17 April 2014

East Timorese Judge’s Residence at the Suai District Court attacked by unknown people

ETLJB 17/04/2014 - JSMP Press Release 15 April 2014 - On 8 April 2014, a judge’s residence in Suai was attacked by unidentified people who are suspected of being involved in a case currently being heard by the Suai District Court.

Previously, on 4 April 2014 at approximately 3pm, two people approached a judge at her residence in Suai. One of the two people was identified as a defendant in an ongoing case, and together they tried to bribe the judge with the aim of influencing the outcome of the defendant’s case. However, the judge rejected their offer and ejected them from her residence.

Subsequently, on 8 April 2014 at approximately 3am, several unidentified people came to the home of the judge who had been previously approached and bashed on the door several times. The judge felt very afraid and yelled out for help, and the people ran away from the scene.

As a result, the judge was not able to freely perform her functions and enjoy her independence as a judge because she felt threatened and was afraid of potential threats in the future arising from this, and other cases.

Although there is no concrete evidence that the unidentified people who attacked the judge’s residence were the same people who approached the judge four days prior, the facts suggest that the group that staged the attack and intimidation are likely linked to an ongoing case.

“This case is very serious because these people tried to destroy efforts to clean up our legal system and remove all forms of bribery. Actions like this do not just impact judges as individuals, but also influence and threaten our legal system, threaten our democracy, because they use any means possible to save their own case and sacrifice our legal system,” said the Executive Director of JSMP Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

In a survey of judicial actors conducted by JSMP between July-September 2013 assessing the capacity of legal institutions, and the safety and welfare of judicial actors, JSMP received a lot of complaints. Many judicial actors reported that, whilst carrying out their functions, they faced intimidation and fear because they were threatened by defendants involved in cases they were dealing with.

JSMP strongly recommends that the Minister of Justice and the Secretary of State for Security coordinate and develop a practical system that can immediately respond to issues regarding the safety of judicial actors.

JSMP believes that before a special and appropriate mechanism is set up in accordance with the circumstances that exist in Timor-Leste, it would be advisable for the Ministry of Justice to implement an alternative and timely solution by installing alarm systems in judicial actors’ residences to alert them of attempted threats against their life/safety.

JSMP appeals to all parts of the community to value the legal institutions, court actors and law enforcement officers who devote themselves to upholding the law and guaranteeing justice for all people in Timor-Leste. JSMP also urges the PNTL to thoroughly investigate the two people who tried to influence the functioning of the judicial system by trying to bribe a judge.

10 April 2014

East Timor Police must maintain professionalism and credibility, says PM Gusmao

ETLJB 10/04/2014 - According to the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Security, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, “the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) shall maintain its professionalism and credibility in order to deserve public trust”. Those words were spoken by Xanana Gusmao during the 14th anniversary of the PNTL, on March 27th, at the Command Headquarters of this institution, in Caicoli, this year under the theme “Visibility, Engagement and Professionalism”.

The Prime Minister, who is also Minister for Defence and Security, referred that this fourteenth anniversary should be an opportunity to gain more trust for the future, reminding that today the Security Forces play another mission, by contributing and ensuring that security is a benefit for the whole community, thus allowing the progress of the country.

 “There isn’t in the world a country such as Timor-Leste, which, with only 12 years of independence, can solve all the questions. There are many countries with 70, 80 or 90 years, which don’t have a vision for the future. Timor-Leste holds a plan for 20 years that allows it to design its future. A consolidated State can’t allow itself to be destabilized”, said Xanana Gusmao.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Security also stressed, "Professionalism is a determining factor for the institution. Reach out most of the people showing them your love and respect. You should continue to improve and PNTL will increasingly be a credible institution, not only in our country but also as representatives of the State. "

In his speech, the Head of State, Taur Matan Ruak, began by noting that another birthday marks another step in the determination of PNTL for the development and consolidation of the institution, demonstrating capacity to fulfil its mandate provided by the Constitution of the Democratic Republic Timor-Leste.

"Fourteen years is not long for an institution. That means that this is a relatively new institution and faces many challenges. Still, if we look at the actions practiced throughout these fourteen, we can say that during this short time we did what many countries have failed to do for many years", praised Taur Matan Ruak.

Highlighting two areas of the PNTL with regard to internal security, transit services and the role of Community Police, the President called for "continuous preparation, training and fulfilment of your duties with professionalism, dedication and affection."

The Commander General of the PNTL, Longuinhos Monteiro, also said that although the PNTL is still a young state institution, it learned to make a statement through the commitment and maturity in search of a legal standard, serving the community and the State.

"I ask all the post commanders and staff, all PNTL officers, to remain united, demonstrating our maturity and discipline. When we fulfil our duties and obligations, the reality reflects our dedication, "said Longuinhos Monteiro.

During the ceremony, commemorative medals were awarded for service distinction, special service commission and exemplary behaviour.

The President of the National Parliament, the President of the Court of Appeal, members of Government, Members of the Parliament, National Republican Guard Commanders, Public Order Battalion, representatives of Guinea-Bissau and the Commander of the Division of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia (POLRI) also attended this celebration. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release 31/04/2014 

See also East Timor Government supports police and military interventions to guarantee public order

East Timor Government supports police and military interventions to guarantee public order

ETLJB 10/04/2014 - The Council of Ministers decided in an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, April 2, to endorse the Commands of Falintil Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) in its mission to safeguard the democratic constitutional order.

The operational engagement of the Security Forces and Defence Forces was approved by the Government (Government Resolution n. 8/2014) in order to restore pubic stability in Laga, Quelicai, Baguia and Wato-Lari. This measure was taken after an armed attack to PNTL, on March 10th, in the district of Baucau, during a community policing action to control illegal groups (in compliance with the National Parliament Resolution n. ° 5/2014, of March 3rd).

Being the State, as a whole, committed to safeguarding the democratic constitutional order, the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Security presented at the Council of Ministers - with the support of the National Parliament and the approval of the President of the Republic - a solution of integrated intervention to address this situation, which is sensitive to the State, to the organs of sovereignty and the social peace of the population.

Given it is the Government’s responsibility to take the necessary measures to the guarantee, promotion and enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens, and to ensure public order and social discipline, basic to the maintenance of constitutional normality pillars and the feeling of safety of the populations, the Council of Ministers decided to support the engagement of the F-FDTL and PNTL to prevent any outbreaks of unrest. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release 04/04/2014

See also Ex-Guerrillas Threaten Political Stability in East Timor

02 April 2014

Ex-Guerrillas Threaten Political Stability in East Timor

ETLJB 2/4/2014 Extract from From Global Voice Online - Anxiety has plagued East Timor in recent weeks after national police moved in on two groups led by ex-freedom fighters accused of fomenting political instability.

On March 3, 2014, the Timorese parliament unanimously approved a measure that authorised the national police to put an end to the activities of the Maubere Revolutionary Council (KRM) and the Popular Democratic Council of the People's Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, commonly known as CPD-RDTL or CPD.

KRM members had been spotted marching in uniforms with military symbols on a football pitch in Laga in the Baucau District in November 2013, provoking a wave of unease among Timorese and the political class. Read the full article here: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/04/01/ex-guerrillas-threaten-political-stability-in-east-timor/