Monthly Archives: April 2007

Call to investigate suspected killer’s election role

A disgraced Timor-Leste (East Timor) army sergeant recommended for prosecution in connection with the shooting deaths of several people, has emerged as a prominent member of Jose Ramos Horta’s presidential election campaign team.

Vicente da Conceição (alias Railos) is a principal campaigner for Ramos Horta in Liquiça. Amongst the campaign activities which he has undertaken include being seen by FRETILIN local militants in the Suco of Vatuboro meeting with local voters and promoting Ramos Horta, District of Liquiça, he helped to mobilized villagers in the Liquiça district for Ramos Horta’s campaign rally in Liquiça town on the 24th of March 2007 and held a rally in support of Ramos Horta’s candidacy in Fatukesi on Good Friday, which was witnessed by FRETILIN militants.

In recent weeks Railos has moved openly around Dili an around Eremera and Liquiça Districts in a white Pajero 4WD (registration number 15-013) since the first round campaigning began, accompanied by a uniformed Timor-Leste National Police officer.

FRETILIN-backed Presidential candidate Francisco Guterres Lu Olo today called on Ramos Horta to explain his close connection with Railos and foreshadowed an investigation into Ramos Horta’s apparent interference in the prosecution investigation into Railos.

Railos, who was dismissed from the Timor-Leste army (F-FDTL) in 2004 for misappropriation of funds, was recommended for prosecution by the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry last October.

The UN Commission recommended Railos be prosecuted for his role in leading an attack on an F-FDTL barracks at Taci Tolu/Tibar on 24 May 2006 in which as many as nine people were killed, and for “the illegal possession, use and movement” of weapons.

Railos is known to have visited the office of the Prime Minister as late as last Monday (April 23), though in the absence of Ramos Horta. Timorese journalists report that Railos met with the Prime Minister’s United Nations-funded “Advisor on Investment”, Chris Santos an Australian national. Santos has refused to comment to journalists on the reason for the visit or the substance of the conversations between himself and Railos.

There is believed to be an outstanding arrest warrant issued against Railos but strangely it has not yet been executed.

Lu Olo said today that if elected he would move to have a joint parliamentary and presidential commission investigate political interference with the Prosecutor General’s Office in relation to investigation process involving alleged crimes committed by Railos. 2

“I am concerned about statements made to the press by the Prosecutor General regarding the investigation process into Railos,” Lu Olo said.

Lu Olo referred to a report in the Dili newspaper Jornal Diário on Wednesday 25 April quoting the Prosecutor General as saying that Railos would be called before the Prosecutor who has carriage of the investigation to give a statement with respect to the allegations against him, but that this would only occur “after the Presidential elections”.

Earlier this month on 16 April Jornal Diário also reported comments by Ramos Horta, in response to a reporter’s question, which suggested that Railos could not yet be called before the prosecuting authorities because he was undertaking work as a mediator with army mutineers the so-called petitioners.

Jornal Diário quoted Ramos Horta as saying in reference to Railos: “The Prosecutor General of the Republic is the one who knows about this case because of this Railos is currently strongly supporting attempts to hold dialogue with the petitioners. I have contacted Railos and all the others who know that he will be speaking with the petitioners and help in the dialogue with the F-FDTL.”

Then on 24 April Ramos Horta announced that if elected President he would order the Prosecutor General to re-open his investigation of events in May-June last year.

Lu Olo said today: “In light of recent statements by Ramos Horta declaring his intention to intervene with the Prosecutor General’s investigation into a criminal case, which also involves Railos as the principal witness, I have to ask why Railos will not be called for questioning until after the election? Has the Prosecutor General been under any other pressure from my opponent when exercising his function as Prime Minister or been subject to pressure from anyone else to delay bringing Railos before the prosecuting authorities for questioning?”

Lu Olo stressed he was not alleging improper conduct by the Prosecutor General. “The Prosecutor General has proven by his public statements in recent days that he understands the independence of his office in this case. However, we all know pressure can be brought on the Prosecutor General in all sorts of ways, for example by the statements by my opponent declaring his close relationship with and trust in Railos.

“We are also entitled to ask whether this has anything to do with Railos being a principal campaigner for my opponent in the Liquiça and Ermera districts.

“I believe we have gone nowhere near the roots of this issue. For the sake of the future of our justice system, we have to find answers to this sordid affair. It seems one man has been put above the legal process and the law.

“It becomes clearer to us all each day what sort of justice people can expect in Timor-Leste if Ramos Horta were to be elected President. It would be a system of selective justice, just as it was in Suharto’s time, when the President would say who would or would not be investigated or prosecuted. I for one will struggle to prevent our nation from returning to that time in our history,” said Lu Olo.

Lu Olo has previously called on his opponent to “respect the Constitution and laws of Timor-Leste” by respecting the independence of the justice institutions, especially the courts and Prosecutor General.

“The Prosecutor General, his deputy and others in our justice system have shown great maturity and courage in defending their institutional independence against attacks on it by my opponent. They have shown themselves to have a deeper understanding and commitment to our constitution and laws than my opponent has shown,” said Lu Olo.

“I want them to know that as President I will move quickly with the Parliament, government and development partners to adequately fund and strengthen the courts and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

“Only by showing such solidarity will we guarantee the independence and transparency of these institutions so vital to our nation’s future. It is fortunate that my opponent has made these ill informed comments because it has enabled all concerned to know every clearly the differences between myself and my opponent.”

Lu Olo said he was happy with the support given to his statements by members of parliament including Vicente Guterres (Christian Democratic Party/Christian Democratic Union) and the Deputy Provedor (Ombudsman) for Human Rights and Justice, Silverio Pinto.

“It seems everyone except my opponent understands that the independence of the Prosecutor General and his Office is a central pillar of our justice system,” said Lu Olo.

For more information contact:

Harold Moucho (Lu Olo’s political adviser) (+670) 723 0048 (Dili)

Jose Manuel Fernandes (Lu Olo’s official election representative) (+670) 734 2174 (Dili)

http://www.luolobapresidente.blogspot.com, http://luolo.blogspot.com, http://www.timortruth.com

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FRETILIN demands code of conduct is observed

FRETILIN Deputy Secretary General José Manuel Fernandes today called on Presidential candidate Jose Ramos Horta to respect the election code of conduct and desist from making unsubstantiated and offensive personal attacks.

“Timor-Leste does not need to copy western media politics”, said Fernandes. “We had an excellent debate on television last night, where people were able to judge for themselves on the differences between the candidates.”

“I am sad that a high profile candidate like Mr. Horta accuses people without any evidence. We can see what he is doing. In the debate yesterday, he tried to discredit me, a clear sign he does not respect the code of conduct, not to insult people. He also called a press conference at his house in Metiau, shown on television after yesterday afternoon’s television debate, to try to grab the headlines and distract people from the issues with unsubstantiated allegations. He accuses so-called FRETILIN radical groups, but doesn’t say who they are.”

Fernandes continued: “Mr Horta said he had reported what he heard to the President of the Republic and to UNMIT Head of Mission. Why doesn’t he use our own laws and institutions to have such maters properly invesitgated before saying them in public as if they are true?”

FRETILIN calls on Mr Horta to stick to the issues, said Fernandes. “What are his policies? What are his qualities? Why does he want to change to law on the petroleum fund? Why does he not sign a declaration of his personal interests? How can a future president associate himself with armed groups operating outside the law?”

For more information contact:

Jose Manuel Fernandes (+670) 734 2174 (Dili) Arsenio Bano (+670 733 9416)

Indicted Indonesian General Leads Joint Military Exercise with U.S.

April 26, 2007 – The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)today condemned the participation of Indonesian Major General Noer Muis in a joint U.S.-Indonesia military exercise this week. General Muis has been indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor.

Photos of the general with U.S. Army, Pacific commander Lt. General John M Brown III are featured on the U.S. Army, Pacific website (http://www.usarpac.army.mil/news/GS2007/CGCheckProgress.htm) where Muis is described as co-director of a “command post” exercise, Garuda Shield, now taking place in West Java. It is scheduled to run from April 16-27.

“General Muis belongs in a courtroom, not a joint U.S.-Indonesia command center. The Bush administration has repeatedly stated that it supports accountability for the horrendous crimes committed in East Timor in 1999. Working with an accused mastermind of those crimes is a funny way to show it,” said John M. Miller, ETAN’s National Coordinator.

“That the U.S. Army should so proudly feature General Muis on its website, demonstrates the meaningless of administration pledges of vetting to keep Indonesian officers accused of human rights crimes from U.S. training programs and other direct cooperation,” said Miller.

“This is further evidence that the administration’s short-sighted rush to expand assistance to an unaccountable Indonesian military sacrifices human rights,” he added.

Muis was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity by Indonesia’s Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in 2003 for his role in brutal
attacks on East Timor’s Dili Diocese, East Timorese Bishop Belo’s house and the Suai Church massacre in September 1999. His conviction and sentence of five years were overturned on appeal in that widely discredited process, in which all but one conviction was overturned.

A colonel at the time, Colonel Muis (variously spelled Nur Muis and Noer Moeis) became local military commander in East Timor two weeks prior to the August 30, 1999 independence referendum. In that capacity, he bears major responsibility for the atrocities committed by his troops and their militia proxies. Just before the referendum results were announced, he described contingency plans to evacuate up to a quarter-million East Timorese from their homeland, a plan that was soon forcibly implemented.

On February 24, 2003, Muis was indicted with other senior officers by the UN-backed serious crimes process in East Timor. The indictment states that Muis “failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the crimes being committed by his subordinates and he failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish perpetrators of those crimes,” despite being “repeatedly informed” of those crimes. At least 1400 people died, hundreds of thousands were forcibly displaced, and most of East Timor’s infrastructure was destroyed as the Indonesian military punished East Timor for its pro-independence vote.

Muis is currently commander of the 1st Infantry Division of the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad).

Additional information about Muis’s role in 1999 can be found in the Masters of Terror database: http://www.villagechief.com/mot/Nur%20Muis.htm.

ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
For more information see ETAN’s web site: http://www.etan.org.

Ramos-Horta spins electoral scullduggery

17 APRIL 2007

PRIME MINISTER DEMANDS INVESTIGATION
ON ABUSIVE POLLING STATIONS ACCESS

Prime Minister Dr. Ramos-Horta learnt through the
media that “several members of the government and
other senior state officials got unrestricted
access passes to the polling areas from the
official Technical Administrative Electoral
Secretariat (STAE)”, during the first round of
the presidential election. These type of pass –
so called “Livre Acesso” – is not covered by the electoral regulations.

According to the reports which were never
contradicted by the relevant electoral authority,
“11 general access passes were requested by the office of the Prime Minister”.

The Prime Minister informs that a request was
never made to issue access passes to the polling
areas by him nor by his office at all.
Furthermore, he did not authorize anyone to request the passes.

Dr. Ramos-Horta expresses his preoccupation for
these facts indicate that the office of the Prime
Minister, without either his knowledge or the
knowledge of his Chief of Staff, was improperly used to obtain the passes.

The Prime Minister decided that this serious
matter must be investigated in order to find out
on what grounds the passes to the polling areas
were issued and who requested them.

Moreover, the people of Timor-Leste deserve an
explanation by the competent authority about the
reason why members of the government might need
unrestricted access to polling stations on polling day.

The integrity of the election and the credibility
of all its agents require urgent elucidation of
this issue. The workings of public services
competent to organize elections as well as of all
State institutions need to be transparent to the public. –

ENDS.

Fretilin will not initiate violence if it loses elections, Alkatiri says

Fretilin will not initiate violence if it loses elections, Alkatiri says

Though he is no longer the prime minister of Timor Leste, Mari
Alkatiri — the secretary general of the country’s largest political
party Fretilin — is an influential political figure. The Jakarta
Post’s Abdul Khalik interviewed Alkatiri on Saturday in Dili. The
following are excerpts from the interview.

Question: How do you evaluate the presidential election so far?

Answer: It has passed very quietly although a lot of intimidation
took place in some places, including in Dili. We (Fretilin) have been
accused of intimidation. But in reality, we were intimidated by
others in Dili, Liquica, Ermera and Bobonaro. But this is no time to
make such claims and create difficulties for the country. We have
decided to accept the results, and we will be ready for the second
round. We are still confident that we will win the presidency.

What about accusations of fraud against Fretilin?

These accusations are completely baseless. There are a lot of
international officials and observers monitoring the CNE and STAE
(the bodies handling the election). So how can such claims be made?
We could even accuse CNE of fraudulent behavior because its spokesman
has not been neutral.

Many people said we would not accept the results, and now we have
accepted the results, they are accusing us of fraud.

How do you expect to win the run-off when most losing candidates are
likely to unite behind Ramos-Horta?

That is not certain. Even if the losing candidates can get together
(to support Ramos-Horta), their supporters may change their minds. I
am sure that a lot of them will vote for Mr. Lu ‘Olo (Francisco
Guterres Lu ‘Olo).

International media and observers seem to think it was members of
Fretilin who initiated the recent violence. Do you have a comment on this?

Again, these accusations are baseless. On the contrary, we have been
the victims of violence since April last year despite the fact that
we refrained from violence. That is why the country is stable. I
decided to resign from the post of prime minister last year to avoid
violence and bloodshed in this country. We have proven during the
last 10 months that we have refrained from violence. However, a lot
of provocation is coming from other groups against our people. Now
that we are close to victory, there is no reason to start violence.

What if Fretilin loses? Will there be any violence?

It is completely wrong to think that we will initiate violence if we
lose the election. But I don’t think other groups will accept the
result if they lose the election.

What did actually happen during your term as prime minister?

Problems that we face in this country come from the top. The
situation between President Xanana (Gusmao) and myself as the prime
minister had worsened and although we tried to avoid it, eventually
it was not possible. They wanted me out of the government. If there
was a president from Fretilin and a parliament predominately made up
of Fretilin members, we could create stability. We could send a clear
message to the people that there would no longer be conflict within
the government. We are going to work together in solidarity with the
institutions so the country can return to normal.

What will happen if Fretilin either loses the presidency or control
of the parliament?

If Fretilin wins the presidency but loses the parliamentary elections
there will be problems between the government and the parliament. But
our presidential candidate will work with the government and the
prime minister. We don’t know what it will be like if the opposite
occurs. It would be difficult to deal with Ramos-Horta because he is
a man without a plan and a vision. He has ideas and goodwill but no
plans. I am a friend of Ramos-Horta. I know him very well. But even I
think he would be worse than Xanana in this position. Anyway, we will
try to cooperate if he wins because there is no other option. It is
the decision of the people.

Will you run for the post of prime minister to challenge Xanana?

No, I am not considering running for the post of prime minister.
Someone else from the party will run. I will lead the party during
the parliamentary elections but this doesn’t mean I will become prime minister.

What would a Fretilin-led government do?

First of all, we would create a safe environment for the people of
this country and send refugees back to their respective homelands. We
would resolve the problems of Maj. Alfredo Reinado (influential rebel
leader). We would prioritize making the police force more
professional and not politicized. We have been accused of
politicizing the police force. But in 2006 when the conflict started
between the military and police, there were still 160 international
police advisors in the country. What were they doing? We also need to
establish a clear policy on the army, which would stop them fighting
with the police. Then we could develop the country, create jobs,
invest in infrastructure, telecommunications, power and particularly
in education and health.

What about oil money from the Timor Gap?

Of course we will use that money. The law on that money is very
clear, and it was adopted unanimously by all. How can we bring
development to the country if we don’t use that money? But actually
you can’t just distribute the oil money to the people. We don’t want
to hold on to the money for nothing when the country needs to invest
in infrastructure, education and health. We’ve successfully avoided
debt although we have been under pressure to go to the World Bank or
IMF. However, if we can manage to get money on easy terms then we
will use that rather than our own money. It’s completely wrong also
to accuse us of not being transparent in managing money while every
month we have presented a report to the public.

What about future relations between Timor Leste and Indonesia?

We need Indonesia as you are our closest neighbor. We still feel good
things about Indonesia and we need to resolve all pending issues with
the country. Timor Leste is a very small country in between giants.
We need to play a role in bringing everybody together and stopping
conflict. This is the only way for small countries to survive. It is
totally wrong to say that Fretilin would prioritize Portugal or Mozambique.

————————————

The Jakarta Post Monday, April 16, 2007

Timor Leste election was free and fair: South Africa

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The atmosphere in Dili during the election campaign and at the time
of voting was calm and peaceful and both were in accordance with
electoral regulations, South Africa’s observer mission said last week.

The South African government sent a four-member election observer
mission to Timor Leste. The team was led by the South African
Ambassador to Indonesia, who is also accredited to Timor Leste,
Griffiths Mandlenkosi Memela.

“In the voting stations visited by the South African mission, the
voting process was well organized, with electoral officers adhering
to the operating schedule as prescribed in the election manual,” the
mission said in a press release sent to The Jakarta Post last week from Dili.

Despite earlier concerns about the possibility of a resurgence of
violence during the elections, the release said, the atmosphere at
voting stations was calm and no incidents of harassment, violence or
victimization were reported.

“Voters were generally well behaved, demonstrating maturity and
readiness to exercise their choice, free from any undue influence.

“Electoral officers and party officials were disciplined and vigilant
throughout the process, creating an atmosphere that was conducive for
voters to exercise their democratic rights to elect a candidate of
their choice,” the mission said.

According to the release, United Nations Police units were deployed
at voting stations and International Stabilization Force (ISF)
personnel were visible and patrolled the streets to ensure law and
order without intimidating voters and interfering with the election process.

“Based on the observations made in the foregoing, the observer
mission concludes that the presidential elections held on April 9,
2007, were free and fair, and that the results will be a true
reflection of the will of the people of Timor-Leste,” the mission said.

The mission thanked the government of Timor-Leste for extending an
invitation to South Africa to send observers. The mission also
commended the National Election Commission, United Nations Mission in
Timor Leste (UNMIT) and the Timor Leste people for delivering a
successful election process.

The Jakarta Post Monday, April 16, 2007

Missing Ballot boxes

Although observers quote the election in East Timor as being ‘conducted in an orderly manner ‘ problems have emerged. 95 ballot boxes containing hundreds of uncounted votes have been discovered, mainly in Dili.

Concerns have also been raised that no voting provision were provided in remote rural areas, and that many voting stations ran out of ballot papers.

In the run up to the Presidential election violence increased in Dili, and Fretilin rallies were attacked. There are fears that intimidation may have dissuaded some from voting.

Lidia Tindle
Tyneside Solidarity.

Fretilin leaders visit victims of violence and urge restraint

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media Release

Friday 6 April 2007

Fretilin leaders visit victims of violence and urge restraint

Fretilin today (Friday) renewed its appeal to its supporters and supporters of all other political parties to avoid violence in the lead up to and following East Timor’s presidential election on Monday.

In a joint statement, Fretilin-backed presidential candidate Francisco Guterres Lu Olo and party General Secretary Mari Alkatiri expressed sympathy to victims of violence regardless of political party affiliation.

The party called on supporters to respond to violence “with a high degree of tolerance and restraint” as Fretilin leaders visited victims of politically motivated violence in hospital.

The statement said about 40 Fretilin supporters have been taken to hospitals in Dili, Gleno and Baucau since Wednesday.

“We believe also that supporters of other parties are victims of this violence. We are sad that this has happened and wish them all a speedy recovery,” the statement said.

“We condemn every act of violence against any citizens independent of their political party affiliation. Fretilin militants have known how to show their maturity over the last 12 months of the crisis, responding to violence with a high level of tolerance and restraint. We are going to maintain this position.

“Violence is a weapon of those who don’t want democracy, that is why they do not respect its rules.”

General Secretary Alkatiri and National Political Commission member Estanislau Da Silva, who is First Deputy Prime Minister, offered party assistance to injured Fretilin supporters during a visit to Dili’s Guido Valadores national hospital today.

Among the victims visited was an eight-month-old baby girl, Jessica Quintao Lima, who was hit in the head with a stone during an attack on Fretilin supporters in Dili on Wednesday. Jessica is now out of intensive care but doctors said she might still be evacuated to Darwin for treatment when it is safe to move her.

The Fretilin delegation also met Daniel de Deus Maia, shot in the back with an “Ambon arrow”, a steel dart fired from a slingshot. He was among 16 Fretilin supporters injured in an ambush of a Fretilin convoy heading home to Ermera from the Dili rally on Wednesday.

One victim of the Ermera attack, Jacinto de Jesus, remains in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

For further information contact:

Jose Manuel Fernandes (Lu Olo’s official representative) (+670) 734 2174(Dili)

Harold Moucho (Lu Olo’s political adviser) (+670) 725 2016 (Dili)

Mari Alkatiri (+670) 733 2360 (Dili); Estanislau Da Silva (+670) 733 5062 (Dili)

Arsenio Bano: (+670) 733 9416 (Dili); Paulo Araujo (+61) 424 413 525 (Darwin, Australia)