10 October 2012

East Timor Legal News 08 October 2012

Court tries former Besi Merah Putih militiamen - Radio Televizaun de Timor-Leste reported today that the Dili district court has tried serious crime cases committed in 1999 involving several militia members in Ulmera in  Liquisa District.

The militia members who stand accused of having committed serious crimes against humanity are Faustinho Filipe who was the village chief of Ulmera in 1999, Salvador de Jesus who was a Besi Merah Putih (Red and White Steel) commander and Miguel Soares who was a member of Besi Merah Putih who forced the people to evacuate to west Timor in Indonesia.

According to witnesses, these three militiamen were also involved in the killings of Felis Bareto and Francisco Braz in Ulmera village in 1999.

The Dili District Court postponed the trial to the end of October because the lawyer for the victims was still abroad.

Related stories
Ex-militiaman escapes to Indonesia
Joint Statement from ANTI on case involving Besi Merah Putih Militia Member Valentim Lavio 

Judicial sector is fragile, say PM Gusmao - Jornal Independente reported today statements by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao acknowledging that Timor-Leste's judicial sector is still fragile and that the Government will therefore prioritise the justice sector.

The Prime Minister added that the policy was to improve the capacity of the Timorese judges and lawyers to avoid Timor-Leste depending on other countries.

There is a growing number of foreign lawyers in East Timor, particularly from Portugal and the Government has recently engaged a US lawyer in its dispute with oil companies over unpaid taxes.

Police Commissioner does not want to talk weapons procurement - Timor Post reported today that the Timorese National Police (PNTL) Commander, Longuinhos Monteiro, does not want to talk about the process of buying PM2V-1 weapons because the process has stalled and there is no solution to the process of purchasing the weapon.

"I don't want to talk about it because there is no solution to the process," he said.

The process of purchasing the weapons is still awaiting for a solution from the government because the Government through the State Secretary for Security has established a team to test the weapons in Jakarta in  Indonesia after tests on a trial shipment of the guns failed to prove their functionality.

Related stories
No transparency in government purchase of weapons from Indonesia 
Police to acquire 72 MB5 guns from Indonesia
Management and Mismanagement of Police Weapons
PNTL buys PINDAD weapons and PNTL Intelligence Commander loses his semiautomatic assault rifle 
United Nations Police to withdraw from all Districts in November - Suara Timor Lorosae reported today that as the United Nations Integrated Mission to Timor-Leste (UNMIT) mandate will end in December this year, the withdrawal of UNPol members from all 13 of East Timor's administrative districts will commence in November.

According to the Timorese National Police (PNTL) Commander, Longuinhos Monteiro, whose own mandate is soon to end, the national police in all districts will then face new problems such as lack of electricity and other supporting facilities for them to do their jobs when the UNPol officers are withdrawn.

"UNPol has supported our police force in the districts such as the provision of generators for power, but now they start to dismantle their assets that they put in each district to support PNTL's work," he said.

Nevertheless, the national police are ready to guarantee security. Suara Timor Lorosae also reported today that the Timorese National Police (PNTL) Manatuto District Commander, Luis Da Silva, said PNTL members in Manatuto District were ready to do their duty after the UNMIT mandate has ended.

"Even though PNTL's work is hard and there are no proper facilities, we are ready to work independently," he said.

Manatuto District Command has enough facilities and human resources to respond to any problems that might arise.

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