Monthly Archives: October 2008

AusGov: Senate Question on Guy Campos

Senate Question Time

Monday Oct 13 2008

Guy Campos

BROWN, Senator Bob James, Tasmania

Leader of the Australian Greens

Senator BOB BROWN (2.26 pm) – My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Evans. I refer to Guy Campos, the East Timorese alleged criminal who came to Australia for World Youth Day. Is it a fact that Mr Campos was convicted of being involved in the bashing to death of an innocent 11-year-old boy and sentenced to three years jail, a sentence which he did not serve? Is it also a fact that he was involved in sending many East Timorese patriots to their deaths during occupation? When did the government become aware of these facts? What action has the government taken about Mr Campos, and will the government ensure that he does not leave this country until these matters are thoroughly investigated?

EVANS, Senator Chris Vaughan, Western Australia2

ALPMinister for Immigration and Citizenship

Senator CHRIS EVANS ­ I thank Senator Brown for the question. I am aware of the reports in the media about Mr Guy Campos, and they have been referred to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. First of all, I cannot confirm the allegations Senator Brown has made. They are very serious allegations, and I have no proof of those. In fact, one of them I was not aware of until he just stated it­but, as I say, these are allegations.

We treat allegations of noncitizens in Australia being involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity extremely seriously­I think the whole parliament has. In line with established whole-of-government processes, the department of immigration refers any allegations of involvement by noncitizens in Australia in war crimes or human rights violations to the AFP and other relevant authorities for further investigation.

Any person who applies for a visa to come to Australia undergoes a range of character checks. These checks were carried out in relation to Mr Campos. At the time that Mr Campos was granted a visa, the department was not aware of Mr Campos being wanted for, charged with or convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity. My department has referred the allegations against Mr Campos to the AFP and other relevant agencies for evaluation and continues to actively assist them to progress the case. The investigation into these allegations is ongoing. Obviously, though, I cannot say anything about the veracity of the claims made other than to say that these allegations have been made.

Senator BOB BROWN­Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer and I ask the minister: will he assure the Senate that Mr Campos does not leave the country before those investigations are complete? And I ask the minister: if I send him, this afternoon, the Channel 7 program covering the matter, will he view the record in which Mr Campos admits to being involved in the bashing to death of an 11-year-old boy whose only crime was that he did not have information about the whereabouts of Fretilin operatives during the occupation by the Indonesian military? And can the minister give this chamber an assurance that the case of the sister of this boy, who now lives in this country, will be heard before Mr Campos leaves the country?

Senator CHRIS EVANS­I thank Senator Brown for the supplementary question. The information regarding the allegations about Mr Campos has all been referred to the AFP. The AFP are responsible for investigating those claims and, no doubt, they will do so thoroughly. In terms of the question about Mr Campos’s capacity to leave the country, I understand that he has applied for another visa to stay, which probably indicates that he is not intending to flee, but, nevertheless, I will take on notice and ask the Minister for Home Affairs, responsible for the AFP, what the situation is in relation to any intention to depart. I just do not know that; I will take that on notice.

Senator BOB BROWN (Tasmania­Leader of the Australian Greens) (3.27 pm)­I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Senator Evans) to a question without notice asked by Senator Bob Brown today relating to Mr Guy Campos.

It was drawn to my attention at the end of last week that Mr Guy Campos was in Australia on a visa issued to enable him to come to World Youth Day when the Pope visited Australia some months ago. I had not been aware of the reportage on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program by James Thomas of previous activities by Mr Campos, but I am now­and the matter alarms me greatly.

On the fact of it, the allegations are that Mr Campos was a collaborator with the Indonesian military’s occupation of East Timor over many years. Amongst other things, the allegations are that he pointed out East Timorese patriots who had the courage to be defending their country’s interest during that occupation, and that a number of these people pointed out by Mr Campos­and the number goes into at least double figures­were taken off to summary execution.

There are further allegations that Mr Campos was involved in the torture of East Timorese patriots­and I mean directly involved. This included the application of electric shocks and water torture to prisoners in torture camps and cells in Dili and perhaps elsewhere in East Timor. There is a specific and verifiable claim that, when an 11yearold boy who had been in the bush in East Timor came to Dili, he was taken under control, effectively, by Mr Campos and consequently beaten to death. It was allegedly required of this boy that he give information about Fretilin’s activities in the bush.

What the program has shown is Mr Campos admitting to at least being present when that boy was beaten to death. Mr Campos says that he later called for a doctor. Whatever the case, he was apparently convicted by the then judicial system and sentenced to three years jail for the beating to death of this hapless little boy, who either did not know anything or, with extraordinary courage, refused to give any information about the Fretilin activities at the time.

These are very grave allegations about very serious and criminal activities by a man who is present in the country. He came here on a visa, the application for which, I presume, would have required him to say whether or not he had a conviction for a criminal offence. I am pleased that Senator Evans has informed the chamber that the Australian Federal Police is now investigating these matters. I have furnished the minister with copies of the programs in which these allegations are made and in which Mr Campos is interviewed and makes the specific admissions regarding the death of the 11-year-old boy. It is extraordinarily important that we do not lightly harbour people who are convicted of or who are under allegation of such ferocious and inhumane activities which, if they had happened in our country, would lead to the full force of the law but which, on the face of it, breach international covenants protecting the rights of citizens in a country like East Timor.

I intend to raise this matter in estimates next week, and to pursue it. I am alarmed that the man might leave the country before investigations have been completed. I am pleased that the minister has given assurances, as he did during question time, that he is looking at the matter. It is a matter of great alarm and, as Australians committed to a decent go for people, it is a matter that we cannot allow to escape justice in this country.

Question agreed to.

Frontal assault journalism

Journalism and journalists have always been a crucial component of East
Timor’s history and politics. The assault against journalists in October
1975 was a precondition to the invasion and occupation of the country.

In the current environment, the threat to good journalism inside East
Timor may not come from military force but from the use of the courts to
quash stories in the name of privacy. The public interest in publishing
stories such as this one definitely outweighs any privacy concerns.
After all, the newspaper in question did not reveal details of the
subject’s private life – only commercial dealings were covered.

Section 41 of the TL Constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of the
press, which comprises “freedom of speech and creativity for
journalists, access to information sources, editorial freedom,
protection of independence and professional confidentiality”.

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation recommended
(Recommendation 3.5 of the Executive Summary) that

3.5.3. Publishers, journalists and all sections of the media recognise
that their role is vital to
effective citizenship in Timor-Leste and that their over-riding
professional responsibility
is to provide independent and accurate news, information and alternative
points of view
on significant public issues to all sections of East Timorese society.

And

3.5.4. The media, institute an annual award for investigative journalism
carried out by an East
Timorese journalist and that this award be given in honour of
journalists who lost their
lives in Timor-Leste in the service of the truth during the period
1974-1999.

Therefore: regardless of which media organisation one works for (and
especially if one is not a journalist), it’s important to defend the
freedom of the press from what is likely to be a fierce counter-attack
as a result of this story.

CF

________________________________

Sent: Tuesday, 14 October 2008 1:32 AM
Subject: Frontal assault journalism

The Dili Insider

http://thediliinsider.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A True Revolution

There is now a new blog out.

It is an online Version of the Tempo Semanal.

http://www.temposemanaltimor.blogspot.com/

Frontal assault journalism….. Whoa.

It seems that the Minister of Justice gave contracts on prison guard
uniforms, and Becora prison rehabilitation to friends AND even herself,
and this just a week after her husband caught out with $3.5 million
letter of credit from the Government in order to perform on a Government
contract……?? See
http://temposemanaltimor.blogspot.com/2008/10/mina-edtl-guvernu-hili-pre
su-pualaka.html to read all about it.

Who are these people. See
http://thediliinsider.blogspot.com/2008/08/back-in-good-old-days.html
for a little background.

Amusing thing is that the Grand Old Man of PSD is very upset with one of
his most senior most ministers in Goverment allegedly becoming a common
criminal… Minister of Justice no less.

Hats off to the press. Seems the media has made a big jump.

East Timor sells off its artefacts, history – Feature

DPA

Dili -Last week on eBay a search for East Timor would have come up with a black, wooden, hand-carved statue of a male, not quite a metre high. At 150 US dollars it was by far the most expensive object from East Timor, and one might have wondered why. Perhaps it was only a replica of a centuries-old sacred clan totem believed to represent ancestors. Or, maybe it was the real thing.

Either way, it’s gone now.

In East Timor, one of the poorest countries in Asia, everything -even the sacred – has a dollar value. With poorly enforced protection laws foreign sales of Timorese artefacts are not rare on eBay. Though eBay isn’t the only way Timor loses its history.

Peter Lape, the curator of archaeology of the Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle, has been making trips back and forth to Timor since 2002. Through his field work studying early rock art and fortified settlements and the work of a handful of others it has been established that East Timor has been peopled for at least 40,000 years and likely well before then.

Today, a number of archaeologists believe that the first Australians, Timor’s southern neighbour, were in fact Timorese.

“I was drawn to Timor-Leste because it is historically important to the region and the world,” Lape said. “It was a place of earliest human migrations from Africa to Australia and New Guinea.”

As the centre of this Asia-Pacific crossroads, Timor is an important key in the history of human migration, “when we know more about these early Timorese then we will know more about the early settlers of Australia.”

Lape has been questioning: Why is Timor-Leste so different from Indonesia, and especially Maluku? How have people adapted to Timor-Leste’s unique climate and geography?

But to answer these questions is a race against time and progress. In 1999 East Timor broke free after 24 years of Indonesian occupation. It was an occupation known for its secrecy. Westerners, feared to be spies, journalists or pro-Timorese activists, were not especially welcome in the province. Much archaeological work was put on pause during those years.

Now, trying to catch up, Lape says he can see valuable sites disappear as the country opens up to the world and readjusts itself after 24 years of conflict.

“Sites are everywhere, but people often don’t recognize them when they are building things – or if they do, only after it is too late to save them,” he said.

Since 2005 Lape has been studying the ruins of a 5,000-year-old village at the eastern tip of the island. The site is as far from Dili, East Timor’s capital, as one can get – there is no phone service, electricity or internet, but only jungle and sea, fishing villages and farmland.

In these parts the biggest threat to preservation is not eBay – it’s the locals.

“The site I worked on in Ira Ara, for example, was already half destroyed because people had been digging away at it to get stones and soil to build a small chapel,” he said.

The Timorese government is responding to these threats. In August most of the districts in which Lape works were dedicated as the Nino Konis Santana National Park – East Timor’s first.

Pedro Pinto, the director of the park, said the government is making an effort to protect everything it can through better local awareness and management.

“We are preparing a plan for management of the [archaeological] sites,” Pinto said. “This will be a guide to preserving the sites for future managers.”

In August Pinto hired Adelino Rogario to conduct awareness trainings for the 10,000 estimated Timorese living within the national park.

Unlike national parks in many developed countries which are empty of villages, East Timor’s national park is speckled throughout with isolated collections of thatched huts. Rogario said those communities, scattered across mountain, marsh and jungle, are needed.

The park is 126,000 hectares big and is currently overseen by only a handful of forest guards. So Rogario conducts his trainings to get communities on board as a vital first line of protection.

“These sites are something valuable to the Timorese, something which is ours,” said Rogario. “But first we must protect, then conserve and then promote.”

That is, once the sites are found. Rogario said that he estimated there are many archaeologically important sites still nestled in mountain crags or smothered by the virgin lowland rainforest.

Even as Timor seeks to protect these wild, historically vital areas, the country is eager to develop.

In the middle of the district is a large lake that has been picked as the site for a hydroelectric power plant and each year the nation spends more on roads and bridges which bring jobs to impoverished local economies and perhaps later, hundreds of tourists.

Preserving the past is a race against the future, Lape said. Tourists can bring poorly planned development schemes and, too often, looters of archeological sites.

“Looting of objects for sale has been a growing problem in South-East Asia, during Indonesian times and even now, many cultural objects were stolen and sold on the global antiquities market,” said Lape.

Nuno Oliveira, an advisor to the secretary of state for culture, is leading a team of Timorese across the country armed with GPS devices with which he says they will collect data on sites of historical and cultural significance and store it online.

The locations of the oldest, most sacred places in Timor will be recorded and then the sites will be assessed in terms of importance to the community and antiquity, among other criteria.

But Oliveira is a realist and he said despite his work change is slow and in coming years even more sites could be destroyed or badly damaged. It gives his work urgency.

“At least we’ll have some information out there, before this stuff is destroyed forever,” he said.

Copyright, respective author or news agency

Increasing corruption detrimental to Timor-Leste’s selection for the Millennium Challenge Account

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media Release
15 October 2008

“The increasing levels of corruption in the de facto government of
Prime Minister Jose Alexandre Gusmao is proving detrimental to
Timor-Leste’s prospects for obtaining funding from the Millenium
Challenge Account,” said Aniceto Guterres, the leader of the
parliamentary bench of Timor-Leste’s largest party FRETILIN.

Guterres’ comments were made following the release of a report by the
Centre for Global Development “Which countries make the FY2009
corruption cut? A preview into round 6 of Millennium Challenge
Account Country Selection” (see:
http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/205642/).

The report analyses the prospects of several countries seeking to be
eligible for selection for the Millenium Challenge Account (MCA), a
development fund managed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation
(MCC), a US government corporation.

The report states on page 4 that “Timor-Leste fails the corruption
hurdle for the second year in a row, falling from the 43rd percentile
to the 39th percentile.”

To be eligible for selection for the MCA a country must score above
the 50th percentile.

Guterres said, “The release of this report is yet more evidence of the
increasing levels of corruption and maladministration under the Gusmao
government which is having a negative effect on Timor-Leste’s
international reputation and its ability to access development funding
from the MCC.

“Under the FRETILIN government in 2005-6, Timor-Leste had become
eligible for the MCA, and was working on the submission of a large
infrastructure funding package to the MCC. The MCC had deemed that
though Timor-Leste had many development challenges that it was on the
right track to good governance and a corruption free environment.

“However this good work is being undone by the incompetence and
corruption of the Gusmao government. Mr. Gusmao himself has to take
responsibility for this huge backward step for Timor-Leste. It
happened during his governance and he cannot blame anyone else for
it.”

The release of the report by the Centre for Global Development follows
the release of Transparency International’s 2008 international
Perceived Corruption Index report (see
http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2008)

The index showed Timor-Leste under the leadership of Gusmao’s
‘Parliamentary Majority Alliance’ (AMP) de facto government registered
the most significant deterioration of any country.

Timor-Leste’s position fell 22 places from 123rd to 145th. This was
the nation’s second successive year of decline in the index, following
a drop from 112th to 123rd place in the corresponding period for
2006-2007 when Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta was Prime Minister.

For more information, please contact Jose Teixeira +670 728 7080.

FRETILIN investment strategy protects Timor-Leste’s petroleum fund

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media Release
15 October 2008

FRETILIN today said its conservative investment strategy for
Timor-Leste’s petroleum fund had prevented the fund from losing as
much as 30% of its value during the current global financial crisis.
By the end of 2008 the petroleum fund is expected to be worth USD$4
billion.

FRETILIN parliamentarian Jose Teixeira said, “The world class
legislative framework and investment strategy devised by FRETILIN has
helped the petroleum fund withstand some of the shocks of the global
financial crisis.

“When the petroleum fund was created FRETLIN took the view that money
earned from petroleum exploration be invested in what is regarded
internationally as safe investments.

“We took this approach because there was a very low level of financial
literacy in Timor-Leste and a real need to build public confidence and
understanding of the petroleum fund.”

Teixeira said although the entire amount of the petroleum fund was
invested in US Treasury Notes, the petroleum fund investment strategy
allowed up to a maximum of 10% to be invested in equities.

He said, “The 10% limit was put in place to allow the manager of the
petroleum fund, the Banking and Payments Authority, to build capacity
within the institution to invest in equities.

“Once the BPA had proven it could successfully manage a small amount
in equities, their performance over a period of time could be
evaluated and careful consideration given to whether the BPA should be
allowed to invest a greater amount in equities.”

Teixeira said recent comments by de facto Finance Minister Emilia
Pires stating that the AMP Government’s conservative investment
approach helped insulate Timor-Leste from the financial crisis were
off the mark.

Ms Pires comments were reported by Australian’s Herald Sun on 14 October 2008.

Teixeira said, “The conservative investment strategy was devised by
FRETILIN and it was only as recently as June this year when Ms Pires
and the de facto Prime Minister [Xanana Gusmao] were saying that 40%
of the petroleum fund should be invested in equities.

“If Ms Pires and Mr Gusmao got what they wanted the petroleum fund
would have lost as much as 20% or even 30% of its value; this equates
to losses of at least USD$350 million.”

“Losses of this scale for the petroleum fund would have been
disastrous not only from a financial perspective but also for public
confidence in the petroleum fund.

“Luckily for the people of Timor-Leste, the prudent investment
strategy created by FRETILIN did not allow the de facto government to
carry out their disastrous investment strategy.”

Under the guidance and leadership of then Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri, Teixeira was one of the key architects of the
internationally renowned petroleum fund. He led a nationwide
consultation process of the Petroleum Fund Law which created the
petroleum fund and is to date the only law in Timor-Leste’s history to
receive the unanimous support of all members of National Parliament.

For more information, please contact Jose Teixeira +670 728 7080.

Fruit & vegetable markets moved on

Fruit & vegetable markets moved on
Posted in Food & drink , Shopping at 9:52 am by Squatter

For those accustomed to buying fruit & veg across the road from Lita Store, those days are now over. They are no longer there. For traffic and parking, a good thing. For convenience and a feeling of putting money directly into Timorese pockets, not so good.

And if you ever used the fresh fruit & veg markets near the Stadium round-about (outside Mercada Lama), gone as well. And I see the first signs of the ones on Comorro Road going the same way.

The fish sellers who were making the seaside strip across from One More Bar a home, have also moved on. At least I know where they are and they have finally made those lonely structures down near “Pig Bridge” their new place.

I wondered if the road accident I saw last week outside Lita had anything to do with it.

At this stage, the rugby scrum that you pass through on the way to Dare is still there and there is no sign yet of movement in the market at Pantai Kelapa next to the Pertamina oil facility.

Not sure where this will all end up.

ADDENDUM :

The Mercado Lama group have returned to the new Taibesse market. The Lita group have also gone there. The Comorro Road sellers are due to move shortly. Some will move back to the old Comorro Market site. The Pantai Kelapa sellers will move after that. I am told that unresolved east/west issues mean that sellers would prefer to move with their monu/sai mates.

This stuff is good for traffic flow but real bad for providing accessible shopping for non-pedestrians. The new locations will be hard for car shoppers as parking will not be easy. I imagine security and convenience will be a problem for a few malae which will drive fresh produce sales back to the supermarkets (ie from the little guys to the big guys).

Horta – drop investigation into 1999 violence

October 13, 2008, 9:23 pm

SOIBADA, East Timor (Reuters) – East Timor president Jose Ramos-Horta said Monday he wants the United Nations to drop its investigation into bloodshed surrounding a 1999 independence vote from Indonesia.

Leaders in East Timor and Indonesia said in July that the issue was closed after expressing regret at the findings of a joint truth commission that blamed Indonesian security and civilian forces for “gross human rights violations.”

But the United Nations , which boycotted the truth commission, has said it will continue to back prosecutions through the Serious Crime Unit, which it set up to assist East Timor’s prosecutors’ office in probing the violence in which the United Nations says about 1,000 East Timorese died.

“As chief of state, I don’t authorise or allow the UN investigation into the 1999 crimes. Our position is keeping good ties with Indonesia,” Ramos-Horta told Reuters during a visit to Soibada district, about 100 km (60 miles) from the capital, Dili.

Several Indonesian military officials were tried in Indonesian human rights courts following the 1999 violence, but none was convicted.

East Timor , a former Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1975, won independence after a violence-marred, U.N.-organised vote in 1999. It became fully independent in 2002.

(Writing by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Sugita Katyal and Paul Tait)

New abortion law raises questions in Catholic E Timor

Dili: The East Timorese ministry of justice is preparing a penal code which would decriminalise many abortions, but with little visible public support and no public debate, civil society groups are questioning the law’s origins.

The law, which is similar to abortion laws in Australia, Timor’s southern neighbour, and Portugal, East Timor’s former colonial power, would make abortions available to women if the pregnancy threatened the life, physical or mental health of the mother.

Currently East Timor does not have its own penal code and instead relies on an old Indonesian penal code. That penal code outlaws abortion.

Fernanda Borges, the only female party leader in parliament, has accused foreign legal advisors and the UN of pushing the law against the will of Timor’s 1mn people, the majority of whom are devoutly Catholic.

“People like UNFPA think it’s great because it’ll reduce population size, but that’s not the point,” Borges said. “The point is development.”

The UN Population Fund has been working in East Timor since the country’s break from Indonesia in 1999, but agency representative Hernando Agudelo says it does not promote abortion.

“We are respectful of cultural principles in this country,” he said. “In Timor the people are against abortion, so we must respect this culture’s beliefs.”

Agudelo said UNFPA has never been consulted about any abortion laws and he believes the law was written by Portuguese legal advisors within the ministry.

Borges said she, too, suspects Portuguese legal advisers had a hand in the abortion law as Portugal just passed a similar law last year.

East Timor is a former Portuguese colony and the old influence is still strong. Portuguese advisors are common in many ministries and their language is one of the two official languages in Timor.

All laws, including the draft penal code, are written in Portuguese even though most people here can’t speak or read the language.

Borges called the abortion law, “a Western thing. I’m against the idea of Western culture that says abortions are a way to reduce population size.”

Even Timorese women’s leaders who have pushed publicly for decriminalization say there ought to have been more public debate on the draft penal code. – DPA

Timor-Leste: Tens of thousands of IDPs prepare for more flooding

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

Date: 10 Oct 2008

DILI, 10 October 2008 (IRIN) – Tens of thousands of people are preparing for their third bout of flooding since 2006 in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) as the rainy season once again descends on Timor-Leste.

The government has so far helped over 7,500 families return home in 2008 and is planning to close more camps soon, but many IDPs will face heavy flooding once again and in some cases landslides in the coming months.

“Our idea is to prepare for the rainy season as if the current camps are going to be there for the duration of it,” the country director for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Luis Vieira, told IRIN.

IOM and other aid agencies, along with the government, are in the process of assessing the needs of each camp with the aim of developing an action plan.

“Some work has been done to raise tents above the ground to reduce potential flooding. but some tents have deteriorated and are coming to the end of their useful lifespans, so we will have to purchase more tarpaulins,” Viera said.

The largest remaining IDP camp in Metinaro, 25km east of Dili, and home to almost 10,000 people, is one of the most vulnerable.

Situated at the bottom of a hill near the coast, the area is prone to flooding and in past rainy seasons dwellings built near run-off areas have been destroyed by landslides.

Risk of disease

Loss of property is a concern, but along with the rain comes an increase in health risks.

“We have a lot of health problems because there are so many people crowded together,” vice camp manager Infalito Pinto told IRIN.

Around 60 percent of health problems in IDP camps are attributable to water-borne diseases such as dysentery, diarrhoea, malaria and dengue, said health authorities.

“If there is a flood tomorrow, stagnant water in and around the camp might create a spate of epidemics which could spread to the camps quickly, creating another disaster,” Suresh Pokharel, water and environmental sanitation adviser with Plan International, told IRIN.

Roads cut off by floods can also cause major problems as drinking water for the camp is trucked in daily, said Pokharel.

Community action

The key to successfully preventing and dealing with environmental health problems associated with the rainy season is by getting the communities to work together, Pokharel said.

“We are providing clean water, but it doesn’t mean IDPs are drinking clean water,” Pokharel told IRIN. Dirty communal tanks and household water storage pots are a common problem, he said.

“There are so many ways in which water can be contaminated,” he said.

Awareness raising activities that inform people as to the need to keep communal water tanks clean, and improve personal hygiene are being carried out in the camps by the government and supporting aid agencies.

Most communities are receptive to the efforts of the non-governmental organisations and government agencies to improve camp conditions and sanitation.

However, it can be a challenge to get communities to take responsibility for their environmental health and to maintain facilities, said Vieira.

They know they are only living in the camps temporarily, so rather than thinking about maintaining the sites, their focus is on plans for returning to their original villages, Pokharel said, even though most of them in reality will not be leaving the IDP camps any time soon.

It is unlikely the Metinaro camp will close before the end of 2008, but the government hopes all the IDP camps will be closed in 2009.

Tents and sanitation equipment need to be maintained until then, providing an opportunity to teach people skills. As additional sanitary toilets and safe water storage tanks are installed, they demonstrate to the IDPs more hygienic practices, Pokharel said. Such environmental health awareness will serve them well in the longer-term when they return home.

sm/bj/cb

[END]

East Timor prosecutor blames president over trial delay

Updated Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:10pm AEST

East Timor’s President and chief prosecutor are at odds over the prosecution of senior military figures for their role in illegally arming civilians during the 2006 crisis. Last week, the prosecutor general said it was the president’s fault he’d not yet been able launch the action, while Jose Ramos Horta says there are other priorities.

Presenter:Stephanie March

Speakers: Longuinhos Monteiro, East Timor’s Prosecutor General; Jose Ramos Horta, President; Mari Alkatiri, former Prime Minister; Luis Oliveira, Judicial System Monitoring Program

MARCH: A United Nations commission of inquiry into the 2006 crisis recommended Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak- known in East Timor as TMR – be prosecuted for illegal weapons transfer, along with former defence minister Roque Rodrigues.

As members of the superior defence council the pair enjoy an immunity that the President has the power to lift.

Prosecutor General Longinous Montiero asked the President four months ago to waive the immunity, but has not yet received a response.

He says he is frustrated his office gets blamed for failing to launch an investigation into Brigadier Ruak’s actions.

MONTIERO: Everybody is demanding ‘the office of the PG do nothing, all cases are pending, nothing is updated when we asking no answer’ – so what can we do�..(cut off by JOURNALIST)

JOURNALIST: So you hope to try TMR? You hope to bring him to court?

MONTIERO: Well I don’t want to say that we will try or not but at least we need to hear, I cannot accuse anyone before we hear.

MARCH: Last week the Prosecutor General caused a stir in Dili when he sent summons to three other high-ranking military officers.

Colonel Lere Anan Timor, Major Mau Buti and Colonel Falur Rate Laek are now considered formal suspects in the investigation into the military’s role in arming civilians during the 2006 crisis.

Brigadier Ruak says he will cooperate with investigators once his immunity is lifted,

but President Jose Ramos Horta, says the prosecutor general should focus on other things.

HORTA: Because in the mean time there are other priorities facing him, facing the nation, that the nation is very concerned about and that is the assassination attempt on the President and the Prime Minister. These were not attempts of assassination of individuals but of the President and the Prime Minister, these must have absolute priority.

MARCH: In February this year the President and Prime Minister were attacked by a gang of former soldiers who had defected from the military during the political crisis in 2006.

He has said previously that he doesn’t care if the investigation into the February attacks takes up to two years.

HORTA: And once that is concluded we can move on, backtrack to others like 2006 and others – there are many cases – 2000, 4000 case on his desk. The priorities are yes, February 11 2008 and then we go back to 2006.

MARCH: But Luis Oliveira, acting deputy director of watchdog NGO the Judicial System Monitoring Program says failing to lift the immunity will reinforce East Timor’s strong culture of impunity and send the wrong message to the people.

OLIVEIRA: (translation) It sends political message, it sends the message to the East Timor society is that justice is politicised because the State says it is not urgent. But for our position justice is urgent and must be open to all of people so all people can feel justice, justice must be done for all of people not for one side only.

MARCH: He says the president is not correct when he says the attempted assassination case is more important than those from two years ago when tensions between the police and military erupted into violence, killing 37 people.

OLIVEIRA: (translation) The 11 February case is related to the 2006 cases, that why the prosecutor general is trying to use authority to deal with these cases from 2006 as well.

MARCH: Brigadier Ruak, was the leader of the Falantil armed resistance when East Timor became independent in 1999 and still has many supporters both in and outside the military.

Senior Fretilin opposition party members – including former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri – have said they are prepared to act as lawyers on his behalf.

But some observers fear even an investigation, may lead to trouble.

Mari Alkatiri:

ALKATIRI: the problem is not with those people who are being called now to make their own testimony to justice system the problem is their supporters, the army as a whole. We have to manage this very carefully.

MARCH: Luis Oliveira from Judicial System Monitoring Program says it is possible the President is preventing Brigadier Ruak from being investigated to avoid instability.

OLIVEIRA: (translation) There could be a political reason behind this. Because if they open the case it could have a negative impact on the current situation. So our president doesn’t prioritise the case – maybe he has his own reasons but from my point of view for the social aspect of the justice system, there should not be any exception for anyone to face justice.