29 February 2012

Labour Code waiting on President for promulgation

Labour Code waiting on President for promulgation

Land certificates which were issued are still valid

Land certificates which were issued are still valid

There is no law banning pregnant women riding motorbikes

There is no law banning pregnant women riding motorbikes

East Timor Legal News 29/02/2012

East Timor Legal News 29/02/2012 Source: Diario Nacional, February 28, 2012 language source: Tetun - The MPs in the Parliament said they disagreed with the Timorese National Police (PNTL) Commander, Longuinhos Monteiro’s decision to shoot anyone who tries to destroy the peace and stability in the country. According to the MPs, shooting at people is against human rights and the freedom of the people.

MP Manuel Tilman said PNTL was a security institution whose function is to guarantee the security and said only the court could decide whether the police could shoot the criminals and not the police commander.

MP Tilman said the country was not currently under a state of siege and right now the people were preparing to vote in the elections.

The PNTL commands made the statement after an unknown person threw Molotov cocktails at the office of the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STATE) recently.

25 February 2012

Address by the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao at the Australia Timor-Leste Business Council Reception

East Timor's Prime Minister Gusmao

East Timor Legal News 25 february 2012 Source: Office of the Prime Minister Sydney, Australia 20 February 2012 Thank you Denis Fernandez for your inspiring words and your excellent work as President of the Australia Timor-Leste Business Council.
I'd also like to acknowledge: H.E Secretary of State, Council of Ministers, H.E. Agio Perreira
H.E. Abel Guterres, Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand
H.E. Miles Armitage, Australia's Ambassador to Timor-Leste
Mr Barry Grant, President of the Commando Association of Australia
H.E. Estela Ferreira – Goodwill Ambassador for Timor-Leste
Representatives from the NSW Government
My very good friend Mr Jerry De Susa
And all the friends of Timor-Leste here with us tonight - thank you for coming.

I would like to thank the Council for organising this event and for its ongoing and strong support of business relationships between our two countries.

I am always pleased to address an Australia Timor-Leste Business Council event.
I did so in 2006 as President and in 2008 as Prime Minister.

Today, I am particularly pleased to be speaking to you.

Not only because it is good to be back in Sydney to meet with many friends who are here today.

But because today I have a brighter story to tell.

Some of you may have heard me speak in December 2006.

It was a terrible time.

In 2006 we tripped and fell. We became caught up in a terrible internal conflict, with widespread civil unrest, that tore at the fabric of our young nation.
At that time I did my best to encourage the business people who had showed faith in our nation.

But the reality was we had just began our process of State building and peace building and our institutions were very fragile.

The business environment in Timor-Leste was poor. We had out-dated and complex business processes, taxation systems and a lack of insurance.

When I spoke at an Australia Timor-Leste Business Council event in 2008 we were in a much better position.

We were making reforms to our State and its administration and we were building peace and security.

At that time I encouraged you all to make the most of the ‘first mover advantage’ and invest in Timor-Leste.

Looking back, 2008 was a perfect time to invest as Timor-Leste was emerging as a growing economy. Those with the vision and foresight to invest then would have been well rewarded.

And today, I am pleased to say, is an even better time to do business and invest in Timor-Leste.

It has been a long road to get where we are today but we have made much progress and we must not turn back, and we must not gamble with our future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In March this year, under the watchful eye of international election observers, we will have the first round of our Presidential elections.

And then in June the Timorese people will go to the polls to elect their next Parliament.

It is critical to our nation’s future that we continue on our current path. We must not – and will not - go backwards.

So our fight now is different to our fight for independence, but no less passionate.
We are fortunate that our nation is blessed not only with natural beauty, but with rich natural resources. This includes large reserves of oil and gas.

This petroleum wealth gives us the tools to develop our nation and to invest for our future.

We do not want to be a poor people in a rich country. So we need to use those tools in the right way to develop our nation.

We also recognise that to build a strong nation we need to build a strong private sector.

This is why we are looking to work in partnership with the private sector and to attract foreign investment.

Our sovereign wealth fund, the Petroleum Fund, has a balance of around $10 billion US this is rising every day.

The Petroleum Fund will get a further boost once the Sunrise field is developed and as we look for more natural resources both on-shore and off-shore.

We were also the 3rd country in the world, and the first Asia, to be a fully compliant with the international transparency criteria of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

And so, while we are still a poor country we are positioned well for the future.
Last year, Timor-Leste released its 20 year Strategic Development Plan.

The Plan sets out a path to transform Timor-Leste from a low income to an upper middle income country by 2030 in 3 ways:

- Firstly, building our infrastructure

- Secondly developing our economy - with a focus on our petroleum, tourism and agricultural industries; and lastly by

- Improving our human resources.

In line with the Plan, we are starting a major infrastructure program including the building of ports, airports and a national road system.

We will also begin a large investment program to develop our south coast - which faces Australia and is less than an hour’s flight from Darwin.

The implementation of the Strategic Development Plan will provide investment opportunities across all sectors of the economy.

This will include tourism, hospitality, property development, infrastructure, communications, basic manufacturing and agriculture.

We have invested in power generation and a national grid so that every household in Timor-Leste will have access to electricity.

This is going to transform the lives of our people and stimulate economic growth.
We have introduced one of the world’s most attractive tax regimes.

We are already enjoying economic expansion with growth rates averaging 12% since 2007.

In its annual report on Timor-Leste released last month, the International Monetary Fund – the IMF- predicts that our economic growth will continue to be strong over the medium term.

The IMF also found that while access to credit has been poor it has started to grow.
And as credit expands, so will our economy.

That is why we are we are establishing a National Development Bank to help the Timorese private sector to establish international joint ventures.

Happily, our economic growth can be easily witnessed by walking our streets.
We can see new shops, restaurants and businesses opening all the time and there is a building boom in our capital.

Traffic congestion is now, for the first time, a problem! Perhaps people from Sydney don’t see that as something to aspire to – but it is an indicator of development none the less.

But most of all, we see our people’s growing sense of hope, belief and optimism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

When we celebrate our 10 year anniversary in May we have good reason to celebrate.
On our half island nation, we have established a free and democratic state, with the rule of law and a safe and secure society.

While, we are a small nation, we have an emerging economy and we have entered the fight to build that economy, pull our people from poverty and consolidate our nation.

It is true that we face large challenges, but also true that we have big dreams for our country.

We look to the future with a strong sense of hope and great optimism – a future including a strong private sector and vibrant foreign investment.

Last Wednesday, we approved a law on Public Private Partnerships to attract foreign investors and international joint ventures.

And so I repeat what I said in 2008, Australian businesses should make the most of the ‘first mover advantage’.

I never went to China to spread this message – but the Chinese heard it clearly!

And so I hope, that because of today, more Australian businesses come to Timor-Leste to enjoy the first mover advantage in our country.

Thank you again to the Australia Timor-Leste Business Council for your on-going support and to everyone here tonight for being part of the exciting future of our country.

Thank you very much.

Oecusse District Court tries domestic violence cases for three consecutive days

Oecusse women
East Timor Legal News 25 February 2012 Source: Juducial System Monitoring Program Press Release Period: February 2012 Edition: 21 February 2012 - For three consecutive days (07 - 09 February 2012) the Oecusse District Court tried cases involving light maltreatment that were categorized as domestic violence.

Based on monitoring conducted by JSMP, each day the court tried two cases involving domestic violence. Therefore the court was able to try six cases. The hearings took place in the morning and the afternoon in accordance with the predetermined schedule.

The aforementioned cases involved suspects with different backgrounds. One case involved a member of the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL)[1], another case involved a technical consultant in the field of Civil Construction, and another case involved a carpenter, and the remaining cases involved ordinary citizens such as farmers.

The six cases reached the final stage of proceedings with the announcement of the final decision of the court. Three defendants were fined amounts ranging between US$ 21 and US$ 90[2] including the payment of court costs, and the other three defendants were given sentences of imprisonment of up to one year six months, with the sentences suspended for periods between one year six months and two years.

The hearings were presiding over by single judge Joao Ribeiro, while the Public Prosecution Service was represented by Afonso Lopes and Jacinto Babo Soares and the Oecusse Public Defenders Office was represented by Sebastiao Amado Nheu de Almeida and Calistro Tout.

The Executive Director of JSMP Luis de Oliveira Sampaio said that “JSMP values all of the efforts of the court actors, namely the judges, prosecutors and public defenders, who continue to give priority to cases involving domestic violence through effective cooperation and they have engaged in processes aimed at ensuring that these matters are tried and decided to completion”.

JSMP would like to use this opportunity to express its appreciation to the court clerks who have dedicated themselves to the aforementioned court because even with extremely limited human resources, they have continued to demonstrate their willingness and dedication to make preparations and help the judges schedule cases of domestic violence and to try these cases.

These cases all involved light maltreatment, and therefore after hearing the evidence and the final recommendations and pleas the judge immediately analyzed the facts and concluded proceedings by formulating a decision and immediately announcing the final judgment.

JSMP also observed that before hearing testimony from defendants, victims and witnesses the judge always provided an explanation about their rights and responsibilities in accordance with the applicable law.

In relation to the victims in particular, the judge provided an explanation about their responsibilities to provide testimony about the legal facts in relation to incidents that have affected them. Also, JSMP observed that after reading his decision the judge always advised the defendants to refrain from repeating such acts in the future.

JSMP hopes that these collective efforts, together with the cooperative spirit and desire demonstrated by the court actors, as well as the relevant stakeholders who contribute to the administration of justice, can make a positive step towards reducing the number of domestic violence cases occurring in Timor-Leste.

[1] Refer to JSMP Press Release dated  20 February 2012 about a case of domestic violence involving a police officer

[2] Refer to JSMP Press Release dated 20 February 2012 about the Oecusse District Court issuing a fine to a defendant in a case involving domestic violence  

JSMP: National Parliament will pass a Law on Reparations and a Law on a Public Memory Institute before its mandate expires

President of the National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araujo
East Timor Legal News 25 February 2012 Source: Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release Period : February 2012 Edition: 17 February 2012 - On 10 February 2012 the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) was able to meet with the President of the National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araujo, at his residence in Farol, Dili.

This meeting was held in relation to a request from JSMP to discuss the draft Law on Reparations and the draft Law on a Public Memory Institute which are still pending in the National Parliament.

In this meeting the President of the National Parliament promised that he would try to approach and speak with other members of the National Parliament, such as the opposition bench and the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP), to discuss and pass the Law on Reparations and the Law on a Public Memory Institute before he finishes his mandate this year.

The President of the National Parliament said that before ending his legislative mandate in May 2012 he will endeavor to finalize debate and pass the laws that are still pending, including the two draft laws that relate to the rights of victims of past crimes.

The Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, said that JSMP acknowledges the efforts and productivity of the National Parliament during this legislative period; however JSMP observed that these two laws that relate to past human rights violations are still pending. Therefore JSMP encourages the President of the National Parliament to retable the two laws for discussion and approval before the National Parliament ends its mandate.

JSMP acknowledges that the people’s representatives in the National Parliament are busy with their political campaigning for the presidential and parliamentary elections, however if the National Parliament manages to discuss and approve these two laws, this will have significance for the victims who were affected during the conflict and were targeted by the Indonesian military during the occupation.

The President of the National Parliament confirmed with JSMP that it would not be a major matter to discuss and approve the aforementioned two laws, because previously these two laws were tabled for discussion and approval. However because there are differences of opinion about these two laws, and although he leads the parliament, he does not lead by majority and therefore he has to engage in lobbying with each representative of the people to obtain their support.

JSMP hopes that through this meeting the representatives of the people in the National Parliament can be encouraged to consider the importance of discussing and approving the Draft Law on Reparations and the Draft Law on the Public Memory Institute, because this will prove that the members of the National Parliament who are politicians and representatives of the people are concerned and understand the suffering of the victims as the result of their struggle for the independence that now exists.

Finally JSMP was also very grateful to the President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Ara├║jo for his willingness to accept the JSMP team and prays that he will be successful in his attempt at running for President for the period 2012-2017. 

24 February 2012

Civil society codemns strategy of police shooting citizens during 2012 election

East Timor Legal News 24 February 2012 Source: Fundasaun Mahein Thursday, February 23, 2012 Press Release- PNTL commander accentuates the rise of violence

On Tuesday 21st of February, the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) command ordered its officers to shoot on sight anyone trying to derail the general elections following the actions of unknown persons who threw Molotov Cocktail bombs at the offices of the Secretariat For Technical Electoral Support (STAE).

Needless to say, FM deeply condemns the Molotov incident at STAE but was dismayed to read the statement made by PNTL General Commander, Longuinhos Monteiro, as reported in the RTTL evening news. It seems as though this violent threat to derail the general election will be met with further violence from the PNTL. This latest statement simply accentuates the rising sense of tension surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.
The order to shoot suspects in the middle of the night is a violation of the rights of citizens as enshrined in the relevant laws and Constitution of the RDTL. The role of the PNTL is to protect and serve the community and to uphold the rule of law. We have a system of justice and the PNTL cannot take the law into its own hands by applying the system of shoot first, ask later.

The PNTL already has a very poor record with respect to gun related incidents. PNTL officers are already on the edge due the heavy handed approach to policing that is always preferred to by the General Command. As such, the order to shoot suspects on sight is a recipe for disaster that will lead to deadly consequences.

This is not the first time that Commander Longuinhos have made such an ill-considered statement, which only serve to generate more fear among the population while at the same time deviates attention away from the responsibility PNTL to sensible deal with the issue of internal security. If anything, this is another demonstration of the PNTL’s inability to resolve simple matters of internal security as well as a demonstration that the PNTL is not a ‘community-oriented’ police force. Instead of being a proactive security force by anticipating such a security threat, such as the STAE office incident, the PNTL has once again proven to be a typical reactionary force, always reacting with excessive force after a crime has been committed.

FM calls on him to desist from making such statements or, at the very least reflect on their impact, and for him as well as the Secretary of State-Security (SES) to discuss how to better communicate PNTL activities to the population. FM agrees with the decision to step up nightly patrols and security around key electoral sites, but we call on the PNTL to act more professionally and increase its engagement with the community in order to develop a more preventive rather than reactionary method of dealing with violence.

We would like to commend the PNTL for taking seriously the case of the PNTL officer accused of raping his daughter but we would like to remind the public and the PNTL command that there are many outstanding disciplinary cases – 1450 or thereabouts – and these cases need to be fully addressed.

As a public figure, the PNTL General Commander needs to be more careful about what he says and his superiors, the SES and the Parliamentary Committee B need to have greater control over his statements and actions. Politicians should also speak against the use of such violent language and maintain their commitment to engaging in mature politics, whereby they agree to disagree in a democratic and peaceful manner.

This is paramount in preventing conflict and creating stable and serene conditions so that people will cease to equate elections in Timor-Leste with violent behaviours. The citizens of this country have, for too long, been tortured by gun related violence and this police order will simply exacerbate this trauma.

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

11 February 2012

PNTL preparing for the 2012 General Elections

PNTL preparing for the 2012 General Elections

Naktuka case, FM demands Commission B explain clearly to the people of Naktuka

Naktuka case, FM demands Commission B explain clearly to the people of Naktuka

Most of human rights violations involve PNTL and F-FDTL

 ETLN 11/02/2011 Source: Radio Timor-Leste 10 Feb 2012 - Ninety nine human rights cases in Timor-Leste were committed by the Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) and the Timorese National Police (PNTL) officers, an official report from the Timorese Human Rights Association (HAK) revealed.

Director for HAK, Rogerio Viegas, said they were concerned about such a condition as PNTL and F-FDTL members continue violating human rights in the country.

According to the report, the members of the police and defense force engaged in maltreatment, physical aggression, repression and use guns to take other people’s life.

Viegas said only some of the cases were taken to the courts for legal proceedings, but its process was too slow.

A 40-year old lady killed in attacks

East Timor Legal News 11/02/2012 Source: Radio Timor-Leste 10 February 2012 - A 40-year old lady Domingas Amaral died in attacks in Beco village in the southern district of Kovalima after she tried to separate two ladies who were fighting each other.

The victim’s son Domingos Amaral said his mother was trying to separate the two ladies but unfortunately she was then attacked by them [the two ladies].

A relative of the victim, Manuel Fereira said the victim was a widow and had leaves nine children.

The police are currently investigatin the case.

Military Commander calls on defence force and police to use guns properly

Lere Anan Timur
East Timor Legal News 11/02/2012 Source: Radio Timor-Leste 09/02/2012 - The Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) Commander, Major General Lere Anan Timur, has called on F-FDTL soldiers and the National Police (PNTL) to use guns only when it is necessary.

The commander made the comments after taking part in the ceremony for the joint training by the UN Police, F-FDTL and PNTL yesterday.

Commander Lere said PNTL and F-FDTL were armed with guns but they should use them only in critical and dangerous situations.

He affirmed that the upcoming presidential and legislative elections would be a great test of their capacity as the country’s security forces; therefore both PNTL and F-FDTL should have good coordination.

07 February 2012

Timor-Leste Legal News 06 February 2012

President Horta concerned about condition of police in Zumalai Source: Radio Televizaun de Timor-Leste - President of the Republic, Jose Ramos Horta, said he was concerned about the condition of the Timorese National Police (PNTL) in Zumalai in Covalima District.

President Horta also expressed his concern about the facilities used by the police in carrying out their work to maintain the security in the area.

Zumalai subdistrict Police Commander Superintendent Chief Antonio Maulota said that they were setting up security posts in Tashili sub-village, but the police officers in the post were withdrawn after last year’s martial arts conflict in the area.

“The general security situation is going well at this time particularly in Galitas. The political situation in the area is also going well because all parties cooperate well with the police,” Maulota said. He added that they were lacking in radio communications used to facilitate carrying out their work, adding that they had reported this case to the General Commander of PNTL, but unfortunately there was no response to date.
Gusmao calls on presidential candidates not to speak about the past Source: Indepedente - Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has called on presidential candidates not speak about the past during their political campaigns.

Gusmao said the presidential candidates should not re-open cases from the past to undermine each other. According to the Prime Minister, talking about the past in the campaign will not guarantee peace and stability based on the constitution.

“I am calling on the presidential candidates not to criticise one another using cases from the past,” he said.
Politicians should avoid using provocative language during campaigning  Source: Suara Timor Lorosae -MP Paulo de Fatima Martins from the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) has called on politicians not to use provocative language during their political campaigns.

“We all want the election process to run well and be successful; therefore all political leaders should not provoke people but only speak of the truth. They should not insult or speak badly about other parties,” MP Martins said.

A presidential candidate Rogerio Tiago Lobato recently said that he would hold his political campaigns based on the rules set by the National Commission for Election (CNE) adding that he would not attack other presidential candidates.

“I am ready to hold campaigning based on the rules set by CNE. I will organise my political campaign well and will not attack or speak ill of other people. I just want to add that my candidacy is not aimed at attacking other people,” Lobato said.
Court has not tried illegal fishermen Source: Suara Timor Lorosae -The Timorese Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) has submitted findings of its investigation into the case of illegal fishing involving six Indonesians to the Public Prosecution, but unfortunately the court has not tried the referred case, said SIC Commander.

“We have submitted the investigation report to the Public Prosecution in order to contact six illegal fishermen from Indonesia to attend the first hearing in the Baucau District Court,” Superintendent Calisto Gonzaga said. He confirmed that the six illegal fisherman from Indonesia were waiting for a summons from the court to attend the first hearing. The six illegal fishermen from Indonesia were detained by the Timorese Naval Force and Maritime Police during a joint patrol recently.
-----Integrated post in Batugade inaugurated Source: Diario Nacional -Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has inaugurated a traditional market and integrated border post in Batugade to facilitate the process of going in and out at the border with Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

PM Gusmao said the integrated post and traditional market were important for Timor-Leste in both economic and security areas. Gusmao confirmed that the objective of building the integrated post was to prevent people from going in and out of the country illegally.

“Many people are going in and out Timor-Leste and Indonesia through illegal paths; therefore the objective for establishing the integrated post was to better control the illegal paths at the border,” PM Gusmao said.

Finance Minister, Emilia Pires said, with the integrated post that had been established to better facilitate the work of customs and other ministries that were willing to increase the economy of the country.

Pires added the Government would create facilities for the customs and the work of the Timorese National Police (PNTL), especially the immigration police to better control the activity of the people in the country.
Gusmao calls on all Presidential candidates not to demolish national stability Source: Diario National  -Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has called on all presidential candidates not to demolish the country’s national stability.

The presidential candidates should not make a provocative statements in the campaign because it will destroy  national stability and the people will become victims in the country, PM Gusmao said.

“All presidential candidates should talk with our people not to destroy our national stability,” Gusmao said. “I believe that the campaigning has not yet run but after the presidential campaigns I think all the candidates should hold a debate with civil society and civil society should educate our people,” Gusmao said.
KAK commissioner threatened Source: Diario Nacional -MP Estanislau Alexo da Silva from Fretilin said he was concerned as the Anti Corruption Commission (KAK) Commissioner, Aderito de Jesus, was threatened by some corruptors after he conducted investigations into corruption cases.

The state should protect the people who hold investigation. I know that the KAK commissioner Aderito de Jesus said he was threatened, this was unacceptable and the state should protect him,” MP da Silva said.

MP da Silva said that the state should protect him because sometimes he was contacted by the corruptors who threatened him; therefore he called on the state to give all necessary protection for him if not the investigation would not run successfully in the country.

“We are calling on the state to give protection to him, so that he can carry out his work, we [Fretilin] were unhappy when hearing corruptors threatened KAK’s commissioner; therefore the state should protect him,” da Silva said.