1.9.06

Notícias de Timor-Leste (UNMIT Media Report)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA REPORTS

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.
'Puzzled'
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.
Weapons Possession
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 ejohnson28@bloomberg.net. (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
Associated Press
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).


PRESS RELEASES

REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE
GABINETE DO PRIMEIRO-MINISTRO


Prime Minister Addressed First Day of Meeting with District and Sub-District Administrators

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
rui.flores@gmail.com)

PARLAMENTO NACIONAL
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)
Received---------------------------820--------------------312-------------------------- 281
Completed--------------------Completed ------Lack of data Lack of data------------47
Pending----------------------------985-------------------1089-------------------------1323

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)
Diario Nacional
Seminario
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 –