Subject: Draft law Law on the Military Service


Draft law Law on the Military Service

(Unofficial English translation of law passed by the Council of Ministers on 27 September 2006 and by Parliament on 31 January 2007. President Xanana Gusmao has not promulgated it as of this posting.) Preamble Defence and guarantee of the country's sovereignty is one of the fundamental objectives of the Timorese State enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic.

Military service is one of the means to defend the fatherland. It is also one of the values that characterize the Timorese nation and citizenry. All Timorese citizens between 18 and 30 years of age must contribute to defend the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country through defence and security institutions.

In line with the universal character of military registration, the present statute provides for a norm preventing citizens who have not fulfilled their military obligations from being employed by State institutions or other public entities. Conversely, those citizens who fulfill their duties cannot suffer in their social benefits or employment.

Pursuant to paragraph o), item 2, of article 95 of the Constitution of the Republic, the National Parliament decrees the following to have the force of law:

Chapter I General Principles

Article 1 Concept and objectives of military service

1. Participation in the defence of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity is a duty for all Timorese citizens.

2. Pursuant to the present law, military service is the contribution given by each citizen in the military domain to defend the fatherland.

3. In addition to being an instrument for promotion of national unity and development of patriotic conscience, military service must also serve as a means for the civic, cultural, physical, and professional valorisation of the citizens who accomplishing it.

Article 2 Military service

In its registration phase, military service shall have a universal character, and all Timorese citizens between 18 and 30 years of age may be called to render it and to fulfill the military obligations resulting thereof.

Article 3 Military service situations

Military service shall cover the following situations:

a) Recruitment reserve;

b) Effective service;

c) Reserve availability;

d) Territorial reserve.

Article 4 Recruitment reserve

Recruitment reserve shall be formed by citizens who are subject to military obligations from military registration until their induction or enlistment into the territorial reserve.

Article 5 Effective service

1. Effective service is the status of the citizens while they remain at the service of the Defence Force.

2. Effective service shall cover:

a) The normal effective service;

b) The effective service in the permanent staffing table;

c) The effective service on a contractual basis;

d) The effective service following a call-up or mobilization.

3. Normal effective service shall comprise the rendering of service in the Defence Force by citizens who have been registered and are subject to accomplishing military obligations, and shall start with the induction process and end with the demobilization.

4. Effective service in the permanent staffing tables shall comprise the rendering of service by the citizens who, having entered the military career, arc linked to the Armed Forces on a permanent basis.

5. Effective service on a contractual basis shall comprise the rendering of service by citizens who continue to serve for a limited period of time, to be determined in a specific law, with a view to meeting the needs of the Defence Force or their eventual recruitment for the permanent staffing table, in compliance with the established strength levels.

6. Effective service originating from call-up or mobilization shall be rendered pursuant to article 26 and 27 of the present law.

7. The status of the military in the several situations of effective service shall be defined pursuant to the provisions of a specific law.

8. It shall be incumbent upon the Minister of Defence, in the face of the needs presented by the Defence Force, to define the level of strength to be admitted annually on a contractual basis.

Article 6 Reserve availability

1. Reserve availability shall include all citizens who have rendered effective service and shall count from the date they have ceased such service until they are 30 years of age.

2. Demobilization shall. mean the period subsequent to the end of the effective service and is intended to enable the Defence Force increase its strength through call-up or mobilization until its needs have been met.

Article 7 Territorial reserve

Territorial reserve shall be composed of citizens who have not accomplished the effective service but remain subject to military obligations.

Chapter II Military recruitment

Section I General Provisions

Article 8 Definition and military recruitment operations

1. Military recruitment shall mean the set of operations necessary o obtain human resources to join the Defence Force.

2. Recruitment shall comprise the following operations:

a) Military registration;

b) Classification and selection;

c) Distribution and enlistment,

Article 9 Definition of number of citizens to be recruited

It shall be incumbent upon the Council of Ministers:

a) To define the annual number of citizens to be inducted in the Defence Force;

b) To guide, approve and coordinate the general matters relating to military recruitment.

Section II Recruitment

Article 10 Military recruitment

1. Military recruitment shall mean the operation of recruitment intended to obtain information on all citizens annually attaining the age for starting to observe military obligations.

2. It shall be the duty of all citizens on their own or through their legal representatives to present themselves for military registration in the year in which they complete 18 years of age.

3. The media must publicize the duty of the citizens to undertake their military registration as well as the actual military registration of citizens and such duty must be disseminated in the widest possible manner through the following bodies:

a) Competent bodies of the Ministry of Defence;

b) District administrations;

c) Embassies and Consulates of Timor-Leste.

Article 11 Places for military registration

Citizens shall present themselves in the following places either personally or through their legal representatives for military registration:

a) Headquarters of district administrations;

b) Territorial offices of the Ministry of Defence, where they exist;

c) Consular mission of the area of residence, for citizens living abroad.

Article 12 Information to provide at the time of military registration

At the time of military registration, citizens shall be informed of the objectives of the military service and the duties resulting thereof.

Article 13 Non-presentation for military registration

Citizens who do not present themselves for military registration in the period and places indicated for such purposes shall present themselves in the competent registration body or in the respective consular posts, depending on whether they live inside the country or abroad, in order to regularize their military status, and they shall be considered to be at fault in case they do not justify the fault until 30 days past the deadline for military registration.

Article 14 Classification and selection

1. Citizens registered for military service shall be called-up with a minimum of 45 days in advance to undergo a physical and psyco-technical evaluation.

2. The objective of the classification and selection tests shall be:

a) To determine the degree of psychophysical aptitude of the citizens for the purpose of rendering military service, after which they shall be grouped into one of the following categories: i) Fit ii) Unfit iii) Awaiting classification.

b) To group the citizens found to be fit into branches of specialty or classes in accordance with their physical, psychical, technical, professional and other aptitudes, in view of their future distribution through the different components, echelons, specialties or classes within the Defence Force.

3. Citizens considered to be fit may provide information on their preferences in terms of the components, specialties and geographic area in which they wish to render the military service and such information shall be taken into account whenever the satisfaction of their preferences is not to the detriment of the Defence Force.

4. Classifications referred to in paragraph a), item 2, of this article can be appealed against pursuant to the terms contained in a specific regulation.

5. Upon completion of the classification and selection tests, citizens considered to be fit shall be proclaimed recruits.

6. For the purposes of paragraphs a) and b), item 2, of this article, public or private bodies shall be obliged to release the affected citizens under their dependence.

Article 15 Absence in the classification and selection tests

Citizens not presenting themselves for the classification and selection tests for which they have been called-up and not justifying the fault so committed within 30 days, or refusing to undertake some of the tests, shall be considered compelled to render the military service and shall accomplish all the normal effective service in case they are found to be fit.

Article 16 Distribution

Distribution shall mean the quantitative and qualitative assignment of recruits to the components of the Defence Force in accordance with the needs of the latter taking into account, whenever possible, the provisions of item 3 of article 14.

Article 17 Enlistment

1. Enlistment shall mean the nominal assignment of citizens to each component of the Defence Force or territorial reserve.

2. Criteria for determining which citizens are to be enlisted into the territorial reserve shall be contained in a specific regulation.

Article 18 Postponement of military obligations

The following shall constitute reasons for postponing the classification and selection tests:

a) Attending a tertiary or equivalent teaching institution inside of the country or abroad, with the maximum limit for the postponement being the 31st of December of the year in which the citizen completes 28 years of age;

b) Residing outside of the country on a legal, permanent and continuous basis prior to the year in which the citizen completes l 8 years of age;

c) Invoking a situation determined by the respective legal status.

Article 19 Relief and exemption from military obligations

The following citizens may apply for a relief from military service, and shall be directly enlisted into the territorial reserve:

a) Children or siblings of people who died as a result of fulfilling military obligations;

b) Single children having disabled parents in their charge due to physical or psychical disability;

c) Citizens having in their charge the spouse, ascendant, descendent, brother or nephew with less than 18 years of age, or a person who brought them up and provided for their education.

d) Long-standing disease certified by the competent public authority.

Article 20 Temporary exclusion

Serving a prison sentence or being subjected to measures inherently incompatible with the presence of a citizen in the national service shall constitute a reason for temporary exclusion from rendering military service.

Chapter III Effective service in the Defence Force

Article 21 Normal effective service

Normal effective service shall comprise the following

a) Induction;

b) General military preparation;

c) The period of time in the national service.

Article 22 Induction

1. Induction shall consist in the presentation of recruits in the military units and establishments of the components of the Defence Force in which they have been enlisted.

2. Induction shall normally take place in the year in which the citizen completes 20 years of age.

3. Recruits who do not show up for induction in the military units or establishments for which they have been called-up and do not justify their fault within 30 days shall he considered deserters.

Article 23 General military preparation

1. General military preparation shall consist of the basic training for inductees that is appropriate to the characteristics of each component of the Defence Force and shall end with, the oath of enlistment.

2. The oath of enlistment is a solemn act taking place with the troops in parade always in front of the National Flag,

Article 24 Duration of effective service

1. Normal effective service shall have a duration of 18 months commencing with the induction, without prejudice to items 2 and 4 of this article.

2. Demobilization of classes, categories or specialties found to be in excess in the national service may be anticipated, pursuant to conditions to be established by a regulation.

3. Whenever the satisfaction of national defence needs is not sufficiently guaranteed by the regimes for rendering the effective service referred to in items 1 and 2 above, the Council of Ministers may, on an exceptional basis, determine the extension of the period for normal effective service provided for in item 1 of this article up to a maximum of 12 months.

4. For the purposes of item 3 above, the criterion for determining the citizens remaining in the national service beyond the period of time provided for in item 1 above shall exclude the following citizens, in order of priority:

a) Married citizens;

b) Citizens with families under their charge;

5. Where there is a need to undertake a selection within the groups referred to in paragraphs a) and b) of item 4 above, the age criterion may be applied, with preference given to older citizens.

Article 25 Period in the military service

The period in the military service shall commence with the induction and shall cover the general military preparation and the complementary preparation, where this is to take place, including service in military units or establishments.

Article 26 Effective service resulting from call-up

1. Demobilized citizens may be called-up to render effective service in the following conditions:

a) For purposes of refreshing, training, military exercises or military manoeuvres;

b) For attending to situations of danger of war or imminent or effective aggression by foreign forces while a general military mobilization has not been decreed;

2. In addition to the cases provided for in specific statutes, citizens exercising functions legally considered to be indispensable to the functioning of essential public services as well as private activities indispensable to the life of the country may be relieved from rendering effective service.

3. While rendering service pursuant to paragraph a), item 1, of this article, citizens shall maintain their rights in their work post, including their salaries and vacations.

Article 27 Effective service resulting from military mobilization

1. Citizens in situation of reserve availability may be mobilized in order to render effective service in the Defence Force in case of a state of siege.

2. Item 2 of article 26 above shall apply.

Chapter IV Complementary provisions

Article 28 General obligations of citizens

So long as they are subject to the military obligations defined in the present law, all citizens between 18 and 30 years of age shall have the duty to:

a) Inform their respective military entities of any change of residence;

b) Inform their respective military entities of the academic, technical, professional and other qualifications corresponding to acquisition of knowledge with an interest for the Defence Force;

c) Present themselves on the days, times and places legally determined by the competent military authority.

Article 29 Other rights and duties

1. No citizen can suffer in their placement, social benefits, or employment for having accomplished the military obligations established in the present law.

2. Citizens accomplishing effective service shall be recognized other rights and duties contained in the respective statute.

Article 30 Factors conditioning obtention of employment

Admission or access to employment in State institutions or other public entities shall be barred to citizens at fault with the norms provided for in the present statute.

Article 31 Exemption of emoluments

Acts necessary for organizing processes for military purposes, including acts undertaken by teaching institutions and public services, shall be exempted from emoluments.

Article 32 Civil and criminal status

For the purposes of the present law, civil and criminal registrars shall provide the competent authorities with the information requested by the latter.

Article 33 Oath of enlistment

Citizens inducted into the military service shall take the following oath of enlistment which shall bind them for the period of effective service and after they have been demobilized.

“I, [name]…………………….swear on my honor to dedicate all my energies and my life to the defence of the fatherland, the Constitution of the Republic and the national sovereignty.”

Chapter V Final and transitional provisions

Article 34 Regulation

It shall be incumbent upon the Government to regulate the present law.

Article 35 Revoked legislation

All legislation contrary to the provisions of the present law is hereby revoked.

Article 36 Entry into force

The present law shall enter into force 60 days after its publication.



Approved by the Council of Ministers on 27 September 2006.

The Prime Minister [signed] José Ramos-Horta

The Minister of Defence [signed] José Ramos-Horta 


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