Timor-Leste: Acting UN Police Commissioner Named
As part of United Nations efforts to foster stability in Timor-Leste, Police Advisor Antero Lopes has been designated Acting Police Commissioner for the UN peacekeeping operation in the country, where he worked previously on law enforcement issues.
Mr. Lopes joined the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste <" http://www.unmiset.org/">(UNMIT) in mid-August. He had previously assisted in the planning of the police component of the new Mission as a member of the assessment mission led by Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Envoy, Ian Martin, in June.
His deployment with UNMIT during this transitional period will facilitate discussions with the Timorese Government on policing matters as well as the smooth implementation of the recommendations on the establishment of the police component including ensuring the restoration and maintenance of public security through the provision of support to the Timorese national police.
Mr. Lopes comes to the job from UN Headquarters, where he served as Deputy Police Advisor and Head of Operations Support in the Police Division, which he helped to establish nearly six years ago.
In 2000, Mr. Lopes held the post of Deputy Police Commissioner in <" http://www.un.org/peace/etimor/etimor.htm">(UNTAET) following positions as Police Spokesperson and First Special Assistant.
In a recent interview, Mr. Lopes said “I’ve been here before and I am acquainted with the reality of Timor-Leste. Our job is to serve and protect the interests of the population of Timor-Leste.”
>From 1993 to 1995 Mr. Lopes served as a Regional Commander and Chief of Operations in the former Yugoslavia, where he was also co-founder of the project that lead to the Human Rights Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He has been instrumental in conducting assessment missions, coordinating planning and working in support of police operations in Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Côte d’Ivoire, Kosovo, Afghanistan and other.
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First lady fights for her country torn
Freedom's won, but a new battle confronts East Timorese women.
OUTSIDE, the autumn sun glistens on the Yarra. Inside the swish restaurant at Federation Square there's the clink of cutlery as hundreds of Melbourne women lawyers listen to a lunchtime speech by the woman who is billed to speak on her life, "from Melbourne arts student to the first lady of East Timor".
Kirsty Sword Gusmao, wife of East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao, tells the gathering that a profound sense of anger over an injustice compelled her to join East Timor's fight for independence.
But she's not here to reminisce about her undercover role in winning that fight.
She is here to raise money and awareness about East Timor's new battle. It might be free, but it's the poorest country in the Asia-Pacific region and it's getting poorer.
Ms Sword Gusmao silences the clink of cutlery when she tells what that poverty means. In East Timor 800 out of every 100,000 women die in childbirth. New UN figures show 88 out of every 1000 babies die at birth (the equivalent Australian figure is about four). A third of women suffer malnutrition. Only 8 per cent have access to contraception.
She tells how the director of Dili's main hospital complains his staff are ripping up sheets to give mothers something to wrap their babies in. When women leave hospital with their babies their departure is often marked by a trail of blood, as they can't afford sanitary napkins.
In 2001 Ms Sword Gusmao helped set up the Alola Foundation, which she now chairs and which aims to improve the lot of East Timor's women.
Alola is the nickname of Juliana dos Santos, who was kidnapped, at age 15, by a notorious militia leader after the 1999 vote for independence and taken as a "war trophy" to Indonesian West Timor, where she remains today.
Her story has served to personalise the plight of East Timorese who have been taken to Indonesia and are unable to return home. The extent of such separations was revealed in The Sunday Age last month.
Ms Sword Gusmao has taken up Juliana's case, lobbying Indonesian officials for her return and helping her family establish contact with her. If she is allowed back it will offer hope for other families torn apart during East Timor's upheaval.
But, Ms Sword Gusmao tells The Sunday Age, the obstacles are many. Violence and intimidation mean Juliana is in no position to make a free choice.
There are other obstacles, too, in reuniting families, including a lack of resources on East Timor's part and, perhaps, a lack of will on the part of Indonesia. On this issue Ms Sword Gusmao is diplomatic. "I'd like to think we'd be able to reach a solution to this with the co-operation of the Indonesian authorities," she says.
"But … given the very complex psychological aspects of this problem and the intimidation and coercion aspects of it, I don't think there's been an adequate recognition from the Indonesian side that she's a young woman unable to make a free decision."
She says the issue of divided families is on the agenda of both countries. But she is cautious: "We have some concerns that this is not on the top of the priority list for Indonesia … I'd like to think it's not a case of indifference."
Discurso pronunciado en el Solemne Acto Académico de Investidura como Doctor Honoris Causa del Excmo. y Rvdmo. Señor Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
Gracias a la generosa solidaridad de las autoridades académicas de esta distinguida Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, soy hoy honrado con el grado de Doctor Honoris Causa. En la persona del señor rector Alfonso Bullón de Mendoza, quiero expresar mis profundos agradecimientos a la Universidad por la concesión de este doctorado, otorgado a un hijo de Timor Este. Considero este reconocimiento académico no tanto como una honra para mi persona, que nada hizo en pro del desarrollo de la Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, sino más bien como un acto significativo de solidaridad y de amistad para con el pueblo de Timor Este. Este pueblo pequeño y pobre, que a lo largo de 450 años de colonización portuguesa y de 25 años de anexión y ocupación por Indonesia, supo mantener su identidad étnica, cultural, religiosa y política.
Desde que fue descubierto por los navegantes portugueses que buscaban las especias en Insulindia, entre 1512 y 1515, la isla de Timor, que en malayo significa Oriente, fue visitada por comerciantes y misioneros, no habiendo todavía ni gobierno ni administración, ni fuerzas militares constituidas. El día 26 de enero de 1522 llegaron los primeros españoles a nuestra isla. Allí repararon el navio y obtuvieron suministros (arroz, carne y fruta) sin los cuales Elcano y sus hombres no habrían conseguido una hazaña: la de realizar el primer viaje de circunnavegación del planeta. Hoy, somos los timorenses los que necesitamos ayuda para continuar nuestro viaje rumbo a libertad y el desarrollo.
El primer portugués de quien se sabe que vivió con certeza en Timor fue el dominico Fray António Taveira, que en 1556 habría bautizado cinco mil personas. En 1557 se creó la Diócesis de Malaca, y el primer obispo, el dominico Fray Jorge de Santa Luzia, envió, en 1562, misioneros a las islas de Solor y Flores. De Solor, los dominicos pasaron a la isla de Timor. Entre 1580 y 1640 ya había una pequeña presencia portuguesa. Por entonces, Portugal estuvo unido a España durante los reinados de Felipe 11, Felipe III y Felipe Iv. En 1640, había ya en la isla 22 iglesias. Como no había administración organizada, la Corona portuguesa entregó a los misioneros el gobierno de Solor y Timor.
Entre tanto, el año 1598 llegaron a Insulindia los holandeses, que pronto comenzaron a disputar a los portugueses el comercio de estos mares. En 1651, se establecieron en el extremo occidental de Timor, en la región de Kupang, de donde comenzaron a amenazar las posiciones portuguesas. El virrey de la India, de quien Timor dependía, decidió por eso retirar el gobierno de las islas a los padres dominicos y confiarlo a un capitán-mayor. En 1565, con la llegada del primer capitán-mayor, Simao Luis, se establece la capital de Timor en Lifau, en el centro norte de Timor, que hoy constituye el enclave de Ocusi y Ambeno. Este período estuvo caracterizado por constantes luchas: entre portugueses y holandeses, entre portugueses e invasores de Celebes, conflictos entre los dominicos y los capitanes-mayores y sublevaciones de reinos timorenses.
En este período había en la isla de Timor dos grandes confederaciones. La de los Belos, que englobaba 46 reinos y estaba situada en la parte central y oriental de la isla, y tenía la capital en We- Hali, y la de Serviao, constituida por 16 reinos, situados en la parte occidental y que tenía como soberano a Senobai o Sonbai que vivía en Oenam. En general, los reinos de la Provincia de los Belos aceptaron la soberanía portuguesa, mientras los de Serviao, pasaron a reconocer la soberanía de Holanda. Como consecuencia de esto, la provincia de los Belos vino a transformarse más tarde en el Timor Portugués o Timor Oriental, con capital en Dili, y la provincia de los Serviao, en el Timor Holandés, o Timor Occidental, con capital en Kupang.
Hasta la proclamación de la independencia de Timor Este, conforme al Derecho Internacional y reconocida por la comunidad de naciones el 20 de Mayo de 2002, Timor Este fue a lo largo de los siglos XVIII, XIX y XX, una tierra de guerras. La más célebre de todas, fue la de Cailaco (1726). En 1769, ante la amenaza de los topases - mestizos de portugueses y timorenses- y de los holandeses, el gobernador, José Antonio Teles de Meneses, viendo Lifau cercada por enemigos, se vio en la necesidad de transferir la capital a Dili. A lo largo deI siglo XIX se dieron varios conflictos o sublevaciones contra el gobierno portugués, a los cuales seguían las campanas de pacificación de varios gobernadores, destacando José Celestino da Silva (1894-1908). En el primer cuarto del siglo XX, estalló en el Sur de Timor, la guerra de Manufahi, donde perdieron la vida más de 4.000 personas y resultaron heridas 12.567, que fueron hechas prisioneras. Entre las fuerzas gubernamentales, se registraron 289 muertos y 600 heridos. Pero el sufrimiento del pueblo de Timor no acaba aquí. En 1942, el Timor Portugués fue invadido por fuerzas extranjeras, australianas y holandesas, con el objetivo de defender la costa Norte de Australia de una posible invasión japonesa. Considerando la isla de Timor un punto estratégico para atacar Port Darwin, los soldados nipones invadieron Timor en diciembre de 1942, y lo ocuparon hasta septiembre de 1945. Cuando el 5 de septiembre se produjo la rendición de los japoneses, Timor oriental estaba completamente destruido. Respecto a las pérdidas humanas, murieron 40.000 timorenses, a causa de los combates, enfermedades y el hambre. Acabada la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Timor Occidental, entonces colonia de Holanda, se convirtió en parte de la nueva República de Indonesia (independiente desde el18 de agosto de 1945). Por el contrario, en la parte oriental, los funcionarios y soldados portugueses recuperaron la colonia de Timor, que continuó bajo tutela de Portugal hasta 1975, cuando fue invadida e integrada en Indonesia. Durante el tiempo de la integración en Indonesia, a pesar del desarrollo promovido por el gobierno de Yakarta, se produjeron muchas violaciones de derechos humanos y pérdidas de vidas humanas. Se habla de más de 200.000 muertos. Pero, felizmente, el 30 de agosto de 1999, el pueblo de Timor Oriental, aprovechando la oportunidad de autodeterminarse, a través de la consulta popular organizada por las Naciones Unidas, decidió de una vez por todas, optar por la independencia y por la libertado En este proceso, tuvo un papel importante Espana. Desde aquí, expreso el reconocimiento y gratitud del pueblo timorense al pueblo y aI Gobierno español.
Señoras y señores: La sociedad timorense fue siempre una sociedad marcada por conflictos, odios, violencias y guerras. En este breve repaso de su historia, hemos visto cómo la guerra en Timor parecía formar parte de la vida timorense. En los reinos había guerras a causa del ganado, propiedades, límites y raptos de princesas. Las causas deI odio y la violencia están enraizadas en la mentalidad timorense. EI pequeno pueblo de Timor Este es un pueblo de guerreros. Un pueblo todavía inclinado aI odio y la violencia. Los recientes acontecimientos desde el28 y 29 de abril pasado, revelan que todavía no hay verdadera paz en Timor. Falta madurez para vivir en democracia, construir la justicia, el diálogo y procurar el bien común.
En este contexto, es prioritario insistir en la educación de los Derechos Humanos y en la educación para la paz en Timor Este. De hecho, a partir del ano 2000, se creó en Timor Este una Comisión de la Verdad, Acogida y Reconciliación con el objetivo de crear en los timorenses una mentalidad de paz; a nivel de la Iglesia, se constituyeron las comisiones diocesanas de Justicia y Paz; a nivel de Gobierno, se constituyó la Dirección de los Derechos Humanos y el Comisariado para la Igualdad Hombre/Mujer. EI propio presidente de la República, Xanana Gusmao, se implicó profundamente para traer desde Indonesia a los hermanos timorenses divididos (pro-integración y pro-independencia) para que convivieran bajo el mismo techo, la patria Timor Loro Sae (Timor deI Sol Naciente). A pesar de todo este esfuerzo, en Timor Este permanecen muchos conflictos e incomprensiones. Es, por lo tanto, urgente hablar de educación para la paz y de la cultura de la paz en Timor.
La paz, un valor y un deber universal, está fundada sobre el orden moral de la sociedad, la cual, a su vez, tiene sus raíces en el propio Dios, fuente primaria del ser, verdad esencial y bien supremo. En Israel, el nombre de Dios, el nombre deI Mesías es Shalom. La paz es un don divino que nosotros, los humanos, podemos construir o echar a perder. La paz no es simplemente ausencia de guerra, ni siquiera un equilibrio estable de fuerzas contrarias; la paz se basa en una correcta concepción de la persona y exige la construcción de un orden asentado sobre la justicia y la caridad. La paz es el fruto de la justicia entendida, en sentido amplio, como el respeto por el equilibrio de todas las dimensiones del ser humano. La paz es también el fruto del amor. A la justicia compete simpIemente apartar los impedimentos para la paz: la ofensa y el daño; pero la verdadera paz, sólo se construye con la caridad.
La primera iniciativa para prevenir la guerra es la educación para la paz. Se debe iniciar este proceso en la propia familia y continuarlo en la escuela. El Estado timorense, verdaderamente amante de la paz, deberá insistir en la formación de sus ciudadanos para la paz. Esta formación debe extenderse a todas las capas de la sociedad timorenses, a los partidos políticos y a las fuerzas armadas y de seguridad.
Es también indispensable la educación y formación sobre el sentido de la justicia. Tras cada conflicto se distingue fácilmente una drástica negación de la justicia. La exigencia de la justicia aumenta en el mundo actual y la respuesta a tal exigencia o no Ilega, o Ilega lentamente. Es útil recordar lo que decía el Papa Juan Pablo lI, de grata memoria, en la Encíclica Sollicitudo Rei Socialis: "No atender a tal exigencia, podría propiciar la irrupción de una tentación de respuesta violenta, por parte de las víctimas de la injusticia, como acontece en el origen de muchas guerras. Las poblaciones excluidas del reparto equitativo de bienes, destinados originariamente a todos, podrían preguntarse: por qué no responder con la violencia a cuantos son los primeros en tratamos con violencia?" (10,2). Tal situación se produce no sólo a nivel mundial, sino también en la vida social de cada país. "Hay unos -los pocos que poseen mucho- que no consiguen verdaderamente "ser", porque, debido a una inversión de valores, están impedidos por el culto del "tener"; y hay otros -los muchos que poseen poco o nada que no consiguen realizar a su vocación humana fundamental, porque están privados de los bienes indispensables" (ibídem, 28,6).
La injusticia nace de la falta de respeto por la dignidad del ser humano y por el desprecio de sus derechos fundamentales. Despreciar aI ser humano es prepararlo para el conflicto. La justicia se fundamenta en el respeto a los Derechos Humanos. Justicia y paz no son conceptos abstractos ni inaccesibles. Son valores insertados en el corazón de cada persona, como patrimonio común. Individuos, comunidades, naciones, son Ilamados a vivir en justicia y trabajar para la paz. Nadie puede ser ajeno a este problema.
"...Cuando la promoción de la dignidad de la persona es el principio orientador que nos inspira, cuando la búsqueda del bien común constituye el objetivo predominante, están siendo colocados los cimientos sólidos y duraderos para la construcción de la paz. Por el contrario, cuando los derechos humanos son ignorados y despreciados, cuando la búsqueda de intereses particulares prevalece injustamente sobre el bien común, entonces se están inevitablemente sembrando las semillas de la inestabilidad, de la revuelta y de la violencia". (Juan Pablo II, Mensaje, Día Mundial de la Paz, 1999, n° 1).
Los derechos humanos más frecuentemente pisoteados son el derecho a la vida y el respeto a la dignidad humana. El mundo actual se convirtió en un mundo que desprecia la vida humana, a pesar de ser nuestro don más precioso. EI desprecio por la vida, que debería ser intangible, está detrás de todos los actos de violencia y especialmente del recurso al terrorismo. EI terrorismo manifiesta un desprecio total por la vida humana. Ningún motivo lo puede justificar, una vez que el hombre es siempre fin y nunca medio. EI terrorismo siembra odio, muerte, deseo de venganza y de represalias. No olvidemos, sin embargo, que el terrorismo es una realidad en el mundo actual. Todo lo que significó el menosprecio por la vida humana y por la dignidad del ser humano, a lo largo del último siglo, contribuyó a incrementar el problema del terrorismo, que es "un nuevo sistema de guerra" (Conc. Vat. II GS. 79).
En este contexto, se hace imprescindible construir, en vez de la civilización de la muerte, la civilización de la vida, donde la vida de cada ser humano, sobre todo de los más vulnerables, se tome prioridad absoluta para todos los Estados. De este modo, el respeto por la dignidad humana se convertirá una prioridad absoluta para todos los Estados. De este modo, el respeto por la dignidad humana se convertirá en patrimonio común. La "Declaración Universal de los Derechos del Hombre" de las Naciones Unidas, que contiene en el principio de su preámbulo la afirmación del reconocimiento de la dignidad congénita de todos los miembros de la comunidad humana, así como sus derechos iguales e inalienables, constituye el fundamento de la libertad, de la justicia y de la paz en el mundo.
La pobreza extrema, donde quiera que surja, es una injusticia gravísima. Su eliminación debe permanecer como una prioridad, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional.
"...No se puede tolerar un mundo donde viven juntos superricos y miserables, pobres privados incluso de lo esencial y gente que malgasta sin control aquello que los demás necesitan desesperadamente. Tales contrastes son una afrenta a la dignidad del ser humano" (Juan Pablo II. Mensaje, Día Mundial de la Paz 1998, n. 4). Si es verdadera la afirmación "de la justicia para cada uno nace la paz para todos", la situación de miseria de más de mil millones de la población mundial reclama una atención urgente y eficaz. Sólo generando desarrollo, con el ser humano en el centro -cualquier ser humano- se podrá cambiar la situación actual.
Las iniciativas de Naciones Unidas procurando eliminar la pobreza absoluta antes del año 2015 son loables. Sin embargo, esto es apenas uno de los primeros pasos. La paz en el mundo depende del desarrollo de todos y no sólo de algunos. Y es que la paz es indivisible, lo que quiere decir que es de todos o que no es de ninguno. La práctica de una solidaridad globalizada sería la respuesta justa para enfrentarse aI crecimiento actual del subdesarrollo y la consiguiente inestabilidad que tan negativamente afecta a la paz nacional y a la paz mundial.
Señoras y señores: Si el siglo XX fue un siglo dominado por conflictos y guerras, esperamos que el siglo XXI sea un siglo de armonía entre los pueblos y las naciones. Para esto es urgente educar a los hombres y a las mujeres, sobre todo a las nuevas generaciones, para vivir en una permanente cultura de paz.
La educación para la paz, para la justicia y para los Derechos Humanos constituye, sin duda, el medio eficaz para la mudanza cultural en el sentido de una cultura de la paz. "La educación para una cultura de paz contribuye no sólo a eliminar las guerras y violencias físicas, morales y psicológicas de ellas derivadas, sino también a acelerar un cambio a nivel de los valores, actitudes y comportamientos de forma que posibilite la eliminación de las raíces culturales que sirven de soporte a los pensamientos, emociones y sentimientos belicistas y violentos. En el mundo actual se observa la generalización de la violencia, del ser humano contra sí mismo, contra otros seres humanos y contra la naturaleza, por lo que urge restablecer el equilibrio y armonía entre estos tres niveles" (Viegas, 2002, p.81).
En octubre de 1999, la UNESCO aprobó la Dec1aración y Programa de Acción sobre una Cultura de la Paz, en la que se define la cultura de la paz y se establece un programa de acción para los principales agentes en el plano nacional e internacional. Asíera definida la cultura de la paz: "Un conjunto de valores, actitudes, tradiciones, comportamientos, estilos de vida, basados en el respeto por la vida, el fin de la violencia y la promoción y práctica de la no violencia por medio de la educación, el diálogo y la cooperación; el respeto pleno de los principios de soberanía, integridad territorial e independencia política de los Estados y la no ingerencia en asuntos internos; el respeto pleno y la promoción de los Derechos Humanos y las libertades fundamentales, que inc1uyen la igualdad de derechos y oportunidades de mujeres y hombres, el derecho a la libertad de expresión, opinión e información; el compromiso en la resolución pacífica de los conflictos; los esfuerzos para satisfacer las necesidades del desarrollo y protección del medio ambiente de generaciones presentes y futuras; la adhesión a los principios de libertad, justicia, democracia, tolerancia, solidaridad, cooperación, pluralismo, diversidad cultural, diálogo y entendimiento a todos los niveles de la sociedad y entre las naciones" (Resolución de las Naciones Unidas, A/Res 53/243).
Desde febrero del presente ano se vive en Timor Este una inestabilidad social y militar. Los acontecimientos de las últimas semanas fueron de tal gravedad que fue preciso invitar a fuerzas extranjeras para mantener la paz, que debería ser tarea de los propios timorenses. Infelizmente, la sociedad timorense fue siempre una sociedad marcada por conflictos, odios, venganzas y guerras. Desde el establecimiento de la soberanía portuguesa en Timor, hubo movimientos de rebeldía contra los portugueses a lo largo de los siglos. En el siglo XX, se produjo la invasión de Indonesia y la consiguiente resistencia a la ocupación por parte del pueblo. Entrando en el nuevo milenio y viviendo en un país libre e independiente, los timorenses deben encarar el futuro con otra mentalidad, con una mentalidad imbuida de cultura de paz. Una mentalidad basada en el respeto de los derechos humanos, en la vivencia y práctica de la democracia, en el desarrollo y progreso del país y de la cooperación con otros pueblos y otras naciones. De aquí la necesidad y la urgencia de la educación de las mentes y de los corazones para la reconciliación y el perdón, para la paz y la justicia. Timor Este es un país nuevo, pero el más pobre de Asia. Necesita ayuda de la comunidad internacional, incluyendo a España, para poder salir de la crisis y de la pobreza y así proseguir en el camino del desarrollo y de la paz.
Termino renovando mis agradecimientos a las autoridades civiles, religiosas y académicas que han tenido a bien estar presentes en este acto solemne de Doctorado Honoris Causa. Muchas gracias, por vuestra solidaridad y por vuestro apoyo aI pueblo de Timor Este.
Valencia, 7 de junio de 2006
Notícias de Timor-Leste (Lusa)
Notícias de Timor-Leste (Lusa)
Notícias de Timor-Leste (Lusa)
Notícias de Timor-Leste (UNMIT Media Report)
E Timor PM hits out at jailbreak
1 September 2006 - BBC News
The prime minister of East Timor has said that international peacekeepers are partly to blame for the escape of dozens of prisoners on Wednesday.
Jose Ramos-Horta said Australian-led troops had failed to increase security at the prison in the capital, Dili, despite repeated pleas from officials.
At least 56 men escaped from the jail, including rebel leader Alfredo Reinado.
The escape sparked fears of renewed tensions, in a country which is still recovering from recent violence.
More than 20 people died in street clashes in May, and thousands fled their homes.
International troops, most of whom are from Australia, are now stationed in the country to try to restore order.
Mr Ramos-Horta said the mass escape could have been prevented.
"I am personally just puzzled why, in spite of our repeated requests for static forces to be outside the prison, this was not done," he told Australian radio.
The head of the international forces, Brigadier Mick Slater, said the escape appeared to have been a "fairly simple matter", with prisoners walking out of the gates.
International troops and police are continuing to search for the escapees, but with no success so far.
Officials fear that the prisoners' escape could destabilise the country's fragile security situation.
Calm has largely been restored since the unrest in May, but there have been sporadic outbreaks of violence.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is flying to Dili on Sunday, for talks on the crisis with Mr Ramos-Horta and the Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda.
Mr Downer, who said on Thursday that the jailbreak was "a matter of very real concern" to the Australian government, will also discuss preparations for a new United Nations mission in the country to replace the current international force.
Last week, the UN Security Council agreed to send 1,500 police to the troubled country. (BBC)
Friday September 1, 05:16 PM
Troops 'not to blame' for E Timor escape
The Prime Minister, John Howard, has defended the role of Australian troops in East Timor amid claims that international forces were partly to blame for the escape of 57 prisoners from Dili's jail.
East Timor's Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta says despite requests by his Government, foreign troops were not providing enough security outside the prison.
Dili's jail is run by East Timorese authorities, not international forces.
Mr Howard says he has total confidence in the Australian Commander in Dili, Brigadier Mick Slater.
"I understand that the attitude taken by Brigadier Slater has been that it is not the role of the military to provide static guards, it's the role of the military to provide patrols and that's what he's done," he said.
Brig Slater says his troops have never been responsible for running the prison, and only provide external security to ensure there is no violence from outside directed at prison guards.
He says at different times his forces have been asked to guard every public building in Dili, every utility and even the private homes of politicians.
He says this is neither practical nor possible.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Defence Minister Phil Goff denies the scaling down of its army contingent in East Timor contributed to the escape of 57 prisoners from Dili's jail.
East Timor's Justice Minister was pointed in his criticism of New Zealand's decision to pull out troops on the eve of the break-out.
Phil Goff has sprung to their defence.
"The Justice Minister in East Timor is quite wrong if he is giving the impression that we were ever responsible for the internal security at that prison," he said.
"We never have been, that has always been the clear responsibility of his own Ministry."
He says New Zealand's scaled down contingent is still providing mobile patrols four to five times a day. (ABC)
Downer off to Dili amid violence fears
Mark Dodd and Ashleigh Wilson - Additional reporting: AAP
September 01, 2006
FOREIGN Minister Alexander Downer will embark on an emergency mission to Dili amid rising fears that violence could flare again in East Timor following the escape from jail of rebel militia leader Alfredo Reinado.
The breakout by 57 prisoners, including Major Reinado, from Dili's Becora prison was "a matter of very real concern" to the Australian Government, Mr Downer said yesterday. Canberra fears rebels could rearm themselves, setting back security efforts in the wake of the deadly violence that forced international troops to take control of East Timor in May. But Major Reinado was last night reported as saying he did not want to stage a new revolt. "I have escaped from Dili not to revolt but because the judicial system in Dili is not good enough. But I will account for my action and answer any charges against me when the system has been improved," he said in a video obtained by the Reuters news agency.
Mr Downer will discuss the crisis with Timorese President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta over the weekend. Australian Federal Police and the military were last night helping in the search for the fugitives who escaped on Wednesday afternoon, but it would be a difficult operation because of the country's rugged and remote geography, Mr Downer said. He expressed serious concern that some of the escapees, including prisoners arrested for involvement in recent political violence, could gain access to weapons. "There are a lot of weapons out there and a lot of weapons unaccounted for," he said. The Australian military commander in Dili, Brigadier Mick Slater, said the breakout appeared to have been well-planned. "There was definitely some organisation to it," Brigadier Slater told ABC radio. As the manhunt continued, bickering broke out over who was responsible for the mass escape.
An aide to Mr Ramos Horta complained that New Zealand troops were only patrolling around the jail every three hours, but New Zealand denied it was to blame. "New Zealand and the multinational force are not, and have never been, responsible for running the prisons in Timor Leste or for maintaining security within them," New Zealand Defence Minister Phil Goff said. "That is solely the responsibility of the Timor Leste Ministry of Justice." East Timor's Justice Minister, Domingos Sarmento, blamed the breakout on a shortage of guards at the prison. Contradicting Mr Goff, he said the prison was under the supervision of peacekeepers from New Zealand. Brigadier Slater said the breakout occurred during visiting hours when inmates were not locked in their cells. The guards were distracted when visitors created "some sort of ruckus". "The jailbreak appears to have been a fairly simple matter," Brigadier Slater said. "Reinado and about 56 others essentially walked out the front gate under the eyes of the Timorese prison guards."
But Joao Domingos, head of Becora jail's administration, said prison guards were threatened with grasscutters and told they would be killed unless they released Major Reinado and dozens of other inmates. "They threatened us with grass shears. They said 'open the doors or you will die'. We opened the doors and 57 got away," Mr Domingos said. "All Alfredo's men escaped, along with others who were involved in ordinary crimes." By last night, much of Dili had been sealed off and Australian soldiers were under orders to treat the escapees as armed fugitives. They established checkpoints at which vehicles were being inspected. Houses in several parts of the capital had also been searched. The Australian understands that the operation to recapture the escapees had also extended from Dili into the foothills behind the capital city. Major Reinado, the former commander of East Timor's military police, was a central figure in political violence that engulfed the capital three months ago. Arrested on July 25 by the Australian military, he was facing charges of attempted murder and possession of illegal weapons. Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the escape underscored the urgent need for the Howard Government to keep a strong military presence in Dili. (The Australian)
Horta blames Australia for prison escape
September 1, 2006 - 8:34AM - AAP
East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta has laid some of the blame for a mass escape from Dili's prison on Australian forces. Militiaman Major Alfredo Reinado escaped from the jail, along with 56 other inmates, by walking out the front gate on Wednesday afternoon. "I am personally just puzzled why in spite of our repeated requests for static forces to be outside the prison this was not done," Mr Ramos Horta told ABC Radio. "I presume the Australian forces ... as experts in security, they thought it was not necessary, although we had asked repeatedly." Major Reinado was in prison on firearms charges. He was coaxed down from his mountain hideout by Australian forces who arrived in Dili three months ago following widespread civil unrest in the fledgling nation. Mr Ramos Horta admitted some of the blame also lay with Timorese prison guards. "Obviously there was a failure of the internal security but the internal security is not armed and obviously there has to be some complicity inside," he said. Australian forces are searching for the escapees. "Had there been strong security outside this could have been prevented," Mr Ramos Horta said." The UN has agreed to send 1,600 police to East Timor but Australian troops will remain in charge of the military deployment. Mr Ramos Horta said it was an arrangement he supported. "Whatever decision the (UN) security council has made we support." A review of the need for military forces in East Timor will be done in October. Mr Ramos Horta said if soldiers were still needed beyond October there would be a review of Australia's lead role. "The decision then will be whether it should come under the UN command or continue with the current arrangements with Australia taking the lead." (SMH)
East Timor Rebel Leader Evades UN Police After Jail Breakout
By Ed Johnson
Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) –
East Timor rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado evaded a manhunt by United Nations police and international peacekeepers after a jail break that threatens to destabilize the country as it recovers from civil unrest. Reinado, whose rebel militiamen refused to lay down their weapons after the government fired around a third of the country's armed forces in March, broke out of jail in the nation's capital, Dili, yesterday with 56 other inmates. UN police and Australian-led peacekeepers set up checkpoints to try to stop Reinado fleeing Dili and interviewed prison guards to determine how the escape happened, the UN said in a statement. International peacekeepers were deployed to East Timor in May to restore calm after the collapse of the country's security forces. The violence killed 37 people and forced 155,000 people, or 15 percent of the population, from their homes.
The breakout is a ``very real concern,'' Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said, adding he will fly to Dili Sept. 3 for talks with Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta. ``We will be making a major effort to help the East Timorese in trying to apprehend all of those who have escaped,'' Downer told reporters in Sydney yesterday. ``It obviously constitutes a significant set back in terms of law and order.'' Police Commander Reinado, an Australian-trained former military police commander, called on the nation to rise up and join him in a ``people power'' revolution, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing a letter it said he circulated within hours of the escape. ``All of us know that this government is illegal because it has not followed the democratic process,'' the letter said. Timorese should ``not be afraid to go into the streets to protest together because we have the right to remove the government.''
Ramos-Horta told the nation to remain calm and said the jail break wouldn't threaten East Timor's security, Agence France- Presse reported. Civil unrest erupted in the former Portuguese colony, which lies about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia, in March after former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri dismissed 600 soldiers for deserting. Clashes between security forces escalated into fighting between armed gangs and, at the request of the Alkatiri's government, 2,500 peacekeepers from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia were deployed to restore order. Reinado and other rebels blamed Alkatiri for the unrest, saying he had created divisions between ethnic groups within the army. Alkatiri resigned in June and was replaced by Ramos-Horta, his foreign minister at the time and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Reinado was arrested in July on charges of weapons possession when international troops discovered he still allegedly had nine handguns. His group had promised it had surrendered all of its weapons. The country of about 1 million people, also known as Timor-Leste, became independent in May 2002. The country voted for independence in 1999 following a 24-year occupation by Indonesia. The UN has been operating in East Timor since 1999, helping organize elections and the creation of government institutions. The UN Security Council last week unanimously approved a new peacekeeping mission of up to 1,608 police for East Timor as the country prepares for elections next year. To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Johnson in Sydney at email@example.com. (Bloomberg)
Claims of Australian/American Links to East Timor Coup Attempt
09/01/2006 03:58 AM
Ousted East Timorese prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, has made claims that "foreign nationals" approached East Timorese military figures to organise a coup against him. However, he was not sure whether they were American or Australian. He said that he did not have any evidence that Australia was behind the coup attempt, but claimed that the Australian prime minister was pushing to have him removed from power. He also defended his management of the newly formed nation and fought for full control of East Timorese oil and gas fields. (ShortNews)
East Timor: NZ's defmin denies his forces to blame for mass Dili jailbreak
Wellington, Aug. 31 (Lusa) –
New Zealand's defense minister rebutted on Thursday charges that his country's troops serving in an international military peace force in East Timor were to blame for a mass Dili jailbreak in which rebel leader Maj. Alfredo Reinado escaped along with 56 other inmates. "New Zealand and the international force aren't, and never were, responsible for the prisons in Timor. This is the sole responsibility of the Timorese Justice Ministry", said Phil Goff in a communiqué. Timorese Justice Minister Domingos Sarmento had told Lusa Wednesday, a few hours after the dramatic mass jailbreak in Dili, that the prisoners had escaped so easily because New Zealand troops had withdrawn from the jail's environs without notifying the relevant authorities. But Goff added that his country's troops were responsible for security in the Becora area of Dili, where the country's main jail is situated, and had been making regular patrols to deter any attacks on the jail. "We are concerned that the prisoners apparently escaped with such ease, leaving through the jail's main entrance. It is a question requiring investigation by the Timorese authorities together with the UN mission in Timor", added Goff.
Earlier the same day, Australian Prime Minister John Howard had added his voice to concerns at the ease with which the 57 inmates escaped from Becora prison. "I think it's premature to advance with considerations over what happened but the matter is being thoroughly investigated", Canberra's premier told Australian radio 2GB. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is due in Dili Sunday for talks with Timorese and Indonesian officials, including discussions in this week's mass prison breakout in the capital. Meanwhile, fugitive rebel military leader Maj. Reinado has said he is not planning a new revolt and only escaped in a bid to ensure an "independent" trial because of insufficient impartiality in the Timorese justice system. In a videotape sent to Lusa's Dili bureau, Reinado said he would answer for his actions and willingly face trial for the charges he already faces for attempted murder and firearms offences "when the system has improved". Reinado is the former commander of Timor's military police who led a rebel military faction in the deadly violence that erupted in the fledgling nation from April to May. He was arrested July and originally charged with illegal possession of weapons. Over 150,000 people were displaced and at least 20 people killed as Timor's law and order deteriorated from April to May into communal violence and clashes between rival security force cliques. The violence and bloodshed were only brought under control after the arrival of a 2,500-strong, four-nation international security force. The UN agreed last week to send a new security mission to Timor comprising 1,600 police. But Australia will remain in charge of the military contingent in Timor in the near future. (LUSA)
UN Police and International Security Forces to Take Responsibility for Apprehending Prison Escapees
30 August 2006, DILI— United Nations Special Representative for the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste Sukehiro Hasegawa held a press conference today, with UN Acting Police Commissioner Antero Lopes and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commander Steve Lancaster. They briefed the media on measures agreed upon between the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and the international security forces in the wake of yesterday’s prison break. SRSG Hasegawa said the UN Police and the international forces will take responsibility for locating and arresting Major Alfredo Reinaldo and the 56 other inmates who escaped Becora Prison, east of Dili, yesterday late afternoon.
SRSG Hasegawa said that UN Police and the international police with the support of the bilateral forces had already set up a Task Force with UN police taking the lead in coordinating the Task Force. The Task Force would ensure the security of the population while in pursuit of the escapees, he said. “Brigadier General Slater, commander of the Joint Task Forces (JTF), confirmed military backup as necessary,” SRSG Hasegawa said. He explained this collaboration by stating, “In accordance with the newly adopted Security Council Resolution 1704, international security forces are called upon to cooperate and provide assistance to UNMIT for the implementation of the UNMIT mandate.” Immediate priorities, Acting Police Commissioner Antero Lopes said, are for the safety and security of the population and for the safe recovery of the inmates’ return to jail. He encouraged and urged the population to contact any of the security forces, UN police or the AFP if they have any information on the escaped inmates. “It’s in the interest of their [the population’s] safety,” the Commissioner said.
AFP Commander Steve Lancaster said he was pleased with the well coordinated effort to try and apprehend the escaped prisoners. Immediately after the incident, the military forces set up check points around the city to prevent them from leaving Dili, he said. The AFP had already conducted inquiries in the areas from which the escapees originated and collected witness statements from those present at and around the prison at the time of the incident. The prison guards have also been interviewed, the commander said. He said a large team of international and UN detectives had received photos to facilitate their investigations.
SRSG Hasegawa said while the overall responsibility of ensuring the safety of prison facilities lies with the Government, specifically the Ministry of Justice, external security had been provided by the JTF and the UN had not had a role in providing internal or external security around the prison. “I recommend that the Timorese government undertakes a thorough review of the internal security and the prison management throughout the country,” SRSG Hasegawa said. Later he added that he hoped that “the national leaders would call for the escaped prisoners to surrender themselves.” (UNMIT Press Release)
East Timor rebels stroll out of prison
31 August 2006 GUIDO GOULART
DILI, EAST TIMOR — International security forces joined East Timorese officers in a massive hunt for 57 inmates who escaped from a prison during visiting hours, allegedly by walking out of the front gate in full view of guards. Rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado and others arrested for involvement in recent violence that wracked the tiny country were among those who fled, leading to fears of fresh instability in the country after weeks of relative calm. Officials warned that the escaped convicts — including several pro-Indonesia militiamen convicted in the 1999 riots that left nearly 1,500 people dead — could be armed. Security forces set up checkpoints and searched cars on roads leading out of the city and Sukehiro Hasegawa, the top United Nations official in East Timor, sought to assure the public that everything possible was being done to keep them safe. He appealed to Mr. Reinado to surrender and face justice.
Brigadier Mick Slater, the Australian commander of the international peacekeepers, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio that Wednesday's breakout occurred during visiting hours, when inmates were not locked in their cells. Guards were distracted when visitors created “some sort of ruckus,” he said. “The jail break appears to have been a fairly simple matter,” Brig. Slater said. “Reinado and about 56 others essentially walked out the front gate under the eyes of the Timorese prison guards.” The account differed from that of prison warden Carlos Sarmento, who said inmates broke down a wall of the Becora Penitentiary in the capital Dili, blaming the breakout on a shortage of staff. East Timor was plunged into crisis in May after then-Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri fired 600 soldiers — nearly 40 per cent of the armed forces — triggering street battles between rival security forces in Dili that later spilled into gang warfare. At least 30 people were killed and another 150,000 fled their homes. Calm has largely been restored, thanks to the installation of a new government and the arrival of foreign peacekeepers, but isolated acts of violence continue. Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison said there was a danger the prison break could stir further unrest in the country of less than one million people.
“To have a breakout of this number is also of great concern and it can only destabilize the situation in East Timor,” he told ABC television late Wednesday. He also implied the convicts may have escaped with the help of those visiting the jail or prison authorities, saying “a breakout on such a scale doesn't happen by accident, and that's a concern.” United Nations police and international security forces said Thursday they had mounted a widespread search for the escaped convicts, and urged anyone with information to notify authorities. Brig. Slater said it was possible the inmates had divided into small groups and were seeking shelter with residents. (Globe and Mail)
Clashes break out in East Timor as troops hunt for escaped prisoners
The Associated Press
Published: August 31, 2006
DILI, East Timor Gangs armed with stones and machetes clashed in the East Timorese capital Friday, raising fresh security concerns following the recent escape from prison of a rebel leader and scores of other violent inmates. Hospital officials said at least eight people were wounded in the unrest which broke out after a gang attacked a refugee camp in downtown Dili hotel with stones, witnesses said. International security forces arrived soon after to restore order. East Timor descended into chaos in May amid fighting between factions in the newly independent country's security forces. Tens of thousands of people still live in temporary camps.
International peacekeepers have largely restored order and a new government has been installed, but sporadic gang fights have continued, mostly based on regional divisions exacerbated by the conflict. Local and foreign security forces were searching for 57 inmates who escaped from a Dill prison on Wednesday, including renegade military leader Alfredo Reinado, blamed for some of the worst violence in May, and several of his followers. Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta partly blamed the U.N. and neighboring Australia for the breakout, which has raised tensions in East Timor. Australian forces currently head the peacekeeping force in East Timor.
In a telephone interview with Australia Broadcasting Corp. radio, he said the prison was under the control of East Timorese forces, but that Australian peacekeepers must accept some of the blame because they refused to boost security outside. "I am personally just puzzled why, in spite of our repeated requests for static forces to be outside the prison, this was not done," Ramos-Horta said. "I presume the Australian forces, the U.N., as experts in security, they thought it was not necessary." "Had there been strong security outside, this could have been prevented," Ramos-Horta said.
Ramos-Horta also said it appeared the escaped inmates had accomplices inside the prison. "Obviously there was a failure of the internal security but the internal security is not armed and obviously there has to be some complicity inside," he said. Australian Prime Minister John Howard rejected Ramos-Horta's suggestion Australian troops were partly responsible for the escape. "I am very concerned that these people escaped but I am quite certain the Australian Defense Force has done the right thing," Howard told reporters in Sydney. Reinado was a leading member of the campaign to oust former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. A prison guard said Reinado told him before the breakout he would return to jail if Alkatiri was also imprisoned. Alkatiri is currently under investigation for allegations he provided guns to a hit squad tasked with killing his political opponents. "Before Major Alfredo left the prison he told me that he would return when Alkatiri was in prison," prison guard Helio Watumisa Monteiro told The Associated Press. "We are the victims of an unfair tribunal." Authorities waited more than a month to arrest Reinado following the May violence even though he made no effort to hide and East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao has always refused to criticize his actions, leading some to question whether his rebellion was part of wider moves to get rid of Alkatiri. Both Gusmao and Ramos-Horta also demanded Alkatiri step down. (International Herald Tribune)
Young gunner returns home from East Timor
Thursday, 31 August 2006
YOUNG Tamworth man Cory Myers is enjoying a few weeks' break back home after a three-month peace keeping mission in East Timor. Gunner Myers is a gunner in the Royal Australian Artillery and was called to Dili after violence broke out in the capital. He said his time there was relatively uneventful but "it was just good to get over there and help out". "We did a lot of patrols and just tried to have a presence. "It was pretty much a ghost town for the first two weeks. "Everyone was too scared to come out of their houses." Gnr Myers said he didn't know what to expect of the conditions there. "It was a bit of a culture shock. They don't have brick houses or TVs or McDonalds. It's pretty poverty stricken. "It makes you realise how good you've got it in Australia – little things like getting into your car and going to the movies." Gnr Myers will go back to Townsville's Lavarack Barracks this weekend to return to his normal duties, which include ongoing training. The 22-year-old has been in the army for about 10 months. "I always wanted to do something for Australia, I've wanted to do that ever since I can remember." Gnr Myers said he had also gained many benefits. "I'm heaps fitter because I'm always running everywhere," he said. "I've also learnt how to conduct myself. "I feel like I have better people skills and I'm better at overcoming language barriers." (Northern Daily Reader)
Alkateri claims west tried to overthrow him
August 30, 2006 - AAP
FORMER East Timor prime minister Mari Alkatiri has said unnamed westerners approached army commanders to organise a coup against him.
He also alleges Australian Prime Minister John Howard had pushed for him to step down. Dr Alkatiri did resign earlier this year amid allegations he had a hand in organising death squads to eliminate political opponents. But in an interview tonight with the SBS program Dateline, Dr Alkatiri claimed “foreign nationals” tried to organise a coup against him because he was “too independent” and threatened Australian interests in the oil and gas fields of the Timor Sea. “I was informed by the commanders of the (East Timorese) army of the situation,” Dr Alkatiri told SBS. “They (the army chiefs) were approached by some Timorese and some foreign nationals but I was fully aware and confident in the command of the army that I didn't think it was an issue that could worry me and it was nothing.” Mr Alkatiri said it was not clear whether the foreigners were Australian or American. “Even the commanders were not clear on this. If they were Australian or American ... between these two,” he said. “But I still have no clear information from the command if they were Australian or American, but surely they were English speaking.” Asked if he had any evidence that Australia was involved in the coup attempt, he said he did not, but strongly believed Mr Howard wanted him gone. “Evidence? No. But the only prime minister in the world that was really 'advising me' – quote, unquote – to step down was the Prime Minister of Australia during these, say, these difficult days,” Dr Alkatiri said. He defended the way he ran the country, saying he fought hard for full control of the Timorese oil and gas fields. “What I was doing in my term was to defend the interests of my people in having the resources to develop this country independently, not to be dependent,” he said. “I was fully aware we have our right on the Timor Sea and we have to defend it, not because I am anti-Australian, I like very much Australia as a country, as a nation, as a people.” (The Australian).
REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE
GABINETE DO PRIMEIRO-MINISTRO
The President and Prime Minister attended the first day of the meeting held yesterday, August 31, with the District and Sub-District Administrators in Maubara, Liquica district.
The meeting was convened by the Ministry of State Administration to discuss the administrator role in the nation’s peace, unity and development, as well as to support and mobilize the administrators and discuss the 2006/07 budget.
The meeting was opened by Minister for State Administration Ana Pessoa, who introduced the Prime Minister and the President. The Prime Minister’s speech emphasized the need for cooperation within the government and showed a strong interest in supporting the district and sub-district administrators. The district and sub-district administrators then put forward questions and concerns to the panel.
The Prime Minister addressed the issue of law and order, and stressed the importance of dialog and justice, on which points the President agreed. The Prime Minister and President also both called for political neutrality among the civil servants, urging all officials to serve their country above all other considerations.
The Prime Minister encouraged local leaders to take a pro-active approach to local security, and to mobilize their communities to ensure the safety and security of all citizens. He cautioned that if local leaders do not show strong leadership, then the national government and security forces will be unable to completely solve the problem of national security.
Today the meeting of the district and sub-district administrators will continue with discussions on the general and presidential elections of the next year.
Dili, 1 September 2006
For further information, please contact the media advisor:
Rui Flores (tel. +670 723 01 40 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Extraordinary Plenary Session
Agenda n. 442/I/4a
Thursday, 31 August 2006
Today’s Plenary session was chaired by the President of the National Parliament, Mr. Francisco Guterres “Lu-Olo”, the Vice-President Mr. Jacob Fernandes, the Secretary of the Mesa, Mr. Francisco Carlos Soares and the Vice-Secretaries, Ms. Maria Terezinha Viegas and Ms. Maria Avalziza Lourdes.
The Prosecutor General, Dr Longuinhos Monteiro and the Deputy Prosecutor General took part to today’s plenary session to present to the National Parliament the annual report of the activities of their office, in accordance to art. 133 of the RDTL’s Constitution.
In his intervention, the Prosecutor General informed that his office faced and is still facing a number of difficulties in the accomplishment of its daily routine, in particular he highlighted:
That the activities of the Office of the Prosecutor General are being jeopardized by its job being directly linked to Institutions that are nowadays facing serious obstacles, for instance the Investigation Unit of the Police;
The lLack of qualified human resources as well as of equipment;
The lack of international advisors (at the moment only one international prosecutor is working in the office of the Prosecutor General);
The loss of many documents during the events of last April/May;
Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro reminded that this “new” office is making a big effort to defend the democratic legality together with the Law and Order in Timor-Leste.
The Prosecutor General gave the following statistic information:
Criminal Lawsuits----2005 (Jan-December )----2006 (Jan-May)------2006 (June-August)
Completed--------------------Completed ------Lack of data Lack of data------------47
The MPs expressed their concern as regards the capacity of the Office of the Prosecutor General to prosecute the pending criminal lawsuits, in particular the ones related to the events that took place last April and May. The MPs also asked information about the Ex-Prime Minister case and about the prisoners that yesterday escaped from Becora.
The Prosecutor General highlighted that the presentation of the annual report of its office’s activities was the only reason of his intervention before the Plenary, he nonetheless declared his availability in providing detailed information to the competent Specialized Parliamentary Committee on the different cases. Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro also informed that its office hopes to receive the support of UNDP, of UNMIT and from the bilateral cooperation with Brazil as soon as possible.
NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES:
Timor Post (TP)
Radio Timor-Leste (RTL)
Suara Timor Lorosae (STL)
Diario Tempo (DT)
Lia Foun (LF)
Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]
These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office
- END –
Notícias de Timor-Leste (UNMIT Media Report)
SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa said the UN together with the International Forces and International Police have the responsibility to locate and detain Major Alfredo and other prisoners that escaped from jail on Wednesday. Speaking during a press conference Thursday, Hasegawa said the new UN mission, UNMIT, had established a joint task force to maintain peace and stability in Timor-Leste and he has requested the police commissioner to head the task force. According to Diario Nacional SRSG Hasegawa said he has already requested the government to review the joint security arrangements for the prisoners especially during visiting hours. SRSG said security for the prison is the responsibility of the government, but the international forces would conduct frequent patrols to that area as agreed to by the military commander, Brigadier Mick Slater, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution which says the international forces were invited to support the implementation of the UNMIT mandate which includes provision of security to the public. On the same occasion, the Acting Police Commissioner, Antero Lopes said the international forces are working together to provide security for the population and are trying to bring Major Alfredo back to prison in order to process his case legally. Australian Federal Police commander, Steve Lancaster said there are cooperation efforts from all the international forces in Timor-Leste including the UN to re-capture the getaway prisoners. Lancaster said the military had also set up checkpoints to search vehicles entering and leaving Dili as well as in the capital. He said he believes Alfredo is still around in Dili and appealed to anybody with information about the prisoners to alert the police. (STL)
Notícias de Timor-Leste
Daily Media Review
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Friday, 01 September 2006
Minister of Justice Responsible for Prisoners Getaway
MPs have raised their concerns in relation to the prisoners that escaped from jail on Wednesday saying Minister of Justice is responsible. The President of the National Parliament, Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres lamented the incident noting that such an incident had not occurred in the past four years. Guterres considered the case to be serious for the trial process. He said the fundamental problem of the incident rests with the Ministers of Justice and Defence and the trainers. He added that the Minister for Justice should have looked into the security of the prison following the withdrawal of the international forces. Some of the MPs were of the opinion that the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, should be asked to resign as a result of the prison escape; others raised the concern that the escape of Alfredo and other prisoners would have a negative impact on the elections in 2007 and some said it would stop the reconciliation process that has been organized by President Gusmão. In the meantime the Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento said he is prepared to step down but it is up to the Prime Minister to decide.
In a separate article, the Director of NGO Yayasan Hak, Jose Luis Oliveira said the getaway of Alfredo and other prisoners would not only have an impact on the government but greatly on the population of Dili. Oliveira said it is likely that some people have already packed and left for the districts. According to Diario Nacional, Oliveira said another impact would be on the reconciliation process, which is part of the government program to resolve the recent crisis.
Still on the escape of the prisoners, Aniceto Neves, an observer from Hak said the government has given big expense salaries to the international judges to strengthen the judicial system in Timor-Leste but it continues to remain the same. He further said there are many people in the jails in Becora, Ermera and Baucau whose status has not been revised, adding he is of the opinion that the contract with the international prosecutors is not fortifying the Timorese justice. Neves is of the opinion the getaway of the prisoners on Wednesday is the government’s fault. He pointed out that Alfredo and his group were on trial detention up until 28 August but did not receive a court justification. He questioned why they were detained beyond the set date and prolonged until the 30th to be the start of investigations which did not happen. He also said Alfredo received many threats while in detention, reported STL.
Diario Nacional reported Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento as saying that the prison guards were threatened with grass scissors when visiting time was coming to an end, adding that a team has been formed to work with the international police to investigate the 60 prison guards on duty.
Prime Minister Ramos-Horta appealed to the population not be concerned with Alfredo’s escape because he is not the “giant of Timor-Leste”, adding Major Alfredo was in detention for carrying illegal weapons. In relation to reports of F-FDTL in possession of weapons, the Minister told heads of villages and districts during the gathering in Maubara that the information gathered must be concrete in order to have these people detained. (TP, STL, DN)