28 February 2014

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers 25 February 2014

ETLJB - The Government met on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, at the Council of Ministers meeting room, at the Government Palace, in Dili, and approved:

1. Decree-Law approving the organic structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

This diploma reorganizes the organic structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MoFAC), giving it a greater responsiveness in the performance of the functions of its mandate. It is intended to enhance the role of the Ministry as a Government body responsible for the design, coordination and implementation of foreign policy as defined and approved by the Council of Ministers for the areas of diplomacy and international cooperation, as well as the promotion and defence of the interests of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (RDTL) and its citizens abroad.

Taking into consideration the objectives described in the Program of the V Constitutional Government in terms of external relations, the structures of MoFAC were adapted to ensure the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral relations, the developing of special relationships with neighbouring countries, development partners and friendly countries, the deepening of relations with other Portuguese-speaking countries and to reaffirm the role of RDTL at an international and regional level, especially through the admittance into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This restructuration aims to improve coordination, effectiveness and coherence in the activities of MNEC. The organic structure of the Ministry increases, namely through the establishment of the Diplomatic Institute and clarifies the assignments and the increase of skills of its services.

2. Decree-Law that approves the Identification, Registration and Movement of Animals

This decree law aims to control the movement of animals, preventing the illegal transit of cattle in the country, which is a problem for livestock health and public health. This monitoring will be done by the regularization of the marking, identification and registration of bovine, buffalo, equine, swine, ovine and caprine species in order to ensure the monitoring and control of sanitary conditions and regulation of transport and movement of these species. It provides for the creation of a computerized database for registration of existing holdings in the territory, and the identity and movement of animals. It is also created and regulated the markets for the trade of livestock animals.

3. Decree-Law that approves the restriction of the movement of animals in urban areas

By restricting the free movement of animals of various species, the Government intends to preserve the hygienic conditions in urban and suburban areas, the public health and the environment as well as prevent and minimize the damage caused by stray animals or animals with no containment process. This system of movement restrictions applies to several species, including: cattle, buffalo, swine, ovine, caprine, equine, canine, and poultry.

4. Decree-Law that approves the Licensing of Slaughterhouses

This decree law defines the conditions to be met in the installation, operation and licensing of establishments for the slaughter of bovine, buffalo, equine, swine, ovine and caprine species.

5. Decree-Law that approves the hygiene and sanitary conditions in the preparation, transportation and sale of meat and meat products

This legislation aims to correct certain practices for the sales and transportation of meat in unhygienic conditions. Among other measures, it is expected the imposition of mandatory transportation guide for fresh or refrigerated meats to guarantee the origin, authenticity and wholesomeness of the meat for consumption.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

1. Supply of natural gas to power stations

The consortium C-Gas submitted to the Council of Ministers a proposal to supply natural gas to Timor-Leste, through the exploitation of reserves located in the Timor Sea. Source: GOET Press Release 25/02/2014 

Fundasaun Mahein: Success of Mobile Police Response Stations Vital to Crime Reduction in Dili

ETLJB 28/02/2014 - This week the PNTL released its national crime statistics for the year 2013. The chart reports a total of 3,032 incidents of crime during the past year, encompassing categories ranging from corruption to murder. Crime was clearly concentrated in the nation’s capital, with Dili accounting for 35% of national crime incidents (1,068 recorded events).  Among the more prominent crime categories occurring in Dili were 17 murders (out of 52 nationwide), 420 cases of physical assault (out of 1,275 nationwide), 155 cases of spousal abuse (out of 744 nationwide), and 96 cases of brutal demage (out of 194 nationwide). These inflated figures solidify Dili’s place as the “conflict” of Timor-Leste.

The high Dili crime rates were reported amidst the recent launch of the PNTL’s “mobile response station” initiative. This new policy became functional on the 21st of February, and aims to create an integrated action response to all forms of security or public safety threats including crime, traffic accidents, and community disturbances. As part of the policy, six PNTL cars have been designated to cover various sections of Dili (East, Central, West, etc.). The cars will be manned and on-call 24 hours to provide immediate response to emergency situations. This policy reflects the PNTL’s growing focus on “responsive policing”, the idea being that community members can call their local PNTL center at any time to request immediate assistance.

The need for a PNTL focus on responsive policing is painfully apparent, as was demonstrated in the tragic death of a young man just last week. The young man in question was killed in front of the Foreign affairs building at Beach Road Dili on 23 Feb 2014. Despite the fact that the murder took place in a busy area not far from where numerous PNTL officers are stationed, it took police officers over an hour to arrive at the scene of the crime. This is simply unacceptable, as an hour-long response window makes it almost impossible for police to gather suspects or credible witness.

While the PNTL’s new policy is certainly a step in the right direction, the PNTL has done very little, if anything, to inform the public of this new service being offered to them. The launch of the program was not publicized in any national media sources, including television or radio. How can mobile response stations be utilized successfully if the majority of the public remains unaware of their existence?

FM is confident that mobile response stations can serve as an integral component of crime reduction efforts in Dili. If implemented correctly, they will offer a vital responsive policing mechanism that will empower Timorese citizens and deter criminal offenders.  The PNTL must now do more to publicize its new service so that the public is aware of the mobile response stations and how to use them. It is also essential that the PNTL work diligently to ensure that the quality of the program and the response times of stations will improve consistently. Source: http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/02/27/success-of-mobile-response-stations-vital-to-crime-reduction-in-dili/

Obedience and Discipline in the East Timor National Police and the East Timor Defence Force

ETLJB 28/02/2014 - Mahein’s Voice report No.71 examines the levels of obedience and discipline exhibited by members of the PNTL and F-FDTL.  Analyzing these aspects allows for a greater understanding of the capabilities of the PNTL and F-FDTL as institutions.

Although both organizations have policies and regulations in place, some PNTL and F-FDTL members choose to ignore their mandate.  Violations that have been committed include provocations and physical altercations at bars.  Such incidents are frowned upon heavily by community members, and pose a retribution threat by people seeking to attack military and police members when they are off-duty.

FM’s monitoring has identified numerous incidents in which disputes between civilians and police or military officers led to violence.  In some cases that have yet to be solved, unidentified attackers killed PNTL and F-FDTL members.  One such case took place in 2012, when unidentified perpetrators attacked a F-FDTL member.  He died in the National Hospital Guido Valadares.  In another case in 2012, a PNTL officer was attacked and killed by an unidentified group in Tashilin village, in the Zumalai sub-district of Covalima.

In response to this problem, FM urges the government to prioritize a policy response to this declining discipline, and to continue to develop human resources in security sector institutions.  In addition, strong penalties must be enacted against PNTL and F-FDTL members who do not obey disciplinary protocol and regulations.

Fundasaun Mahein's Recommendations:

1. Recommend to the Ministry of Defense and Security through the Secretary of State fo Defense and Security to create a mechanism for political control over the development of the PNTL and F-FDTL institutions, particularly in the area of human resources, which would have a positive impact on the mentality of  the members.

2. Recommend that the command of the PNTL and F-FDTL strengthen disciplinary measure to ensure that PNTL and F-FDTL members who break regulation are punished accordingly. Source: Fundasaun Mahein http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/02/26/komprimentu-disiplinar-dezafiu-ba-instituisaun-pntl-f-fdtl/ 

09 February 2014

Message from the President to the National Parliament on the promulgation of the General State Budget 2014

ETLJB 9/2/2014 - The following is an extract of an unofficial English translation by La'o Hamutuk of the President's 5-page letter to Parliament of the President of the Republic. The full text may be accessed here.


President of the National Parliament, EXCELLENCY,
Mr. Prime Minister, EXCELLENCY,
Honourable Members of the National Parliament, EXCELLENCIES,

The General State Budget [GSB] is one of the most important tools available to state institutions to intervene in the economy to promote socio-economic development of the country, the fairer redistribution of wealth and improvement of living conditions of the populations. Allow me, Your Excellencies, at the time of promulgation of the State Budget for 2014, to send you some of the concerns that plague me, targeting both the implementation of this GSB, and the preparation of future GSBs. The enactment of the 2014 State Budget is for these reasons, accompanied by this message, pursuant to article 86(e) of the Constitution.

§ 1. It is worth noticing the consensus that surrounded the adoption of the 2014State Budget, which I was just sent for promulgation. In particular, we note the effort of the Government and the National Parliament in reducing the total 2014 state budget by 9%, compared with GSB 2013 (i.e., a reduction of $147.5 million). Consensus on key issues for national development enhances the success of the approved measures, but cannot affect the efficacy of the measures contained in the GSB, which are, after all, a measure of the credibility of the state itself.

§ 2. The best guarantee of the State’s own credibility by the GSB is compliance with the provisions of the Budget and Financial Management Law regarding the budget process. It is essential to comply with the statutory deadlines for the submission of the draft State Budget Law as well as for its adoption, to ensure a full fiscal year to enable better budget execution. Also, this would allow full participation of all stakeholders in the preparation, approval and promulgation of the GSB. Remember that the 2014 Budget was received in this Presidency on 28 January 2014, and is being promulgated on the fourth following working day, in order to avoid the maintenance of the duodecimal regime. I want, for these reasons, to call attention to the importance of all state organs to ensure that the budget process is developed within the legal deadlines, so that next year the GSB can enter into force, as it is due, at the beginning of calendar year.

Read the full message here.

04 February 2014

JSMP launches report on the Law Against Domestic Violence: Obstacles to implementation three years on

ETLJB 04/02/2014 - On 12 December 2013 the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) launched a thematic report entitled ‘The Law Against Domestic Violence: Obstacles to implementation three years on’.

This report is aimed at reviewing the implementation of the Law Against Domestic Violence in Timor-Leste during the last three years, specifically relating to indictment, sentences and execution of sentences in cases involving domestic violence.

This report was compiled and published based on data obtained through monitoring conducted by JSMP between July 2010 and June 2013, data from the Vulnerable Person’s Unit (VPU) of the Timor-Leste National Police as well as case studies and interviews with judicial actors.

During the three years that followed the promulgation of the Law Against Domestic Violence, JSMP observed 352 cases in the four district courts (Dili, Baucau, Suai and Oecusse) and found that in most domestic violence cases (71% of the cases observed by JSMP) the public prosecutors charged defendants with simple offences against physical integrity as set out in Article 145 of the Penal Code.

The report concluded that the way cases involving domestic violence were prosecuted often did not reflect the nature and seriousness of the crimes that were committed.

“The report offers perspectives/views that will contribute to public discussion with judicial actors from the justice sector, academics and law students, in relation to how to ensure the proper interpretation and implementation of the provisions in the Law Against Domestic Violence and the Penal Code, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The report is based on facts observed by JSMP during the last three years as well as JSMP views and analysis of the provisions that have been applied in cases of domestic violence and recommendations for public prosecutors, the courts and other relevant institutions.

“JSMP recognizes the extraordinary effort and commitment from the judicial actors, however JSMP continues to encourage open discussion on the aforementioned articles or provisions to ensure that the Law Against Domestic Violence has the capacity and function of reducing and combating domestic violence, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

Those invited to participate included judicial actors, women’s organizations, and government institutions such as the Secretary of State the Promotion of Equality (SEPI), the Minister of Justice, national MPs, PNTL, F-FDTL, lecturers and students of law, donor institutions and the media.

Through this opportunity JSMP wishes to express its appreciation to the donor institutions who have supported the launch of this report, such as Australian Aid through the Justice Support Facility, the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, UNICEF, UNDEF, the Embassy of Finland in Jakarta and other donors who have funded the JSMP monitoring program during the last three years, such as the Asia Foundation and Misereor. Source: Press Release 11 December 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

Dagger used in robbery of foreign national in Dili

ETLJB 04/02/2014 - According to a report in media outlet Independente published on 31 January 2014, a foreign national sustained minor injuries following an armed robbery in capital of Dili near the Australian Embassy at around 8pm last Monday night.

A source that wished to remain anonymous said the victim was riding his motorbike when a man on another motorbike suddenly blocked the victim’s path and drew a large dagger from under his t-shirt. He then threatened the victim and the perpetrator lunged at the victim’s bag and grabbed his wallet and rode off in the direction of the sea.

The attack follows a similar incident in November last year when two foreigners sustained minor injuries during an attempted handbag robbery near Timor Plaza. The perpetrator in that case had also been on a motorbike and had blocked the path of the foreigners as they were walking.

Police informants believe foreigners have not been specifically targeted. The incidents comes as Timor-Leste’s national crime watch group Fundasaun Mahein reported a rare drop in crime levels during the typically tense festive season with two fatal incidents reported. Edited by Warren L. Wright

Seven military police officers accused of assaulting a civilian

ETLJB 04/02/2014 - According to a report by Radio Timor-Leste on 31 January 2014, seven members of the Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) Military Police Unit (MP) have been accused of having assaulted a young man in the Dili suburb of Bidau.

The alleged victim’s mother has called on the police to launch an investigation into the case and says she has reported the case to F-FDTL Command.

She has also reported the case to the National Parliament and the Human Rights Justice Ombudsman (PDHJ) to seek justice.

The commander of the military police, Abel “Niki” Xavier has denied the allegation, saying he has not received any report on his members’ involvement in this case. Edited by Warren L. Wright

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 28 January 2014

ETLJB 04/02/2014 - The Government gathered on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, in the Council of Ministers’ meeting room, at the Government’s Palace, in Dili, and approved:

1. Appointment of Milena Soares Abrantes as President of the Board of Radio and Television of Timor-Leste
Milena Soares Abrantes was appointed by the Government as Chairman of the Board of Radio and Television of Timor-Leste, Public Enterprise (RTTL, EP) for a term of four years, in accordance with the law.

In accordance with No 2 of Article 8 of the Statute of RTTL, EP the Council of Ministers has the responsibility to appoint and dismiss the Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTTL, EP, on a proposal of the Cabinet member responsible for media, ie, the Secretary of State for Media.

Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTTL, EP, Expedito Ximenes, thus leaves the office after having finished his term.

2. Decree-Law that approves the Criminal Enforcement Regime

This legislation approves the regime of criminal enforcement, regulating the execution of imprisonment and security measure of internment on inimputable person in establishments or prisons units under the Ministry of Justice. It regulates also the execution of the suspended prison sentence and work for the community, applied in lieu of the sentence of imprisonment.

The Criminal Enforcement Regime aims to establish, in Timor-Leste, a system of administration of a human, just and safe criminal justice oriented to the social reintegration of prisoners, focusing on dignifying their living conditions in prisons. To this end, measures that promote the creation of opportunities necessary and appropriate to the development of the individual process of monitoring and social reintegration of prisoners, and the improvement of daily needs, particularly in health, education, labour and social security or religious assistance.

3. Decree-Law that approves the Resources and Financial Incentives for Community Leadership

This diploma repeals Decree-Law n. 3/2012, of 3 July, which defined the types of financial incentives and the amounts to be allocated to the structures of community leaders and their representatives. Therefore this diploma defines in greater detail the types of benefits, the amounts awarded and the powers and responsibilities of the State, namely the Ministry of State Administration and District Administrations, while entities of the Government in terms of the promotion and implementation of local development policies.

This update comes from the need to adapt to circumstances encountered in the field, as well as increased costs at a local level, therefore the amounts to be allocated to community leaders are reviewed within the various modalities of benefit.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

1. Report of the visit of the First Mission of Support to the Electoral Process in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

The Secretary of State for Administrative Decentralization submitted to the Council of Ministers the report of the visit of the First Mission of Support to the Electoral Process in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. Timor-Leste has made available a sum of $ 6,000,000.00 U.S. dollars for this mission that was in Guinea-Bissau for about four months, with the aim of helping to prepare the electoral process. The work of the delegation of Timor-Leste in Guinea-Bissau was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

A second Support Mission should travel to Guinea-Bissau, before the elections, scheduled for 16 March

2. Government Resolution n.º 35/2011, of 23 December

The Council of Ministers reviewed the decision, approved by Government Resolution no. º 35/2011, of 23 December, which, among other things, refers to the prohibition of the bola guling game and lotteries in the country of Timor-Leste. At today's meeting, the Government reinforced the need to maintain this prohibition.

The precincts, public or private, where these activities are conducted are covered by this resolution and shall be immediately closed. Source: Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Díli, January 28th, 2014 Press Release Edited by Warren L. Wright

Lore I Village in Lautem District receives legal training from JSMP

ETLJB 4/2/2013 - On 28 January 2014 the Legal Research Unit of the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) organized training at Lore I Village, in Lautem District.

Just like the training that has been provided in other locations, the materials delivered in this training dealt with human rights, the role and competencies of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and private lawyer, as well as types of crimes and how criminal cases are dealt with by the formal justice system.

The participants included members of the village administrative structure such as Village Chiefs, Sub-Village Chiefs, female elders and youth representatives. The 30 participants comprised 13 men and 17 women.

“This training was provided by JSMP to community leaders as a way to bring the formal justice system closer to the people because they are key players, because community leaders are the first ones to deal with problems that occur in the community,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis Oliveira Sampaio.

The Village Chief of Lore I, Mr. Mateus F.  Siquiera, spoke on behalf of his village at the start of the training and expressed his gratitude to JSMP for choosing his village even though it is very remote and difficult to access due to poor roads. He went on to say that the training is a new experience and this was the first time that they had received such training.

During the training the participants were enthusiastic and showed their keen interest in gaining a deeper understanding of the formal justice process. JSMP hopes that the information given by JSMP through this training can increase public awareness and understanding about the justice system and the process that must be pursued when dealing with a case.

Based on the JSMP activity plan, similar training will be provided on 6 February 2014 in Maliana District.

This training activity was made possible through the financial support of the Embassy of Canada in Jakarta-Indonesia. Source: JSMP Press Release 30 January 2014 Edited by Warren L. Wright