Monday, 28 September 2009

President of the Republic meets UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon in NY

The President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, meets on Monday morning the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in his office, in the headquarters of the organization, New York.

This meeting is open to the accredited journalists willing to cover it.

Mid morning, Dr. Ramos-Horta meets Dr. Chung Kwak (Chairman), Dr. Thomas Wash (Secretary General) and Mr. Taj Hamad (Director), of the Universal Peace Federation, at the Timor-Leste Mission.

H.E. meets afterwards Mr. Garry Allen, from the Christian Mission for the UN Community.

In the afternoon, Dr. Ramos-Horta attends the UN general debate: the Timorese Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Zacarias da Costa, is the 18th speaker.

The Timorese Head of State leaves to Boston on Tuesday.

PPS - Díli, 27SET09 (to the 28th )

Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Presidency of the Republic

José H. Meirelles

Int. Relations/Media Senior Advisor

Nicolau Lobato Palace

Aitarak-Lara, Díli, Timor-Leste

PBX : +670-333-9999

Mobile: +670-751-6413


ETAN looks forward to your support. Go to to donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Portugal grants 100 million-euro credit line for projects in East Timor [ 2009-09-22 ]

Dili, East Timor, 22 Sept – The Portuguese government has granted a 100 million-euro credit line to East Timor for projects to be chosen by the East Timor government.

The initial amount of the Aid Credit Line may be increased up to 500 million euros according to a memorandum signed Monday in Dili

The credit line is for funding infrastructure investment projects in East Timor with the participation of Portuguese companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the areas of energy, transport and communications, health and education.

The two sides also signed a memorandum on double taxation, the convention of which is due to be signed by the end of January 2010, as both East Timor and Portugal consider it important to fight tax evasion and to stimulate private enterprise and create a favourable business climate.

A third memorandum also signed Monday created a technical cooperation programme which includes a visit by technicians from the Portuguese Finance Ministry in October.

The governments of Portugal and East Timor in September signed the Indicative Cooperation Program (PIC) for the next four years, estimated at 60 million euros.


PT unveils plans for Timor Telecom

Portugal Telecom (PT) has announced it plans to increase investment in Timor-Leste and develop new projects to help make the island one of the most developed countries in the region in terms of telecommunications, reports Portuguese daily Jornal de Negocios. PT holds a majority stake in Timor Telecom (TT), which holds a monopoly on the telecoms sector in Timor-Leste, having assumed the risk of investing in the country's non-existent infrastructure and creating its telecoms systems from scratch. PT's plans include a project to connect Timor to a high speed data network via a submarine cable linking the island to Australia, Asia and Europe; the launch of community information centres to increase access to the internet; expansion of 3G coverage to all urban areas; increasing population coverage to 90% in the next four years; and raising TT's total subscriber base to 300,000 by the end of the year. Executive chairman of the Portuguese group, Zeinal Bava, has scheduled meetings with the Timorese authorities and shareholders of Timor Telecom (TT), in what will be his first visit to the island. TT provides both fixed and mobile services to around 220,000 customers and says it provides wireless network coverage to 68% of the population.


ETAN looks forward to your support. Go to to donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias da Costa announces

Timor-Leste has become the last Government to officially deposit the instruments of accession to the ozone protection treaties, making the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer the most adhered agreements in the history of the United Nations with 196 participating States.

“We are very pleased to be joining hands with the rest of the world in the fight against the depletion of the ozone layer and the effort towards its recovery.” Dr Zacarias da Costa said

Foreign Minister Da Costa added “Timor - Leste is proud to contribute to the global efforts of the international community to protect the Earth’s protective shield and very happy to be instrumental in achieving the universal participation in the ozone treaties.”

Though over 97% of controlled ozone-depleting substances have already been phased-out, the work by the Parties is far from over. The end of 2009 will mark another significant milestone in the history of the implementation of the Montreal Protocol – all the developing countries will completely stop the use of the major ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Foreign Minister Dr Zacarias da Costa indicated that:”Timor Leste will participate as the newest member of the ozone family in the coming Meeting of the Parties in Egypt in November”. This historic meeting will be the first to bring together the highest number ever of participating States under an international environmental protection treaty”.

CFCs are being replaced with alternatives that include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which will also be phased out in the near future; its alternatives include hydrofluorocarbons (HCFs), which, however, have a high global warming potential and are therefore not good for climate protection.

For the last few years, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol have been exploring possibilities and alternatives to HCFCs that minimize global warming and other impacts on the environment as well as meeting other health, safety and economic considerations.

Minister Da Costa also said that “As these efforts intensify, it is our hope that the Parties to the Montreal Protocol will make significant contribution to climate protection after 2010. Indeed, the ozone-climate protection nexus is likely to be the next main challenge to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol as CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances are terminally phased-out.”

“We undertake to implement and comply with the Montreal Protocol like all other states that preceded us in this important journey We are doing this in solidarity with the international community from which we expect support in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol. .” Minister Zacarias said

For more information please contact:
Maria-Gabriela Carrascalao H
Media Advisor
Ministerio dos Negocios Estrangeiros

Tel: +61- 417 050 754

Email : or

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Timor-Leste President says: "the national interest can override the law"

Dili - The President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Jose
Ramos-Horta in an interview today broadcast on TVTL, admitted that the
national interest can override the law, as has been the case with

Questioned about whether or not the delivery of Maternus Bere, who is
indicted for crimes against humanity in the massacre of 1999 in the
Suai Church to Indonesian authorities, the Head of State responded
that "not everything that is legal can support the national interest
and the interests of the State.”

Ramos Horta, in the interview in Tetum, the language most spoken in
the country, said that as head of state his first duty is to ensure
the sovereignty and independence of East Timor and so he has to
cultivate good neighborly relations, particularly with Indonesia,
which has its own difficulties in moving towards democracy.

The President made the analogy of delivery Maternus Bere, who is
Indonesian nationality, to the agreement made with the United States
in 2002 by the government of Mari Alkatiri, which states that crimes
committed in Timor-Leste by the US military cannot be tried in Timor,
but would be handed over to the American authorities.

Drwaing parallels between the U.S. and Indonesia, Ramos-Horta stressed
that both countries, unlike East Timor, have not ratified the Treaty
of Rome, so if the International Criminal Court were to issue an
arrest warrant against a U.S. citizen within Timor-Leste’s
jurisdiction, it is bound by the agreement to deliver him to the
United States.

According to Ramos-Horta’s interpretation, in agreeing with Indonesia
to deliver Bere to them, Timor-Leste would be doing the same as if it
were an American citizen, as both the USA and Indonesia, have not
ratified the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court.

The President also said that the establishment of an international
tribunal to try serious crimes committed between 1975 and 1999 in
Timor-Leste is not generally supported in East Timor, nor is it
consistent with the position of both parties, but shows the
"hypocrisy" of some sectors at home and abroad.

"FRETILIN was in power from 2002 to 2007, with a majority in
Parliament and did not want a tribunal, understanding the importance
of neighborly relations with Indonesia," he recalled.

On the other hand, Ramos-Horta recalled that the UN had the exclusive
administration of East Timor from 1999 to 2002, as mandated by the
Security Council and "did nothing" regarding serious crimes at that

"So why is that the Security Council did not adopt a resolution to
create an international tribunal at the time," questioned the Head of

During the interview, he also commented on the recent incident with
the National Parliament, which took the decision to prevent him
traveling abroad on an official visit, pending clarification on the
case Bere, but then reconsidered it.

Ramos-Horta pointed out that, constitutionally, the President, is
directly elected, and is not accountable to neither the Parliament or
to the government, so the first parliamentary decision was vitiated by
an unconstitutionality, and also said to have been itself a surprise.

"The secretary general of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, had attended a
meeting to consider a way out and gave his contribution, showing
understanding of the relationship with Indonesia. We were surprised
that Alkatiri’s moderated analysis of the problem was not reflected in
the position taken by his party in the parliament," he said.

Questioned about the censure motion against the government of Xanana
Gusmão, tabled in Parliament by FRETILIN, Ramos-Horta said that as
President of the Republic, he considered this to be a normal practice
in democratic regimes.

"Personally as a citizen, I Ramos-Horta, support the AMP government
100%, which I believe have all the constitutional legitimacy and have
total confidence in the Prime Minister," he said.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

[TimorLesteStudies] New Working Paper: Higashi, D. The Challenge of Constructing Legitimacy in Peacebuilding: Case of Timor-Leste

It appears to be a widely shared understanding that it is imperative for peacebuilders to construct legitimacy in the eyes of local people and leaders. Surprisingly, however, the concrete methods or policies to obtain this "local legitimacy" have not been fully examined. The objective of this report is to address this critical question by examining key policies regarding legitimacy construction in Timor-Leste peacebuilding. The report is based on more than 45 individual interviews with key political leaders as well as a total of 319 opinion surveys in three districts.

Bu V.E. Wilson
Centre for International Governance and Justice
Regulatory Institutions Network
Australian National University
+61 407 087 086
Queries about this post should be sent to the poster NOT THE LIST. PLEASE DO NOT SEND PERSONAL REPLIES TO THE LIST.

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Australia, East Timor, RI FMs to meet in New York

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 09/21/2009 8:00 PM | World

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will have a meeting with his counterpart Hassan Wirajuda of Indonesia and Zacarias da Costa of East Timor in New York, US, this week, Antara news agency has reported.

In his press statement released in Brisbane on Monday, Smith said that several regional issues would be discussed int the trilateral meeting, held on the sidelines of 63rd UN General Assembly.

Smith, however, did not give further details on the issues to be discussed.

Earlier this month, Australia played down Thursday the possibility that ties between the two neighbors would be strained by the Australian Police's re-investigation of the deaths of five journalists in East Timor in 1975.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that the new investigation should not continue and that Australia should focus on its future relationship with Indonesia. Jakarta has refused to cooperate with Australia in the re-investigation.


Refusing to Face the Ugly Past

The latest move in the Balibo affair has taken us to a kind of watershed in a sensitive aspect of our relationship with Indonesia. Are we going to continue to help Jakarta cover up a brutal chapter in their history, or should we now encourage the SBY government to open up the past to much-needed public scrutiny? As things stand, Indonesia's hostile reaction to the AFP Balibo investigation was predictable enough, because it came just as Jakarta was facing renewed criticism in East Timor, at the tenth anniversary of the Suai massacre, much more recent than Balibo and more brutal.

As it happens the Balibo shooting and the Suai massacre span Indonesia's 24 year presence in East Timor, and remind us of an ugly fact: the TNI left the colony with the same cruel behaviour that it began with 34 years ago. Thanks in large measure to international accommodation none of those indicted for war crimes has ever been brought anywhere near an independent tribunal. No other regime with links to the West has so completely escaped investigation for such serious crimes against humanity. AFP investigators may take the matter further, but they face huge obstacles, given the Yudhoyono government's hostile reaction so far, a response based on an unacceptable assumption, a continuation of our cover-up policy.

Although the TNI's brutal departure in 1999 at last attracted widespread international attention, Jakarta's circle of powerful friends, including Australia, discouraged international attempts to bring the serious war crimes committed during the 24 years of occupation, before an international tribunal. While the Balibo incident, thanks to the film, has continued to capture widespread attention, we need to understand that it really merely marked the beginning of a series of war crimes that continued to the very end of the Indonesian occupation. Then, in 1999, hundreds of East Timorese were killed when the TNI and its militia set out to punish the East Timorese for its humiliating vote against the TNI-dominated occupation.

In a sense Balibo was the beginning and the Suai massacre of September 1999 the end, both incidents under direct TNI command. The Suai atrocity, in all costing over 200 lives, occurred only days after the results of the plebiscite were announced in Dili. A recent incident has revived Timorese interest in this incident, despite the urgings of their leaders to put the past behind them. It was the arrest of Maternus Bere, former leader of the Lauksur militia, who now lives in West Timor, but who returned to Suai to attend a wedding. His presence was noticed by a local policeman who arrested him, on the basis of a UN indictment for serious crimes. The Indonesian reaction was extraordinary. His immediate release was demanded, with dark hints that there could be serious border problems if it was not heeded. There is a possible explanation for this rather arrogant response.

Based on my own investigations into the Suai affair, the militia were mere pawns, their orders coming directly from a TNI colonel then dressed in full uniform, and bearing a M16 weapon. If Bere were to appear before an East Timor court his testimony could therefore be of great embarrassment to the TNI at this time. The pressure was eased somewhat when the East Timorese prime minister responded quickly, ordering the release of Bere to the Indonesian embassy in Dili, a move that caused concern in the UN mission.This incident case has aroused anger in Dili on a number of fronts. It happened at a time when what to do about past war crimes was the subject of lively discussion, emotions having been stirred by the Balibo film.

The rather arrogant and clumsy intervention by Jakarta caused an angry public reaction and criticism, and irritation and dismay in the government. The East Timorese government may have quickly caved in, but the mood in the National Assembly is not so compliant. Jakarta's intervention was particularly hurtful and ill-timed for President Jose Ramos Horta, who had just delivered a very conciliatory address at the 10th anniversary commemoration, urging East Timorese to overlook their past sufferings and to end their campaigns for an international war crimes tribunal.

In the circumstances why didn't Indonesia act more discreetly? One possible explanation is that it happened at a time when there are increasing calls from Indonesian democrats for a closer look at the TNI's past. An exposure of its command role in East Timor in 1999 would have led to renewed calls for the comprehensive investigation President Wahid's advisers had recommended in early 2000. Also if Bere were to have appeared before a Timorese court the leading role of Kopassus might have been exposed, at a time when this force is being rehabilitated as an anti-terrorist agency. Few would miss the irony of yesterday's masters of terror being transformed into today's hunters of terrorists!

The Balibo film, the AFP action, and the Bere case may have caused official jitteriness and media circumspection in Dili and Canberra, but the popular reaction in both countries has not helped Indonesia's image. In Dili I attended two meetings where there were strong demands for an international tribunal, not just for justice for individual victims, but as a way of bringing out into the open one of the worst cases of its kind in the region's recent history. What most Timorese are seeking is Jakarta's full recognition of the war crimes committed and of Indonesia's responsibility. Without serious steps in that direction, reconciliation will be meaningless. A brooding resentment, especially towards the Indonesian military, will continue to lurk in much of Timorese society, where thousands consider themselves victims of crimes against humanity.

As for Australia, we should now be urging Indonesia to take an honest and closer look at what happened in East Timor between the Balibo and Suai incidents. A recognition of its lessons is an important step in the path to the kind of democracy Indonesians now aspire to.


Saturday, 19 September 2009

Timor's youth hope for a better future

Updated September 18, 2009 12:36:47

Timor's youth are hoping for a better future, but three years after violence broke out, have things changed enough?

Presenter: Matt Abud
Speakers: Antonio dos Santos Costa, East Timor University student; Aniceto Neves from the Ita Ba Paz Youth Project; Coniceto Sanamia spokesman for Sete-Sete; James Scambury, Independent researcher on East Timor Youth Violence

* Listen: Windows Media

ABUD: Foin Sae Timor, a song calling for brotherhood by the group Timor Youth. That was recorded in 2007, when the country was reeling from repeated outbreaks of violence that began the year before.

Timor today is far more stable - and as we heard in earlier editions of this program, has just marked ten years since the tumultuous vote to split from Indonesia.

The first years after 1999 were tough, but also marked by great hopes for a better future. When violence erupted in 2006 many were taken unawares, and the shock was profound.

Some hope and optimism - and determination - has slowly come back. Antonio dos Santos Costa is studying Chemistry at Timor's national university.

DOS SANTOS: For the future, we want to improve the country, the state, the government, and we want to ask everyone to work together to take this nation forward.

Dili's streets are now full of people - very different from the times of crisis. But could a breakdown happen again?

Aniceto Neves doesn't think so. He's from Ita Ba Paz, a project that works with youth groups to promote peace at the community level.

NEVES: What we've noticed is that their way of thinking has changed. When we've gone with them to analyse their involvement in the crisis, they said that they had been an active part of the problem during the conflict and violence, and they have to make themselves an active part of the solution.

ABUD: Martial arts groups, gangs, informal security groups - they count their members in the tens of thousands. They're part of a shifting landscape which also includes so-called ritual martial arts groups, who have ceremonies they claim give spiritual power. Some were accused of serious violence in 2006.

Coniceto Sanamia is spokesman for Sete / sete, one of the biggest groups. He lives in the Dili suburb Ai Mutin, one of the centres of violence in 2006. He says everything has changed since then.

SANAMIA: When young people began to open up their perspectives, they realised it's better to accept each other, listen to each other, respect each other, so that we can feel the freedom of independence - than to fight each other and live without peace, without any time to spend time with our families, or go to any celebrations.

ABUD: He says young people have realised they were victims of political manipulation - a theme that many people repeat, from taxi drivers to university students.

SANAMIA: At that time the situation in all of Timor was extremely bad. Young people faced many threats, and threatened each other. Political leaders used young people like objects that they could buy and sell and use how they wanted in their own interests.

He says that if any conflict starts up in the future, young people won't fall into the same trap again - they want peace.

People say faith in their leaders has dropped a lot since the violence took place.

Aniceto Neves says youth groups have promoted understanding - and that the public is no longer afraid of them like they were before.

NEVES: The public was very afraid of martial arts groups. This perception changed when they showed their own unity in public with peace marches and demonstrations as cultural and sports groups, and when they put out information about this in the radio or television - perceptions changed significantly.

ABUD: But it's not as simple as that. James Scambury has been an independent researcher looking at youth violence over recent years. He says in some parts of Dili youth groups have certainly put in efforts to promote peace.

But in others - including Mr. Sanamia's neighbourhood of Ai Mutin - the threat of violence remains high.

Mr. Scambury also says even if political manipulation was behind the violence, it's not good enough to blame the leaders.

SCAMBURY: Youth were certainly marshalled by political parties and leaders and paid to carry out violence and to some extent they were manipulated. So I think to some extent that's true. But i don't really buy that. The youth have to take responsibility for their own actions and I don't see that. Talking to them, people are blaming others, they're saying other people and there's certainly a culture of impunity as well that it doesn't matter what they do, nobody will catch them and if they do, they wont' stay in jail.

ABUD: James Scambury points out that violence first broke out because of conflict between the police and the army - and some of those problems haven't been resolved.

There might be more optimism right now in Dili's - and more cars and businesses on the street.

But it's not an optimism that anyone should take for granted. Unemployment is around 60 per cent for young men in Dili. As student Antonio dps Santos Costa says, people are still watching their leaders closely for any false moves.

DOS SANTOS: When our leaders do something that's not right, each of us has to take a stand and say we live together and have to take our country forward, not individual interests. We didn't struggle so that someone could become a President or a Prime Minister. We have to defend our country and work for the future.


ETAN looks forward to your support. Go to to donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

Web site:

Thursday, 17 September 2009

State President receives Timor-Leste's FM

State President Nguyen Minh Triet on September 15 received Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa, who is on an official visit to Vietnam.

President Triet said that Vietnam is willing to co-operate, provide support and share experiences in the fields of economy, culture, society and poverty reduction with Timor-Leste.

For his part, the Timor-Leste foreign minister said his visit to Vietnam aims to seek specific fields for co-operation between the two countries. He also informed the State President of the results of his talks with his Vietnamese counterpart.

He said the two sides have agreed to accelerate the signing of various agreements and the establishment of a joint committee to lay the foundation for co-operation on development between Vietnam and Timor-Leste.

Apart from promoting economic, scientific and technical, transport, medical and agricultural co-operation, the two sides also agreed to soon sign an agreement on investment promotion and protection so as to boost investment in Timor-Leste, he added.

The minister noted that Timor-Leste welcomes the co-operation between the business communities of the two countries and calls for Vietnam's support for its joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

President Triet suggested that the two countries should create specific activities to introduce their areas of potential and current strengths as well as further promoting bilateral co-operation.

He also confirmed Vietnam's support for Timor-Leste's participation in ASEAN and hoped that it will create favourable conditions for the two countries' co-operation. (VNA)

Vietnam wishes to strengthen ties with Timor-Leste

Vietnam wishes to boost relations and all-round co-operation with Timor-Leste, deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem has said.

During talks with the Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa in Hanoi on September 15, the Vietnamese deputy PM spoke highly of national construction and development in the Southeast Asian country in recent years.

He also affirmed Vietnam's support for Timor-Leste's efforts in national stability, security and social order, as well as in national development.

The Timor-Leste FM praised Vietnam's achievements in its renewal process as well as its implementation of foreign policies and international integration.

The government of Timor-Leste takes Vietnam as a model in terms of national construction and development and looks forward to increased friendship and multifaceted co-operation with the country, he said.

The two sides expressed their pleasure at the development of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries over the last years.

Two-way trade value increased from US$5 million in 2003 to US$56 million in 2008. Notably, the figure climbed to US$71 million in the first seven months of 2009.

The two sides agreed to soon sign framework agreements on economic, cultural and scientific-technology co-operation, encouragement and protection of investment, and rice trading as well as establishing a joint committee between the two countries.

They also stressed the necessity of expanding co-operation to agriculture, fisheries, oil and gas and construction.

The two sides agreed to maintain bilateral co-operation between the two nations at regional and international forums, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the United Nations. (VNA)


Last of Timor-Leste's displaced people are going home

Three years after civil unrest forced over 150,000 Timorese to flee their homes, the last refugee camp in the capital Dili is finally set to close.

It has been 10 years since Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia in a historic referendum. Since then, the road to stability has been precarious, and the eruption of gang violence in 2006 weakened previous peace building efforts.

Emergency response

Plan's response was immediate. Within days Plan had started relief efforts in a camp in Dom Bosco, which gradually grew in size over the weeks. Primarily, Plan focused on child protection systems and early childhood care and development activities, while also promoting health and hygiene issues to children.

Plan was also responsible for the operation, coordination and administration of 12 out of the 45 camps across Dili, where Plan staff facilitated the distribution of food and other essential items, as well as developing water and sanitation facilities.

Road to recovery

Now the country is at a turning point. By the end of the year, the Metinaro camp, the last of the 60 camps set up after the riots, is to close. Is this the first sign that this traumatised nation is finally on the road to recovery?

Much of the violence in 2006 was blamed on youth gangs fighting for a variety of social, economic and political reasons in the post-referendum period. Reintegrating communities back into society is an important part of the country's healing process, but little progress is being made.

Fragile situation

People returning from the camps who find their property destroyed and possessions stolen are blaming those who stayed home during the unrest, exacerbating an already fragile situation.

Many crimes, including arson, property damage and murder, remain unresolved, making it difficult for Timor-Leste to move forward.

"We are calling for justice for the crimes which resulted in the displacement of thousands of families," says Plan Timor-Leste Country Director Susan Smandych. "This will enable people to learn from the past and create the foundations for new and equitable methods of conflict resolution."


ETAN looks forward to your support. Go to to donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

Web site:

Send a blank e-mail message to to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

Winners: John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award for 2009

Saturday, 12 September 2009

11 September 2009 Minister of Social Solidarity Announces Closure of Quarantina and Tasi Tolu Transitional Shelters

On 11 September 2009, the Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernandes Alves, held a press conference at Tasi-Tolu and Quarantina Transitional Shelter sites to announce that the Transitional Shelters are closing in September 2009. 52 families from Quarantina and 53 from Tasi-Tolu Transitional Shelter sites will receive recovery or reintegration packages.

The Minister of Social Solidarity thanked the Camp Managers for their work in the Transitional Shelters over the past two years. She also thanked NRC for providing supporting the management of all the Transitional Shelters with humanitarian assistance, and IOM for assisting the families to return to their homes.

At the press conference the Minister also announced that all the families have now left Metinaro IDP camp, and this last tented IDP camp was officially closed on 22 August 2009.

The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, explained that IDPs living in the Transitional Shelters would receive recovery packages based on the amount of damage to their house. Occupancy of a unit in transitional housing does not automatically entitle residents to the maximum amount of recovery package. Those who had moved into units in the Transitional Shelters are not entitled to receive a recovery or reintegration package.

The Minister of Social Solidarity said “I would like to thank the IDPs, receiving communities, all our partners, the Chefe Sucos and Chefe Aldeias, PNTL and UNPol for helping MSS to successfully implement the National Recovery Strategy and ensuring that IDPs have been able to peacefully reintegrate into their communities. Within one year and a half, working together, we have managed to close all 65 tented IDP camps, and soon we will have closed all four Transitional Shelter sites. I sincerely hope that after the closure of all the camps and Transitional Shelters, the situation in all the receiving communities will continue to remain stable, and that all of you can help contribute to the development of Timor-Leste.”

MSS staff are currently working to resolve the cases of all the registered IDPs living with host families so that they can receive their recovery packages by the end of 2009. No new registrations can be accepted. Those IDPs living with host families must follow the same process as IDPs who lived in camps – that is, their house must be verified to assess the level of destruction sustained in 2006/7, following which the recovery package will be socialised to them. The MSS/UNDP Dialogue Teams continue to assist those who are unable to return because their house is occupied, or because there are ongoing issues with the receiving community, to try to resolve these problems through dialogue.

As a result of the 2006 crisis, more than 150,000 people fled their homes and 65 tented IDP camps in Dili, Baucau and Ermera were established. In late 2007, to provide transitional housing for people leaving the camps, the Norwegian Refugee Council, together with the Ministry of Public Works under the former Government, built six Transitional Shelters in Dili district. Four of the Transitional Shelter sites still house IDPs – Qarantina, Tasi-Tolu, Becora Market, and UNITAL I &II. The government aims to assist the people in these sites to return to their homes by 6 October 2009. With the return of the IDPs from the Transitional Shelters, more than 14,400 IDP families will have received a recovery or reintegration package under the Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru National Recovery Strategy.


ETAN looks forward to your support. Go to to donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

Web site:

Send a blank e-mail message to to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

Winners: John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award for 2009

PNTL resumes responsibilities over the Police Training Academy

11 September 2009, Dili – The Special Representative of tthe Secretary-General of the United Nations for Timor- Leste (SRSG) Atul Khare and Fransisco Guterres the Secretary of State for Security on behalf of Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão today presided over the ceremony marking the resumption of responsibilities by Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) over the Police Training Center (Centro de Formação de Polícia) in Dili.

The Police Training Center is the fourth place, after three Districts, where the PNTL has resumed primary responsibility since the process started in May 2009 in the district of Lautem, and continued in June for the district of Oecussi and in Manatuto in July 2009.

The Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT are jointly implementing the resumption process in a gradual manner – distriict by district, unit by unit. The decision for the PNTL to resume primary responsibility for the Police Training Center was made based on the result of rigorous assessments on the preparedness of PNTL. The assessments were conducted by joint teams comprising representatives of the Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT, including PNTL and UNPOL, using mutually agreed criteria.

The Police Training Center is located in Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste, and is responsible for the training and development of PNTL police officers. The Center receives support from Australia, Japan, and Portugal, as well from the United Nations.



PNTL foti fila fali responsabilidade iha Sentru Formasaun Polísia

11 Setembru 2009, Dili – Reprezentante Espesiál Sekreetáriu-Jerál Nasoins Unidas nian ba Timor-Leste (RESJ) Atul Khare no Francisco Guterres Sekretaru de Estadu ba Seguransa em nome de Primeiru Ministru Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão ohin prezide serimónia ida ne'ebé marka retomada responsabilidade husi Polísia Nasionál Timor-Leste (PNTL) ba Sentru Formasaun Polísia iha Dili.

Sentru Formasaun Polísia mak hanesan fatin ba dahaat, hafoin Distritu tolu, ne’ebé PNTL foti filafali knaar prinsipál nian dezde prosesu ne’e komesa ona iha fulan Maiu 2009 iha Distritu Lautem, no kontínua iha fulan Juñu 2009 ba Distritu Oekusi no Manatutu iha fulan Jullu 2009.

Governu Timor-Leste no UNMIT hamutuk hala’o prosesu foti filafali responsabilidade ne’e liuhosi maneira ida-ne’ebé graduál – kada distritu ba distritu, unidade ba unidade. Desizaun ba PNTL atu foti filafali responsabilidade prinsipál kona-ba polisiamentu iha Sentru Formasaun Polísia nian ne’e hala’o bazeia ba rezultadu avaliasaun ne’ebé rigorozu, kona-ba prontidaun PNTL nian. Avaliasaun ida-ne’e hala’o husi ekipa konjuntu sira ne’ebé komposta husi reprezentante Governu Timor-Leste no UNMIT, inklui mós PNTL no UNPOL, ne'ebé uza kritériu mak aseita hamutuk husi parte hotu.

Sentru Formasaun Polísia situa iha Dili, sidade kapitál Timor-Leste nian, no sentru ne’e mak responsabiliza ba formasaun no dezenvolvimentu ba ofisiál sira PNTL nian. Sentru ne’e hetan tulun husi Austrália, Japaun, no Portugál, no mós Nasoins Unidas.


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John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
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Winners: John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award for 2009

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Timor parliament stops president's travel plans

Members of parliament in East Timor have voted against a request from the president Jose Ramos Horta to travel to the United States - to attend the United Nations general assembly - and then Europe. The East Timorese parliament is required to approve foreign trips by high officials. It's thought the result from this parliamentary vote was a show of opposition to Jose Ramos Horta's stance on certain questions of human rights, including the recent release to Indonesian authorities of Martenus Bere, who is accused of abuses in 1999.

Presenter: Zulfikar Abbany
Speaker: Charlie Scheiner, East Timor Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis, La'o Hamutuk

* Listen: Windows Media

SCHEINER: The real issue is that a week ago, on Sunday August 30th as people here were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the referendum for independence, the president and the prime minister, but I think at the president's initiative arranged for an indicted criminal, a man who has been accused of crimes against humanity, including involvement in the massacre at Suai church which killed more than 30 people and three priests ten years ago last Saturday.

ABBANY: That's Martenus Bere, isn't it?

SCHEINER: Martenus Bere had been arrested by Timor Leste police when he came across the border from Indonesia in the beginning of August, yes, a few days after he came across the border. But because people in Suai recognised him, and they knew that he was responsible for murdering many people in Suai ten years ago. He had been indicted actually in 2003 by the serious crimes unit and there had been a warrant out for his arrest. But along with about 300 other people who were indicted for crimes against humanity and other very serious crimes. He had been protected by the Indonesian Government and was living very publicly in West Timor and when he came across the border, he was arrested and President Ramos Horta for whatever reason decided to violate Timor Leste's Constitution and rule of law and arrange to have him sprung from prison and turned over to the Indonesian ambassador here.

ABBANY: And some people have said that this has come directly through pressure from Indonesia, from Jakarta, is that correct do you think?

SCHEINER: Well, what I've heard and of course I am not privy to these kinds of diplomatic communications is that the foreign minister of Indonesia said he would not come to the party for the referendum if Bere was not released. I am not quite sure why it matters if the foreign minister comes to the party or not. But what I hear from many Timorese people, not of course from the president. Is that, why did we lose 183,000 lives? Why did we fight for 24 years to be an independent country if our president and our leaders are just going to ignore our law and our constitution and do whatever Indonesia asks?

ABBANY: This is what Ramos Horta said himself, he wants action to take place, for East Timor to become a better country. Why did so many people fight for freedom if nothing has been done about the state of the country, whether it is human rights or corruption. So is he backtracking on his own words?

SCHEINER: Well, he's the president. I mean am not sure what releasing and indicted war criminal does in terms of improving the state of peoples lives in the country. Ramos Horta claims or he says he's also a victim, because one of his sisters and two of his brothers were killed by Indonesian troops, which is true. He was not living here at the time, but of course neither was I, so I am not one to judge him for that. But I think he has a capacity for compassion may be as a Nobel Peace Prize winner that most people don't have here and people that live through 24 years of suffering and had almost every family had family killed or tortured or raped. They are not as able to forgive as the president and there is a feeling among many people, especially in Suai, where Martenus Bere was active and where I think the prime minister went today to try to explain things that there needs to be justice and accountability and not just for crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation, but crimes that still go on today and that until the law is applied to powerful people and political people and people with connections to the Indonesian military, this is not going to be a democratic peaceful stable country. The president does not agree with that and I think parliament was showing him that they are more in line with the people than they are with the president.

ABBANY: But this could be seen as just another act of the Opposition using whatever opportunity it can find to unsettle the government or do you think this perhaps could actually cross borders and harm Jose Ramos Horta's reputation internationally even?

SCHEINER: Well, I think he harmed his reputation when he interfered with the judicial system here. But in terms of the Opposition, the Opposition Party Fretilin does not have a majority of votes in parliament, so there must have been at least some members of the government's party's that joined in its vote to deny him permission to travel. But I think this is political debate and it's healthy that there is a political discussion using peaceful means and means of dialogue to try to resolve these kinds of differences. It's not the way it was done ten years ago.

ABC News Off Air

The Two Timors

On my recent trip to East Timor I inevitably ended up having drinks one night with the other correspondents who had flown in to cover the story of the ten-year anniversary of the referendum on independence.

We were all reflecting on East Timor and its progress over the past ten years. A reporter from the Financial Times joined us and had just interviewed East Timor’s Finance Minister.

“It’s the tale of the two Timors,” he said.

“The story depends on who you talk to.”

“You can’t write about both,” another reporter at the table said to him. “So which one are you going to write about?”

I think you can write about both and they're both part of the story so here are my two Timors.

According to the East Timorese Government, the country is making great progress. East Timor’s economy is growing at almost 13 per cent - the second fastest rate in the world. East Timor’s main revenue is from oil and gas. Its petroleum fund has grown to $5 billion and is being managed so it can provide for future generations. There are also billions of dollars flowing to East Timor in the way of international aid yet poverty is still widespread.

Many of the East Timorese I spoke to asked questioned why more isn’t being done to provide clean water to people and to fix up infrastructure such as roads.

At a market in Dili, stall holders say it can be difficult transporting their food from out of town because the roads are in such poor condition.

Laurenca Da Silva says by the time the produce gets here it can be ruined and on those days she can struggle to make ends meet.

Around Dili the complaint from many young men is that they don’t have work.

21-year-old Ilidio Da Silva is one of Dili’s unemployed. He told me he found it hard to join in the anniversary celebrations.

He wants the government to create more jobs and training so young men such as him can participate. He also called on political leaders to refraim from exploiting divisions among East Timorese so that people could remain free.

In 2006 East Timor was in crisis. The International Crisis Group says the root causes go back years to political and ideological divisions within East Timor's Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of East Timor during and before the Indonesian occupation. But the crisis was sparked when a mutiny split East Timor’s army and the police force imploded. The forces were divided internally and against each other. The divisions between officers from the east and west of the country spilled onto the streets of Dili and thousands of people were displaced.

In 2008 the President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot and a coordinated attack was launched on the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Now almost all the internal refugees have returned home, the government has been paying them to leave makeshift camps. East Timor’s President Jose Ramos Horta describes the program as a huge success.

But 25-year-old student Ivo Noel says returning home was hard. Initially he says he wasn’t accepted and his neighbours threw stones.

He says the tensions have eased and his main concern now is that there isn’t a repeat of the violence.

“We must support peace,” he says.

But he warns that the government too has a role.

“The leaders must put more young people into training and school. If everyone is busy and has something to do we won’t be able to cause problems.”

In the past 18 months East Timor has become much more stable but the international community is still responsible for keeping the peace.

East Timor is trying to develop a tourism industry and in the lead up to the anniversary held its first international sporting event – the Tour de Timor.

An Australian airline was a major sponsor, the Northern Territory Government also pledged support yet Australia’s official warning for East Timor says reconsider your need to travel.

From all accounts the Tour de Timor was a success – thousands of East Timorese lined the track to cheer on the cyclists and the event helped put East Timor on the map as a destination for foreign tourists.

President Ramos-Horta says the $90,000 from the public purse for prize money was a worthwhile investment.

Ivo Noel says the Tour de Timor was good because it brought more foreigners to East Timor but he wants to know where the money came from to host the event and if people such as him will benefit.

The referendum anniversary was an interesting time to be in East Timor.

The event sparked a conversation about what type of nation the East Timorese want to live in, it was an opportunity to look forward by looking back. The contradictions playing out in East Timor reflect this tale of ‘two’ countries – the Timor of the past and the Timor of the future.

This anniversary showed that the Timorese are willing to face up to these challenges as they try to realise their hopes and dreams for the future. East Timor is still trying to resolve the tensions between where it is going and where it has been.

Australian jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes:

Grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions are crimes under federal law over which Australian courts have jurisdiction. Section 7(1) of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 (Cth) provides that:

A person who, in Australia or elsewhere, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the Conventions is guilty of an indictable offence. (my emphasis)

“Grave breaches” are those listed below.

Section 7(3) provides that the Act applies to persons regardless of their nationality or citizenship. There is no requirement that the alleged perpetrator be an Australian citizen. Nor is there any requirement that Australia be a Party to the international armed conflict in question, or that Australian citizens be victims of the war crime.

Section 6 (2) of the Act reflects the scheme of universal jurisdiction embodied in the 1949 Geneva Conventions, stating that the Act has “extra-territorial operation according to its tenor”.

Section 10(2) vests federal jurisdiction to prosecute grave breaches committed outside Australia in the State and Territory Supreme Courts.

The International Criminal Court (Consequential Amendments) Act 2002 (Cth) repealed Part II of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 (Cth). This repeal did not affect its previous operation. The Explanatory Memorandum to the 2002 Act confirms the parliament’s intention that war crimes committed under Part II of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 (Cth) prior to its repeal in 2002 can still be prosecuted under that Act as it was then in force.

General legal considerations: an international armed conflict; protected persons; nexus.

An international armed conflict involves: conflict between two or more states; conflict within a state in which a second state intervenes militarily; or conflict within a state in which some of the participants act on behalf of another state.[1]

The existence of an armed conflict does not require a declaration of war or even formal recognition by the parties that a state of armed conflict exists. The test is whether there are actual hostilities on a level that goes beyond a mere internal disturbance. International humanitarian law applies from the initiation of such armed conflicts and extends beyond the cessation of hostilities until a general conclusion of peace is reached. The Indonesian military’s seizure of the village of Batugade on 7th October 1975 triggered an international armed conflict to which the 1949 Geneva Conventions applied.

All relevant national parties (Australia, Indonesia, and Portugal) were signatories to the Geneva Conventions for the duration of the conflict. These Conventions (except Common Article 3) deal with international armed conflict, and apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party. Since Portugal was a party to the Geneva Conventions, they applied to any part of East Timor that was occupied by Indonesia. Territory is considered occupied when it comes under the actual authority of the invading army. This occurs when:

· the occupying power is in a position to substitute its own authority for that of the occupied authorities who have become incapable of functioning properly;

· the enemy forces have been defeated or have withdrawn, although sporadic local resistance may continue;

· the occupying power has a sufficient force present to make its authority felt;

· a temporary administration has been established over the territory; and

· the occupying power has issued and enforced directions to the civilian population.

Indonesia’s control over East Timor increased gradually after the invasion in 1975. From approximately December 1978 until September 1999, Indonesia was in sufficient actual control of the territory to be considered an occupying power. Although resistance continued, it was not sufficient to nullify the state of occupation. The protective provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention applied from the moment the international armed conflict began until the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1272 on 25 October 1999, establishing the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.

Protected Persons: Persons are “protected” under article 4 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War if they “at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”

According to the ICRC Commentary to Article 4, being “in the hands of a Party” is used in an “extremely general sense”. There is no requirement that persons, in order to be considered protected, should have fallen into the power of the enemy or find themselves in the hands of a party to the conflict. The relevant test was applied in the Tadic Trial Chamber: whether, at the time of the offence, the victim was directly taking part in the hostilities, that is, the hostilities in the context of which the alleged offences were committed.

Protected persons enjoy a range of humanitarian protections beyond immediate protection from military attack. The most serious violations of the Convention are regarded as “grave breaches” and constitute war crimes if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention:

· wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;

· wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health;

· unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person;

· compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power;

· wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;

· taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

Nexus: Not every murder is a war crime. It must be committed in the context of and associated with an armed conflict. The killing must be intended by the perpetrator to advance the interests of their military or political group or unit, otherwise it is a domestic crime incidentally committed.

To show a nexus it is not necessary to show that the armed conflict was occurring at the exact time and place of the alleged offence, nor is it necessary that the offence took place during combat, that it was part of a practice of a practice officially endorsed or tolerated by one of the parties to the conflict, or that it was in furtherance of a policy associated with the conduct of war, or even in the interests of a party to the conflict.

[1] Prosecutor v Dusko Tadic, ICTY Case Number IT-94-1, Appeals Chamber Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction, 2 October 1995, para 84

Dr Clinton Fernandes
Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of New South Wales @ ADFA
Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: +61 431 248 426
The standard UNSW disclaimer applies to the contents of this email.

DPA (German Press Agency) - Tue, 09/08/2009 - 09:40 Prime minister defends government pardon of brutal militia leader Submitted by Sahil Nagpal

Covalima, East Timor - East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on Tuesday visited victims of a 1999 massacre to explain the government's decision to free a militia leader involved in the carnage that left about 400 dead.

Gusmao visited Covalima, 170 kilometres south of Dili, to justify the state's decision to release former deputy militia leader Maternus Bere on the 10th anniversary of the Covalima September Massacre.

"The state position is, we have to give our respect to the victims by creating a culture of tolerance and living in peace," Gusmao told relatives of those who died in the brutal attack. "The decision was based on the interests of all people."

Maternus Bere, vice commander of the pro-Indonesian Laksaur militia, has been serving a prison term after being found guilty of homicide, committing sexual violence and torture in the church of Nossa Senhora de Fatima Suai-Covalima on September 6, 1999, one of the worst atrocities in East Timor's bloody struggle for independence from Indonesia.

The government last week decided to free the former militia leader.

The decision has irked victims and relatives, and is raising questions about East Timor's judicial system.

"I don't want to talk about the concrete case of a militia leader but I just want to say that, we are all preoccupied with the legality of Timorese justice," Prosecutor General Ana Pesoa said.

The pardon has also drawn criticism from the head of the opposition Fretilin party, Aniceto Guteres. "We condemn government policy and interference into judicial system. Tens of thousands of victims are waiting for justice and the government must not ignore victims suffering," he said.

In August 1999, 78.5 per cent of the population voted in favour of splitting from Indonesia in a referendum. Indonesia had invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

The occupation caused around at least 100,000 deaths among the 1.1 million East Timorese, caused by killings, diseases and starvation a UN-established truth commission found.

In the referendum's aftermath, Indonesian soldiers and pro-Jakarta militias killed about 1,400 people and injured and maimed many more.

United Nations peace troops, led by Australia, restored order and East Timor became formally independent in 2002. (dpa)

AAP (Australian Associated Press) - September 8, 2009 - 8:04PM

Gusmao attends massacre memorial

East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has confounded critics of his freeing of indicted war criminal Maternus Bere by attending a memorial Mass for Bere's victims.

The country's two Catholic bishops presided at the Mass in the south coast city of Suai on Tuesday, which was attended by an impressive line-up of Gusmao's cabinet, along with several thousand Suai residents.

The prime minister later laid a cross on a monument to three priests who were hacked to death by members of Bere's Laksaur militia unit, run covertly by the Indonesian army.

In February 2003, Bere was indicted by the UN's Serious Crimes Unit on 51 counts of crimes against humanity for murders, enforced disappearances, rapes and torture.

An Interpol warrant is current for his arrest.

After enjoying sanctuary in Indonesian Timor for six years, he was arrested by East Timorese police on August 8 after slipping into Suai to visit relatives.

The controversy began during East Timor's celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the UN-supervised referendum for independence in which voters rejected Indonesia by an overwhelming 78 per cent.

Informed sources said that early on August 30, Indonesian foreign minister Hasan Wirayuda, an invited guest, phoned President Jose Ramos Horta to say he would not come unless Bere was freed into his custody during the visit.

Ramos Horta then contacted Gusmao to effect the release, and the prime minister ordered Dili's prison governor to free him after other officials refused to do so without a judge's order.

Wirayuda flew in to Dili in his private plane to attend the independence celebrations, with Bere being delivered to Dili's Indonesian embassy.

However, it is not clear whether Bere was taken back to Indonesia or is still holed up in the building.

Gusmao travelled to Suai two days before the memorial service, convincing the church to postpone it from September 6, the real anniversary of the day when 200 people were slaughtered at Suai cathedral, to allow him time to explain himself to victims' families.

The apparent result was the absence of any reference to the Bere affair by either church speakers or the prime minister during Tuesday's Mass.

Julio Alves Amaral, 49, a family member, said he was saddened to learn of Bere's release and "a bit angry, but anger doesn't get us anywhere".

His 11-year-old nephew Carlos Soares was killed at Suai cathedral, his body never found, and his daughter Juliana dos Santos (Alola) is the teenage girl kidnapped by a Laksaur commander whose cause has been championed by the prime minister's wife Kirsty Sword.

"I don't agree with Bere's release, but what can we do? The common people can't say anything," he said.

He said the prime minister had told families that Bere was back in Indonesia.

The affair has angered the UN, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay reminding Ramos Horta that Bere's release violated key UN Security Council resolutions as well as his own country's laws.

"I appreciate your government's desire to develop healthy relations with Indonesia," she said. "However, I trust that you will appreciate that your government should not avoid its international obligations in the name of bilateral cooperation."

Suai Commemorates Massacre, no Justice Achieved Another one by Sarmento Wargas from Lautem, Los Palos

Suai – The 10th Celebration of the ‘Black September’ Massacre in Suai is attended by approximately 1000 people including prime minister of Timor Leste, government members, parliament members, ambassadors and some other internationals, on Tuesday morning (8/9/09).

Francisco da Costa, a survivor of the massacre ten years ago who saw the killing of the three priests and other civilians, is also in attendance. He said that as a victim and family of the victims, he is happy because the ceremony is successfully done, but also unsatisfied because he couldn’t hear anything important about justice from the leaders during the ceremony.

Justice has been the main concern of the people in Suai. They have been pursuing the justice for all the victims’ families, but everything seems to have no hint.

“We will always fight for justice. Back in the days we said, Death or Alive, Independence. But now we say death or alive, we will struggle for justice,” Francisco said.

The decision to release Marternus Bere, former commander of Indonesian army-backed Laksaur militia, by the ministry of justice upon the order of the prime minister is believed to be due to pressure placed on the Timorese leaders by the Indonesian government, according to the press release of the National Union Party on Monday (7/9/09).

“You also know, for me, this is a tough decision to make but just because of my concern about the future of the nation, the future of its people, I think that the decision has to be made,” said Lucia Lobato, Minister of Justice.

The decision has become a hot topic for many people in the country. Arsenio Bano, a parliament member from the opposition party said, “It looks like there is no rule of law, there is no respect for the victims and respect for the constitution of this country.”

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