál nasionál sira ba tinan ida oin-mai. Asesór sira ne’e to’o iha Dili iha loron-18 fulan-Setembru 2009.

Asesór sira ne’e mai tan akordu kooperasaun ne’ebé hetan promove no apoia lojistikamente no finanseiramente hosi PNUD. Kursu indusaun ida halo ona ba asesór sira ne’e atu halo sira hatoman an ba sistema judisiál Timór nian no sira hetan dokumentu matadalan sira ne’ebé dezenvolve nanis ona hodi fó konsellu no dezenvolvimentu kapasidade ba sira-nia kolega nasionál sira. Asesór hirak-ne’e balu, inklui juíz internasionál sira, sei aloka permanentemente ba tribunál distritál idaidak ba tinan ida oin-mai.

Asesora Seniór ba PSJ, Maria del Mar Bermudez, komenta katak “PNUD nia Programa Sistema Justisa sente haksolok atu fasilita no apoia autoridade nasionál sira ba hasa’e kapasidade sistema judisiál Timór-oan nian. Ami hein katak asesór hirak-ne’e sei apoia autór nasionál sira atu sai parte ida iha desentralizasaun servisu justisa nian no lori justisa ba sidadaun Timór-oan hotu”.

PSJ PNUD halo servisu di’ak tebes ho Ministériu Justisa, Konsellu Supremu ba Justisa no Prokuradória Jerál Repúblika atu dezenvolve autór nasionál sira hosi Tribunál, Prokuradória no Defensória Públika hodi aumenta efikásia sistema justisa no hadi’ak liután asesu justisa ba sidadaun hotu-hotu.

PNUD nia Programa Sistema Justisa ne’e rai Austrália, Brazíl, Portugál, Noruega, España, Suésia no ONU nia Gabinete Komisáriu Aas ba Direitu Ema nian (G-KADE), PNUD nia Departamentu Prevensaun Krize no Rekuperasaun.

Atu hetan informasaun liután halo favór ida kontaktu de’it ho Shaila Noronha liuhosi +670-730-4445 eh ba shaila.noronha@undp.org

East Timor Legal News 15 September 2009

Catholic Church concerns about the release of Maternus Bere Timor Post 15 September 2009 Suai Catholic Church Priest Natalino Verdial Gama said he was concerned about the Government's decision to release the ex-militia commander Maternus Bere from prison.

FONGTIL concerns about PM Gusmao’s decision to release ex-militia man Timor Post 15 September 2009 The Timorese NGO Forum (FONGTIL) has expressed concerns over the decision made by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to release the ex-militia commander Maternus Bere on August 30.

PM Gusmao should clarify Bere's case in the Parliament Suara Timor Lorosae 15 September 2009 MPs from Fretilin and National Unity Party (PUN) have called for Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to appear in the Parliament to clarify to MPs and the people about the release the of ex-militia commander Maternus Bere.

International Police have the right arrest Bere: MP Tilman Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 15 September 2009 MP Manuel Tilman from KOTA party said the International Police had the right to arrest the ex-milita LAKSAUR Commander Maternus Bere when leaving the Indonesian Embassy.

Political sphere would impact on legal system: MP Bano Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 15 September 2009 Fretilin MP Arsenio Bano said the public was concerned about the decision made by the country's leaders to release the ex-militia commander Maternus Bere because political interfernece would impact on confidence in the justice process in East Timor.

MP calls for PNTL to be vigilant Suara Timor Lorosae 15 September 2009 Parliamentary Committee B for Defence and Security President Duarte Nunes has called for the Timorese National Police (PNTL) to be vigilant in the run-up to the community leaders elections because people have started to threaten each other in Viqueque district.

PM Gusmao defends thief stealing money in his office Suara Timor Lorosae 15 September 2009 Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao does not want to process legally the case of the money went missing in his office.

UN to continue becoming development partner for PNTL: Atul Khare Radio Televisaun Timor Leste15 September 2009 The UN will continue to be a development partner for the Timorese National Police (PNTL) even lthough the UN Police has handed over security responsibility to the PNTL in the districts and some police units.

Council of Ministers decides to amend law for KAK Timor Post 15 September 2009 The Council of Ministers through an extraordinary meeting has made a decision to send resolution to the Parliament for amending law for the approved commission of anti-corruption (KAK).

Timor-Leste Legal News 22 September 2009

FOKUPERS receives 1074 claims during nine years Suara Timor Lorosae 22 September 2009 - FOKUPERS [East Timor Womens Communication Forum) has conducted its work from 2000 up to 2009 and it has received claims of 1074 cases.

PNTL officers salary will be increased Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 22 September 2009 - State Secretary for Security, Francisco da Costa Guterres said the Timorese National Police (PNTL) salary will be increased in October this year and was based on the approved Decree Law.

Justice process for Bere should come first Radio Televisaun Timor Leste 22 September 2009 Baukau Diocese Bishop Monsignor Basilio do Nacimento said the Catholic Church could pardon the ex-militia commander Maternus Bere but the justice process against him should continue based on the victims’ demands.
Timor Leste Land Law and Policy Information Centre

La'o Hamutuk Analysis of the Release of Laksaur Militia Maternus Bere by East Timor's leaders


On 30 August 2009, some Timorese leaders freed Maternus Bere, the former leader of the Laksaur Militia (Laksanakan Sapu Rata) in Suai who was indicted for committing crimes against humanity in 1999. This decision by the President of the Republic and Prime Minister violates the Constitution of RDTL Article 160 about serious crimes which states that “Acts committed between the 25th of April 1974 and the 31st of December 1999 that can be considered crimes against humanity, of genocide or of war shall be liable to criminal proceedings with the national or international courts.”

Under Article 160 of the Constitution of RDTL, the UN/RDTL Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court issued a warrant to arrest Maternus Bere in 2003, subsequent to Serious Crimes Unit indictment No./09/2003. He was named together with Egidio Manek, deputy commander of the Laksaur Militia, and others who committed crimes against humanity in Suai during 1999, including “murder, extermination, enforced disappearance, torture, inhumane acts, rape, deportation and persecution.” The former leader militia Maternus Bere must be brought to a national or international court for trial. The decision to free him betrays the state’s commitment made by ratifying the Rome Convention for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Freedom for Maternus Bere by the President and Prime Minister undermines the principles of a democratic state under rule of law based onto article 1(1) of the Constitution of RDTL which states that “The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is a democratic, sovereign, independent and unitary State based on the rule of law, the will of the people and the respect for the dignity of the human person.” Freedom for Maternus Bere who was captured by PNTL and imprisoned pending trial is illegal, because the decision to free him must be by a court, not a non-judicial organs. We understand that President of the Republic José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão instructed the Minister of Justice to release Maternus Bere without a decision from a judge, but we do not yet know their motives for releasing this alleged perpetrator, and have seen no formal declaration from the President and Prime Minister of their reasons. However, we have learned that the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda threatened not to attend the 10th anniversary commemoration of Timor-Leste’s referendum until Bere was turned over to the Indonesian Ambassador in Dili.

We believe that the leaders’ decision does the following:

1. Diminishes the credibility of Timor-Leste as a sovereign nation and our Constitutional dignity, as consecrated in Constitution of RDTL Article 2
2. Undermines our self-image as a democratic state governed under rule of law
3. Discards Timor-Leste’s values of justice, values of humanity and values of independence.
4. Disrespects martyrs’ human rights and the rights of victims.
5. Shows that Timorese leaders do not respect our Constitution and violate the principles of justice and separation of powers.
6. Sets a bad precedent for constitutionality and national sovereignty in the future, as Timor-Leste has given away its ability to say “no” to Indonesia or other nations when they ask Timor-Leste to violate our own laws or constitution.

We believe that state leaders should not have released Maternus Bere without a decision from a judge, because these leaders, including the President and Prime Minister, have no jurisdiction over criminal justice. That competence belongs to the courts, as defined by Article 118(1) of the Constitution of RDTL: “Courts are organs of sovereignty with competencies to administer justice in the name of the people.” And the decision of a tribunal is higher than any other authority’s decision, including the President of the Republic, National Parliament and Prime Minister, as described in Constitution Article 118(3): “Court decisions shall be binding and shall prevail over the decisions of any other authority.”

This decision by Timorese leaders damages Timor-Leste’s reputation as a democratic state under rule of law, weakening Timor-Leste’s Judicial System, demonstrating abuse of power and violating the Constitution and the nation’s commitment and principles.

Therefore, La’o Hamutuk demands that:

1. All citizens including the President, Prime Minister, National Parliament and Government must respect and obey the Constitution as the highest law in Timor-Leste.
2. All state organs in Timor-Leste must know their own functions and the separation of power defined in the Constitution.
3. Timorese leaders must show and defend the state’s objectives consecrated in Constitution Article 2: “(1) Sovereignty rests with the people, who shall exercise it in the manner and form laid down in the Constitution. (2) The State shall be subject to the Constitution and to the law. (3) The validity of the laws and other actions of the State and local Government depends upon their compliance with the Constitution.”
4. State leaders must respect and obey decisions made by the judicial organs.
5. The state of Timor-Leste must carry out the indictment from the Serious Crimes Unit No./09/2003 to arrest Maternus Bere and his militia colleagues and to put them on trial.
6. The entire state and nation of Timor-Leste must reject impunity for perpetrators of serious crimes against humanity in the past and in the future.
7. The state of Timor-Leste should not give amnesty to perpetrators who commit serious crimes in Timor-Leste.
8. Timor-Leste and Indonesia should establish an extradition agreement to extradite perpetrators who committed crimes against humanity between 1974 and 1999 in Timor-Leste, so that they can be put on trial here.

Impunity for perpetrators of crimes against humanity hinders Timor-Leste’s process of democratization, showing that judicial institutions are not strong enough to defend people’s rights to justice. Impunity limits victims’ ability to receive compensation or recuperation, legitimizing and legalizing past and future violence against society, and contradicting the state’s obligation to guarantee and promote the fundamental rights of citizens, to respect the nation’s principles of democratic rights.

Constitution Article 2(2) states “The State shall be subject to the Constitution and to the law,” meaning that laws applies to everyone, including national leaders. Therefore, when citizens or leaders do not comply with the law, this violates the constitution and creates legal instability, while obstructing our process of national development, creating abuse of power. This is the path toward dictatorship, where people in power do not obey the Constitution.

The leaders' decision has implications for Timor-Leste’s sovereignty in relation to Indonesia. This decision puts Timor-Leste under the control of Indonesia’s Government, surrendering Timor-Leste’s principles of independence, as well as our national sovereignty.

La’o Hamutuk is an independent organization which has monitored and analyzed the process of development in Timor-Leste since 2000. We believe that developing and strengthening our judicial system, respecting human rights, respecting our Constitution and avoiding abuses of power will help Timor-Leste develop as a nation which defends and promotes principles of democratic rights and good governance to serve the interests of its citizens. Therefore, we are very concerned and distressed about the decision to free Maternus Bere, which violates our Constitution and compromises our national sovereignty.

La'o Hamutuk (The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis)
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Telephone: +670-3325013 or +670-734-0965 mobile
Image added by ETLJB: Artwork by Arte Moris

Monetary Policy in East Timor

Monetary Policy in East Timor

25 September 2009

The exception becomes the norm in Timor-Leste: the draft national security laws and the continuing role of the Joint Command Bu V.E. Wilson

September 2009 - The exception becomes the norm in Timor-Leste: the draft national security laws and the continuing role of the Joint Command Bu V.E. Wilson

The Centre for International Governance and Justice (CIGJ) is a specialised research unit set up within the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Asutralian National University. It is funded by the Australian Research Council.

CIGJ aims to develop regulatory theory in the context of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Our research projects focus both on empirical questions, such as what works and what fails in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and also on the role that international law can play in strengthening the development of democracy after conflict.

East Timor Legal Information Site - An archive of English-language news and security reports, the East Timor National Parliament and Council of Ministers and court reports.

Leading University in Timor-Leste denied accreditation by Government


IV Constitutional Government


Press Release

Licensing and Accreditation of Tertiary Education in Timor-Leste

24th September 2009

Having the purpose to stabilize and guarantee the quality of tertiary education in Timor-Leste, the Ministry of Education led off a process of licensing and accreditation that was conducted in 2008 and 2009 by the experts of an externally international assessment team.

The results of this assessment being done in 2008, to 14 institutions that applied to the process, it had attributed accreditation to seven institutions of high education, two were rejected, and 5 by way of trial:

Among 5 institutions on trial, two of them were accredited and three were rejected their accreditation during the assessment process occurred in August 2008, as follows:

Accredited University – Universidade de Paz (UNPAZ)

Accredited Academy – Instituo Profissional de Canossa (IPC)

Rejected Universities – Universidade de Dili (UNDIL) and Universidade Oriental (UNITAL)

Rejected Academy - Academia Computer Klik (AKAKOM)

The designating team for the international assessment consisted of members coming from various countries and majority of them belonged to the Net of Asia Pacific namely:

Dra. Marjorie Peace Lenn, President of Quality Guarantee Center in the International Education, USA (Team Leader)

Dr. António MacDowell de Figueiredo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and former national secretary of the Brazilian High Education, Ministry of Education.

Dr. Adil Basuki Ahza, Executive Secretary of National Institution of Accreditation of High Education, Indonesia

Dr. Manuel Corpus, Executive Director of Accreditation Institution of Philippines Faculties and Universities

Dr. John Harre, Authority of Qualification of technology and Polytechnic Institute of New Zealand

Dr. Haji Hazman shah Vijayan Abdullah, Faculty of Administrative, Scientific and Politic Studies of Malaysian Technology University.

The Ministry of Education submitted the results of this assessment of August 2009 to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday 23rd August, with the following deliberation:
1. Giving one year more to the institutions that are not accredited, such as UNDIL and UNITAL in order they could resolve the students’ situations and the future situation of the institutions themselves.
2. Not allowing these institutions to receive registration from new students.
3. The AKAKOM should coordinate with the State Secretariat for Professional Development and Employment and adjust the courses to the Professional Development within the criteria and parameters established by the State Secretariat for Professional Development and Employment.

The Council of Ministers expressed its appreciation for this job being done and reiterated its supports to all affected parts, in the sense of ensuring an environment of high education that could meet the national necessities.
East Timor Directory

Xanana Mistakenly Signs Contract with ETO (a company owned by his nephew)

Dili, Tempo Semanal Edition No. 155 Year III - 2009 Monday, 7 September 2009 - Prime Minister (PM) Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao is very serious about establishing and promoting a system of accountability and transparency which will help the management of the state’s finances, especially in areas of procurement and spending of the state budget. However, the Procurement Directorate of the Ministry of Finance has jeopardized the Prime Minister’s credibility because on 30/03/2009 this directorate presented the Prime Minister contract documents for supply of fuel to state vehicles which had the wrong contractor printed on it, with the name of Siverio Pereira Maubere from Aitula Fuels, instead of that of Nilton T. Gusmao from Esperansa Timor Oan (ETO).

This case involves similar allegations as the case where the Prime Minister is alleged to have signed a contract for the supply of rice to his daughter Zenilda Gusmao, because Nilton Gusmao is the Prime Minister’s nephew.

Because of this, some suspicions have emerged of fraud regarding the contract documents signed by the Prime Minister for ETO to supply fuel to government vehicles, in that the company ETO used another company’s name in order to win the approval for the contract from the PMhimself.

In this case, the Pm has also placed himself in a dangerous position because it is clear that he did not look properly at the document before signing it. But it is also possible that the Prime Minister and Nilton Gusmao signed the document at different times. Perhaps the Prime Minister signed first and Nilton Gusmao signed some hours later, as otherwise they would have been present and seen that the signer and signature clause did not correspond, because the documents signed were between the Prime Minister and Silverio Pereira Maubere of Aitula Fuels. However, if the PM knew but proceeded to sign anyway, then he would once again be faced with allegations of fattening his own family though government contracts.

Nonetheless the substance of this case is pointing towards a breach of section 3 of Law 7 of 2007 on Constitutional Officeholders, which imposes prohibitions on certain commercial entities, such as would be the case if Nilton Gusmao has a shareholding exceeding 10% in ETO. This is because the law clearly states, firstly, that those commercial entities in which the office holder has a shareholding exceeding 10% are prohibited from participating in tenders to supply goods and services, or partake in commerce and industry involving contracts with the state or other public entities.

Secondly, line a), of sub-section 2. of section 3, states that commercial entities where the capital shareholding exceeding 10% is held by a spouse or son/daughter or collateral relative to the second degree of kinship, are also prohibited. Line b) of sub-section 2. of the same section 3, states that those commercial entities where the constitutional office holder, alone or together with his or her relatives referred to in line a), directly or indirectly, hold shares exceeding 10%, are also prohibiting from tendering or contracting with the state and its entities in the same way.

In order to find out what Nilton Gusmao’s shareholding is, Tempo Semanal journalists sought confirmation from the directorate of business registration of the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, but it was uncooperative in providing the documents requested by the journalists. This type of conduct shows that the government has no commitment to fight against corruption, collusion and nepotism, despite declaring itself the leader of the fight against corruption, collusion and nepotism, which is popping up everywhere like mushrooms after the rains.

For some years now, the company Belak Fuels had been the sole supplier of fuel for thye state’s transport, but in 2007 the Timor-Leste government thorugh the Ministry of Finance, Directorate of National Procurement Services opened a public tender for Timorese companies wanting to compete for this project.

A number of companies competed but Aitula Fuels and ETO were the winners. The tender results were announced and the companies were contracted to supply fuel to state vehicles, demonstrating the confidence of the government in their ability to perform the service. Although at present both Aitula Fuels and ETO supply fuel for state vehicles, there have been public suspicions as to discrepencies in the contract extension documents with ETO, which this newspaper has been able to access, contract No. 01-06-2008-C-40110 where the name of Aitula Fuels Director Silverio Pererira Maubere appears, although the signature that appears on the document is that of Nilton Gusmao.

Amongst those of the public to have concerns over the document, are Timorese business persons who say it shows the lack of professionalism of the staff at procurement services, and weaknesses in the procurement law, evidenced by the lack of control over the work of
procurement services staff.

Despite these accusations, according to the National Director of Procurement, Francisco C Soares, this type of mistake is routine and critics are ill informed of the work of procurement.

Responding to these questions on Tuesday 1/9/09, at the office of Esperansa Timor Oan at China Rate, Taibessi, Dili, the director Nilton T. Gusmao dos Santos said that the public tender for the supply of fuel to government vehicles was held in 2008 and was open to the public, with a number of companies participating. The tender process and determination documentation shows that two companies, Aitula Fuels and Esperansa Timor Oan won because they submitted the best conditions and had the facilities to supply fuel to government vehicles.

When asked about the signature and name discrepancies on the contract document, Nilton said, “I think this contract was signed with two companies, one with Mr. Silverio’s company and one with us, only that the names that were written on the two contracts were the same ones, but I signed the contract myself and it was not somebody else, therefore I do not think there was any fraud involved with the documents. It was merely a technical error that I signed over Mr. Silverio’s name instead of my own,” Nilton explained self-assuredly.

According to Nilton, the contract document signed by the Prime Minister (PM) some months ago was similar to an extension, but that the principal contract was signed by the Minister for Finace Emilia Pires on 26/05/2008.

“The result of the tender shows that the company Esperansa Timor Oan and Aitula Fuels won the tender to supply fuel to government cars, but at the time the government gave them a six months trial period and because they were able to show that they could provide a good service
then the government extended their contract.”

“The contract extension the government granted at the time, was not just to one person but for the two of us, and it was because of this that at the time they wrote the wrong name, but because I did not notice it I signed it and it was only afterwards that I discovered that the name printed on the contract I had signed was incorrect,” Nilton said mockingly.

Nilton added, that because there were two contracts, with each having their own responsibilities, Aitula Fuels performing their own work by themselves and Esperansa Timor Oan did the same, only sometimes clashing when their areas of responsibilities clashed.

“I do not think there was any fraudulent manipulation in this case, because its clear.” Nilton added that when one speaks of fraudulent manipulation, there must be some intent to conceal and deceive through that manipulation, saying that nothing was neing hidden in this case

as everything went through the normal processes and the company Esperansa Timor Oan never interfered with the tender process.

“I never interfered with the tender process because I have confidence in my own capacity and conditions based on the proposal we submitted,” Nilton reinforced defending himself against the accusations.

The proposal and bid security for the tender for this contract was for 5 years, but the government only granted a contract for six months because they wanted to see how they performed in the contract. “This agreement stipulates that when we performed satisfactorily then of course each year the government would extend our contract until the fifth year, but if in the middle of that contract term the government felt our contract performance was unsatisfactory, then the government could automatically terminate the contract because the government does not want anyone to play with the contract,” Nilton recounted.

Grave doubts have emerged from the information obtained by the newspaper from the director of the company Esperansa Timor Oan, that the total budget they submitted for the five years was nearly US$8,000,000, but when we look at the second contract for the period between 1 January 2009 (12 months) that has a budget of US$2,000,000.

When Tempo Semanal journalists went to Aitula Fuels to clarify the questions referred to, the Director of Aitula Fuels Silverio Pereira Maubere said, “When the dispatch came down from the Prime Minister there was only his name, but at that time the two companies had won the tender, with the company Aitula Fuels coming first and the company Esperansa Timor Oan came second but the dispatch paper which came down was only in my name, but instead ETO’s name before they signed and because of this we don’t think it is a problem,” Silverio followed up.

According to Silverio, there is no indication of manipulation with this issue but it was merely a technical error because at that moment it was he himself who signed first on 26/03/2009 then afterwards Esperansa Timor Oan went to sign on 30/03/09, “but before Nilton was about to sign he himself rang to seek clarification on this issue but I told them not to worry and that was a technical error,” Silverio explained.

Responding to the question that possibly someone had deliberately manipulated the contract using his name, Silverio, confessed that he had no knowledge of any such manipulation, but it was merely a technical error by the staff who had prepared the contract for signing.

Aitula Fuels submitted a budget in the amount of US$2,981,105 for the 13 districts per annum and for the 5 years a total of almost US$8 million and a half.

Though the two companies won the tender each works in their pre-determined zones, with Esperansa Timor Oan taking care of Lautem, Baucau, Viqueque, Manatuto, Oecussi and Dili districts, whilst Aitula Fuels looks after Aileu, Ainaro, Same, Suai, Liquica, Ermera, Maliana
and also Dili District.

On the 02/09/09 the director of procurement Francisco Burlaco told Tempo Semanal that it was correct that there had been a technical error made to the Esperansa Timor Oan contract where it was written Aitula’s Fuel name instead, because of this, according to him there was no indication of any tampering with the contract because these contracts should correctly have had printed on it each company’s name, but because the kids incorrectly wrote in Aitula’s name on all the documents, which was later amended.

“This is merely an issue of the technical error so there is no impact to the budget process because we have corrected the incorrectly written name and there is no indication of tampering,” Francisco defended. Responding to accusations that procurement’s work was below standard, Francisco said, that we all have to understand that the kids have a lot of work to do, so mistakes are normal.

“Yes there was the problem with the name, but the amount was not the same because Aitula could not have taken responsibility for its work areas referred to because in the contract it was shown that this area was Esperansa’s so Esperansa was suppose to sign but because a technical mistake in administration is normal and the accusers do not know what they are talking about because they do not know the technical processes involved. As I said today I know there was a technical error in incorrectly inserting the name but also in the amount of money, but these mistakes are normal,” Francisco ended.

But Timorese businessman Rui Castro said, if someone legally challenged this contract, then it would not be simply dismissed as a technical error but involves legal issues, because there are constitutional issues, and it gets worse when you start talking about who it was who signed the contract, and for that very reason it is not just a technical error because when you sign a contract either you do it according to the law or you do not, because if you do not, then its illegal.

This document is the total responsibility of procurement, so for that very reason, when a contract has to be delivered for the contractor to sign they have to exchange opinions as to its state so they can rectify anything that is incorrect, not to just let it go until it is
made public.

“If the contract has been able to fall into public hands it means that the people working in procurement have the intention of spoiling the PM’s government because when in front of the PM they kneel but behind his back they think something else and do something else,” Castro explained defending the PM. “I don’t think this is the first time this has happened but there are cases involving many members of government.”

Castro said that if it had been up to him “administrative action would have been taken

against the staff responsible for drafting the contracts, the Minister for Finance must hold the Director General Francisco responsible as well as the director of procurement, so the PM must hold them responsible.

“For me this issue is an attempt to smear the PM’s name because people to whom the PM has given his trust to manage the contracts are not working in good faith and because of this they have manipulated things so that the incorrect documents were presented to the PM for his signature,” Castro said aggressively.

Castro added that, this error was not by the company because Nilton did not prepare this contract so if there is anything to be investigated it should be the people who should be investigated especially the head of the department where the PM signed the contract. “When we speak of shareholding exceeding 10% as prohibiting access to contracts from the government all of FRETILIN’s contracts were illegal because at that time Amat Alkatiri (Belak Fuels) had the contract to supply fuel to government cars but no one questioned the government for the three years, so why should we question Nilton,” Castro sais.

In memory of Agus Muliawan, murdered 25th September 1999

Today (25 September 2009) is the tenth anniversary of his murder.

He was 26 years old when killed while traveling with a group of nuns, priests, and aid workers. Their bus was ambushed by members of Team Alfa militia at a roadblock near Los Palos.

Seven militia members were found guilty of the murders: Joni Marques, Manuel da Costa, Joao da Costa, Paulo da Costa, Amelio da Costa, Hilario da Silva, and Gonsalo dos Santos.

Joni Marques, the leader of Tim Alfa, stated at his trial that he had trained alongside Australian troops in Malaysia in the early 1990s.
Extract from the Indictment in the Los Palos trial:

Murders of a group of clergy, Agus Muliawan and Izno Freitas, 25 September 1999 By their acts and omissions in relation to the events described under C and E V of this indictment, JONI MARQUES, JOAO DA COSTA, PAULO DA COSTA, AMELIO DA COSTA, MANUEL DA COSTA, HILARIO DA SILVA and GONSALO DOS SANTOS

Count 7: Murder, a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, punishable under section 5.1(a) of UNTAET Regulation 2000/15

On or about 25 September 1999, in Los Palos Sub-District, Lautem District, Joni Marques, Joao da Costa alias Lemorai, Paulo da Costa, Amelio da Costa, Manuel da Costa, Hilario da Silva and Gonsalo dos Santos did, with deliberate intent and premeditation, commit, aid, abet or otherwise assist in the murder of Brother Jacinto Xavier, Brother Fernando dos Santos, Brother Valerio da Conceicao, Sister Erminia Cazzaniga, Sister Celeste de Carvalho, Agus Muliawan, Cristovao Rudy Barreto, Titi Sandora Lopes and Izino Freitas Amaral, knowing that it was part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population in violation of section 5.1(a) of UNTAET Regulation 2000/15.

Full trial report:
General Prosecutor v Joni Marques and 9 Others

TEMPO SEMANAL Internet Exclusive: Bere has a Visa

Tempo Semanal has just been provided with a with a leaked copy of Maternus Bere's passport.

In this passport is shows his visa and the documents also include a letter from the Ministry of Justice which justifies the release of Maternus Bere from custody in Becora prison.

Next week's edition will be a Special Edition focussing on the Maternus Bere case.

Tempo Semanal staff are in Suai gathering the information and views about justice from victims and family of victims of 1999 violence perpretrated by the Laksuar Militia of which Bere was a Commander.

To date victims and those civilians who arrested Bere express their anger at the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and are very disappointed with the United Nations and especially UNMIT and its SRSG Khare who continues to have a executive policing mission, but seem "toothless" once again.

Once survivor of the Suai Church Massacre, named here as DA, who was present when Bere was arrested in Suai Market on 8 August 2009 said;

"I saw Maternus. People yelled at him near the market, and we the victims arrested the prepretator then handed him over to UNPOL and PNTL to bring justice. But the Government has delivered injustice to us - the victims. An the UN has just washed their hands of us, and has finished the Special Panel on Serious Crimes.

So if one day I get another member of the Laksaur Militia, I will make my own judgement, with my own hand."

Image added by ETLJB: Site of the Suai Church Massacre 1999

24 September 2009

Tempo Semanal: Timor-Leste Minister of Justice Overrides Tribunal to Modify City Cafe

Dili, Tempo Semanal 21 September 2009 Edition 157 Minister of Justice Overrides Tribunal to Modify City Cafe - Institutionally, the Ministry of Justice (MJ) and its branch, the National Directorate for Land and Property Registration has enough power to take notifications of evictions to all citizens who occupy the state's assets (for example, a house).

But according to legislation number 1/2003 (chapter three article seven), the MJ does not have power to evict City Café's owners because it is not the state's property.

According to decree 32/2008, the MJ's eviction is worthless.

Despite this, the MJ has used its institutional power to evict Mrs Rita Fatima Lopes Tsan da Costa from City Café. The aggravation this caused has led to a case being lodged with the Dili District Tribunal to confirm the rights of Timor-Leste's citizens who receive such notifications.

The DNTPSC sent the notice of eviction (number 522/272-473) on 29 April 2009 at the MJ's direction, which stated Mrs Fatima had not been successful in her attempts to retain the establishment.

Mrs Fatima was initially asked to voluntarily vacate the premises according to an established schedule, but was eventually forced from City Café through orders from the MJ.

Polemics such as this are also occurring to current occupants of Hotel Tourismo, according to a Letter of Notification Process (number 522/688-875) from the DNTPSC on 10 August 2009 that has asked occupants to vacate the hotel for a period of 30 days from that date.

Based on documents which Tempo Semanal has acquired, on 2 January 2009, the MJ­through DNTPSC­gave final notification to City Café's occupants to vacate the premises in four days, but they did not want to because they were waiting for a decision from the Tribunal.

Although the Tribunal is yet to make a decision on the case, on 8 June the DNTPSC and a security institution forced Mrs Fatima from City Café.

This attitude shows that the Minister of Justice has used her power through DNTPSC to force occupants from this establishment. A submission to the Tribunal by the legal representative for the City Café building's tenants, Rita Fatima and Ted Lay, stated the MJ has contradicted Article 10 (32/2008, points 1-3) and Article 11 (1/2003, points 1-7) of the Civil Code.

According to chapter three, article 7 of law 1/2003 which regulates administrative evictions, the MJ doesn't have competence to conduct evictions in this way, because City Café was not property of the state; as such, the eviction is based on false terms.

The Minister of Justice's letter of eviction clearly states that flats or houses such as these are private property – on what grounds then did the Minister of Justice force City Café's owners from their premises?

This eviction has also not followed appropriate process because the DNTPSC gave only four days' notification before it required the tenants to vacate the premises, alluding to a token-esque timeframe to comply with regulations.

City Café's Tribunal submission states, "Mr Lay Min Ing notified the interior Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, on 14/11/2003, that the former Minister of Justice declared that, on 03/02/2003, this is the private property of Lay Min Ing".

"For these reasons, on 31/03/2005, the DNTPSC through its interim director Horacio da Silva, gave notice to City Café's occupants that the Government will not continue its contract because it recognises this as private property; the premises occupants must recognise their contract of payment with the owner," it continued.

From 2005, City Café's tenants commenced a skewed contract with the building's owner, Lay Min Ing through his son, Bobby Lay, to negotiate rent prices, but did not manage to reach a clear agreement.

"Because a clear agreement has not been reached about the price to be paid, Bobby Lay has taken civil action at Dili District Tribunal, and the Tribunal has already taken note of these matters," said Rita Fatima regarding the matter.

This submission also declared that until now, the Tribunal has not passed judgement on this case; so why did the Minister of Justice evict City Café's tenants? The facts state that the Minister of Justice's behavior does not set a good example for the future, because this is an example of discrimination against the land process and all private residences which currently are registered with the Tribunal.

In addition to this, Article 26 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste gives all people the freedom to ask a tribunal to protect and defend their rights and legal positions, but the MJ has tried to use its power to contravene the judicial process and oppress the small people.

On 31 August 2009, Rita Fatima delivered a letter to Antonia Verdial Sousa, director of DNTPSC, attempting to prolong the DNTPSC's decision to renovate City Café on grounds that the Tribunal had not yet made a judgement; yet the DNTPSC continued with its plans to renovate the premises, stating that the decision was that of its owner, Bobby Lay. Bobby Lay had already written a contract with a man from Sagres Hotel who stated his name is Eduardo, but until now there has not been a response from DNTPSC regarding this.

In response to questions on this topic, Rita Fatima last week informed Tempo Semanal that those in her local area, Bairru dos Grilos, were very sad at the Minister of Justice's decision, which does not have a sound legal basis. According to Rita Fatima, the Government stopped collecting tax from City Café as a business because it recognised the building as private property, and consequently left rent negotiations to the owner and tenant.

"We've paid tax to the State for almost two years at a rate of US$503.00 per month. The Government may not say that we've not paid tax because we have receipts from [bank] Kaixa Jeral de Depozitu," stated Rita Fatima. She also believes that Bobby Lay has taken up the case at Dili District Tribunal because he was unsuccessful in increasing the rent charged to City Café.

"We, the occupants, will continue to wait for a decision from the Tribunal, but why has the Minister of Justice forced us out?" she continued.

"Bobby Lay recently declared that this property is his father's (Lay Min Ing), so we made a contract with them, but until now I've only heard that this is the property of Ted Lay's father. We stopped the contract with Bobby Lay because Ted Lay is my business partner," she explained.

Although Bobby Lay has lodged the case with the Tribunal, based on an official bulletin from during the Portuguese occupation, the property which pertains to City Café is owned by Ted Lay's father.

"The letter of eviction that was sent to us isn't from the Tribunal, but from the Minister of Justice because the Tribunal hasn't yet reached any decision," said Mrs Fatima.

"The [former] Minister of Justice Domingos Sarmento recognised that the property we refer to is that of Bobby Lay's father, and we ask that they give back the money which we've used to restore the building. Only then will we leave, but because they don't want to, we won't leave; as a result, they've taken this case to the Tribunal," said Mrs Fatima.

"Although we already have the letter of eviction from the MJ, we continue to hope for a decision from the Tribunal, because this case has already been registered with the Tribunal," finished Mrs Fatima.

Mrs Fatima has extended her willingness to reply with the Tribunal, and also is ready to present her testimony when it calls.

"If we win at the Tribunal, we'll certainly demand that Bobby Lay pays back our name," claimed Rita Fatima.

In other areas, the former Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, conveyed in his house to Tempo Semanal that, "The MJ has definitely stopped the the contract with Rita Fatima because Bobby Lay claimed that the property is that of his father, Lay Min Ing, and has asked to hand over the property to its owner; but they have taken this case to the Tribunal because she doesn't want to".

"According to my comprehension, the eviction notice may only apply to State property, not to private property; because of this one should ask the Minister of Justice to clarify the reasons and legal base for her wanting to issue this notice," said Mr Sarmento.

The former Minister of Justice followed that this case is pending at the Tribunal which has not yet come to a final decision, but asked why the Minister of Justice delivered the eviction notice.

Last Wednesday (09/09/09) at 3:40pm, a Tempo Semanal journalist visited the DNTPSC's office to ask clarification about the City Café case which has thus far become polemic – yet the director, Antonio Verdial de Sousa did not want to give in-depth commentary about this issue. With an angry face and loud voice he told that things the DNTPSC does indeed follow the law and, because of this, the DNTPSC continues to stand strong in its principles.

According to Verdial, this case at the Tribunal is a separate matter and that it should definitely not be mixed with any others: "But those who aren't satisfied with this decision may deliver a case through tribunal processes," he challenged.

After hearing the DNTPSC director's words, the Tempo Semanal journalist tried to record them, but the director shouted to turn off his recorder.

Despite this, the Tempo Semanal journalist continued his attempts to ask about the documents delivered by Rita Fatima last Friday, but the DNTPSC director said it was not his area to deal with at all and that he'd deliver them to the Minister of Justice.

Last Thursday (10/09/09) a Tempo Semanal journalist inquired with a judge at the Dili District Tribunal about this case, who wished to remain anonymous. He smiled as he said that some prats of the Minister of Justice's work were done correctly, but the Tribunal will see to it that things follow the law.

This Tempo Semanal journalist consequently wished to confirm the situation from Bobby Lay's point of view, so last Thursday afternoon (09/09/09) he visited him at his workplace in Colmera, but a colleague said Bobby had left for Singapore. According to Mr Eduardo from Sagres, they do not have anything to do with the problems of City Café case at the Dili District Tribunal.

"We commenced rehabilitating the hotel based on the five-year agreement which we made with the landlord, but when a problem arises it is up to them to resolve it, not us," said Eduardo from Hotel Sagres in Pante Kelapa.

He added that if the rehabilitation process was to end on schedule, the hotel would commence operation on 1 October 2009. "When I received an email from Bobby that said DNTPSC has already granted the property to him, I felt that there wasn't a problem," he said.

Mr Eduardo said, "There were accusations that before the tenants intended to leave the premises, they destroyed part of the facilities inside; but in a telephone conversation on 12 September 2009, Rita Fatima informed Tempo Semanal that these accusations are not true".(ts)

Posted by TEMPO SEMANAL at 02:36



23 September 2009

Timor Leste Non-Government Organisation Forum testimony on budget and financial management law

Timor-Leste NGO Forum Caicoli Street, Dili-East Timor phone 7236783/ 7328620/ dinorah.granadeiro@gmail.com

SUBMISSION NGO Forum and its Members regarding Proposed Law No. 28/II On Budget and Financial Management 18 September 2009


Non-Governmental Organizations that come together under the Timor-Leste NGO Forum, are grateful to Committee C on Economy and Anti-Corruption in the National Parliament for the opportunity given to civil society to share our perspectives and ideas about the Budget and Financial Management Law which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 14 August 2009. We hope that our perspectives will assist you in making your decision.

First of all, we from civil society appreciate the Government’s initiative to create this Budget and Financial Management law, for the first time since Timor-Leste enacted its Constitution of the Republic, with hope that this Law can represent Government and State initiatives to guarantee a sustainable economic life for current and future generations. Although, we found it difficult, because this draft law is only available in Portuguese and English languages, but we tried our best to give ideas to improve this law. We offer the following observations and opinions about this Law:

A. General Observations

1. Timor-Leste’s revenues, Petroleum Fund Law, Petroleum Fund and Estimated Sustainable Level. 90% of Timor-Leste’s revenue comes from transforming or selling natural resources to be used for financing the state. This Law does not clearly explain about which important revenues that are used for general state budget. Although a few articles refer to transfers from the Petroleum Fund, but from our point of view the Petroleum Fund is not income but an asset, because of that the Petroleum Fund Law allows it to be used only as sustainable income. The estimate of the sustainable level is a means to guarantee a sustainable economy for future generations, as the Petroleum Fund Law and the RDTL Constitution guarantees for current and future generations.

2. Fundamental reason for the Government to borrow. At the moment, Timor-Leste has petroleum receipts around US$5 billion. We suggest that the Government needs to explain the fundamental reason for borrowing, because this law only defines how to borrow, and how to manage this debt in the general state budget. With the current situation in Timor-Leste, it is not yet necessary to take a loan from an international financial institution or another nation. We also recommend that the National Parliament has the right and obligation to audit and monitor, and must discuss, know about and ratify loan agreements between the Government and financial institutions or nations, including the conditions of the loan and how it will be repaid, limitations on increasing the debt, the capacity to pay it back, and the consequences for Timor-Leste if it is not paid.

3. Capacity to pay back loans, and sources of revenues to pay the loans. Many nations in the Third World have fallen into financial crisis because they do not have the capacity to repay loans, because the borrowed money wasn't used to develop sustainable sectors of their economy which produced a return. The National Parliament can insist that the Government must demonstrate its capacity to repay the loan without a heavy burden on future generations. Government also must show the results from executing the state budget in investment in sustainable development and their good returns, the conditions for using the money, and real indicators of implementing the development program, so that Timor-Leste is not made to fall into the resource curse, with a heavy, long-term debt.

4. The Petroleum Fund cannot be collateral for borrowing. This law does not mention what resources will be used to pay back loans. Article 20 of the Petroleum Fund Law states that petroleum revenues cannot be used as debt security. With this Law on Budget and Financial Management, perhaps we will use the Petroleum Fund as a debt guarantee, which contradicts the Petroleum Fund Law. This law also does not have good provision about transparency and public consultation. We suggest that this law should follow the Petroleum Fund law, which contains provisions for transparency and accountability for using petroleum revenues, because if the Budget and Financial Management Law does not follow the Petroleum Fund Law, it will create legal confusion in Timor-Leste, increasing institutional instability and opening the way for political polemics and court cases.

5. Auditing. Article 129 of the RDTL Constitution defines that a High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court should be created, and Article 145 (State Budget) gives it the responsibility to monitor budget execution. But this Law does not specify to immediately create this High Court, so that it can audit the state budget and other fiscal issues.

6. Learning from Past Experience. In the 2008 Budget Adjustment (rectification), National Parliament approved money for the Economic Stabilization Fund which was eventually ruled unconstitutional by the Appeals Court. We suggest that Parliament should reflect on this decision before approving this law, especially Article 29 about Special Funds. As the auditing organ which is assigned great auditing responsibilities under the Constitution, Parliament must have the right to audit Special Funds, and to avoid secret funds within the state budget.

7. Opportunity to take advantage. Although Articles 17 and 18 define Public Debt and borrowing, we do not know when and how the Government will implement the policies in these two articles, but this law already gives permission for Timor-Leste to borrow money from international financial institutions, opening a path for current or future governments to use power for private or personal interests, increase opportunities for corruption, with negative implications for the nation’s future.

B. Article-by-Article Commentary

Article 12 (Official Bank Accounts). The delegation of this power from the Finance Minister to the Director of the Treasury can create conflicts of interest and maladministration. We suggest that this power should not be delegated from the Finance Minister to anyone other person or organ under the minister.

Article 13 (Investment of state monies). That the Finance Minister should listen to the Council of Ministers to temporarily invest money which has not yet been spent. But there is no explanation of how to reconcile the budget invested in this way with the budget not yet spent, because this budget is in categories in the consolidated budget, not in a special budget category. How can we assure that there will be no risk from temporary investment, and if there is a risk, how is it to be assigned?

Article 17 (Guarantees and borrowing by the State). We recommend that Parliament uses its powers so that Parliament has the right to know and approve debt agreements, the conditions for borrowing and repayment, the schedule for repayment and an estimate of how much it will cost. The process of writing this law also shows lack of consistency and seriousness from the organs which prepared this state document, because Article 17 has no sub-article 6. We suggest that the National Parliament eliminate this article, because Timor-Leste has enough sources of revenue to finance our state.

Article 18 (Loans by the State). This article is very weak and will damage economic sustainability and economic sovereignty in Timor-Leste. This law does not clearly explain how the government can lend money to people or institutions, and who will be responsible to give loans. This article opens the way for some state officials to borrow for their families or companies according to their own wishes, and this law feeds corruption, collusion and nepotism in Timor-Leste. Point 2(a) states that the conditions of borrowing can be changed by law, and we think that this article will create confusion, because this Budget and Financial Management law is not a Decree-Law, which under other laws, but in the category of an organic law under the RDTL Constitution. This article also says that the state can give loans; we suggest that this Law must explain who will borrow from the state. How, and with what conditions? What risks and consequences is the state taking on? Who does this loan serve – private or common (national) interests? We also suggest that the Parliament can eliminate this article.

Article 29 (Special Funds). This article is to legalize Government initiatives to create a separate fund, as the court decided was unconstitutional last year. This article also does not follow RDTL Constitution article 145 (2) which states “The Budget law shall provide, based on efficiency and effectiveness, a breakdown of the revenues and expenditures of the State, as well as preclude the existence of secret appropriations and funds.” Part (9) of this article will give the opportunity for state expenditures to grow larger, because it gives space for each Ministry to create a Special Fund. We think that funds like this don't benefit the people, when the capacity for budget execution is low, and that executing the budget does not indicate that programs have been carried out. This article also changes UNTAET Regulation UNTAET 2001/13, Article 21 (Special Budget Funds) which was established prior to the RDTL Constitution. We also suggest including a calculation or estimate of the amount of special funds in each annual budget. We recommend and suggest to National Parliament to eliminate this article, as it contradicts Constitution Article 145(2).

Article 35 (Budget alterations in services without administrative and financial autonomy). For this article, we suggest that there should not be transfers from one ministry to another, and that if a transfer exceeds a certain amount, for example less than $100,000 can be approved by the Council of Ministers, and above $100,000 must be approved by the National Parliament. This calculation can justify the capacity of each ministry to execute its budget transparently, accountability, and according to development plans already approved by the government, and reduce unnecessary state expenditures. In part 4 of this article, we suggest to clearly define the words “services” and “chapter” and use the words “Ministry” and “Department” to avoid legal confusion and future interpretation.

Article 39 (Opinion of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court). RDTL Constitution Article 129 (High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court) and Article 145 also state that Budget Execution will be monitored by the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court, as well as the national Parliament. But so far this High Court doesn't exist, and we think it’s time to quickly establish this Court that the Constitution mandates, because the “independent auditor” specified in this law is an interpretation from UNTAET Law 2001/13, not the RDTL Constitution.

This joint submission is from:

La’o Hamutuk
Luta Hamutuk
Mata Dalan Institute
HAK Association
Institute of Popular Education
Forum Tau Matan

Translated from Tetum at http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/09FONGTILSubOrsJesFin18SepTe.pdf. English version at http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/09FONGTILSubOrsJesFin18SepEn.pdf.