29 June 2013

Police weapons procurement failed to adhere to tender process as MP warns against purchasing arms from Indonesia

ETLJB 29 June 2013 - The President of East Timor's Parliamentary Commission B on Security and Defence issues Maria Lourdes Bessa is reported to have said that the process of purchasing weapons for the police force did not follow a proper tender process.

According to an English translation of a report in daily newspaper Suara Timor Lorosae on 27 June published by the Timor Leste Media Development Centre, the State Secretary for Security (SES) Fransisco Guterres has now sent a team to take a look closer at the process of purchasing weapons for the Timorese National Police (PNTL) that became the subject of debate last year.

“The team was approved by the Council of Ministers to investigate the process of the purchase because the weapons were purchased before being approved by the Council of Ministers,” Fransisco told journalists in Kolmera, Dili on 26 June.

Parliamentary Commission B President Maria Lourdes Bessa is also reported to have said that the Government should not purchase the National Police (PNTL)’s weapons from Indonesia as it was dangerous.

A report by Diario Nacional on 26 June stated that according to Mrs. Bessa, if the weapons were purchased from Indonesia as our neighbouring country, then they would be threats for the country’s security.

Bessa stressed that the Government should not purchase the weapons from Indonesia as these two countries were on the land border.

MP David Diaz Ximenes from the opposition Fretilin Party said the weapons had been purchased from Indonesia’s PT PINDAD Company, but the numbers were unknown. 

Sources: STL 27/06/2014; Diario Nacional 26/06/2013; TLMDC. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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Timor-Leste Will Buy More Guns?

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28 June 2013

Police officer imprisoned for 16 years for killing student

ETLJB 28 June 2013 - The Dili District Court (TDD) has sentenced police officer Mariano da Silva to 16 years jail after finding him guilty of shooting dead Armindo Pereira Soares in Hera on June 16, 2012.

The judge, Antonio Helder, read out the sentence, saying the Dili District Court had made its decision based on evidence and eyewitness testimony. Therefore, the Court condemned Mariano Da silva to 16 years of imprisonment.

The Court has made its decision but according to the existing law there is a period within which an appeal may be lodged (15 days).

Armindo Pereira was a student at the University of Dili who was shot and killed by the police officer in Hera after violence broke out following a political statement made by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's CNRT party members during its national conference to form the new government last year following elections.  Source: Suara Timor Lorosae 26/06/2013. Translation by TLMDC. Edited by Warren L. Wright 

Related reports
Timor Leste peak justice NGO praises Court's decision on aggravated murder of student by police
Objections to perceived government interference in judicial process in Timor-Leste
Police officer who shot dead Armindo Pereira Alves suspended
Police officer who killed student Armindo awaiting Court’s decision
Body of man killed by police handed back to family
JSMP calls for investigation into Armindo Pereira Alves' death

Disturbances result of "irresponsible" CNRT

27 June 2013

Timor Leste peak justice NGO praises Court's decision on aggravated murder of student by police

ETLJB 27 June 2013 - On 25 June 2013 the Dili District Court sentenced the defendant MSA to 16 years imprisonment for the crime of aggravated murder committed against the victim AS (deceased) who was a student at UNDIL. The other defendant ACC was acquitted by the court from the charge of committing ordinary maltreatment against the victim.

The two defendants were members of the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) Dili District and part of the Becora Operational Unit. This case allegedly occurred on 16 July 2012 in Hera, Dili District.

“JSMP praises the decision of the court because the courts have been brave and consistent in upholding their institutional responsibility to ensure justice in this case, because previously when this case was still being processed there was a strong reaction from certain State authorities”, said  Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, Executive Director of JSMP.

The public prosecutor charged the defendant MSA for violating Article 139 of the Penal Code regarding the crime of aggravated murder as well as Article 52 of the Penal Code regarding aggravating circumstances and charged the defendant ACC for violating Article 145 of the Penal Code regarding ordinary maltreatment.

The court proved[1] that the defendant MSA shot dead the victim when the victim was trying to calm down a situation that was out of control because the victim and his group had blocked the main road, were burning car tires and throwing stones at cars that were passing by.

This situation occurred because there were certain groups who were not satisfied with the results of the CNRT congress that took place at the Dili Convention Centre. The defendant shot the victim when the victim was getting into/had already gotten into the police car to be taken to Dili. Therefore, the court concluded this case and sentenced the defendant to 16 years imprisonment.

The defendant ACC was acquitted from the charges of the public prosecutor regarding the commission of ordinary maltreatment against the victim which is a crime of complaint (of semi-public nature), whereby the legal process must be initiated by the victim or the victim’s family. As the victim has already passed away and the family of the victim did not initiate proceedings, the public prosecutor did not have legitimate authority to prosecute this defendant.

The decision was read out by a panel of judges comprising António Helder do Carmo (presiding judge), Júlio Gantes and Jaçinta Correia. The public prosecution service was represented by José Landim and the two defendants were represented by Leonídio Marques (trainee public defender).

[1]Information about the testimony of witnesses can be accessed atwww. jsmp.tl, Publicatins: Case Summary, May 2013: regarding the crime of aggravated murder, Case No.105/C.Ord/2012/TDD. Source: JSMP Press Release 25 June 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright 

Related reports
Objections to perceived government interference in judicial process in Timor-Leste
Police officer who shot dead Armindo Pereira Alves suspended
Police officer who killed student Armindo awaiting Court’s decision
Body of man killed by police handed back to family
JSMP calls for investigation into Armindo Pereira Alves' death

23 June 2013

Fretilin Secretary-General met with Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta

ETLJB LUSA June 11, 2013, 17:46 - Dili 11 jun (AP) - The secretary general of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, met on Monday in Jakarta, with Prabowo Subianto, the man who led the mission to capture and kill Nicolau Lobato, according to news agency Antara.

Nicolau Lobato, who died on December 31, 1978, became Prime Minister of East Timor in 1975 after the unilateral proclamation of independence.

In 1977, Nicolau Lobato was appointed president of Fretilin, the President and Commander in Chief of Falintil, the armed wing of Fretilin.

"It is an honor that the former Prime Minister of Timor-Leste has visited us, we exchanged experiences. Hopefully, in the future, we can make a reciprocal visit," said Prabowo Subianto, who currently leads the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) quoted by Antara.

According Probowo who is a presidential candidate in 2014 in Indonesia, the visit by Mari Alkatiri was good to strengthen the friendly relations between Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

Mari Alkatiri began on Monday a two-week visit to Indonesia.

The Lusa agency tried to contact Mari Alkatiri, but statements about this and other meetings were referred to when returning to Dili between days 20 and June 22.

Prabowo Subianto was also commander of Kopassus (special forces of the Indonesian armed forces) used in the 90s, irregular troops to try to quash the movement for the restoration of the independence of East Timor.

22 June 2013

Timor-Leste President meets with Commission B of the National Parliament

ETLJB 22 June 2013 - Dili, 12 June 2013 – H. E. the President of the Republic, Taur MatanRuak, on Tuesday, received in audience at Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, Dili, the President of the Commission B of the National Parliament (NP), Maria de Lurdes Sousa Bessa, who was accompanied by members of the commission.

The objective of the meeting wasto discuss, among other matters, relevant issues related to foreign affairs, defence and security.

After the meeting, the Chairman of Commission B, Maria de Lurdes Sousa Bessa explained: “We came to talk to Mr President about the security situation in the country and about some recent incidents, such as the case where a member of the police assaulted a deputy. We also talked about the statements of the Dili District PNTL Commander, Pedro Belo, and the trial of the PNTL members accused of having shot a young man in Hera last year.”

According to the Chairman of Commission B, the intention was to inform the Head of State about these issues in order to examine them together and gather ideas with a view to tackling these problems and preventing them from happening again.

Maria de Lurdes Sousa Bessa added: “The President agreed with the Commission B that these serious and urgent problems must be resolved. We all agree that we have to pay close attention to the PNTL so that it fulfils its mission of maintaining law and order.” Source: President of the Republic Press Release Edited by Warren L. Wright

Public prosecutor fails to apply the correct article in case of domestic violence, says JSMP

ETLJB 22 June 2013 - On 18 June 2013 the Baucau District Court read out its decision against the defendant relating to a case involving an offence against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence. The court sentenced the defendant to 7 months imprisonment; however the sentence was suspended for 1 year and six months. This case was registered as Case No.157/Crm.S/2012/TDB and involved the defendant VS who allegedly committed the crime against the victim FE (his wife).This incident allegedly occurred on 10 April 2012 in Venilale, Baucau District.

The public prosecutor alleged that on 10 April 2012 the defendant and the victim had an argument and the defendant took a piece of wood and hit the victim on the head, and also hit the victim’s body several times, and also hit the victim above the eye.

On the next day the victim an away to her parent’s house but the defendant approached the victim with a knife and stabbed her in the head. Because the victim was afraid, she ran into the forest but the defendant kept chasing the victim and pushed the victim over causing her to fall to the ground. The victim suffered injuries to her head and feet as well as bruising and pain above her eye and all over her body.

“JSMP is very disappointed because the public prosecutor failed to apply the appropriate article in this case of domestic violence where by the defendant should have been charged with the crime of serious maltreatment of a spouse, not a simple offence against physical integrity”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

JSMP believes that public prosecutors and the courts must carefully assess all of the facts related to a crime and examine how a defendant carries out a crime (modus operandi).

JSMP believes that this crime should have been prosecuted under Article 154 of the Penal Code because the defendant used a sharp weapon in the form of a knife to carry out his intention and there was other evidence that the defendant repeatedly committed maltreatment against the victim, even though the victim did not report it.

During the trial the defendant admitted all of the facts that he was charged with, and said it was true that he had committed violence against the victim. However, unfortunately the court did not change the article to the correct one in this case.

The hearing was presided over by single judge José Gonçalves. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Pascasio de Rosa Alves and the defendant was represented by public defender Rui Manuel Guterres.
Source: JSMP Press Release 19/06/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Police call on CPD-RDTL to cooperate and plan deployment in conflict areas in the capital

ETLJB 22 June 2013 - Bobonaro and Covalima Police Commanders have called on CPD-RDTL members to cooperate with the Government to hold cooperative activities which could help support the country’s development.

The commanders made the comments during a meeting with CPD-RDTL members and the minister for environment and commerce recently, according to a report by Televizaaun Timor-Leste on June 20, 2013.

The Government is planning to buy all CPD-RDTL’s cooperative products to be used for distributing to communities who are facing food shortcomings.

In other police new, Dili District Police station is planning to deploy 30 of its police officers in potential areas in the country’s capital.

According to a report on Televizaun Timor-Leste on 20 June 2013, the Dili Police Station Police Commander, Pedro made the comments during a meeting with all village chiefs and community leaders on Wednesday (19/6) in Dili.

Commander Belo confirmed that 24 of the police officers would be placed in villages and another six would be assigned at potential conflict schools.

These police officers are going to be placed next week as communities are concerned about conflict involving young groups and school students.

And one of those conflict areas is Comoro village­­­­­, according to a report by Radio Timor-Leste on the same day.

The Timorese National Police (PNTL) Commander for Dili District, Superintendent Pedro Belo, said Comoro village is an area of conflict as many times more violence happens in the area than on other suburbs in Dili.

Commander Belo said Dili District Police had identified the potential conflict places in the Capital of Dili and said it would assign its members in the area to prevent conflict that might happen in the future.

“Most of the conflict that happens in the capital of Dili is in Comoro Village. Therefore the police commands will assign its members to live with communities,” Belo said.

He added the PNTL members that would live with the communities would resolve problems that arise in the villages. Sources: Televizaaun Timor-Leste 20 June 2013, Radio Timor-Leste 20 June 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

20 June 2013

Police and military must respect rule of law, says Lere

ETLJB 20 June 2013 - The Timor-Leste Defence Force Chief, Major General Lere Anan Timur, has called on the defence and security institutions in the country to obey by the country’s rule of law following a spate of cases involving police personnel taking the rule into their own hands.

Lere singled out the case of the alleged killing by two policemen of university student, Armindo Pereira, in Hera last year, saying that he strongly advised the Police Superintendent Chief, Pedro Belo, to respect the decision of the court.

Pedro continues to deny his police had any involvement in the killing despite a 12-25 year sentence being handed down from the court.

“Each of us have our own in situation and our work. Truly the police should not go against politics. Also, the military must not be involved in politics.”

“If the politicians criticises me I have to stay silent and listen; looking for a way to find a solution,” he told Independente. Source: Independente, June 13, 2013 TLMDC Edited by Warren L. Wright

Timor Leste Law bans child labour

ETLJB 20 June 2013 - The State Secretary for Professional Training and Employment (SEFOPE), Elidio Ximenes said the country’s law banned children from working and said they had rights to get access to education and proper health.

According to Televizaun Timor Leste on 13 June 2013, Ximenes made the comments in relation to the commemoration of the International Day against Child Labor.

He confirmed that in 2004 the Government of Timor-Leste allocated some of the state budget for combating child labor in the country.

“As we have seen that some of the children are selling eggs on the road and helping parents to collect sands. This is actually banned by the law of the country,” he said. Source: TLMDC Edited by Warren L. Wright

Timor Leste Defence Force warns criminal groups they will never govern the country

ETLJB 20 June 2013 - According to a report in Jornal Nacional Diario on Friday, 14 June 2013, the Commander of the FALINTIL-Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL) Major General Lere Anan Timur said that the groupx of criminals should not even dream of governing Timor-Leste because this nation was built on the blood and remains of our martyred dead.

Lere added that "this small group of criminal youthes think that they will govern Timor..but they will never govern Timor. They will only one day in the future end up in jail, and some will transform themselves, any which way they can to impose their interests over the national interest.  They should not dream of doing this," Lere yelled to journalists at the Presidential Palace in Aitarak Laran, Dili, Wednesday 12 June last, shortly after his weekly meeting with the President of the Republic Taur Matan Ruak.

Because of this Major General Lere asked the youth and the population in general to remain peaceful in their places so as to think of each other's lives and develop themselves so that the future is brighter for all.

"It was not God that gave Timor-Leste its independence, we achieved it with blood and the bodies of our dead, so I ask our youth, our population, to remain peaceful, look out for our development, look out for our future," said Lere.

The commander of the F-FDTL also said that when a youth commits a crime, he or she will go to jail and lose their future, and so we appeal to our youth and our people to remain where they are peacefully and do each other's daily work.

"When a 20 year old youth commits a crime he or she loses his or her future, and it is because of this that I appeal to the youth to remain peaceful, stay in your homes, peacefully go about your work, but work does not just mean work in your office, it also means working in the fields, the rice and corn fields, think about your futures," Lere appealed.

Despite this, Major General Lere is saddened by the number of very young people who are already in jail, because he really does not know what sort of future these youth will have when they get out of jail later.
Source: Jornal Nacional Diario Friday, 14 June 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Extraordinary Meeting of the Timor Leste Council of Ministers June 14, 2013

ETLJB 20 June 2013 - The Government met extraordinarily on Friday, June 14, 2013 at the Noble Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Díli and approved:

1. Government Resolution approving the creation of an Provisional Committee to Analyze the Weapons Acquisition Process of the National Police of Timor-Leste to the Indonesian Company PT PINDAD (PERSERO)

The establishment of the Provisional Committee aims to ensure the maintenance of the objectives of the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) 2011-2030, according to which the establishment of a professional police, guided by principles of good governance and institutional transparency, is essential for the development of the security sector.

This measure has been taken following the suggestion by the National Parliament to His Excellency the Prime Minister that a commission to investigate the weapons acquisition process for the PNTL should be created.

2. Decree-Law establishing the Extraordinary period for the PNTL Command

Since the transitional period of the promotion scheme of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) has been completed, the Government now considers it appropriate for the institution to maintain its current overall command structure to develop a hierarchy based on established posts with the objective of maintaining a cohesive and structured police force to effectively ensure the wellbeing of the population.

This extraordinary period for the PNTL command ends on March 27, 2015.

3. Decree-Law establishing the creation of the Monitoring Committee, Audit and Supervision of PNTL

With the end of the transitional period, and the consequent end of the Commission's Monitoring Process Promotions (CAPP), it has become necessary to establish a new Commission in the Ministry responsible for internal security.

In 2009, the IV Constitutional Government created the CAPP in PNTL to help the institution to implement promotions and help in addressing challenges that arose. With the end of CAPP it is necessary to establish of the Commission for Monitoring, Control and Supervision of the PNTL on a permanent basis to continue the coordinated development of the institution.

4. Fiscal Package for the 2014 State Budget

The Government has approved the expenditure ceilings (Fiscal Package) for the preparation of the State Budget of the financial year 2014.

The Fiscal Package for next year was by determined taking into account four key factors: the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) and the Government Programme, Budget execution, Inflation, and Fiscal Sustainability. The preparation of the State Budget for 2014 will follow the intent of the V Constitutional Government, written in the SDP, of developing human resources and infrastructure, strengthening institutions and fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals and the New Deal. Source: Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Press Release 14 June 2013. Edited by Warren L. Wright

16 June 2013

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on June 11, 2013

ETLJB 16 June 2013 - The Council of Ministers met on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room at the Government Palace in Díli, and approved the following:

1. Topographic Mapping Project for Timor-Leste

The Council of Ministers considers it important to create a technological mapping system for the national territory. This topographic map will be critical for planning projects in various sectors such as natural resources, industry, infrastructure, demographics, environment, among others.

2. World Bank loan for the Road Rehabilitation Project

The rehabilitation of the road linking Dili to Ainaro, which is essential for the economic development of the country, will be financed with a loan from the World Bank, reflecting the State Budget for 2013 approved by the National Parliament.

3. FreeBalance Contract for 2013

The contract with FreeBalance Inc. (that has supported the Financial Management Information System and IT solutions to Timor-Leste since 2000) has renewed for this year. The contract for this year includes project adjustments foreseen in the Strategic Development Plan and in the Administrative Decentralization Project planned for this year. Thus, in addition to the Financial Management Information System, FreeBalance Inc. will develop the necessary IT adaptations for the implementation of the Administrative Decentralisation Project, and training on these new models.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

1. Damage caused by bad weather in Baucau, Viqueque and Manufahi

On June 6, torrential rains swept over the eastern area of Timor-Leste, especially affecting Baucau, Viqueque and Manufahi. The weather raised the water level of the streams in Baucau and Watulari, causing substantial material damage to properties in the area. Teams from the District Disaster Committee, including members of PNTL and F-FDTL, promptly responded to the emergency, supporting the evacuation of the population at risk. Medical assistance was also provided by the District Health Department. Drinking water by the Fire Department. On June 7, the Minister of Social Solidarity, accompanied by her Deputy Minister, visited these areas and distributed humanitarian aid to the affected families. An inter-ministerial team composed by representatives from the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Secretariat of State for Professional Training and Employment Policy is providing ongoing support. Source: Government of East Timor Council of Ministers Press Release 11 June 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

15 June 2013

Tough times in East Timor for Homosexuals and Transgender Citizens

ETLJB  29 April 2013 - The Dili weekly reported in April that the Program Manager, Rui Carvalho, of the ISEAN Hivos Program Satellite Office in Timor-Leste, has accused personnel working at the Volunteer Confidential Counselling Testing facilities of discriminating against MSM (men who have sex with men) and transgender Timorese when these clients go for HIV/AIDS tests.

Program Manager Carvalhosaid it is mostly verbal discrimination that MSM and transgender individuals face.

He said it is common in Timor-Leste for MSM and transgender individuals to be discriminated against by their family, society in general and also by the VCCT staff.

He added his clients are often verbally abused and taunted which affects their psychological wellbeing. He said they are also discriminated against physically.

“I will not name names but last year an MSM friend from Baucau, when going for a test at the VCCT was discriminated against by the health workers there. Rather than offering counselling they forced him to strip and demonstrate how he has sexual relations,” said the Program Manager of IHPSOTL Rui Carvalho, at Delta Novain Dili.

He said his organization ISEAN Hivos would become an umbrella organization for these two groups and would fight discrimination and stigmatisation of MSM and transgender individuals in Timor-Leste.

Meanwhile the Deputy Provedore for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) Silveiro Pinto Baptista said everyone is equal under the law so if any citizen, including those belonging to these groups, is discriminated against they should lodge a complaint at PDHJ.

He guarantees PDHJ will ensure and promote the rights of all citizens.

“So far PDHJ has not yet received any complaints from individuals belonging to these two groups,” said Deputy Baptista.

The Chief of Unit of the HIV/AIDS Program at the Ministry of Health Marta Avenia dos Santos said the process of testing for HIV/AIDS is voluntary and includes counselling for those undertaking the testing.

“I believe no one going through the VCCT process is being discriminated against,” said Chief dos Santos. Source: The Dili Weekly Edited by Warren L. Wright

Related posts on ETLJB concerning homosexuality, homophobia and HIV/AIDS in East Timor
Timor Leste Red Cross excludes homosexuals from HIV-AIDS Reduction Program
Homosexuality in East Timor
HIV-AIDS and Homophobia in Timor-Leste
Number of people infected with HIV/AIDS increasing in Timor-Leste
HIV/AIDS a Public Security Issue, says Fundasaun Mahein

14 June 2013

East Timor Traffic Accident Mortality Rate Second Highest in Asia

ETLJB 14 June 2013 - A report published by The Dili Weekly states that, based on World Health Organization statistics, in 2011 Timor-Leste had the second highest traffic mortality rate after Thailand, as a lot of people do not understand traffic laws.

World Health Organization Representative in Timor-Leste Doctor Jorge Mario Luna said Timor-Leste needs to create a plan involves all sectors to respond to the situation because traffic laws already exist.

Because in reality the community, especially a lot of drivers, do not understand the Traffic Code Law so implementation is also delayed.

He said relevant health, education and infrastructure institutions need to work together to reduce the mortality rate in each nation.

“To accomplish all of this work we need a plan and good coordination, including a sufficient budget,” said Dr Luna at the global road security launch at Delta Nova Hall in Dili.

On the other hand, National Director of Transport and Land (DNTT) Silvestre Basilio acknowledged the implementation of the Traffic Code Law is not as good as it could be because of the lack of awareness raising about the law in the community due to the lack of human resources and budget.

“I think the high mortality rate in Timor-Leste after Thailand is a big challenge for Timor-Leste, especially for the relevant institutions to look into this situation,” said Director Basilio.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health Sergio Lobo said he was concerned about the number and that’s why he said the health sector is ready to collaborate with other institutions to respond to and prevent traffic accidents in the country.

“The capacity to respond adequately to the problem in the emergency room is still very limited, that’s why our doctors need to develop, as this is a big concern for all of us,” said Minister Lobo.

According to the Information System of Timor-Leste 1272 people died from traffic accidents in 2010, 1000 in 2011 and 600 in 2012.  Source: The Dili Weekly 10 June 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

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Four Dead in Kulu-Hun Motorbike Accident

Four Dead in Kulu-Hun Motorbike Accident

ETLJB  14 June 2013 - According to a report in The Dili Weekly, four people died and two were injured in a motorbike accident in Kulu-Hun last month, after two motorbikes crashed into each other.

The Commander of the National Traffic Police, Chief Inspector Antonio L.C. Soares said the accident occurred on a bridge in Kula-Hun on April 16 when two motorbikes were coming from opposite directions and they crashed on the bridge.

“Four people died and two were injured,” said the Traffic Police Commander recently in Kaikoli, Dili.

He added three people were on each motorbike and they were not wearing helmets, they did not hold drivers licences and there were no number plates.

“According to information from the community they smelt of wine, but we cannot condemn them because we have no device for testing this,” said Commander Soares.

He also said it was difficult to process the case because the two drivers died, and in regards to the two motorbikes they are currently held with the Traffic Police in Dili for the family to pick up but they must hand them over to the district court.

“That’s why the case is registered at the Dili District Court.”

President of Parliamentary Commission B (for security, defence and foreign affairs), MP Maria Lurdes Bessa said this was a serious accident.

“Our nation has rules, and for a person to ride a motorbike there are rules, that’s why I think our Traffic Police need to hold a permanent patrol,” said the President of Commission B.

The MP also appealed for parents to pay attention to their children, especially for teenagers, so they can protect themselves.

“It’s not negative thinking but young people want to try everything, however this can be risky for their lives,” she said. Source: The Dili Weekly 6/06/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright 

East Timor Traffic Accident Mortality Rate Second Highest in Asia

Dili District Court tries 8 defendants for crimes against humanity

Dili District Court, East Timor
ETLJB 14 June 2013 - According to East Timor's peak law and justice monitoring civil society organisation, the Judicial System Monitoring Progam, on 11 June 2013 the Dili District Court tried a case involving crimes against humanity that occurred in 1999 in Aileu District before, during and after the autonomy referendum. This case was registered as Case No. 273/C.Ord/2011/TDD. The hearing was scheduled to hear the indictment and the testimony of the defendants.

There were 27 defendants in this case; however the court only tried 8 defendants because the others (19 in total) were still in Atambua, Indonesia. The defendants in this trial were TM, AP, ASC, MC, JdA, JP,  MdA and  DP. The defendants were members and leaders of the AHI militia group (Aileu Hametin Integrasaun) in 1999, that was supported by the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the Indonesian police (POLRI).

“Crimes against humanity are very serious crimes and therefore JSMP urges the courts to deal with these matters appropriately to ensure and guarantee justice for the victims” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The public prosecutor alleged that in 1999 before, during and after the referendum, the defendants were involved in the commission of aggravated murder, attempted murder, illegal detention, forced removal of civilians to Atambua-Indonesia, burning the homes of residents, committing rape against women and sabotage against community groups working for and under the CNRT movement.

The public prosecutor alleged that the defendants violated Article 14 of UNTAET Regulation No.15/2000, regarding crimes against humanity.

During the hearing the defendants refused to give testimony and requested for the court to allow them to give testimony only after the court hears the testimony of witnesses.

The trial will continue before a panel of judges comprising Jose Maria de Araujo, Paulo Teiquera and Julio Gantes.The Public Prosecution Unit was represented by Luis Landim and the defendants were represented by public defenders Jaime Leite and Jose da Silva.

The hearing to examine witnesses will take place on 8 July 2013 at 9am. Source: JSMP Press Release 12/06/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

10 June 2013

Statement by Government of Timor-Leste regarding the pending arbitration between Timor-Leste and Australia on CMATS treaty

ETLJB 4 June 2013 - Díli, Timor-Leste Given the recent media regarding the pending arbitration between Timor-Leste and Australia, the Government of Timor-Leste reaffirms to the Government and People of Australia the overarching relationship between the two countries is and will continue to be one of deep unity, friendship and mutual respect.

Both Timor-Leste and Australia are bonded by the shared values founded on the promotion and protection of democracy; a relationship that is steadfast and mature.

Whatever challenges in different sectors that might arise, and they will at varying times by nature of the close social, economic and geographic ties, the relationship can only be strengthened by any process of mutual accountability or joint evaluation. Above all, the commonalities between countries in sharing national and regional interests; and to protect and preserve the democratic way of life; will always be primary to any periphery or sectoral challenge.

While the relationship between the two nations is continually evolving, the basic and fundamental pursuit for regional peace, social harmony and prosperity will always bind the two countries. Most importantly, together Australia and Timor-Leste have always - first and foremost - joined to defend the ideas, freedoms and values that democracy yields.

Each and every country can count strengths and weaknesses; however, there is no doubt that what can be counted as one of Australia’s greatest strength is the everyday Australian; so many of whom have given their hearts, time and commitment to Timor-Leste’s journey from the struggle for independence to new found democracy. This stands above any matter and will always be the roots that bind both Peoples in friendship. ENDS Source: Government of East Timor Edited by Warren L. Wright

07 June 2013

Parliament orders review of excessive force by police after reported violent attack on MP

ETLJB 7 June 2013 The National Parliament of East Timor has voted in favour of ordering a review of excessive use of force within the national police force after a violent attack on a youth and member of Parliament last Friday.

Fretilin MP Joaquim dos Santos announced the move yesterday after receiving numerous conflicting responses from the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) over the case of four policemen attacking a youth from Oecusse and MP Manuel de Castro.

“I think we need a resolution to help the investigation process run properly because we have a number of concerns about PNTL including lack of professionalism, poor transparency in its promotion system and uniform,”

“My preoccupation is the secretary state for security who has assumed his function for two terms but in that time there has been no change in the police institution,” he said.
Source: TLMDC translating a report in Independente June 6, 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

05 June 2013

Ambulance fails to arrive, child dies in taxi on way back to hospital

ETLJB 05 June 2013 - Though not strictly a report on a law and justice issue, ETLJB wishes to draw attention to this tragic story which does, nonetheless, raise an issue of social justice and the rights of the child.

According to an English translation of a report in Jornal Independente on 4 June, published by the Timor Leste Media Development Centre, an eight yea old child has died in her brother's arms while on the way to hospital in a taxi. The deceased child has been identified as Etelvina Gama.

A relative of the deceased child, Manuel de Jesus, is reported to have told Independente that they had waited from 2 pm until 4 pm for an ambulance that never arrived and had finally taken a taxi to the national hospital but the child had died on the way. The taxi driver forced them to get out of his vehicle at the Timor Plaza shopping centre.

“We rode in a taxi from Rai Kotu to go to hospital until here (Timor-Plaza) but Etelvina died and the taxi driver did not want to to carry us to hospital anymore and made us get out from his taxi here,” Manuel said.

The child had been transferred from Gleno hospital to the National Hospital on May 17, 2013 for further treatment of a lung disease and the child was treated in National Hospital for nine days but was discharged on May 26, 2013.

On 19 September 2012, ETLJB reported on the death of an elderly man on the streets of Dili.  At that time, President Taur Matan Ruak stated that poverty was a threat to the security of the nation. The death of this young girl is another sad reminder of the poverty in which many East Timorese live even though there is now more than $13billion dollars in the petroleum fund. The family of this child is apparently too poor to own a vehicle (not even a motor bike) and the ambulance service is so poor that it was unable to get to the child on time. Perhaps if circumstances had been otherwise, the child may have been saved by swift medical intervention.

On the same day that these events occurred, it was reported by Macauhub that government of East Timor has donated US$6.8 million to support the General State Budget for 2013 of Sao Tome and Principe. According to TVS, the Timor government’s decision was made last Wednesday following a visit by the president of the Sao Tome parliament, Alcino Pinto to Dili, the capital of East Timor.

In addition, East Timor provided US$750,000 donation for the victims of typhoon Pablo during a visit to the Philippines by Prime Minister Gusmao.

To this writer, it is patently absurd that $7,755,000 be given by one of the world's poorest nations in international aid while its government can not provide a reliable ambulance service for its people and its citizens, both elderly and young, are dying in horrendous circumstances on the streets of its capital city. Source: TLMDC translating Independente, Macauhub & ABS-CBN News. Edited by Warren L. Wright. Updated 07/06/2013

02 June 2013

Timor-Leste Legal News 5 years ago

ETLJB 02 June 2013 - Today, ETLJB looks back at this date 5 years ago in East Timor and republishes the leading legal news stories from that day. The following have been taken from the East Timor Legal News Archive 2006-2008. The burning issue of the times was the pardon for the former Fretilin government Interior Minister, Rogerio Lobato, following his conviction for his role in the illegal weapons distribution during the 2006 crisis in East Timor. This year, his neice, who was the Justice Minister at the time of Rogerio Lobato's pardon, is herself in jail convicted of corruption crimes and is also seeking medical treatment abroad just as her uncle did when he was in prison. It will be interesting to see if Lucia is also eventually pardoned for her crimes in the same way that Rogerio was.

Ramos-Horta: judges to decide Rogerio's sentence – Timor Post and Diario Nacional President José Ramos-Horta said that it is the judge's responsibility to decide whether prisoner Rogerio Tiago Lobato will continue to fulfil his sentence in Becora Prison. PR Horta said that before granting pardons to the prisoners, including former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, he had informed the judges. He added that he didn't know how long the sentence of Rogerio would be reduced. "I do not know until now. The judges will make the decision over whether his time in Malaysia will be included or not. If not, then he should go to Becora Prison to fulfil his sentence as required," said PR Horta. PR Horta furthermore said the he welcomed criticisms over his decision to pardon the prisoners. "I welcome the critics when we make a decision like this. This is the President's burden. I did what my conscience dictated," PR Horta added.

Lu-Olo: Rogerio deserves to be pardoned – Diario Nacional Fretilin President Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo said that former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato deserves to be pardoned. "Rogerio deserves to be pardoned. PR Horta pardoned Rogerio not because they are friends or because his family died during the war, but because of his good attitude during his detention in Becora Prison," said Mr Lu-Olo. Answering the National Parliament's concerns that the pardon to Rogerio will create a culture of impunity, Mr. Lu-Olo said that the pardon will not create impunity as it is a normal process based on the Constitution of the nation.

Pardon to Rogerio: creating a culture of impunity culture – Suara Timor Lorosae The Director of the Commission of Peace and Justice of Dili Diocese, Fr. Cyrus V. Banque, said that a pardon for a big criminal like for Rogerio Tiago Lobato creates a culture of impunity and kills justice in this nation. "We feel that President Horta's pardon is against the good interests of many people…Even though he [Lobato] received a sentence, he diid not fulfil it…" said Fr. Banque on Saturday (31/5) in the Dili Cathedral. According to Fr. Banque, the pardon was given the chance to be publicly debated, but was published immediately as a presidential decree. He further said that the pardon negatively impacts on people's rights and it could create an atmosphere where the Government loses its credibility. "As the church we demand justice to be granted through the proper legal channels so as to promote the interests of Timorese people," added Fr. Banque.

 F-FDTL/PNTL Command: ready to discharge their members involved in violence – Timor Post The General Commander of the F-FDTL Taur Matan Ruak said on 29/5 in Memorial Hall that the F-FDTL and PNTL institutions would tolerate officers or soldiers who displayed bad attitudes against the communities. He also said such officers/soldiers would be dismissed. "As a democratic state, none of us is above the law. We are all under the rule of law, that is why our officers will not run away from the law", said the Commander.

ASDT bench in NP to have dialogue with Xavier – Timor Post ASDT members of the National Parliament have made efforts to conduct a dialogue with ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral and ASDT Acting Secretary-General Francisco Gomes. ASDT's bench chief in the NP Jose Manuel Carrascalao said that there has been a small confrontation between the party [ASDT] and its MPs on decision making processes. "We do not want the confrontation getting any bigger, so we are finding a way to talk with the President," said Mr. Carrascalao.

 TL Government gives opportunity to telecommunication operators – Timor Post The Minister of Finance Emilia Pires said that in order to reduce the price of Timor Telecom (TT) and to create competition, the Government is providing opportunities to new telecommunication operators. Minister Pires said that to establish the new telecommunication in Timor-Leste, the Government has to remove the existed monopoly. The Minister also said that the Government announced the resolution on the new telecommunication's policy to TT on 19 March 2008.

Source:  UNMIT Daily Media Review 02 June 2008. Archived by Warren L. Wright

Deputy Prime Minister Lasama confuses roles of military and police in law enforcement as violence continues in Dili

ETLJB 02 June 2013 - According to an English translation of a report by newspaper Independente, the Deputy Prime Minister of East Timor, Fernando Lasama Araujo, has appealed to both the police and military forces to arrest citizens who are the "masterminds" of crime in the country.

Independente apparently reported on 31 May that Lasama warned young people who wanted to engage in conflict in suburbs, especially in the capital of Dili, that both the police and the military will arrest those who are behind the problem.

“I am calling on F-FDTL and PNTL to capture people who want to create problems in the country,” Lasama said.

He added areas in which there is continuing violent conflict are the capital's suburbs of Comoro, Aimutin, Beto Barat, and Beto Tasi. He terefore called on the military (F-FDTL) and police (PNTL) to maintain security in these areas as it would impact the security situation in the capital of Dili.

On the same day, an English translation of a report by newspaper Suara Timor Loro Sae, Lasama was particularly referencing acts of violence which continued to happen in Comoro.

“To the young people who continue creating problems in the country, especially in the area of Comoro, the police should capture and knock them down as they always get involved in problems,” he said.

A personal account of a drive through Dili at night recounts what happened when two people were driving from their home to another house for a birthday party last Thursday 30 May, the day before the comments by Lasmama were reported.

According to this account, as they both drove towards Dili, and just as they passed the old Comoro bridge, they saw a huge number of kids throwing stones and carrying machetes chasing one another. The person stopped the vehicle they were in and gave signals to other vehicles behind to slow down and make a U- turn to avoid being stoned.

After returning home, kids were heard running up the street in which the person lived, dogs were "barking like crazy" and there were gunshots; the latter being probably from the police who had attended at the scene of the conflict.

Apart from the distressing incidents of violence involving young people on the streets of Dili at night and the problems this causes for security and safety, the calls from the country's leaders for the military to intervene are entirely inappropriate as they confuse the roles of the military and the police and this has grave implications for the constitutional rule of law in East Timor. For more analysis of this issue, please see the article by Bu Wilson on the East Timor Law Journal entitled Joint Command for PNTL & F-FDTL Undermines Rule of Law & Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste Sources: Independente 31/05/2013, Suara Timor Lorosae 31 May 2013, TLMDC, a private anonymous source. Edited by Warren L. Wright

01 June 2013

The Asia Foundation to present research results on Tara Bandu & Conflict Prevention

ETLJB 01 June 2013 - Belun and The Asia Foundation are calling on people to join them next week to discuss the results of their research into tara bandu’s ability to prevent conflict in Timor-Leste.

After eight months of research, next Tuesday the results and preliminary recommendations will be discussed at a roundtable meeting, before the final document is released shortly after. Interested parties are invited to listen, discuss and contribute to the final product.

Monitoring through Timor-Leste’s Early Warning, Early Response (EWER) program revealed the trend in recent years of local and international organizations supporting tara bandu in communities as a means of strengthening natural resource management systems and addressing identified conflict drivers in communities.

Through this Policy Brief, Belun and The Asia Foundation have considered various factors that can influence how effectively this Timorese customary practice can be used to prevent conflict in Timor-Leste.

The paper draws on interviews with key government and non-governmental personnel, as well as focus group discussions in eight target sub-districts. All three categories of tara bandu (regulating people to people relations; regulating people to animal relations; and regulating people’s relationship to the environment), are examined for their strengths and weaknesses when being applied in a varying situations, with specific comparisons between urban and rural  communities.

Date: Tuesday 4 June, 2013
Location: ETDA (near Landmark supermarket), Dili
Time: 0900-1200

To register your attendance and receive an advance copy of the report, please RSVP to costa.belun@gmail.com or meta.belun@gmail.com (77336665) Reported by Warren L. Wright

See also
Tara Bandu: The Adat Concept of the Environment in East Timor on the East Timor Law Journal
Keeping the Peace in Timor-Leste
Water buffalo justice reigns in East Timor
President proposes reactivation of traditional law in Timor-Leste
Distortions and misrepresentations by The Asia Foundation in Timor-Leste