31 October 2014

Parliament and Government must respect the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers

ETLJB 31/10/2014 JSMP Press Release 30 October 2014 -  Parliament and Government must respect the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers

Today JSMP held a press conference to encourage the Government and the National Parliament to respect the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers.

This is in response to the recent Resolutions of the National Parliament and the Government to immediately terminate the contracts of all international judicial officers, including international judges, prosecutors and public defenders.

“These resolutions violate the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers which are enshrined in our Constitution,” said JSMP Executive Director Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

It is not for the parliament or the government to remove judicial officers through a resolution. This can only be done in accordance with the law. Removing judicial officers arbitrarily, whether international or national, threatens the rule of law and a citizen’s right to a fair trial in Timor-Leste.

The National Parliament passed this resolution on Friday 24 October 2014 in a closed session of parliament.  The resolution calls for the Government to conduct an audit of the judicial system in Timor-Leste and to immediately terminate the contracts of all international judges, prosecutors, defenders and other international advisors working in the judicial system.  The Government’s resolution adopts the measures called for in the resolution from the National Parliament.

JSMP is very concerned about the effect of these resolutions on the independence of the judiciary in Timor-Leste, and on the ongoing ability of the justice system to function day to day.

The sudden removal of international judicial actors and advisors will seriously interrupt the regular operation of the courts and the continuing development of the legal system in Timor-Leste.

The resolution has already led to the suspension of all international trainers in the Legal Training College. This will have serious consequences for training future Timorese judges, prosecutors, defenders and lawyers.

JSMP observes that the legal system in Timor-Leste is still developing and the courts have an increasing number of cases to process.  The courts already need more resources to do their work effectively. These resolutions will take important resources away from an already fragile justice system.

“JSMP believes these resolutions will set back the development of the legal system in Timor-Leste and are not in Timor-Leste’s national interest,” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The President of the Court of Appeal issued a directive to all Chief Justices stating that the resolutions have no effect and that international judges and court staff are to continue their functions.

JSMP urges the National Parliament and the Government to reconsider these resolutions and immediately take appropriate actions to guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

See also East Timor's Parliament resolves to terminate all foreign judges

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 21 October 2014

ETLJB 31/10/2014 Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Dili, October 21st, 2014 Press Release

The Council of Ministers met on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, in the Council of Ministers meeting room, at the Government Palace, in Dili, and approved seven diplomas:

1. Second Amendment on the Law of Electoral Administration Bodies

Under the scope of the growth and strengthening framework for national institutions, and taking into account the experience acquired in the last few years, it has become necessary to make adjustments in order to provide the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of resources that allow it to develop and exercise its institutional roles in an efficient, rational and effective way.

Therefore, the Government considers it appropriate, within the current framework of the NEC, for the existence of a permanent functioning quorum, allowing greater stability and consolidation of its functions.

2. Government Resolution approving the assignment for the construction of the Waste Treatment Factory of Tibar to the company Shun Hsin Constructions & Development, Ltd.

Following the presentation at the Council of Ministers’ meeting from August 19th, the Government once again evaluated the implications of the construction of a Waste Treatment Factory in Tibar, proposed by the company Shun Hsin, having expressed their agreement, in principle, to this investment.

It should be emphasized that population growth of the cities and consumption have been contributing to aggravate environmental conditions, mainly in urban areas, and thus it is urgent to take a decision on pollution treatment. The proposal by the Shun Hsin Company includes not only the collection and storage of waste, but also the treatment and reuse of organic waste.

3. Government Resolution approving the establishment of the Timor-Leste National Culture Day

Timor-Leste has, nowadays, an extreme richness in terms of tangible and intangible expressions of its Culture, including traditional knowledge that shows itself through different languages and dialects.

In order to celebrate this cultural richness and diversity of Timor-Leste, October 14th was chosen to celebrate this event, the date of  the late poet Francisco Borja da Costa’s birthday, who, through his poems – such as “Pátria” (in English “Homeland”) (lyrics of the National Antehm of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste) – played a part in the national liberation struggle.

Borja da Costa was born on October 14th, 1946, in Fatu-Belak, Fatu-Berliu. Son of António da Costa, the Liurai of said kingdom, and of Alcina da Costa, the poet would come to be murdered in the early morning of December 7, 1975.

The poems of Borja da Costa were written with the aim of raising awareness on the oppressed people, while not forgetting the regional problems of educational nature and general development.

As an outstanding representative of the Timorese Culture, Borja da Costa symbolizes the diversity of cultural expressions in Timor-Leste. The National Culture Day of Timor-Leste should thus serve to remember and honor his figure, but also to raise public awareness about the need to dignify Culture and national artists, and thus honor all those who engage in the practice of artistic and cultural activities. The National Culture Day highlights the importance of Culture for the sustainable development of the country, promoting values of citizenship, peace and social cohesion.

4. Resolution proposal of the Government, approving the ratification of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1973)

This Resolution Proposal from the Government intends for the National Parliament to ratify the UNESCO Convention of November 16th, 1972, on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

This Convention’s objective is to identify, protect, conserve, enhance and transmit, to future generations, the cultural and natural heritage located in Timor-Leste, which, as a reminder, is a full member of UNESCO since 2002.

Through this Convention, the country may also benefit from technical assistance from international cooperation, particularly in the financial, artistic, scientific and technical fields.

5. Resolution Proposal, from the Government, approving the ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)

This Convention is aimed at the protection and safeguarding of practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, eventually, individuals recognize as being part of their cultural heritage.

The text, approved by the Council of Ministers, proposes that the National Parliament ratify this UNESCO Convention, dated October 17th, 2003, on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Timor-Leste is a full member of UNESCO since 2002.

6. Resolution Proposal, from the Government, approving the ratification of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005)
This Resolution Proposal from the Government submits, to the assessment of the National Parliament, the ratification of the UNESCO Convention dated October 20th, 2005, on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. This agreement aims to protect, promote and respect the diversity of cultural expressions, foster interculturalism, in order to develop interaction, by building bridges between peoples, to adopt and implement policies and measures that are appropriate to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, in the respective territory.

Timor-Leste is a full member of UNESCO since 2002.

7. Government Resolution on the INTERPOL travel document

The International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, of which Timor-Leste is a member, aims to guarantee and promote mutual assistance between criminal police authorities.

Thus, it is up to the member States to undertake all efforts in order to strengthen and develop mechanisms for an effective and rapid cooperation that can fight crime in an effective way, in line with the decisions taken within the General Assembly, according to article 9 of the Constitution of INTERPOL.

Under this scope, the INTERPOL travel document, adopted at the 81st General Assembly of the Organization, by facilitating the transportation and entry of officials of INTERPOL, its national offices or national criminal police authorities within the Member States, imposes itself as a mechanism of multilateral cooperation, in the sense it facilitates multilateral joint actions against transnational crime.

The Council of Ministers also analyzed two presentations:

1. Presentation on the Mission of the Timor-Leste Cooperation Agency in Guinea Bissau

The Cooperation Agency of Timor-Leste has made a progress status on the work undertaken in Guinea Bissau, were elections where recently held that ensured the democratic transition and national stability of the country.

The emergency support of the Mission of Timor-Leste covers several areas, namely financial support for payment of salaries to civil servants, along with support in order to ensure the functioning of State institutions, technical support, training and accompaniment in the areas of defense, security, communications, voter registration and health.

In September, the Cooperation Agency of Timor-Leste delivered financial assistance in the amount of six million dollars in order to help the payment of salaries to civil servants.

2. Presentation on the activities of the State Secretariat for the Promotion of Equality

The Secretary of State for Promotion of Equality carried out visits to all districts / municipalities to promote and prepare the implementation of the Decentralization Policy of Local Government, which will gradually be delegated to the municipalities. The main purpose of these visits is to install the Asosiasaun Feto Potensial Distrital (Association of Women with Potential in Districts).

The Secretary of State also informed the Council of Ministers about the preparations for the commemoration of the 37th National Women's Day, in Manatuto. Source: http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=10810&lang=en 

East Timor Court of Appeal declares trial of former Criminal Investigation Unit Chief Invalid

East Timor's Court of Appeal
ETLJB 31/10/2014 (Translation from Tetum) Source: Notisias Online, Top News October 29, 2014 DILI – The Timor-Leste Court of Appeal has ruled that the conviction of the former Criminal Investigation Unit head Calisto Gonzaga by the Dili District Court was based on a mistrial and has ordered a new trial because the Dili District Court did not hear the testimony of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and Timor-Leste National Police Commander Longuinhos Monteiro.

According to Calisto Gonzaga’s defence counsel, Sergio Paulo Dias Quintas, on Tuesday 28 October 2014 the Court of Appeal annulled the conviction of the accused and sentence to 9 years jail by the Dili District Court.

The retrial will be for the court to receive the testimony of two witnesses listed by the defence side, one being PNTL Commander Longuinhos Monteiro and the other Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Sergio told journalists during a press conference at the Public Defenders office in Kintal Bot last Wednesday (29-10-2014).

Defence counsel explained that the court will now be able to hear Calisto’s allegations that he was only following the government’s orders for him to act as he did, and therefor defence counsel believed that his client would be absolved in any retrial. The complete story may be found in STLs article on the web edition Thursday (30-10-2014). Timotio Gusmao/Domingas Gomes Source: http://suara-timor-lorosae.com/la-rona-deklarasaun-xanana-long-tr-konsidera-desizaun-tdd-ba-kazu-calisto-la-vale

See also
Court sentences former commander of criminal investigations to 9 years in prison

29 October 2014

Summary of Cases Involving Gender Based Violence in Dili District Court during July 2014

ETLJB 29/10/2014 From the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release 28 October 2014


In July 2014 the Women’s and Children’s Justice Unit (WCJU) of JSMP continued to monitor trials of cases involving gender based violence at the Dili District Court. This edition summarizes 26 cases that were tried at the Dili District Court.

From these 26 cases, 25 were categorized as simple offences against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence and 1 case involved the crime of rape. In 5 of these cases fines were issued, in 9 cases jail sentences were handed down, however their execution was suspended, in 1 case an agreement was validated, in 3 cases the defendants were acquitted and the other 8 cases are still ongoing.

The information below outlines the cases observed:

28 October 2014

Oecusse District Court conducts trials on national holiday (20 August 2014)

ETLJB 28/10/2014 From JSMP Press Release Oecusse District Court 26 August 2014 - The 20th August 2014 was established as a national holiday for Falintil Day; however the Oecusse District Court still managed to conduct three hearings that were previously scheduled for this day. These cases comprised two cases of simple assault characterised as domestic violence and one case of simple assault.

The court decided to conduct these trials because previously the court had summoned the parties and they appeared in court. The court also considered the increasing number of cases involving domestic violence that are appearing before the court.

In addition, the court considered that the parties had responded to the summons despite their limited means, and they had faced difficulties and had travelled a considerable distance. Therefore, even though it was a national holiday the hearings went ahead to ensure that the public and the parties in particular would not lose their faith in the formal justice system.

“JSMP really values the commitment and dedication of the judicial actors and other related parties because they have given top priority to the difficulties faced by the parties as well as the interests of those seeking justice. This shows the meaning of the responsibility borne by each institution in ensuring justice for the public”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The court was able to resolve two of these cases and the other case is ongoing.

JSMP hopes that good practices and commitment like this will be a reference point for the other courts in order to strengthen public trust in the formal justice system.

This hearing was presided over by single judge Joao Ribeiro. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Ambrosio Rangel Freitas and the defendants were represented by public defender Calisto Tout. 

Extraordinary Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 22 August 2014

ETLJB 28/10/2014 Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Dili, August 22nd, 2014 Press Release

The Government met extraordinarily on on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, in the Council of Ministers meeting room, at the Government Palace, in Dili, and approved:

1. Government Resolution on the purchase of a passengers’ ship

The Government decided to purchase a cargo and passengers’ ship in order to serve the region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno. This decision is taken following the meeting of the Council of Ministers, last April, in Oe-Cusse Ambeno, on which the Government decided to send a technical team from the Ministry of Transports and Communications to Portugal, in order to evaluate the costs and quality of construction of a new ship to Timor-Leste. Having the team performed a positive evaluation, and considering the urgency for purchasing of this maritime transport in order to respond to the need for circulation to and from Oe-Cusse Ambeno (where the implementation project for the Special Administrative Region is being developed and where, next year, will be carried out the celebrations of the 500 years of the arrival of the Portuguese missionaries to the island of Timor), the Government decided to authorize this acquisition by private contract.

2. Government resolution reinforcing national security

This diploma sets a new period in order to collect weapons, ammunition, explosives and uniforms, so that the citizens or entities still in default can move forward with the delivery of illegal material in their possession and cooperate in maintaining the current political and social stability.

This decision follows the recent reappearance of paramilitary groups, leading to the Resolution n. 4/2014 from National Parliament disavowing attempts to create instability and threats to the Rule of Law, from these groups.

Being for the Government to take the necessary steps towards the assurance, promotion and enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms of every citizen, as well as to ensure public order and social discipline, and considering the results achieved in the past with the national campaigns for weapons’ collection, the Government has decided to set a new period for collection of guns, ammunition, explosives and uniforms, ending on October 31st, 2014.

3. Decree Law approving the transmission of property rights of community and private property to the State, relating to the Suai Supply Base Project
This diploma sets the special framework applicable to the temporary transfer of rights of ownership of community or private property, to the State, for the implementation of the Suai Supply Base Project. Source: http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=10580&lang=en

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 17 September 2014

ETLJB 28/10/2014 Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Dili, September 17th, 2014 Press Release

The Government gathered on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, in the Council of Ministers’ meeting Room, at the Government Palace, in Dili, and approved:

1. Decree Law establishing the Specialized Agency for Investment and approving its Statutes

This diploma establishes the Specialized Agency for Investment, named “Investe Timor-Leste”, as the entity responsible for the promotion of private investment and exports in the country. This entity will be responsible for issuing Investor’s Certificates, serving as a service desk for foreign investment projects in the country.

2. Decree Law establishing the Institute of Research, Development, Training and Promotion of Bamboo

The Bamboo Centre of Timor-Leste began its activity in 2008 and has produced, across the years and under the coordination of the Institute for Business Development Support (IBDS) a diversified range of products of recognized quality and aimed at a market in clear expansion. Bamboo planting has been, on one hand, contributing towards a minor dependence on this raw material, but also enhancing and increasing the training, research and development areas of the centre, as an engine for sustainability and development of human resources, for themselves and for local communities.

By recognizing the importance and success of the Bamboo Centre, this diploma awards it with autonomy, endowing it with an organization and management, able to promote the expansion of the activities, in terms of training, research and development, as well as in terms of production, not only for domestic consumption, but also for export.

3. Government Decree approving the remuneration of the Transition Commission for Oe-Cusse Ambeno

Following the establishment of the Transition Commission for Oe-Cusse Ambeno, approved on the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers of August 28th, this diploma sets out the remuneration and allowances for the members who are part of it.

The Transition Commission for Oe-Cusse Ambeno manages the transfer of responsibilities for the Authority of the Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno, integrating Government members, the President of the Authority of Oe-Cusse Ambeno, some collaborators, as well as elements from Central and District Administration and the pre-deconcentration workgroup.

To the members of the Government, the remuneration is already defined by parliamentary law, however, for other elements that have been working in this process of creation of the Region for several months, this situation wasn't defined, thus this diploma is filling this gap.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

1. Presentation of the Heineken investment project

The Secretariat of State for the Support and Promotion of the Private Sector submitted to the Council of Ministers the conclusions of the Investment Committee on the investment proposal for Timor-Leste, of the company Heineken Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

It should be noted that, for the consideration of this project, Tradinvest requested the opinion of the following institutions: Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment, Ministry of Health, Secretariat of State for the Support and Promotion of the Private Sector, Secretariat of State for Security, Secretary of State for Professional Training and Employment Policy, and SERVE. Source: http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=10658&lang=en

27 October 2014

East Timor's Parliament resolves to terminate all foreign judges

ETLJB 27/10/2014 - The Australian Broadcasting Commission has published a report that the Parliament of East Timor has passed a resolution to immediately terminate all existing contracts of international judicial officers including international advisers appointed to the Judiciary, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Public Defenders Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

According to the ABC report, the resolution was passed in a closed session of the country's Parliament in Dili on Friday 24 October 2014. An adviser to the Prime Minister of East Timor is reported to have told the ABC that some decisions by international judges did not comply with the laws of East Timor.

ETLJB would like to express concern about the wholesale dismissal of a group of judicial officers without there having been any independently-proven incapacity or misbehavior. As there does not appear to have been any allegations of misbehavior, the question remains how the incapacity of all of the foreign judges and advisers in the Public Prosecutions Office, the Public Defendors Officer and the Anti-Corruption Commission was estabished.

The Government spokesperson claimed that some foreign judges were not interpreting and applying the law of East Timor properly. But there should have been an independent assessment of each individual judge by the Superior Council of the Judiciary, rather than an intervention by the policital institution of the Parliament, to determine whether any particular judge did not have the capacity to function as a judge under the law. It is the Superior Council for the Judiciary which is the organ of management and discipline of the judges of the courts. It is an institution that is much further removed from politics than the Parliament is.

And in any event, if the executive authorities were of the opinion that a foreign judge had erred in a decision, then it should have followed due process and appealed to the highest court, the Court of Appeal, to seek to correct any error at law or fact in a particular case. The wholesale termination of foreign judicial actors by the Parliament appears to be a political intervention that raises the question whether the Parliament had full regard to the separation of powers, due process and the basic principle of the independence of the judiciary from political interference.

Finally, the immediate loss of all of the foreign appointees will place an enormous burden on the already over-stretched and under-funded court system and contribute to a decline in access to justice by citizens.

See also  Parliament and Government must respect the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers

23 October 2014

Dili Court hands down effective prison sentence in case of incest

ETLJB 23/10/2014 From the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program: JSMP Dili Court hands down effective prison sentence in case of incest: JSMP believes that a special provision is necessary to deter such crime - On 22 September 2014 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing to announce its decision and sentenced the defendant IS to 14 years in prison after he was found guilty of committing the crime of sexual abuse characterised as incest in Dili District.

The public prosecutor alleged that the defendant, who is the step-father of the victim, forced the victim to hold his genitals and he rubbed his genitals on the victim’s genitals. These incidents started in 2013 and continued until 6 May 2014 and the defendant committed these acts five times against the victim. At the time the incidents took place the victim was 13 years old.

The public prosecutor charged the defendant with violating Article 177 of the Penal Code regarding the sexual abuse of a minor as well as Article 182 (d) on aggravation, in conjunction with Article 35 (b) of the Law Against Domestic Violence.

“Incest is very serious sexual violence because these acts violate the right of the child to be free from all forms of violence. Sexual abuse in the family is very damaging and deeply offends social values in the community. Therefore, a special mechanism is necessary to provide adequate deterrence to protect children in accordance with the social reality in Timor-Leste,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The court found all of the alleged facts proven, based on the confession of the defendant, the statement of the victim and a medical report. The court accumulated the multiple crimes, because the defendant committed the offences on five occasions, and each crime was punished with 7 years in prison. The court also referred to the restrictive measures applied against the defendant, namely pre-trial detention, and the circumstances relating to this case, and the court decided to hand down a single sentence against the defendant of 14 years in prison.

 JSMP commends the court for considering the defendant’s actions in this case as constituting more than one crime and for considering the aggravating circumstances of abuse of family authority present in this case. However, JSMP is concerned that not all cases are as simple to prosecute as this case. Defendants do not always confess and in many cases the victim cannot obtain a medical report. It is also more difficult to prosecute cases of incest for victims who are over the age of 14 because these cases must rely on the crimes of rape (Article 172) or sexual coercion (Article 171) which require proof that force was used against the victim.

Because of this, JSMP believes the Penal Code should have a specific provision about incest which applies regardless of whether force is used and can apply to victims of any age. A separate provision for incest would recognise the very serious nature of these crimes and give better protection to victims of sexual violence.

This case was registered as Case No. 560/2013/TDD. Julio Gantes presided over the aforementioned hearing on behalf of the panel of judges. Felismino Cardoso represented the Public Prosecution Service and the defendant was represented by Public Defender Manuel Sarmento. Source: JMSP Press Release Press Release 23 September 2014

Security Gaps of Timor-Leste: Attracts Organised Crime

ETLJB 23/10/2014 From Fundasaun Mahein - Mahein’s voice No.87 will talk about the operation of organised crime in Timor-Leste and will discuss aspects such as: falsifying the state’s documents, the drug trade, and circulation of counterfeit money, money laundering and other crimes.

Fundasaun Mahein (FM) has in the past, in reports that published in 2010, alerted the public of the presence organised crime in Timor-Leste. In addition to this in 2013, FM also published a report about new forms of the organized crime in Timor-Leste. These reports have all reported on the organised form of crime, transnational crime and the international networks that pose a threat to the Timor-Leste public.

Evidence of this threat is shown by incidents such as the following. On the 5th . September 2014, security forces halted the operation to a group that distributed drugs such as morphine and Chrystal hydrochloride from suspects “A” and “CL”, these drugs were from Singapore and were connected with Timorese citizens.

A similar connected with organised crime in Timor-Leste occurred on the 26th September 2014. On this date the security forces of Timor-Leste arrested some Timorese citizens and foreigners in Dili charged with falsifying documents such as; baptism and the RDTL certificates, driver license and  vehicle inspection documents (STNK), electoral card and other official documents. The amount of profit these groups is said to be able to earn by falsifying these documents is estimated between US$100.00 to $500.00 per day.

FM has also reported in the past of the presence of Counterfeit money another indicator of the presence of organised crime in Timor-Leste (Osan Falsu 02/09/14). At that time FM alerted that all citizens should pay attention and identify the money that they are receiving is legal tender, whether via a contract or from the market or anywhere else.

FM’s analysis has in the past noted that the main weakness of the security situation in Timor-Leste is its fragility and the security forces lack of equipment and resources to detect and control movement across the border or through the nation’s airports. The large maritime area around Timor-Leste poses another threat as the Navy also lacks sufficient capacity to effectively patrol such a vast area.

It is FM's opinion that Timor-Leste risks becoming a major hub of organised crime in the region unless the security forces acknowledge the threats posed by organized crime’s and take action against it.


1. Recommends to the security authorities of Timor-Leste that they need to share the intelligence information with all others including Timor's neighbor countries for an integrated approach of tackling terrorist and criminal groups at a regional level.

2. Prepare better plans in regards to patrolling Timor-Leste's borders in order to prevent criminal groups from infiltrating in the nation.

3. Recommends to the security authorities and the relevant ministries of Timor-Leste to conduct direct inspections of any international entrepreneurs that are conducting business activities in TImor-Leste, as well as foreign citizens that are working in Timor-Leste.

4. Recommends to the security authorities and the relevant ministries to make an integrated plan for the rigorous supervision of import/export activities at the airport, seaport and the border posts.  Source: 08 October 2014 http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/09/25/politika-krisaun-polisia-sientifika-investigasaun-kriminal-psik-parseiru-no-ameasa-ba-instituisaun-siguransa/

21 October 2014

Former Minister of Education tried at the Dili District Court for allegedly committing the crime of economic involvement in business

ETLJB 21/10/2014 From the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release Dili District Court 6 October 2014 - Between 30 September – 2 October 2014 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing to examine the testimony of witnesses in relation to the crime of economic involvement in business involving defendants JC, the former Minister of Education and TdC, the National Director of Finance, Procurement, Logistics and Administration in the Ministry of Education.

The public prosecutor alleged that the two defendants directly intervened in a project for the installation of radios and televisions in the Ministry of Education when the first defendant held the post of Minister of Education. The project had a budget of US$1,403,000 for the purchase of goods for the installation of televisions and radios in all of the sub-districts for Ministry of Education programs. However, the goods provided were second-hand and did not have serial numbers, and the procurement process was not transparent.

“This project used a very large amount of funding, but there were no clear results. This demonstrates a serious management problem in public institutions. Therefore, JSMP encourages the public prosecutor to identify and investigate the relevant institutions that were involved in this project and hold them accountable”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

During the hearing, the defendant JC denied the public prosecutor’s allegation that, before the proposal was submitted, the defendant had already guaranteed a contract to an Australian company which won the tender. The defendant admitted that he met with the company in Australia before the proposal was initiated, however it was only when a comparative study was being conducted.

The prosecutor charged the defendant TdC, in his capacity of National Director, for signing the CPV before the proposal was drafted, and for preparing a payment request for this project without verifying the goods to ensure that these goods fulfilled the conditions set out in the contract.

The witnesses included PA, former Vice Minister of Education, and each of the department heads for finance, logistics and procurement who mostly testified that they did not know the details of the project because they were not involved in the entire process.

After hearing testimony from the defendants and witnesses the court adjourned the trial until 15 October 2014 to hear testimony from witnesses.

This hearing was presided over by a panel of judges comprising Jose Maria de Araujo, Francisca Marques Cabral and Julio Gantes. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Gloria Alves and Jacinto Babo and the defendants were represented by Manuel Tilman and Jose Guterres. Source: JSMP Press Release 06 October 2014 

Oecusse District Court sentences two defendants to 18 years in prison for two different cases of aggravated murder

Map showing location of Oecusse
ETLJB 21/10/2014 From the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program Oecusse District Court 10 October 2014 - On 29 September 2014 the Oecusse District Court, via the Dili District Court, conducted a hearing to announce its decision in two cases of aggravated murder involving the defendant OE who committed the crime against his wife and the defendant MB who committed the crime against his sister in law (wife of his brother). The court concluded the two trials and sentenced each of the defendants to 18 years in prison.

“JSMP welcomes the decision of the court to convict the two defendants. JSMP believes that these sentences are proportional to the actions of the defendants and this will encourage all members of the community to avoid using violent means to settle domestic disputes”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

JSMP has observed that the number of cases involving violence against women continues to increase, even though the courts have handed down heavy penalties against defendants in a number of cases. The crime of murder is a very serious offence. There is no justification for taking the life of another. The right to life is a fundamental human right and every citizen possesses this right. Therefore, the State must pursue every avenue possible to prevent the crime of murder in Timor-Leste, which mostly involves female victims.

In the case involving OE the public prosecutor alleged that on 4 January 2014 in Toep-Ana, Taiboco Village, Pante-Makassar, the defendant and the victim had an argument about cleaning weeds from a rice field and they continued to remove the weeds until late afternoon. However, when they got home, the defendant strangled the victim, took a piece of rope and tied it around the victim’s neck and the victim died there.

In the case involving MB, the public prosecutor alleged that on 3 March 2014, the victim accused the defendant of taking the memory card from her mobile phone. Therefore, the victim and her husband went to the home of the defendant to ask for the missing memory card. The defendant became angry and took a piece of wood in his two hands and struck the victim above the eye causing her to fall to the ground. The defendant then struck the victim once on the back of her neck. The victim’s husband did not do anything to stop the violence and assault carried out by the defendant against the victim. The victim’s husband only told the defendant not to strike the victim because she was already on the ground. After the incident the victim’s husband took her to hospital in an ambulance but one day later the victim died at the hospital.

The public prosecutor charged both defendants with violating Article 139 of the Timor-Leste Penal Code on aggravated murder.

In court the defendants admitted all of the facts described in the indictments of the public prosecutor.

In his final recommendations the public prosecutor requested the court to sentence the defendant OE to 20 years in prison because the defendant had been proven guilty of committing the crime of murder against his wife. In the case involving the defendant MB, the public prosecutor recommended a sentence of 24 years in prison because the defendant had committed a similar crime against his niece during Indonesian times.

The public defender requested the court to apply an appropriate and fair penalty against the defendants because the defendants admitted all of the facts.

On 29 September 2014 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing to announce its decision against the defendants and each of them were sentenced to 18 years in prison.

This hearing was presided over by judge. João Ribeiro. The public prosecution service was represented by Amrosio R. Freitas and the defendants were represented by public defender Calisto Tout.

“This press release is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of its Cooperative Agreement Number AID-486-A-13-00007 for the Ba Distrito program in Timor-Leste, implemented by the Lead Agency Counterpart International and its partners. The contents and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of JSMP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.” Source: JSMP Press Release 10 October 2014

17 October 2014

Free East Timor Security Sector Research Tool by Fundasaun Mahein

ETLJB 17/10/2014 FM Press Release 13 October 2014  - Attached here (or paste this link http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/arkivu/) are catalogues providing the details of any journal article, made in Timor-Leste, to do with the security sector for the past three years.

If you wish to see the article in full, take a note of the reference number of the publication and visit us at Fundasaun Mahein Archive Centre at our Balide Address.

Fundasaun Mahein
Departamentu Transporte nia oin (Opposite the Department of Transport)
Dili – Timor-Leste

JSMP: Commitment and Productivity of the East Timor National Parliament (TOR)

East Timor National Parliament Chambers
ETLJB 17/10/2014 From JSMP Introduction - JSMP is a non-government organisation established on 28 April 2001 with a vision to build a “Democratic society which guarantees justice and human rights for all”. JSMP’s mission is to reach its vision through “monitoring, legal education and advocacy”. JSMP’s focuses its monitoring on the courts and the National Parliament.

JSMP has monitored the National Parliament, and given training to community leaders and community members regarding democracy and public participation in the law making process from 2010 until today. These activities aim to contribute to increasing the productivity and quality of the work of the National Parliament in making laws, providing oversight and making political decisions. While the objective of training community leaders and community members is to increase community understanding about democracy and the role of sovereign organs, it is also to promote public participation in the law making process.

Since its establishment, JSMP has produced reports containing various substantive and practical recommendations for the National Parliament to increase productivity and the quality of its work.  JSMP has also organised a series of national seminars to invite community leaders and members from villages which have received training from JSMP, together with members of Parliament, to convey their thoughts, concerns, criticisms and complaints regarding what issues they confront and what they need.

JSMP’s observations in 2014 show that the National Parliament’s productivity is down compared with previous legislative years. Productivity is a measure for the effectiveness of the National Parliament’s work, particularly members of parliament and commissions. This productivity can be measured by the quantity and quality of legislative projects which the National Parliament initiates, holds consultations with the public on, debates and approves, as well as its performance of oversight and political decision making. In addition, we can see the number of proposed laws which come from the Government for which the National Parliament conducts consultations with the public, debates and approves in a legislative year.  In 2014, the number of laws which the National Parliament passed was very few. The laws which the National Parliament passed in the legislative year were: Law No. 1/2014 for the first alteration of Law No. 3/2011 which was prepared and proposed from the Cabinet of the President of the Republic; Law No. 2/2014 for the 2014 State Budget; and Law No. 3/2014 for the Special Economic Zone for the autonomous region of Oecusse.

Casual Corruption in the East Timor National Police

ETLJB 17/10/2014 From Fundasaun Mahein Blog 15 Oct 2014 - There are many hard working members of the police who want to serve their community and their country. Unfortunately they are at risk of being drowned out by members who only want to serve themselves…

As part of its mission FM undertakes a number of community forums in different parts of the country each year. These meetings provide an opportunity for members of the community, community leaders and local civil society organization to meet with PNTL members to discuss common security issues, learn about the security sector and resolve any problems. The meetings are mutually beneficial for all parties and both the community and police have acknowledged the advantages of building stronger relationships.

So when undertaking a community forum last week FM was somewhat surprised when a regional PNTL commander (jointly responsible for coordinating the meetings) asked us for a “tip”. When we refused his request was later repeated in terms of “money for fuel and Pulsa”, and yet again as “money for extra catering”. Perhaps the officer in question forgot what the role of FM is – as he most certainly forgot what his own role is!

Having such obvious benefits, it is a shame that some members of the PNTL view events fostering better communication with the community as a burden on their resources, or worse, an opportunity to profit themselves. Worse still is that in this instance it was a senior commander who seemed not to be aware of his responsibilities (what hope is there for those who serve under him?). It should come as no surprise that FM actually receives many complaints of this type of behaviour from junior officers who are frustrated with the ‘comfortable’ relationships and casual corruption of their superiors.

That’s not to say that the junior officers are themselves perfect. FM has heard of cases where members of the PNTL are asking victims of crime for the use of their cars in order to conduct their investigations. The apparent lack of PNTL vehicles is somewhat surprising considering the number of official motorcades that speed down the streets each day.

These incidents raise several questions for the PNTL command:

Is there such a lack of resources within the PNTL that its members have to ask members of the public or civil society organisations for money and transport?

Why don’t senior members of the force understand the difference between proper conduct and that which is corrupt or unprofessional? Is it that those promoted aren’t suitable people for their jobs?

Why is it that junior officers have so little faith in internal complaints and anti-corruption systems that they turn to us with information rather than reporting it officially? 

Further to these questions we ask that the PNTL takes the following actions:

Investigate our claims of corruption by a member of the PNTL.

Educate their members (and particularly leaders) on what is and is not appropriate behaviour in regards to corruption and professionalism.

Develop an effective and transparent internal complaints system that protects the informants and not the perpetrators of corruption.

Institute a zero-tolerance disciplinary system for those members still unable to act professionally. Source: http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/10/15/casual-corruption-in-pntl/

First amendment to the East Timor State General Budget Law of 2014, approved by the National Parliament

ETLJB 17/10/2014 16 Outubro 2014, 10:33h - Following a request from the Government, the National Parliament met in an extraordinary plenary session, on the 15th October, to discuss and vote the first amendment to Law 2/2014 of February 5, Law of the State General Budget of 2014.

In question was Item 5 of article 8 of the Law referred above, which provided that “If, until the end of the third trimester, the budget execution reaches 75%, the Government may resort to a transfer from the Petroleum Fund above the Estimated Sustainable Income, after informing the National Parliament and assuring a reserve of 200 millions dollars in the Treasury Account.”

The request for this amendment, on the part of the Government, is based on the fact that, at the end of the third trimester, the budget execution achieved was at 50%, thereby implying that the Government cannot proceed with a withdrawal above the Estimated Sustainable Income (ESI).

In his speech, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão explains the reasons why the budget execution should rise this fourth trimester – 13th month of salary to be paid in December; the new positions for the public administration that will filled in until the end of the year; the expenses related to the development capital projects and the execution of the goods and services and minor capital items – warning of the risk of transferring this fiscal year’s debt to next year (2015), as well as the risk of achieving a balance below the 200 millions of dollars reserve (recommended by the Ministry of Finance), if there’s no possibility of withdrawing the excess amount.

In brief, the request for amendment that the Government submitted to the National Parliament is based solely in changing the sentence “If, until the end of the third trimester…” to “When…”, in order to withdraw above the ESI.

The National Parliament approved this first amendment, voting in generality, in each individual section and as a whole. In generality there were 35 votes in favour, 18 abstentions and no votes against the proposal. In each individual section and as a whole, there were 33 votes in favour, 19 abstentions and there were no votes against the proposal. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release 16/10/2014 

See also Extraordinary Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers on 13 October 2014 

Extraordinary Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers on 13 October 2014

ETLJB 17/10/2014 Presidency of the Council of Ministers V Constitutional Government Dili, October 13th, 2014 Press Release

The Government met extraordinarily on Monday, October 13th, 2014, in the Council of Ministers’ meeting room, at the Government Palace, in Dili, and approved:

1. Construction projects for the national road network

The Council of Ministers has accepted the report from the National Procurement Commission, related to the tenders for the awarding of projects in the area of road network improvement. More specifically, these projects are related to the improvement and maintenance of the road junction connecting Laclubar to Natarbora, and of the road connecting Dili to Ainaro (Bandudatu – Aituto and Aituto – Ainaro).

The Council of Ministers also analysed two diplomas:

1. Law Proposal approving the General State Budget of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, for 2015

Following the previous meeting of the Council of Ministers (extraordinary meeting of October 2nd, 2014), in which the Law Proposal approving the General State Budget of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste for 2015 was approved, and preceding its presentation to the National Parliament, the Government analysed a few related issues, namely documentation supporting the Law Proposal.

2. First Amendment on the General State Budget Law of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

This diploma supports the need to change the General State Budget Law for 2014, enabling a withdrawal above the Estimated Sustainable Income (ESI) of the Petroleum Fund, if the budget execution exceeds 75 percent, in order to ensure a necessary liquidity reserve to face any unforeseen events such as the possibility of Timor-Leste being hit by any of the natural disasters that have occurred in the Asia Pacific region. Source: http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=10751&lang=en