09 July 2017

Timorese President promulgates legal regime of land ownership

WARNING MACHINE TRANSLATION ORIGINAL AT http://www.dn.pt/lusa/interior/presidente-timorense-promulga-regime-juridico-de-titularidade-de-terras-8531789.html

The president of the Timorese Republic, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, promulgated the legal regime of land ownership after the Court of Appeal did not pronounce for the unconstitutionality of the diploma, informed the presidency in a statement.

After several years of impasse East Timor has a new special regime for the definition of real estate ownership, essential to begin to define the whole complex architecture of land tenure in Timor-Leste, where inherited titles live together Administrations plus customary uses.

This is a diploma, Lu-Olo explains in the communiqué, which "ensures the safety of the population, the State and all those who have the right to land".

An initial version of the regime that was prepared by the IV Constitutional Government was vetoed in 2012 by the head of State, José Ramos-Horta, this year the National Parliament sent a revised proposal of the law.

The previous President Taur Matan Ruak had requested in April the preventive inspection of the respective constitutionality to the Court of Appeal that did not pronounce for the unconstitutionality of the text.

Taur Matan Ruak had raised questions of constitutionality, inter alia, the balance of the system of rules relating to the recognition of different prior property titles, the articulation of the special regime for the definition of the first property titles with the general regime and the conditions of access The Law and the Courts in the definition of land ownership. "

The text, which will now be published in Jornal da República, was approved on February 6 by the Timorese National Parliament.

The final version was the subject of almost 30 proposals for change in committee of the specialty, in an intense debate between the representatives of the parliamentary benches.

Several elements of the bill had sparked some controversy among parliamentary representation forces, especially around issues such as ownership of secondary rights to land and property.

A complicated process given the nature of the impact of the various systems in the country: customary and traditional law, Portuguese colonial administration, Indonesian occupation, transitional UN administration and post-independence period.

Among the solutions is the recognition of previous rights validly acquired "during previous administrations", and created the figure of "informal property rights, with a view to correcting the injustices practiced before the independence of Timor-Leste, due to the lack of formalization of rights ".

Access to land is guaranteed in two ways: "on the one hand, through the creation of the National Land Registry, allowing the emergence of a secure and transparent real estate market, on the other hand, by clarifying the assets belonging to the Domain of the State ".

The decree also provides criteria for the resolution of disputes and the principle of compensation when there is "duplicity of rights."

The law also recognizes community ownership and creates the picture of community protection zones, aspects that will be further elaborated in later legislation.

The law passed by the Parliament was later sent to the President of the Republic for promulgation.

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