30 September 2011

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on September 28, 2011

Agio Pereira, SecState Council of Ministers
East Timor Legal News 30/09/2011 Source: Government of East Timor State Secretariat of the State for the Council of Ministers Meeting of September 28, 201PRESS RELEASE Meeting of the Council of Ministers on September 28, 2011

The Council of Ministers met this Wednesday, September 28, 2011, in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room at the Government Palace in Díli, and approved:

1. Decree-Law that approves the Principles and Rules for Hospitals of the National Health Service

The Ministry of Health realized that the Hospital Statute approved by Decree-Law No. 1/2005 of May 31, needs to be redrafted to meet the sector’s evolution and new requirements arising from it. Therefore, the Council of Ministers approved the Decree Law establishing a well articulated and functional system of public hospital service, with autonomous management, efficient and effective, capable of ensuring a good level of hospital care, with the prospect of sector development in the medium and long term.

2. Resolution of the Government which dismisses two members of the Board of the National Petroleum Authority

The Council of Ministers accepted the requests for the removal, from office, of the National Petroleum Authority Board Members Vicente da Costa Pinto and Francisco da Costa Monteiro. Recognizing the care, diligence and high professionalism with which they perform their duties, the Council of Ministers granted their request.

3. Government Resolution appointing the Chairman of the Board of Directors and of the Executive Board of the TIMOR-GAP – Timor Gas and Oil E.P.

Recognizing the reputation and career of Francisco da Costa Monteiro, who make him a person of knowledge, experience and qualified technical training that enhance his management ability, the Council of Ministers approved his appointment to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of TIMOR GAP - Timor Oil and Gas E.P.

The Council of Ministers also looked at:

1. Presentation on the supply of medicines and their regulation in the Market

The Ministry of Health, together with SAMES, gave a presentation on the system of supply of medicines at national level, taking into account the Ministry’s Strategic Plan.
2. Decree-Law on Licensing of Activities of the Downstream Sector

The Secretariat of State for Natural Resources, and the National Petroleum Authority, presented a Decree-Law proposal with the purpose to regulate activities concerning the supply, processing, transportation, storage, sales and marketing of petroleum, petroleum products and similar products, commonly identified as downstream activities. The Council of Ministers will re-analyse this Decree-Law.

25 September 2011

East Timor Draft Basic Environmental Law 2011

East Timor Legal News Source: Lao Hamutuk East Timor Draft Basic Environmental Law 2011

24 September 2011

President of Timor-Leste performs miracle by ratifying the Civil Code that contains more than 2000 articles in just one day JSMP urges consideration and expresses concern

East Timor Legal News 24/09/2011 Source: East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release Period: September 2011 Edition: 19 Setember2011 - On 13 September 2011 the President ratified Draft Law No. 56/II on the Civil Code. This draft law that was authorized by the National Parliament and forwarded to the President consists of Five (V) Books and more than two thousand articles.

Draft Law No. 56/II was submitted by the National Parliament to the President on 12 September 2011. This means that the President only took one day to read or to consult on the draft law that contains more than 2000 articles … something that JSMP believes is absolutely impossible.....! Maybe this is a miracle....!

Article 88.1 of the Timor-Leste Constitution on ‘promulgation and veto’ states the following: “Within thirty days after receiving any statute from the National Parliament for the purpose of its promulgation as law, the President of the Republic shall either promulgate the statute or exercise the right of veto, in which case he or she, based on substantive grounds, shall send a message to the National Parliament requesting a new appraisal of the statute”.

Without questioning the constitutional authority of the President, consideration should be given that the draft civil code is a technical and complex law that encompasses normative issues regarding rights and obligations in the context of social relationships in the community, and therefore a number of countries have required considerable time to conduct appropriate studies or before they enact their civil codes ….. However in Timor-Leste it is completely the opposite, because it’s as if the President has performed a miracle, without reading the document submitted to him, he has immediately completed it in just one day after its submission by the National Parliament.

From a political angle JSMP values and respects the commitment and effort of the State of Timor-Leste to strengthen the civil law framework, however this law has raised a substantial problem for all members of the community and can give rise to new conflict between communities, because the validation process was not carried out in a sufficiently organized manner and without a public consultation process that was open to all members of society.

The civil code is really important in a democratic society, because this code determines and regulates the legal relationships that exist between individuals, between individuals and groups, as well as between groups, and highlights and stresses the importance of the interests of every individual.

Therefore, JSMP believes that the Civil Code needs to be looked at in great detail and sufficient time is required for its review before it is submitted to the President for validation and promulgation, because this law is extremely complex and must reflect the current reality and culture that exists in Timor-Leste. 

Based on its observations, JSMP is extremely concerned with several matters relating to the validation process of the Civil Code by the President and JSMP believes that the President has not examined this law in sufficient detail.

There are several matters that have raised the concern of JSMP:

1.      Throughout the entire process that has taken place in the National Parliament, JSMP observed that discussion or debate has not been effective, because there was no thorough consultation about the contents of the law;

2.      No detailed or thorough study was conducted on the social-cultural realities and traditional practices that exist in Timor-Leste before the Civil Code was formulated;

3.      Not all entities were involved, for example civil society, religious representatives and customary elders to ensure that the Civil Code reflects the day to day life and cultural practices that exist in Timor-Leste;

4.      JSMP is also concerned that in the end many members of parliament did not understand the contents of the draft Civil Code, especially the benefit and impact of this law, because the draft was only provided in Portuguese;

5.      JSMP also observed that the discussion of this law was entrusted to a Special Commission which was represented by eight (8) members of parliament. A clear example is the fact that 14 members of parliament, including 5 members of the AMP coalition, chose to abstain in relation to the draft Civil Code because there were a number of articles in the draft that do not reflect the current realities that exist in Timor-Leste, for example Article 1475 on civil marriages, marriages in accordance with the rules/doctrines of the Catholic Church, and monogamous marriages according to customary law, as well as Article 1305 on the classification of clean water;

6.      JSMP also believes that even though it was possible for parliament to organize consultations, it is unlikely that they would be efficient, because this draft law was only provided in Portuguese and was not translated into Tetum to facilitate the understanding of every person to encourage the public to participate in this process;

In relation to the aforementioned matters and concerns, JSMP believes that:

1.      Although JSMP believes that this law is necessary and important for Timor-Leste, it is not pressing/URGENT, because we are currently applying the Indonesian Civil Code;

2.      JSMP also believes that the complexity of the Civil Code exceeds the current capacity of the people of Timor-Leste, recalling that Timor-Leste has a very small population of approximately one million people, but the Civil Code contains more than 2000 articles;

3.      JSMP is concerned that this law is highly complex, and the population do not have an adequate understanding, which will render this law meaningless, because they will not use it. We may have our own Civil Code, however if the people do not use it, then the law will have no meaning, just like what has happened in other countries, for example in Africa (Ethiopia);

4.      JSMP has observed that Committee A of the National Parliament and also the Special Commission (Ad Hoc) were not able to fully participate or contribute because of the language issue and also because time was extremely limited;

5.      Therefore, JSMP believes that an adequate study needs to be conducted to reflect the realities that exist in Timor-Leste, in relation to family issues/lines of descent, inheritance, land, goods, traditional marriages and other social-cultural relationships which are part of the cultural wealth of the people of Timor-Leste, so that the aforementioned law truly reflects the realities that exist in Timor-Leste;

6.      Finally, JSMP requests for the government to fully socialize this law in the future, because this law has already been promulgated by the President, therefore JSMP believes that all relevant institutions including court actors, academics, public defenders and private lawyers, as well as all levels of the community, need to have a good understanding of this law so they can implement it in the future.

For more information, please contact: Luis de Oliveira Sampaio Executive Director of JSMP Email: luis@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883

ETLJB Editor's Note: See also East Timor : Language and The Law 

23 September 2011

Police evict family occupying property for 30 years after court finds title remains vested in Timorese who fled Indonesian invasion in 1975

East Timor Legal News 23/09/2011 Source: Diario Nacional, September 22, 2011 language source: Tetun -The Timorese National Police (PNTL) have evicted a Mr. Sertorio and his family by force from the house which they have been living in for about 30 years.

"The police only exercised the mandate of the court to approach the family to leave the house", Dili District Police Commander, Pedro Belo said.

This land and property dispute was tried in the court and was won by the house owner who left the country in 1975 and had been living in Australia until now.

A member of the family that was evicted said the police should give them time to remove their goods and asked the police to show them the order from the court.

The members of the Sertorio family are veterans and had contributed to the country's independence for about 24 years, TVTL reported.

See also East Timor land law fuels fears of evictions, conflict  

and Timor-Leste Land Law and Policy Information Centre blog

Use the ETLJB Custom Google Search tool to find more information on land rights and land disputes in East Timor.

Number of people infected with HIV/AIDS increasing in Timor-Leste

East Timor Legal News Source: Suara Timor Lorosae September 22, 2011 language source: Tetun - The National Director of the Health Ministry Agapito da Silva said the numbers of people who have been infected by the HIV/AIDS virus are increasing in the country.

Da Silva made the statements as the data showed that .051% of women and .048% of men in the country have been infected by this disease.

"We see that the percentage of HIV/AIDS is significantly increasing and it is not only women but also men who have been infected by the virus," da Silva said.

Director for Bairro Pite Clinic Daniel Murphy also said there are many Timorese people have been infected by HIV/AIDS virus and that is not only caused by sexual intercourse through prostitution activity, but also homosexuality in the prisons.

"HIV/AIDS number is also increasing in the prison as the prisoners have homosexual sex and this is caused by those who have been infected by the virus," Murphy said.
ETLJB Editor's Note: Of course, as informed people know, homosexuality and homosexual sex are not the cause of HIV-AIDS nor the spread of HIV-AIDS.

Rather, it is the virus itself that causes the illness and it is the catastrophic failures in pubilc health policy, religious doctrines (and in East Timor, the immoral teachings of the Catholic Church - which is itself in a global moral quagmire over sexual abuse and conspiracy to pervert the course of the secular law), homophobia and the lack of anti-discrimination and anti-homosexual-vilification laws that lead to the spread of the virus.

Condoms are not readily available in the country because the Church instructs its followers that it is morally wrong to use them, there is a high level of homophobia and ignorance about the illness even amongst the intelligentsia, and a complete lack of legal protections for homosexual men and women. It's no wonder that the rate of infections is rising.

See also on ETLJB the following articles discussing HIV-AIDS, homophobia and homosexuality in East Timor:

HIV-AIDS and Homophobia in Timor-Leste
Timor Leste Red Cross excludes homosexuals from HIV-AIDS Reduction Program
Catholic propaganda obscures the true toll of HIV in East Timor
People living with HIV-AIDS in East Timor Celebrate World AIDS Day and Christmas
FHI East Timor HIV-AIDS Support Project

Former army chief ready to run for presidency

East Timor Legal News 23/09/2011 Source: Radio Timor-Leste September 22, 2011 language source: Tetun -The Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) Commander, Major General Taur Matan Ruak, said he is 100% ready to nominate himself in presidential election next year.

"I am 100% ready to become the next president if I am elected," he said. Ruak affirmed that he will announce his nomination for the presidential election when the time comes.

He also said he still has an ambition to contribute to the country's development of which all the Timorese people are dreaming. He added that his resignation from the defence force was not influenced by any people or groups but was based on his own willingness. 

President Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao have recently agreed with Commander Ruak's resignation from his post.

22 September 2011

Maritime Security in Timor-Leste – A Fragile Situation

East Timor Legal News 22/09/2011 Source: Fundasaun Mahein Press Release - In Mahein’s Voice no.23, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) undertook comprehensive research into the issue of Maritime Security in Timor-Leste post-independence.

Maritime security in Timor-Leste represents one of the most important components of national security. The government of Timor-Leste exercises sovereign rights in Timor-Leste’s economic exclusive zone. Defending public security and fighting against illegal trafficking at sea has become a challenge in the past decade since independence.

The control systems in place are weak because the current Maritime Authority, which comprises among other bodies the PNTL & F-FDTL, lacks the adequate capacity and equipment to effectively secure Timorese waters. This report highlights that up till now, maritime borders have not yet been clearly defined, between Timor-Leste and its neighbours, Indonesia & Australia. An unclearly defined maritime border, leads to confusion. This confusion hinders the Maritime Authority’s abilities to provide effective security at sea.

This report delves into some of the consequences that result from a weak control of Timor-Leste’s maritime zone. These include illegal fishing, shortages in terms public security, arms trafficking, contraband, drug trafficking, and maritime environmental degradation.

There are yet to be any patrols from the maritime unit on the south coast of Timor-Leste, which is an area of great fishing activity and a busy route for cargo ships. This puts peoples lives at risk as it leads to the unfortunate reality that should any vessel encounter any problems at sea, they cannot get any assistance from the Timorese authorities. There is also currently no system in place that can locate suspicious boats dealing in illegal activity. For example, the weaknesses of the maritime authority are such that it cannot distinguish between domestic fishing boats and illegal fishing boats.

On the one hand, this report sites that the PNTL marine unit and F-FDTL navy have made some efforts in the handling of numerous accidents at sea and have successfully captured several boats through the use of joint operations. But there is no chance yet to stop all illegal activities occurring at sea. F-FDTL patrol boat Jaco-Betano and two other boats along with PNTL speedboats are unable to patrol the south coast due their inability to tackle rough seas.

On the other hand, this FM voice has declared that there is no adequate legislation in place ensuring the capacity of the Marine Authority to guarantee the safety for those that work at sea. This places many lives at risk. Furthermore, the Ministry of Tourism and the Secretary of State for Fisheries have yet to designate specific fishing and conservation zones. As a result of this, fishing and arbitrary movement at sea may be very damaging to the marine environment.

FM concludes and recommends to the Government and the Maritime authority the following:

1. The Government of Timor-Leste needs to carry out a comprehensive study into the Maritime threats affecting Timor-Leste and must intervene urgently.

2. The Government of Timor-Leste and the Government of Indonesia need to work closely with one another, and include joint patrols on the Timorese-Indonesian border to tackle all sorts of illegal activities currently taking place at sea.

3. The Government of Timor-Leste needs to establish an Integrated National Maritime Authority bringing together the naval component of the F-FDTL, the PNTL, Customs, Quarantine, the Port Authority, and the National Fisheries Directorate. Furthermore, legislation needs to be drafted in order to strengthen their activities.

4. An increase in the quality of human resources and a higher level of coordination and control within the Maritime Authority. This will ensure better security at sea.

5. The Government of Timor-Leste needs to create an organic law for the National Maritime Authority.

For more information on this issue, please contact Nelson Belo, Director of Fundasaun Mahein Web: www.fundasaunmahein.org Email: nelson@fundasaunmahein.org Tlp :   +670 737 4222
Fundasaun Mahein 21 Setembru  2011 Komunikadu da Imprenza  Siguransa Maritima Timor-Leste Iha Situasaun Frajil -  Iha Mahein nia Lian no. 23, Fundasaun Mahein halo peskiza kle’an ba Lalaok Siguransa Maritima iha Timor-Leste depois ukun rasik-an.

Siguransa Maritima iha Timor-Leste,  hanesan setor ida importante mos iha sistema siguransa nasional. Iha zona ekonomia ekskluziva no nia dereitu iha zona maritima ne’ebé soberanu nasaun Timor-Leste nian. Maibé atu satan netik siguransa seguru ba publiku no siguransa ba trafiku iha tasi laran sai obstaklu iha dekade hirak ne’e nia laran,  depois Timor-Leste ukun-an.

Sistema kontrola fraku, tanba autoridade Maritima hanesan PNTL ho Komponente F-FDTL- Naval sidauk iha kapasidade ho ekipamentus, rekursus ema nian ne’ebe naton atu halo siguransa diak ba tasi Timor. Relatoriu ne’e mos sita katak to’o agora seidauk iha liña fronteira Marina Timor-Leste nian ho nasaun seluk hanesan Indonezia ho Australia. Wainhira seidauk iha liña fronteira nasional ne’ebe klaru, iha biban maka’as fo konfuzaun ba autoridade Maritima Timor-Leste nian la fo siguransa diak.

Relatoriu ida ne’e mos deskobre katak, konsekuensia husi kontrolu fraku ba zona Maritima Timor-Leste nian, peskador ilegal, Siguransa Publiku, trafiku kilat, kontra bandu, transaksaun ka transportasaun droga no mos estragus ba ambiente marina nian durante ne’e akontese  iha zona Martima Timor-Leste.

Seidauk iha patrollamentu hosi Unidade Maritima ba area kosteira tasi Timor-Leste ne’ebé movimentu ró peska no komersiu nian, atu asegura siguransa ba pasazeirus sira bainhira iha aksidente ruma. Nune’e mos, sidauk iha sistema kontrolu ba ro peska nian, wainhira iha deskonfia halo atividades illegal ruma, pur ezemplu, ro peska nian bele serbisu hamutuk fali ho ro ilegal sira iha tasi Timor-Leste nian.

Relatoriu ne’e mos sita katak iha ona asidente balun ne’ebé, esforsu governu Timor-Leste daudaun ne’e liu hosi PNTL Unidade Maritima ho F-FDTL Komponente Naval. Hanesan, operasaun konjunta hosi PNTL Marina  ho F-FDTL Naval konsege prende ró balun, maibe seidauk iha biban atu hapara krime sira ne’ebe temi iha leten. Tamba Ro’ F-FDTL Jaco-Betano ho ro rua seluk no mos bero PNTL Speed Boad labele hakur liu parte zona Marina Kosta Sul nian.

FM Nia Lian ne’e mos deklara katak seidauk iha lei kona-bá asegura vida autoridade Marina nian, ne’ebé serbisu iha tasi laran. Konsekuensia hosi ida ne’e sei rezulta  asidente ruma karik, bele mate saugate deit. Iha parte seluk, seidauk iha markasaun hosi Ministeru Turismu ho Sekretariu Estadu Peskas no Akuarium nian, konaba areas Turismu nian ho peska nian iha tasi laran. Konsekuensia hosi ida ne’e maka hamosu ro peska ne’ebe ho  movimentu arbiru deit no halo estragus ba ambiente tasi nian.

Fundasaun Mahein nia relatoriu ne’e konklui ho rekomendasaun ba governu ho autoridade Maritima nian hanesan tuir mai ne’e:

1. Governu presiza halo estudu kle’an saida mak sai hanesan ameasa iha tasi Timor-Leste no saida mak governu presiza halo intervensaun urjente.

2. Governu Timor-Leste no Governu Indonezia presiza estabelese lina lateral entre Timor-Leste no Indonezia inklui patrulla konjunta iha fronteira Timor-Leste no Indonezia hodi asegura siguran iha lina fronteira husi aktividade peska ilegal, kontra bandu, droga, kilat no aktividade ilega sira seluk.

3. Governu Timor-Leste no Australia iha posiblidade ruma atu halo patrulla konjunta iha tasi hodi hein demarkasaun lina fronteira iha tinan 50 mai.

4. Governu presiza harii lalais Serbisu Integradu Autoridade Nasional Maritima nian kompostu husi Komponenti Naval F-FDTL, UPM, Alfandega, Karantina, Portu no Dirasaun Nasional Peska nian hanesan Sentru Nasional Siguransa Maritima nian ho ninian responsabilidade tuir ida-idak nian serbisu. Nune’e mos lejislasaun ba Autoridade Nasional Maritima nian atu fortifika sira nian serbisu.

5.Hasa’e kualidade rekursu humanu iha nivel kordenasaun, kontrolu no fiskalizasaun iha serbisu Maritima nian liu-liu komponenti operasionais.

6. Governu presiza kria Lei ne’ebe difini estatutu ba elementu ne’ebe integra iha Autoridade Nasional Maritima nian tamba serbisu tasi nian ameasa boot tebes ba sira nian vida. Karik sira hetan asidenti ruma hanesan mate, saida mak governu halo hodi garante sira nia familia.

Atu hatene klean liu konaba asuntu ne’e bele kontaktu Nelson Belo, Direktor Fundasaun Mahein www.fundasaunmahein.org Email: nelson@fundasaunmahein.org Tlp +670 737 4222

Freedom of the Press 2011 - East Timor

East Timor Legal News 22/09/2011 Status: Partly Free Legal Environment: 11 Political Environment: 11 Economic Environment: 13 Total Score: 35 - The media environment in East Timor remained stable in 2010, largely owing to the implementation of a new penal code in 2009 that decriminalized defamation. Freedom of press and expression is protected under Articles 40 and 41 of the constitution. The controversy over five draft media laws proposed by the United Nations Development Program continued, as Timorese and regional press organizations argued that the proposed laws would place new restrictions on journalists. The London-based freedom of expression advocacy group, Article 19, noted a number of positive features in the laws, such as a provision giving the Media Council the power to mediate defamation cases. However, the council would also be given the authority to fine journalists and news organizations for violations that Article 19 called "vaguely defined." Cases that could not be resolved by the Media Council would be sent to the courts.

A culture of deference and respect for hierarchy continues to pervade journalism in East Timor, and most news reported out of Dili, the capital, features verbatim accounts recorded during organized press conferences. While most public officials pay lip service to freedom of the press, not all are comfortable with its actual practice, and there is a sense among many – including some international advisors – that journalism should ideally be linked with the process of nation-building. However, journalists are able to cover the news freely, and there are few cases of reporters being harassed or attacked. In June 2010, several officers of the national police force beat Joao da Silva, a journalist from Diario Nacional, when he was taking pictures of the Government Palace. In August, José Belo received a threat against the Tempo Semanal newspaper, for which he is an editor. The threat was purported to be from the wife of a shareholder in Maubere Security, a Dili-based security company whose collapse the newspaper had covered in a high-profile article in 2009.

One weekly and three daily newspapers operate on a regular schedule in East Timor, and several more appear sporadically. Circulations are very small, and are hampered both by low purchasing power and a lack of distribution outside Dili. After the country gained independence in 2002, broadcast media outlets became dominated by public radio and television outlets, but community radio stations – many with international funding – also play an important role in the media landscape. According to a 2009 Southeast Asia Press Alliance fact-finding mission, there are more than 15 community radio stations across the country, along with 1 national and 3 commercial stations. There is one national and one private television station. However, technical difficulties limit the reach of many broadcast media outlets in the rural areas, leaving many without access to any media. The presence of internationally funded media-assistance organizations has had mixed effects on journalists in East Timor. These organizations have made significant financial contributions, thereby decreasing the importance of funding from the state and arguably increasing journalistic independence. At the same time, evidence suggests that their presence has contributed to what some Timorese journalists call a "project mentality," in which news organizations become dependent on grants from nonstate actors and find it difficult to be independently sustainable. International media development organizations have had limited success in attempting to train a new generation of local journalists, but media work continues to be poorly paid, and journalists with good language and writing skills can easily find work in other industries.

Internet access was limited to just 0.21 percent of the population in 2010 due to poverty and inadequate infrastructure. Nonetheless, the government does not censor websites or restrict users' access to diverse content.

Disabled women in East Timor highly vulnerable to violence

East Timor Legal News 22/09/2011 Source: Trustlaw  Thin Lei Win  20 Sep 2011 16:01 BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence in East Timor and are at high risk of discrimination, the United Nations said in a report released Tuesday.

The report, by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in East Timor (UNMIT), lauded the government in the tiny Southeast Asian nation for taking positive steps to help people with disabilities but said the state lacks adequate facilities and human resources to take care of them.

“Greater investments are required to provide equal opportunities and protect groups at high risk from serious human rights violations, especially persons with mental disabilities, women and children,” the report said.

The report monitored nine cases of rape against women with disabilities between April 2010 and March 2011, and found “the perpetrators appear to have targeted the victims based on their vulnerability resulting from physical or mental disabilities”.

In one case the victim, who became pregnant as a result of the rape, was sterilised after giving birth without being asked for her consent, the report said. In at least three cases, the caregivers and family members of the victims were reluctant to go to the police.

To date, no indictments have been filed in any of the rape cases, the report said.

“Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, and should be included in nationwide efforts to combat gender-based violence,” it added.


Despite legal protections, women with disabilities suffer double discrimination based on their gender and disability.

East Timor’s constitution explicitly provides for non-discrimination and equal treatment for people with disabilities. But stereotypes about people with disabilities are common and are reinforced by the language as well as traditional and cultural beliefs.

People with disabilities are vulnerable to exclusion from public services and the right to vote because they cannot physically go to registration centres to receive electoral cards. Without this card, they cannot apply for government social assistance programmes, UNMIT said.

The country is ranked 120 out of 169 countries in the U.N. Human Development Index – a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living – and it is estimated that 41 percent of the million-strong population live below the poverty line.

Some 48,000 people with disabilities live in East Timor, the report said.


ETLJB Editor's Note: See also UNMIT Launches Ground-Breaking Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Timor-Leste

UNMIT Launches Ground-Breaking Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Timor-Leste

People with disabilities in East Timor
East Timor Legal News 22/09/2011 Source: United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor UNMIT Press Release UNMIT Launches Ground-Breaking Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Timor-Leste - Dili, 20 September 2011 - The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) launched the first public report by a peace-keeping mission on the rights of persons with disabilities. The report covers Timor-Leste’s achievements in fulfilling cultural rights and its efforts to create policies that respect the rights of persons with disabilities to education, healthcare and community-based rehabilitation.

Human rights violations against persons with disabilities are also documented in the report.

Women, children and persons with mental disabilities are the most vulnerable to discrimination on the basis of disability, according to the report. UNMIT recommends the government to take urgent action to protect these groups at high risk, and to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities.

Joaozito dos Santos from Ra’es Hadomi Timor Oan, an organization for persons with disabilities in Timor-Leste, participated in the launch of the report.

“Change has to happen because there is not equality. There is not a balance of rights, and disability has to become a priority for the government,” said dos Santos. “It is a development issue. We have to develop our communities, including persons with disabilities, for our country’s future. Development should be inclusive, so all people can realize their rights.”

The report also finds that electoral laws and registration processes need to address accessibility for all persons with disabilities to exercising their right to vote in the upcoming elections in 2012.

Timor-Leste has not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in 2008. A national policy on disability is currently under consideration by a working group formed by the Council of Ministers.

Louis Gentile, Chief of UNMIT’s Human Rights Section, noted that the report also calls on the United Nations to reflect on how it can promote and fulfil these rights.

“We hope that this report will make a valuable contribution to the national policy on disability and help pave the way for Timor-Leste’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said Gentile. “We also hope it will encourage those of us serving in the United Nations to set our own standards and goals equally high when it comes to the accessibility of our facilities and information to persons with disabilities.”

The report is available online in English, Tetum, Portuguese and Braille-accessible formats on the UNMIT website at http://unmit.unmissions.org.

For further information contact:  Gyorgy Kakuk, UNMIT Spokesperson kakukg@un.org, +670 723 0749

Hipolito da Cruz, UNMIT National Spokesperson dacruzh@un.org, +670 731 1782


ETLJB Editor's Note: If you would like to help people with disabilities in East Timor, please visit: RA’ES HADOMI TIMOR OAN 

Ramos-Horta savages Timor leaders

East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta
East Timor Legal News Source: Sydney Morning Herald Philip Dorling September 22, 2011 - EAST Timor's parliament is ''corrupt and ineffective'', Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has an alcohol problem and former prime minister Mari Alkatiri is ''arrogant and abusive'', according to President Jose Ramos-Horta.

Mr Ramos-Horta's caustic observations have been revealed in leaked US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks.

But the President doesn't emerge unscathed. The Catholic Church is recorded as sharply criticising the East Timorese leader. A senior Vatican official is reported by US diplomats as observing ''Ramos-Horta started with good intentions but had let his Nobel prize go to his head''.

All the US diplomatic cables leaked to WikiLeaks were published two weeks ago, but 390 reports from the American embassy in Dili have not attracted media attention until now.

Mr Ramos-Horta, described as a ''legendary international negotiator'', brands Mr Gusmao as ''arrogant, but he likes to pretend to be humble, unlike Alkatiri, who doesn't even pretend to be anything but arrogant''.

In May 2008, the US embassy reported East Timorese parliamentary contacts as suggesting that Mr Gusmao ''may have an alcohol problem, which is impairing his relations with others''.

The embassy said that during a May 5 meeting with [US embassy officers], James Dunn, an author and long-time observer of East Timor, reported the Prime Minister angered Mr Ramos-Horta by turning up ''visibly drunk'' at a reception in honour of Prince Albert of Monaco on April 6.

Mr Ramos-Horta has also been sharply critical of Mr Alkatiri, whom he replaced as prime minister in June 2006, describing him as ''arrogant and abusive''.

The cables provide a detailed account of events leading to Mr Alkatiri's June 2006 resignation under threat of dismissal by then president Gusmao, as mob violence and looting flared in Dili. Mr Gusmao was ''particularly insistent'' that Mr Alkatiri resign or else be dismissed immediately.

The WikiLeaks disclosures provide new insight into Mr Ramos-Horta's attempts to negotiate with rebel East Timorese military leader Alfredo Reinado, including the involvement of US diplomats as intermediaries, while Australian troops tried to hunt down and kill Reinado.

In June 2007, the embassy reported that Mr Ramos-Horta had asked the Australian commander of the International Stabilisation Force to suspend its pursuit of Reinado so that he could call for the rebel to turn himself in.

But on February 11, 2008, Mr Ramos-Horta was critically wounded in an assassination attempt by Reinado, who was killed in the attack.

The President told the US ambassador that he was ''unable to explain his attacker's motivation'', and described how he lay bleeding for ''20 or 30'' minutes after he was shot before ''a battered ambulance with a driver but no medic arrived''.

James Dunn, a confidant of Mr Ramos-Horta, told The Age yesterday that much of the US embassy's reporting was ''quite perceptive''.


21 September 2011

Number of assault cases remains high in Baucau

East Timor Legal News 21/09/2011 Source: Independente September 20, 2011 language source: Tetun - Baucau District Police Commander Superintendent Chief Faustino da Costa said that number of assault cases in Baucau District remains high.

Da Costa made the statement based on the statistical data gathered in August 2011 when the number of reported assault cases 29 for the month.

He confirmed that they had detained a person who was accused of engaging in assaults and the detainee is now facing provisional imprisonment.

"We are waiting another authorisation from the court that allows us to process the other cases," da Costa said.

HAK concerned about ammunitions imported by UNMIT

East Timor Legal News 21/09/2011 Source: Source: Timornewsline September 08 2011 - The Director of the civil society human rights organisation (HAK) Rogerio Neves said that he was concerned about the ammunitions which were imported by the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

"UNMIT does not respect Timor-Leste's sovereignty because it did not coordinate with Timorese state bodies," Neves said.

Neves called on the Timorese National Police (PNTL) to hold a thorough investigation into the case because the general election was about to be held and he is certain that some parites will take the opportunity to create instability.

"Our people are concerned about the two containers of ammunitions therefore I am calling on the Minister of Defence and Security to investigate it," the Director HAK said. People want to know the objective and the intention of importing the ammunitions, he said.

Meanwhile, Duarte Nunes from the Parliamentary Committee B for security and defence called on UNMIT to justify why the ammunitions were imported into the country.

"I personally call on UNMIT to justify the objective of importing the ammunitions as its mission is about to end," he said. 

UNMIT prepares report for Prime Minister Gusmao on ammunitions importation

East Timor Legal News 21/09/2011 Source: Independente, September 8, 2011 - Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres said that the Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Ameerah Haq, has told the Government that UNMIT will submit a report on the imported ammunition to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

"The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative Ameerah has confirmed that they are ready to present data on the ammunition they imported," he said.

The UN mandate in Timor-Leste is to guarantee peace and stability in the country and UNMIT has the responsibility to explain it to the Government, he said.

UNMIT armed forces in Timor-Leste can carry weapons and use ammunitions to provide security for the people in the country, he said.

Council of Ministers Extraordinary Meeting of September 16, 2011 on the State Budget Law for 2012

East Timor Legal News 21/09/2011 Source: East Timor Government Council of Ministers



Council of Ministers Extraordinaire Meeting from September 16, 2011

The Council of Ministers had a meeting extraordinaire this Friday, September 16, 2011, in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room, at the Government Palace, in Díli and approved:

1. Law Proposal that approves the State Budget of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, for 2012

The State Budget Law Proposal for 2012 includes all the revenues and expenditures of the Timor-Leste State and covers the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. The total estimated revenue from all sources (oil, non oil, funds from development partners and non-tax revenues), of the State Budget for this period is $2.259,4 million U.S. dollars. The budget allocations, in U.S. dollars,  are as follows:

1 - $140,1 million for Salaries and Wages;

2 - $344,7 million for Goods and Services, from which $30 million U.S. dollars are allocated to the Human Capital Development Fund;

3 - $194,2 million for Public Transferences;

4 - $30 million for Minor Capital;

5 - $1.054,4 million for Development Capital, from which $746,2 million U.S. dollars are allocated to the Infrastructures Fund.

The total budget is thus of $1.763,4 million U.S. dollars.

The IV Constitutional Government, in accordance with the set policies, remains committed to take action to transform the oil-based economy into a non-oil based economy and attract investment, essential for Timor-Leste’s development and growth.

For this purpose, there is a fundamental condition to be met, which is the development of areas such as infrastructures and human capital. In 2011, the IV Government launched the Strategic Development Plan, created the Infrastructures Fund and the Human Capital Development Fund.

The Strategic Development Plan is a Plan of the People, for the People, and covers three areas crucial for the Nation’s development: social capital, infrastructures and economic development.

The Infrastructures Fund will assist the Government to overcome the difficulties felt with the construction of infrastructures of Timor-Leste.

The Human Capital development Fund will allow to ensure a form of multi-annual project funding for human resources training, increasing the capacity and training of professionals from strategic sectors of development.

20 September 2011

Residents are not staying calm due to gun shots every night

East Timor Legal News 20/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae September 8, 2011 language source: Tetun - General Commander of the Timorese National Police (PNTL) through Dili District Police Commander pledged to ensure security 24 hours, but unfortunately there were gun shots every night and that made residents panic, says Sisto da Costa.

Program Manager for Human Rights Advocacy added that the policy of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) of importing bullets without coordinating with the Government will prejudice the security situation in the country.

He stressed that UNMIT should explain to the public about the objective of imrpoting bullets, because people have an absolute right to know about it.

MP Francisco Branco from Fretilin, said UNMIT has no right to purchase or import bullet into the country as their mandate is about to end.

"We do not know exactly how many bullets each container contained. UNMIT should explain it because the politicians and all the people are concerned about it."

"UNMIT purchased and imported the bullets to be used for what? Because they have no reason to import bullet while their mandate is about to end," MP Branco said.

Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture ready to appear in court on corruption allegations

East Timor Legal News 20/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae September 9, 2011 language source: Tetun - Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture Mariano Asanami Sabino said he is ready to appear in the court to testify regarding corruption allegations against him.

'I am ready to appear in the court when I receive a summons from the court or the Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK). I have not received any summon from the court so far," Asanami said.

Asanami said the principle of the Democratic Party (PD) is law and justice enforcement therefore all the people who are alleged to have committed criminal acts should be held accountable in the court so that they can be responsible for their attitude.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK) Commissary Aderito de Jesus Soares refused to comment over the Government officials' engagement in corruption saying it is confidential.

Twenty two suspects in Luro clash put under house arrest

East Timor Legal News 20/09/2011 Source: Independente September 12, 2011 language source: Tetun - The court has decided to put 22 suspects under house arrest following their involvement in the recent clash in Luro in Lautem district.

Lautem District Deputy Police Commander, Antonio do Rego, said these 22 suspects were investigated and the court has decided to give them house arrest for legal proceedings.

"22 suspects that we captured were prosecuted and are now facing house arrest," he said.

The families of vicitims who were killed in the violent clash have called on the police and other legal institution to legally process this case as soon possible and should lock up the suspects in the jail.

Two people were killed in the recent conflict in Luro of Lautem that was caused by a long-unresolved land dispute.

Public Prosecution: Samson uses false document

Christopher Henry Samson, found guilty of falsifying citizenship
East Timor Legal News20/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae September 15, 2011 language source: Tetun - Dili District Court has tried Christopher Henry Samson, director of the civil society corruption watchdog organisation, LABEH, who was accused of falsifying documents to become a citizen of Timor-Leste.

The case was tried by a panel of judges composed of Rosa Brandao, International judges Antonio Fonseca and Jose Goncalves, Public Defender Pedro Apolinario and Sergio Hornai, Public Prosecutors, Remiza de Fatima and Felismino Cardoso.

The Immigration Police's investigation findings show that Samson came from Angola to Timor-Leste with a false document.

"The Public Prosecution has data that proves that he is not Timorese but a foreigner, therefore the Public Prosecution asked the Immigration Police and Ministry of Justice to investigate this case. It is found that he [Samson] is not a Timorese and his bought false documents to be here, STL said.

Public Defender, Apolinario and Hornai,  has called on the court to call Lino dos Santos to give his testimony in the court about the case because he is not a public prosecutor or Customs department official but he publicised  Samson's documents.

Christopher Henry Samson said that some accusations against him were true and some are wrong because if the Justice Ministry found that he used false documents then why they do not take the necessary action by deporting him to his country.

"I am calling on the court to see the facts and it should not politicise the facts in order to defeat another person," Samson said.

Joint Statement from ANTI on case involving Besi Merah Putih Militia Member Valentim Lavio

East Timor Legal News 20/09/2011 Source: Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal  - Introduction: On the 8th July 2011 the Dili District Court read out its final decision in a case involving serious crimes, namely Case No. 13/C.Ord/2011. This case relates to a crime against humanity committed by the sentenced person Valentim Lávio, who was a member of the Besi Merah Putih (BMP) militia, against the victim Patricio Sarmento Viegas on 6 September 1999, two days after the announcement of the results of the referendum that was organized and supervised by the UN in 1999.

The Dili District Court heard this case in the first instance and found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to nine years imprisonment.

The trial of this case began at the end of May and was presided over by a panel of judges comprising international judge Joao Felgar (presiding judge), international judge Rosa Brandao (judge member) and national judge Deolindo dos Santos (judge member). The Public Prosecution Service was represented by international prosecutor Franklin A. Furtado, and the convicted person was represented by public defender Fernando Lopes de Carvalho.

Even though the court of first instance convicted Valentim Lávio on 8 July 2011, until now (almost three months later) the case has not been followed up because the final decision of the court has not been executed without reasonable cause because the presiding judge in this matter has not yet issued a written decision to the parties, namely the family of the victim and the convicted person. Therefore, the convicted person Valentim Lávio is still free and enjoying his rights just like other members of the community in Liquica.

Members of ANTI (Alliance for an International Tribunal) are concerned and extremely disappointed that the international judges have not worked in a professional manner and have not taken responsibility for the role that they have been entrusted with, by failing to prepare a written decision in three months.

This delay has not been explained and should not have happened because it has disadvantaged all parties, including the family of the victim and all members of society who want justice in this case.

The tardiness and inefficiency of the court can reduce public trust in the formal justice system, especially in this case, and this can lead to the parties pursuing inappropriate means to seek justice in accordance with their conscience that could trigger undesirable occurrences.

Therefore, all of the members of the National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI) hereby submit this statement to the relevant institutions, especially the judges of the Dili District Court:

1.      We urge the panel of judges, in particular the presiding judge João Felgar, an international judge who led the trial of this crime against humanity committed by Valentim Lávio, a member of the ‘Besi Merah Putih’ militia, to fully prioritize and focus on the case that he presided over so that a written version of the final decision can be produced in the near future and given to the family of the victim and the convicted person.

2.      We urge the panel of judges, in particular the presiding judge João Felgar, an international judge who led the trial of this crime against humanity committed by Valentim Lávio, a member of the ‘Besi Merah Putih’ militia, to promptly issue a written decision regarding the final decision of the court with due regard to:

- Principles of a fair, effective, efficient and affordable trial as adhered to in democratic nations;

- Article 60 (i) of the Criminal Procedure Code that states that “to appeal, under the terms of the law, against any decision that is unfavorable to him/her”; which means that this article grants the convicted person or victim the right to lodge an appeal when the court of first instance issues a summons to the parties regarding the final decision; unfortunately until now the court has not issued a written decision to the parties; 

3.      We are concerned that the convicted person is still free and may abscond overseas or to Indonesia after hearing the verbal announcement of the decision, because the court did not impose any restrictions in its decision;

4.      We urge the public prosecutor to execute the decision issued by the court of first instance if no appeal is lodged by the parties;

We end this joint statement by appealing to all parties, to the people of Timor-Leste, victims and families of victims, both individually and collectively, to continue to demand justice for past crimes, because the right to justice is an integral part of life in a democratic society. ANTI believes that the development of the nation will not be complete if there is no justice for past crimes.

[1]  Members of  ANTI: JSMP, La’o Hamutuk, Asosiasaun HAK, Luta Hamutuk, FONGTIL, KBH, KSI, CDI, MDI, CUP, Front Mahasiswa, FOKUPERS, OPVG and  ETCRN, Komité 12 Novembru and  ICTJ (partner).

For more information, please contact: Sisto dos Santos Coordinator of the ANTI Board Email: anarra.del@gmail.com Mobile No: +6707266564 Or please contact: Jose Moniz ANTI-JSMP Email: moniz@jsmp.minihub.org Mobile No: +6707402231

ETLJB Editor's Note: The photo (from Tempo) shows Besi Merah Putih members on patrol carrying weapons before attacking pro-independence supporters in the city of Likisa 29 kms to the east of Dili on 6 April 1999. The Besi Merah Putih was supported by the Indonesian security apparatus. (AP Photo/Sam Martins) 

19 September 2011

Maritime Police witness for UNMIT's imported bullets

Dili Port and Container Terminal
East Timor Legal News 19/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae September 15, 2011 language source: Tetun - The Timorese Maritime Police Commander, Superintendent Lino Saldanha, said on August 30, they discovered the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) had imported two containers which contained bullets.

The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) denied that  it have ever imported bullets into the country as they do not consider ISF as part of UN mission in the country, he said.

Saldanha affirmed that he was contacted by Rui Castro's men at night to inform him about the bullets; therefore he contacted with the PNTL General Commander and Intelligence officials about the case.

"I directly contacted the General Commander of PNTL and Intelligence in order to confiscate the containers, but unfortunately President Jose Ramos Horta has called for evidence of where the bullets are?" Saldanha said.

The Maritime Police officers saw the bullets in the containers and the containers were taken out of the Dili sea port at night, he said.

He called on the Government to pay attention to this case because importing guns or bullets should be known to the country's security authorities and it is not Rui Castro's task to do it.

PNTL Commander Commissioner Longuinhos Monteiro said he will ask ISF why they imported the bullets, adding that it is important for them to coordinate with the Government before they import any munitions as the bullets have critical implications for the security situation in the country.

Taur Matan Ruak: First Candidate For 2012 Presidential Elections In Timor Leste?

Major-General Taur Matan Ruak
East Timor Legal News 19/09/2011 Source: IPRIS September 9, 2011 – Written by: By Paulo Gorjao - On September 2nd, the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Timor Leste, Major-General Taur Matan Ruak, resigned, claiming that after 36 years in FALINTIL and the F-FDTL, this was the right time “to go back to civilian life”.1 On August 20th, the Timorese government had officially disbanded the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Timor Leste (FALINTIL), who fought against the Indonesian occupation for more than two decades.2 In a way, the demobilization of the FALINTIL marks the end of a cycle and, as such, the resignation of Matan Ruak fits well in this process.

Yet, while ending his military career, the decision of Matan Ruak could also mark the beginning of his active participation in political life. His presidential ambitions were an open secret in Timor Leste, with abundant rumors last June and July that he would resign in the coming months in order to launch a campaign. When asked if he intended to run in the upcoming presidential elections Matan Ruak did not deny it, while answering cautiously that it was “too early to talk about that”.3
East Timor

East Timor

Indeed, in the coming months, he will have to assess if his presidential ambitions have the necessary political support to succeed. If Matan Ruak decides to run for President it is possible that he might have the support of the main ruling party, the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), founded by Jose Alexandre ‘Xanana’ Gusma o in 2007, as well as from other parties close to CNRT, such as the Social Democratic Party (PSD). So far, Xanana has given no public signal on his position regarding Matan Ruak’s presidential ambitions. Bearing in mind the men’s good personal relationship, as well as the fact that Xanana is not close to Ramos-Horta, it would not be a surprise if Xanana, sooner or later, reveals that he supports Matan Ruak’s presidential bid.

The incumbent President, Jose Ramos-Horta, is the major political obstacle that lies ahead of Matan Ruak’s presidential ambitions. In July, the Timorese press reported that Ramos-Horta would not seek reelection, and that he indicated to Matan Ruak that it was 90% certain he would not run for the Presidency again.4 Even though this might be true, the fact remains that so far Ramos-Horta has not made any definitive public statement regarding his future political plans. If Ramos- Horta does not run for reelection – his desire to occupy an important international post is also an open secret5 – Matan Ruak will have a free path, in theory running against a candidate backed by the Revolutionary Front for an Independent Timor Leste (FRETILIN), whose chances of success are small. Along with Ramos-Horta, Mari Alkatiri and Xanana, Matan Ruak is one of the four most popular figures in Timor Leste.

Since Alkatiri intends to contest the next parliamentary elections – also in 2012 – and settle scores with Xanana, this means that FRETILIN will not have an opponent at his level. However, if Ramos-Horta decides to run for a second presidential term, the CNRT and Xanana will be confronted with an important challenge. In the last legislative elections, in June 2007, FRETILIN was the most popular political party. However, after intense backstage political maneuvering, Ramos-Horta asked the CNRT to form a coalition government, and by doing so ignoring the fact that FRETILIN was the most voted political party. Thus, Xanana has a political debt to pay to Ramos- Horta that collides with his potential intention of supporting Matan Ruak.

If, nevertheless, Xanana supports Matan Ruak against the present incumbent – Matan Ruak seems to have mentioned earlier, in private, that he would run only if Ramos- Horta did not, even though he thinks that he is capable of defeating him – one should not rule out the possibility of FRETILIN supporting Ramos- Horta’s bid for reelection. The fact that a significant part of his staff is from FRETILIN might be read as an attempt to make amends with FRETILIN, as well as a strategy to prepare the way for future political collaboration between them. Moreover, with or without the support of the CNRT and FRETILIN, if he wishes to seek the reelection in the forthcoming presidential elections, Ramos-Horta has enough political clout to sustain a winning bid.

Finally, it is not yet clear if Matan Ruak’s resignation letter will be accepted. His public statements saying that he had resigned make it difficult for him to continue as the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces. However, Ramos- Horta appears to be against his resignation,6 and as a consequence he might try to convince him to reconsider. This might be explained not only because he does not wish to open the way for Matan Ruak’s presidential bid, but also due to the fact that his resignation will raise a serious problem regarding Matan Ruak’s succession in the Armed Forces.

The obvious candidate to replace him is the current Vice- Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces, Brigadier General Lere Anan Timur. When asked if he was a candidate to replace Matan Ruak, Ramos-Horta said that Lere Anan Timur’s “will be one of the names likely to be suggested”, while at the same time carefully adding that “probably there will be other names”.7 Lere Anan Timur, on the other hand, did not exclude the possibility of becoming the new Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces. “I am prepared for any job that matches my skills”, he said.8 Indeed, Lere Anan Timur might be prepared to replace Matan Ruak, but he does not seem to be a unanimous choice, given that he is a hardliner close to FRETILIN. A more consensus choice, for example, could be Colonel Filomeno Paixa o. He is currently doing the training course to become General at the Institute of Higher Military Studies (IESM) in Lisbon. More importantly, he was the Deputy Commander of the Halibur, the successful joint Armed Forces and Police operation set up to arrest the suspects of the assassination attempt against Ramos-Horta and Xanana in February 2008.

So, with or without the acceptance of his letter of resignation, it seems that Matan Ruak’s political ambitions are bound to face some hurdles along the way. In that sense, it would not be exactly a surprise if he ended up waiting until the 2017 elections to finally take his shot at the Presidency. Given that he is a few weeks away from only his 55th birthday, he certainly can wait patiently for the right – and ripe – moment. On the other hand, one final question remains unanswered: if he resigns and does not run in the forthcoming presidential elections, then what will Matan Ruak do in the next five years?

This article was published as a IPRIS Viewpoints 76 – SEPTEMBER 2011 and may be accessed here (PDF)

1 “East Timor army chief resigns” (Agence France-Presse, 2 September 2011).

2 “East Timor disbands pro-independence battle unit” (Agence France-Presse,
20 August 2011).

3 “East Timor army chief to resign, mum on presidency” (Associated Press, 2 September 2011).

4 See “Political Earthquake: Major General Taur Matan Ruak to Run for President” (Tempo Semanal, 14 July 2011).

5 For example,in 2006,the former US ambassador tot he United Nations,Richard Holbrooke, suggested him as a possible successor to the UN Secretary- General, Kofi Annan.

6 “Ramos Horta Rejeita Foo Sai Ninia Hanoin Kona Ba Rezignasaun TMR”(Tempo  Semanal, 6 September 2011).

7 “Presidente aguarda regresso de PM para decidir sobre demissa o do chefe das Forc as Armadas” (Lusa, 7 September 2011).

8 “Vice-CEMGFA preparado para assumir chefia dos militares” (Lusa, 7 September 2011).


The Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS) is a non-profit and independent NGO, based in Lisbon. IPRIS is an institution dedicated to research on issues of International Relations, with particular interest regarding Portuguese foreign and defense policies.

ETLJB Editor's Note: See also on ETLJB:

Timor Leste army chief resigns ahead of polls

Taur needs 5000 people to support him in announcing his presidential candidacy

UN Recommended prosecution of East Timor Defence Force Chief Taur Matan Ruak in 2006

16 September 2011

Council of Ministers Meeting of September 14, 2011

East Timor Legal News 16/09/2011 Source: East Timor Government Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers of the IV Constitutional Government PRESS RELEASE September 14, 2011

The Council of Ministers met this Wednesday, September 14, 2011 in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room, at the Government Palace, and approved:

1. Decree-Law that approves the Regime for Registration and Notary Fees

The Council of Ministers approved the Regime for Registration and Notary Fees that establishes the applicable regulations and the amounts to be payed to several registration and notary sectors, in order to meet the costs of the operation of services where State investment costs are not included.

Thus the services delivered at the registry and notary are subject to a payment of fees, without impacting on gratuity or exemption cases therein.

2. Decree-Law that approves the General Regime for Advertising Activities

The Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry saw approved the legal framework for advertising activities, a set of standards regulating advertising.

Given that advertising has an enormous importance, as an economic activity or as a tool that fosters competition, the Council of Ministers approved the Decree-Law that protects and defends consumers their expectations, and which is beneficial for companies and their customers.

3. Decree-Law that approves the Classification of Economic Activities

Given the importance of creating a regulatory framework to be adopted nationally, appropriate to classify economic activities, the Council of Ministers approved the Classification of Economic Activities (CEA)

The CEA is used to classify the units producers of goods and services, according to the economic activity in several domains, for the production of statistics per economic activity, for the drafting of studies, publication of official texts and other purposes, mainly involving public administration.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

1. Draft of a Standardized Policy for Human Resources Training and Development in the Civil Service

The members of the Council of Ministers heard a presentation from the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP) about its responsibility and role as the major institute for human resources and public servants management in the country. The Timor Lorosa’e National University (UNTL) also presented the courses taught in the university, making the connection with the vacancies and costs. The council of Ministers felt the need to hear the agencies involved and discuss the best way of working together to make the best of the development of the human resources in the civil service.

Timor-Leste: UN backs traditional dialogue process in resolving violent dispute

East Timor Legal News Source: United Nations Press Release 15 September 2011 – An argument between two martial arts groups in Timor-Leste that escalated into violence, resulting in the death of an off-duty police officer and the burning of 67 houses, has been resolved by a day-long traditional peace-building dialogue backed by the United Nations.

The so-called Simu Malu, requested by the local community and attended by hundreds of people, was facilitated by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in the village of Tashilin, which bore the brunt of the violence.

“Today, here in Tashilin, the Simu Malu has helped everyone understand that violence is detrimental to all and that problems can be resolved in a peaceful manner,” UNDP Programme Officer José Belo said of the event that took place on 9 September in Covalima district in the south-west of the small South-East Asian country that the UN shepherded to independence in 2002 after it broke away from Indonesia.

The meeting saw members of the martial arts groups and other concerned members stand up in front of the extended community and explain their point of view, culminating in official statements being prepared, read aloud by each group, then exchanged as a formal declaration of truce and as a show of commitment to work together to resolve existing problems and restore lasting peace in the area.

“This dialogue will help recreate good relations so that conflict will not happen again like in the past,” village chief Alexandre Pereira said. “For the future we have to create unity and to contribute to peace and stability so that people can safely go about their daily lives.”

UNDP supports the Department of Peace Building and Social Cohesion in Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Social Solidarity through technical support and capacity building.

The UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), set up in 2006 to succeed earlier missions after an outbreak of deadly violence, will maintain up to 1,280 police personnel to support the country’s police force until after the 2012 elections, when the mission is planning to withdraw.

15 September 2011

Customs department ready to provide evidence of bullets importation

East Timor Legal News 15/09/2011 Source: Independente, September 14, 2011 language source: Tetun - Director General of Customs Department Cancio Freitas, said they are ready to provide evidence to prove that the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) really did import two containers of bullets into the country.

“One container of bullets was brought to the Australian Force camp and another container was brought to the UNMIT,” Freitas said.

Freitas made the statements yesterday to respondto the recent statements made by the UN Special Representative Ameerah Haq who denied that UNMIT had imported bullets into the country.

He confirmed that one of the containers contains bullets for pistols, adding that he will meet with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to clarify it.

“They are bullets for pistols. I will meet PM Gusmao to give clear information,” Freitas said.

Deputy Prime Minister for Social Issues Jose Luis Guterres confirmed that he had held a meeting with UNMIT leaders and they denied that UNMIT had imported bullets into the country.

“On behalf of the Government, I accept the statements of UNMIT and I hear the statements myself that they did not import bullets,” Guterres said.

Joaozito Viana from Luta Hamutuk has called on the Government and UNMIT to explain to the public about the polemic regarding bullet importation.

“We call on the Parliament and Government to identify the owner of those bullets and if they do not belong to UNMIT then they should secure them well otherwise they will affect to the security situation,” Viana said.

ETLJB Editor's Note: See also

President of the Republic is 100% certain that UNMIT did not import bullets  

Monsignor Nascimento: Are imported bullets to shoot the doves or cocks of Timor-Leste??

UNMIT denies importing bullets into Timor-Leste

VPU Baucau registers 35 cases of Domestic Violence

VPU Baucau registers 35 cases of Domestic Violence

Kuka Case to be trialled in August

Kuka Case to be trialled in August

Government appoints Abrao Vasconcelhos as national central bank governor

East Timor Legal News Source: Radio Timor-Leste, September 14, 2011 language source: Tetun - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has appointed the ex-Director for the Timorese Banking and Payments Authority (BPA), Abrao Vasconcelhos, as the governor of the Timor-Leste National Central Bank.

Mr. Vasconcelhos was appointed after the BPA was transformed into the national central bank.

He pledged to exercise his tasks properly by leading and managing the bank and will prioritise the national interest.

“I express my thanks to the prime minister who has given me the responsibility and I will make efforts to do my job well,” he said.

Nine suspects still on the run: PNTL deputy commander

East Timor Legal News 14/09/2011 Source: Diario Nacional, September 14, 2011 language source: Tetun - The Timorese National Police (PNTL) Deputy Commander Commissioner Afonso de Jesus said nine people who are suspected of being involved in the Zumalai case are still on the run.

De Jesus affirmed that the police are still hunting down the suspects and are still providing security in the area.

“For the moment more than 20 suspects are being detained in the prison for legal proceedings. Based on the reports I have received, there are nine suspects who are still on the run,” he said.

President of the Republic is 100% certain that UNMIT did not import bullets

East Timor Legal News 14/08/2011 Source: Jornal Diario Nacional Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - President of the Republic Jose Ramos Horta has declared that he is 100% certain that the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) did not import two container loads of bullets into Timor-Leste.

“I can guarantee 100% that they (UNMIT) did not import bullets into Timor-Leste,” President Horta declared to journalists, shortly after having participated at the ceremony for the transformation of the banking and Payments Authority into the Timor-Leste Central Bank at Acait, Dili, Tuesday 13 September.

President Ramos Horta added, that as a sovereign nation Timor-Leste should not speak out rashly without providing proof, including knowing that in the United nations system, peace keeping forces are not given bullets by the UN but come with their own equipment.

“I have already asked the deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres, to please provide me with the information, because it was the government that spoke out about this matter, and if they speak out then they should provide the details as to whether these munitions really came or not.  Or was it just something some people dreamt up?” the Head of State said.  Horta continues not to believe that  UNMIT imported two container loads of bullets into Timor-Leste, one destined for Obrigado Barracks and the other for the International Stabilization Force, because he has not yet seen proof with his own eyes. 

"I do not know whether this has been politicized or not, I do not want to hear these messy things, I want to see these containers with my own eyes, if these containers came into Timor-Leste then I want to go and see where they are, but until now I have not them with my own eyes,” President Horta explained.

President Horta has also asked customs officials to deliver documents to his office so that he can ascertain where the two containers are now, because prior to this he heard that Prime Minister Gusmao himself took some bullets to show the United Nations, but he (Horta) doubts the veracity of this.

14 September 2011

PNTL’s Traffic Police apprehends nine vehicles

PNTL’s Traffic Police apprehends nine vehicles

Sexual Abuse perpetrator jailed for 15 years

Sexual Abuse perpetrator jailed for 15 years

Taur needs 5000 people to support him in announcing his presidential candidacy

Taur Matan Ruak
East Timor Legal News 13/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae language source: Tetun - MP Aderito Hugo da Costa from the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) said if Taur Matan Ruak wants to announce his presidential candidacy then he needs 5000 people to support him to do so.

MP da Costa said that based on the relevant legal criteria, anyone who wants to announce his candidacy should have 5000 people who support him/her as it is necessary for registration.

"We should wait and see who will give their support. Personally I do not know who will support Taur. General Taur Matan Ruak has experience, capability, contribution, nationalism and patriotism, people will not question that," MP da Costa said.

He added that Taur Matan Ruak is a figure who contributed to the national liberation and has skills to lead the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) institution.

MP da Costa made the statements because Major General Taur Matan Ruak had recently presented his resignation letter to the Government and President of Republic because it is believed that he will announce his candidacy to compete in the presidential election in 2012.

Monsignor Nascimento: Are imported bullets to shoot the doves or cocks of Timor-Leste??

Monsignor Basilio do Nascimento
East Timor Legal News Source: Timor Post 13 September 2011 language source: Tetun - Bishop for Baucau Diocese Monsignor Basilio do Nascimento said the two containers of bullets which are believed to have been imported by the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) is a challenge for the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL), the Timorese National Police (PNTL) and the UN forces.

"I think this is a big challenge for all the forces. It is a test for our police, defence force and UN's force. I hope there will be an explanation so that we can stay calm otherwise people will not feel secure in the general election in 2012. This is because past experiences of the Timorese people are bad," Monsignor Nascimento said.

He added, "The Government should know the UN's plan if they want to import bullets. People of this country are staying peaceful; therefore the question is does the UN import the bullets to shoot doves? Or other birds? And or to shoot the cocks of Timor."

See also UNMIT denies importing bullets into Timor-Leste  

No state of siege in Baucau: District Commander da Costa

East Timor Legal News 14/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae 13 September 2011 language source: Tetun - Baucau District Police Commander Superintendent Chief Faustino da Costa rejected the recent statement by a victim of police brutality Odete Barela saying that there is a state in siege in Baucau district.

"Who says that there is a state in siege in Baucau? The police have never announced a state of siege in Baucau. But PNTL is concerned about the security situation in the country," da Costa said.

Deputy Timorese Police Commissioner of Police Afonso de Jesus said they have no right to comment about states of siege because it is the competence of the Government to explain it.

"I just want to say that PNTL has no right to explain whether there is a state of siege, but the Government has the absolute right to explain it," de Jesus said

"I just want to add that starting from the general commander and district police commanders, we have not received any commands from the government to apply a state of siege.

UNMIT denies importing bullets into Timor-Leste

SRSG UN  to Timor-Leste, Ameeerah Haq
East Timor Legal News 14/09/2011 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae 13 September 2011 language source: Tetun - The Special Representative of the United Nations' Secretary General to Timor-Leste, Ameeerah Haq, has denied that UNMIT has imported bullets into the country.

Haq said the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT)'s mission is to maintain, stability and peace in the country and the recent information saying that UNMIT and ISF imported two containers of bullet is false.

"I will meet with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to discuss whether two containers of bullets were imported through the port at Dili to clarify the situation and request a view of any relevant documentation. I confirm that UNMIT has never ordered and never received bullets imported through Dili Sea port," Haq said.

She added that UNMIT carries out its work based on the UN's rules and the UNPOL and its security forces have their own ammunitions, adding that those equipments of UNMIT will be used based on the regulation stated in the agreement made by the state leaders and the UN.

Haq made the statements yesterday in a discussion organized by Fongtil in Kaikoli. Director of Fongtil Dinora Granadeiro said the recent information about bullet importation made the people afraid and worried about the security situation therefore UNMIT should talk with the Government about how they can resolve this problem soon.

A student from UNITAL, Martinho Mendes, said people are concerned about the security situation in the country; therefore UNMIT and the Government should clarify to the public about the objective of importing the bullet.

Suai Church Massacre: Victims still have a long way to go to get justice

The Catholic Church in Suai, scene of a massacre in 1999
East Timor Legal News 14/09/2011 Source:JSMP: 6 September 2011 Press Release Period : September 2011 Edition : 12 September 2011 6 September Suai Church Massacre: Victims still have a long way to go to get justice

The 6th of September is remembered as a day of national mourning to mark the Suai Church Massacre that was carried out by the Laksaur Militia with the support of the Indonesian military as part of an attack on and slaughter of civilians hiding in the Suai Church which resulted in the deaths of 3 priests and approximately 200 innocent civilians, as well as a large number of others who suffered serious injuries during the incident.

‘The massacre incident at the Suai Church’ is one of several massacres committed by militia and the Indonesian military after the results of the referendum were announced. This referendum took place under the supervision of the UN Mission in Timor-Leste in 1999.

This incident is considered to be part of the history of the struggle and suffering of the Timorese people which was a protracted process leading to independence. These incidents should always be remembered to keep nationalism alive and to give hope to victims that they will receive justice.

Often we hear politicians or state authorities saying that the people have forgotten about justice and only think about development, infrastructure, highways, electricity, education etc.  Therefore the government is always looking for ways to put justice aside and force their development agenda, something else that is not yet evident for the people.

The release of the militia member Maternus Bere on 30 August 2009, who was the 2nd Deputy Commander and was notorious for his involvement in the Suai Massacre, is a concrete example of the position of the government in relation to justice for past crimes.

JSMP continues to doubt that victims and their families have forgotten the past and no longer have the desire to demand justice for the bitter experiences of the past prior to independence. JSMP is certain that although they feel despondent because of the lack of certainty and political will on behalf of politicians to provide justice in their cases, they still hope in their heart that one day they will get justice, in what ever shape or form possible. The people and the victims of human rights violations are all certain that diplomatic and bilateral relations with Indonesia need to be strengthened; however this does not mean that their right to justice has to be sacrificed.

JSMP believes that all of the people of Timór Léste, especially the victims and the families of victims have the right to continue to demand that the State address this massacre and ask Indonesia to take responsibility for the crimes carried out by their agents during the Indonesian occupation of Timór Léste, including the Suai Church Massacre.

As we all know, Timór Léste has been independent for more than ten years, the people of Timor-Leste, especially the victims and their families, the orphans and widows, continue to demand justice and the truth, and also demand that the main perpetrators be held responsible for the crimes that they committed.