Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 20 July 2006
Daily Media Review
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review
Thursday, 20 July 2006
National Media Reports
288 Detained By International Forces
The deputy of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice, Silverio Pinto Batista said according to their records, the international forces have detained 288 people, adding out of this number, his office has interviewed 66. Batista said substances such as machete (catana) should not be removed from the people as it is used to facilitate their household work. He added the Provedorís two main tasks with the latest crisis are to focus on the investigation case of 28-29 April 2006 and to monitor the current situation such people detained by police in Caicoli, Becora prison as well as the humanitarian assistance. The Provedorís Office is working together with different monitoring networks, namely the Justice System Monitoring Program (JSMP) and HAK (human rights) Association.
In a separate article the commander of the forces currently in Timor-Leste, Mick Slater said the international police are discussing the areas to establish five stations in response to concerns of the population to enable them to return to their homes. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, (19/7) Slater said presently the international forces are providing 24 hours security with police patrolling Dili from dawn to evening and the military throughout the night. He said they are also working with the Ministry of Interior but added it would take a while before the national police start to work in Dili. The Australian commander stressed that one of the difficulties they face is the language skills to enable them to get information from the community adding the community has not reported on who has committed crimes and he knows the Timorese are smart in hiding the weapons, but he hopes the international forces would eventually be able to collect them all. According to Slater, an estimated 5000 weapons have been collected by the forces through operations in Dili.
Suara Timor Lorosae reported Commander Slater as saying there are no indications there would be a protest on Alkatiriís investigation process which started today in Dili and said the international forces are now sharing the security responsibilities, giveing more responsibility to the police as the situation is improving. He said the situation in Dili is starting to be normal and the population is carrying on their daily activities even though many people continue to live in the IDP camps. (TP, STL)
Prosecutorís General Starts Questioning Mari
Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro told the media on Wednesday, the questioning process for former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri starts today (20/7) in relation to allegations of gun distribution to civilians. Monteiro said the International Prosecutor Luis Mota would question Mari Alkatiri, a suspect as per implications by former Interior He also said he believes the former Prime Minister will bow to the law and follow the process as the decision on the questioning date was a mutual agreement. Minister. Alkatiri would be accompanied by 9 defence lawyers from overseas. The hearing on the former Interior Minister would be in Dili District Court, said Timor-Lesteís Prosecutor General adding the investigation process has been complete and is now under draft accusation. He informed that journalists who wish to attend the interrogation session could do so provided they have a complete ID card for security measures and be in the court by 8:30am.
In a separate article, MP Manuel Tilman, (KOTA) said the presence of international lawyers in Timor-Leste as defence lawyers needs the authorization of the National Parliament. ďAccording to the law, jurisdictional functions would be allowed if it the law permits then we can contract in the present case. I have not seen a law that allows international lawyers to come and defend a Timorese,Ē said Tilman. He added that according to the Constitution and UNTAET regulations, to become a public defender and defend a citizen in a court one must be a national citizen or Timorese citizen. Tilman is of the opinion that now with the presence of international defence lawyers with former Prime Minister Alkatiriís case is opening up the door so that in future, those Timorese studying law in the country would be valueless. He hopes the lawyers defending Alkatiri cannot exist as the only named,, but also leave the door open to the national lawyers as well, adding, if the international lawyers come to assist the Timorese counselor lawyers thatís fine but if they come to take away the Timorese place he disagrees, saying it would be opening a bad page for future generation. (TP)
Mari Must Be Responsible For Quarterly Budget
MPs from KOTA, PDC and PPT demanded the Cabinet of dismissed Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri be responsible for the quarterly budget report from January to March 2006 which has not yet presented to the National Parliament. MP Clementino dos Reis Amaral (KOTA) said according to the legal mechanism in order to debate a new budget, a report on the old budget is required to determine the new budget, adding the Mari Alkatiri is responsible for it because he was the Prime Minister during that period. (TP)
Summary of RTTL news 19-07-06
Government of Timor Leste and BNU signed a lease-contract to renovate UMA FUKUN
Speaking to journalist PM Horta has reportedly stated that the duration of lease contract between Timor Leste Government and BNU (national ultramarine bank) to renovate UMA FUKUN is 20 years. The contract does not mean that BNU will open another office at UMA FUKUN. UMA FUKUN will continue as culture center, but managed by BNU. PM Horta said that according to a survey last year the total amount that will need for renovating UMA FUKUN is US$600.000. PM Horta also added that in future he will also look to the old market building which now abandoned.
500 International Police in Dili
Brig. Slater has reportedly told journalist that there are 500 international police on duty in Timor Leste to secure the peoples of Timor Leste. These 500 personnel compose by four countries; Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal. Brig. Slater also added that these international police will deploy to 5 stations in all Dili. The international police will be on duty start early morning and end by midnight and the international forces will continue from midnight to early morning. Brig. Slater said if the international police during their duty need assistance they could contact GNR and GNR will immediately attend.
Brig. Slater also mentioned the visit of Australian PM during which he said that Australia will still stay in Timor Leste as long as Timor Leste Government needed and they will not involve in any political affairs. Only Timorese who could solve the political problems, he said.
Slater on issue of demonstration to intervene the judiciary
On issue that there will demonstration to intervene the preliminary investigation of former Prime Minister Alkatiri, Brig. Slater reportedly stated that so far he did not receive any information that there be will demonstration but if it will happen international forces and police are ready to take measures with those who want to stop the process of investigation.
PG Longuinhos Monteiro on Former Prime Minister Alkatiri case
Speaking to journalists Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro have reportedly said that on 20 July the former Prime Minister, Alkatiri will come to the Office of the Prosecutor General to give his declaration on illegal distribution of weapons to civilian. Mr. Monteiro continued that 20 July was a day that they have agreed to hold preliminary investigation.
Australia Withdraws Soldiers as East Timor's Security Improves
July 20 (Bloomberg) ≠
Australia withdrew 200 soldiers and a navy warship from East Timor as security in the country improves, a government spokesman said. Some 1,300 Australian soldiers were sent to East Timor in May as part of a 2,500 international peacekeeping force to curb civil unrest since March that resulted in the deaths of at least 37 people and forced 150,000 people, or 15 percent of the population, to flee their homes. ``We are withdrawing troops and the HMAS Kanimbla from East Timor as the security situation has stabilized,'' Defense Minister Brendan Nelson's spokesman Nigel Blunden said in Sydney. ďThe remaining troops will stay for as long as we deem it necessary.'' East Timor, a country of about 1 million people, last month asked the UN to send a peacekeeping force of about 870 security personnel to maintain law and order as it prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007. The force of international peacekeepers includes soldiers and police from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia. Australian Prime Minister John Howard visited East Timor two days ago and met President Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was named prime minister July 8. Ramos-Horta replaced Mari Alkatiri, who was blamed for creating ethnic divisions that sparked the violence. The new prime minister last week pledged to rebuild East Timor's security forces that collapsed when 600 soldiers, about one-third of the country's armed personnel, were dismissed for desertion, an incident that provoked the unrest between soldiers, police and civilians.
Prosecutors will question Alkatiri in the capital, Dili, today over his involvement in an alleged hit squad to target his opponents, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported on its Web site. Alkatiri has denied the allegations. United Nations special envoy Ian Martin yesterday stressed the need for a ``sustained'' UN presence in East Timor ahead of elections, the UN said on its Web site. Howard said during his visit he expected troops will remain in East Timor ``for some time,'' without setting any timetable. East Timorese voted for independence in a 1999 referendum after a 24-year occupation by Indonesia, which invaded the territory when it was a Portuguese colony in 1975. The country, which became independent in May 2002, lies about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia. The UN has been operating in East Timor since 1999, helping organize elections and the creation of government institutions. (Bloomberg)
Ex-Timor PM's movements restricted
From: Agence France-Presse By Jill Jolliffe in Dili July 20, 2006
PROSECUTORS today slapped travel restrictions on East Timor's ex-prime minister Mari Alkatiri but have yet to decide whether to charge him over allegations that he set up a secret political hit squad. Prosecutors said they intended to collect statements from at least three witnesses in the case, including Jose Ramos Horta, who replaced Alkatiri as prime minister. Demonstrators booed and denounced Mr Alkatiri as a "dictator" when he emerged from more than two hours of questioning by prosecutors behind closed doors in Dili this morning. He has denied allegations that he authorised the arming of a gang recruited to eliminate his political rivals. Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro said Mr Alkatiri had not been placed under house arrest, but the former leader must report his movements to authorities. Mr Alkatiri, who was forced to resign in June after weeks of bloody unrest, did not make any comment after his interrogation.
The hearing was guarded by about 20 Australian-led peacekeepers and six armoured cars. About 50 demonstrators rallied outside with banners that called Mr Alkatiri a "traitor", "dictator" and "predator". He was summonsed for questioning in connection with the case late last month. Initially he refused to turn up, claiming he had immunity as a member of parliament. He also wanted to wait for his lawyers to come from abroad. Mr Alkatiri appeared before prosecutors today accompanied by two Portuguese lawyers and guarded by armed Australian peacekeepers. He seemed composed and did not speak to the crowd of reporters waiting for him. His lawyers, Jose Antonio Barreiros and Arnaldo Matos, arrived from Lisbon on Tuesday. Mr Matos is better known as a 1975 founder of the Maoist MRPP party, with which the former prime minister was associated during his student days in Lisbon. Mr Alkatiri's legal team also includes Australian, Indonesian, Mozambican, and Malaysian lawyers. His former defence minister, Rogerio Lobato, is under house arrest on four charges related to the same case. It is understood that Mr Lobato has implicated Mr Alkatiri in the scandal. Monteiro did not disclose details of today's hearing, but said "all the questions were raised and all the answers given." "There have been seven witnesses already, we estimate we need three more. One of the witnesses is the actual prime minister," he said. (News.com.au)
'Substantial' UN police presence needed in restive Timor Leste: envoy
Posted: 20 July 2006 1031 hrs - AFP/ch
UNITED NATIONS: UN special envoy Ian Martin stressed the need for a "substantial" UN police presence in volatile Timor Leste to create the conditions for credible parliamentary and presidential elections next year. Martin, whom UN chief Kofi Annan sent on a fact-finding tour of the tiny territory on May 31 to help conflicting parties address their grievances, briefed the Security Council on recommendations for a new UN mission that will be detailed in a report due out next month. "We have not talked numbers yet. It's a matter for the report," Martin said. But he stressed that the police force "will need to be substantial initially as long as elections place a premium on security."
Asked when the UN force could take over from the Australian-led force currently ensuring security, Martin said the UN could take over responsibility from the very beginning of the mandate of the new mission "on the basis of police elements already there." He said police elements in the international force - made up of contingents from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal - might be willing "initially at least" to be part of the new UN force. Around 3,200 foreign peacekeepers, led by Australia, have been patrolling the Timorese capital Dili since May after factional fighting erupted in Timor Leste's security forces and ethnic gangs began battling on the streets, in violence that left at least 21 people dead.
"It's important that conditions are created for credible parliamentary and presidential elections in early 2007," Martin told reporters, adding that the international community must also recognize that its commitment "has to be a sustained one." Next month, Annan is to produce a report with recommendations for a new UN mission when the mandate of UNOTIL, the current UN mission in Timor Leste , expires August 20. Martin said Timorese leaders were hoping that the UN would take over from the Australian-led international force responsibility "to maintain law and order directly in the short term and work again on the long-term development of Timorese police." Timor Leste sank into chaos after Prime Minister Mari Alkatari in April fired 600 soldiers, nearly half the tiny nation's army, following complaints of discrimination because they came from the country's west. A UN administration and security forces numbering in the thousands ran East Timor after the tiny nation voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999 until 2002. Only a skeleton UN team has remained. (Channelnewsasia)
Malaysia to Pull Timor Leste Troops
Dili, Jul 19 (Prensa Latina)
Malaysia will withdraw by stages its military contingent from Timor Leste, when the situation in this small Asian island allows to do so, higher commands stated. Kuala Lumpur sent May 26 some 500 soldiers to Dili, capital of Timor Leste, as part of a UN peacekeeping force, ordered by local authorities, due to the outbreak of violence between military factions and criminal bands. According to Malaysian Army Chief Abdul Aziz Zainal, the government will decide in coming days date a way to withdraw its troops. Soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and Portugal have arrived in Timor Leste, along with the Malaysian units. (Prensa Latina)