Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gucci Reading List

Perhaps Senhor Gucci should read his own Government's reports, if he does not read his employer's [UN].

US State Department 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Timor-Leste

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor – February 25, 2009

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
b. Disappearance
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
c. Freedom of Religion
d. Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association
b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively
c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

Timor-Leste is a multiparty parliamentary republic with a population of approximately 1.1 million. President Jose Ramos Horta was head of state. Prime Minister (PM) Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao headed a four-party coalition government formed following free and fair elections in June 2007. In an exchange of gunfire with armed rebels on February 11, President Ramos Horta was wounded seriously and PM Gusmao was unhurt. As provided for in the constitution, the government imposed a state of emergency from February through May. International security forces in the country included the UN Police (UNPOL) within the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and the International Stabilization Force (ISF), neither of which was under the direct control of the government. The national security forces are the National Police (PNTL) and Defense Forces (F-FDTL). While the government generally maintained control over these forces, there were problems with discipline and accountability.

Serious problems included: police use of excessive force and abuse of authority; perception of impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention; an inefficient and understaffed judiciary that deprived citizens of due process and an expeditious and fair trial; conditions in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) that endangered health, security, education, and women's and children's rights. Domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse were also problems.

Respect for human rights

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

There were no politically motivated killings during the year; however, on February 11, F-FDTL guards shot and killed Major Alfredo Reinado and one of his followers when a band of rebels led by Reinado gained entry to the presidential compound; President Ramos-Horta was severely wounded. A separate group of Reinado's followers attacked the convoy of PM Xanana Gusmao. Gusmao was unhurt. The government formed a joint PNTL/F-FDTL command to apprehend the attackers, and parliament declared a state of siege that imposed a curfew, relaxed legal requirements for searches and arrests, and restricted demonstrations. The application of the state of siege was modified as a state of emergency and extended on several occasions until Reinado's second in command, Lieutenant Gastao Salsinha, and 11 others surrendered to the authorities on April 29.

On April 5, in Bobonaro District, an F-FDTL member shot and killed a civilian who reportedly threatened the F-FDTL member with a machete. The authorities investigated the case and forwarded it to the prosecutor general for further action.

Legal proceedings were ongoing against Luis da Silva, an off duty officer accused of shooting a member of then candidate Xanana Gusmao's security detail at a political rally in Viqueque in June 2007.

There were no developments in the inquiry into the August 2007 case of a PNTL unit firing into a crowd in Viqueque, killing two.

The four F-FDTL soldiers sentenced to 12 years, 11 years, and 10 years for the 2006 killing of eight unarmed PNTL personnel were serving their sentences at the military prison at F-FDTL headquarters in Dili. A local human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) and government contacts expressed concern that there was no civilian oversight of the prison.

There were no developments in the following 2006 cases: the January killing of three men by Border Patrol Unit personnel; the May mob killing of a police officer in Ermera District; and the May killing of six persons in a house set on fire by a mob. Investigations into other cases stemming from the April-May 2006 violence continued. Some individuals identified for investigation in the 2006 UN Commission of Inquiry Report were subpoenaed to testify regarding their role in illegal arms distribution.

In May President Ramos-Horta granted pardons to a number of persons including former interior minister Rogerio Lobato sentenced for illegally distributing weapons during the 2006 violence and Joni Marques, a pro-Indonesia militia leader, sentenced for multiple killings in 1999 (see section 1.d.).

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The law prohibits such practices, and the government generally respected the prohibition against torture; however, there were incidents of cruel or degrading treatment of civilians by police and military personnel. Members of Parliament, NGOs, UNMIT, and the Office of the Ombudsman received numerous complaints of use of excessive force by personnel of the Joint Command or regular PNTL during the state of emergency. The Office of the Ombudsman eventually recorded 44 such cases, most involved beatings, mistreatment during detention, threats made at gunpoint, and intimidation. As a result one army officer was removed from the field of operations, 14 soldiers were verbally disciplined, and, at year's end, the remaining cases were under investigation.

UNMIT's human rights unit and NGOs received numerous complaints of excessive force and degrading treatment by the Dili Task Force, a rapid reaction PNTL unit created in December 2007. On May 24, Task Force members severely beat four residents including a woman of Dili's Quintal Boot neighborhood. The case was under investigation by the PNTL's National Investigation Division (NID).

Joint Command forces operating in Ermera during the state of emergency reportedly carried out beatings, intimidation, and unlawful searches and violated villagers' freedom of movement. On March 12, 17 persons complained of mistreatment; and on April 14, 13 persons reportedly were ill treated, two of whom required hospitalization.

F-FDTL personnel deployed in western districts were involved in violent altercations unrelated to their duties. In May a soldier at a wedding party in Letefoho Sub-District, Ermera, opened fire after a woman refused to dance with him. The woman was injured and taken to Dili hospital for treatment. The NID reportedly investigated and sent its findings to the prosecutor general. In a May 11 incident in Lahomea, Bobonaro, F-FDTL soldiers severely beat two merchants. One of the merchants required hospitalization.

In January three PNTL officers were arrested in Suai for having participated in gang-related violence that resulted in 15 persons injured and 20 houses burned.

Delay or refusal by police to investigate allegations of rape or domestic violence was a common problem.

At year's end there were no developments in the March 2007 case in which an armed group wearing F-FDTL uniforms attacked and burned the homes of six families in Dili.

At year's end there were no developments in the March 2007 case when six to 10 F-FDTL uniformed persons attacked several homes near the national hospital.

At year's end there were no developments in the March 2007 case when F-FDTL members detained and allegedly beat approximately 10 persons for disorderly conduct.

At year's end there were no developments in the April 2007 case when PNTL officers in Covalima District shot and beat a civilian.

Other abuses included intimidation of IDP camp residents by groups operating both in and outside of the camps and attacks and intimidation of communities or individuals.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

There were four government-run prisons, located in Dili, Baucau, and Gleno. Prisoners from the Baucau prison were transferred to Dili's Becora prison pending renovation. Government and local NGO figures listed the number of prisoners in the country as 179. Prison conditions generally met international standards. The F FDTL opened a military prison facility at its headquarters in Dili. A local human rights NGO and government contacts expressed concern that there was no civilian oversight of the military prison.

UNMIT personnel noted allegations of mistreatment of detainees by prison guards during the first 72 hours of imprisonment and a lack of special facilities for the mentally ill who consequently were detained along with other prisoners. Despite some improvements with regard to access to food and water, police station detention cells generally did not comply with international standards and lacked sanitation facilities and bedding.

The government and international forces permitted prison visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross and independent human rights observers. The ombudsman was able to conduct almost daily detainee monitoring in Dili.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention; however, there were many instances in which these provisions were violated, often because magistrates or judges were unavailable.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

The president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but the chief of defense, the F-FDTL's senior military officer, exercised effective day-to-day command. Civilian secretaries of state for public security and defense oversaw the PNTL and F FDTL, respectively. With the formation of the Joint Command, the F-FDTL assumed a role in maintaining public order.

UNMIT continued efforts to reform, restructure, and rebuild the PNTL in the wake of its collapse during the political crisis of 2006. A central element was a "screening" to ensure that each of the approximately 3,000 PNTL officers was checked for integrity and past crimes or misbehavior. Following screening, officers were to go through renewed training and a six-month UNPOL mentoring program. By year's end approximately 2,700 officers had completed the UNPOL program.

Each of the country's 13 districts has a district PNTL commander who normally reports to the PNTL general commander. In spite of improvements due to the UNPOL training, the PNTL as an institution remained poorly equipped and undertrained, subject to numerous credible allegations of abuse of authority, mishandling of firearms, and corruption.

Some police officers did not pass the vetting process and were on suspension pending further investigation. UNMIT conducted human rights training sessions for senior PNTL personnel, and the PNTL received training from bilateral partners.

The PNTL established a Professional Ethics Office (PEO) to enforce discipline and accountability. The F-FDTL Military Discipline Regulations relied on a disciplinary process for alleged human rights violations. However, there was no formal accountability mechanism in place to address misconduct in the military, and lack of capacity hindered the progress of investigations within the police. Government contacts and NGOs reported that cooperation from the police with civilian authorities in serious disciplinary cases was limited.

More than 1,100 ISF personnel from Australia and New Zealand supported the police and security forces.

During the state of emergency, the Joint Command helped provide security at key Dili installations and escorted humanitarian convoys. On some occasions, in violation of clear rules of engagement requiring that the police (international or domestic) be called first in the event of any security threat, the F-FDTL resorted to firing warning shots as an initial response.

Arrest and Detention

The law requires judicial warrants prior to arrests or searches, except in exceptional circumstances; however, this provision was often violated. The extreme shortage of prosecutors and judges outside of the capital contributed to police inability to obtain required warrants.

Government regulations require a hearing within 72 hours of arrest to review the lawfulness of an arrest or detention and also to provide the right to a trial without undue delay. During these hearings, the judge may also determine whether the suspect should be released because evidence is lacking or the suspect is not considered a flight risk. The countrywide shortage of magistrates meant that police often made decisions without legal authority as to whether persons arrested should be released or detained after 72 hours in custody. This contributed to an atmosphere of lawlessness and impunity. Judges may set terms for conditional release, usually requiring the suspect to report regularly to police.

During the state of emergency, there were at least 11 cases of arrests by the Joint Command or regular PNTL that were not in compliance with legal procedures. There were numerous reports of F-FDTL detaining civilians contrary to rules of engagement, and in at least three cases the F-FDTL removed detainees from PNTL custody. In one case soldiers removed a suspect from UNMIT police custody.

The law provides for access to legal representation at all stages of the proceedings, and provisions exist for providing public defenders to indigent defendants. However, there was an extreme shortage of qualified public defenders, and many indigent defendants relied on lawyers provided by legal aid organizations. A number of defendants who were assigned public defenders reported that they had never seen their lawyer, and there were concerns that some low priority cases were being delayed indefinitely while suspects remained in pretrial detention.

In 2003 the Court of Appeals ruled that the pretrial detention limit of six months and the requirement that such detentions be reviewed every 30 days need not apply in cases involving certain serious crimes; however, the 30-day review deadline was missed in a large number of cases involving less serious crimes, and a majority of the prison population consisted of pretrial detainees.


In May the president commuted the sentences of and pardoned 94 persons. The pardons and commutations were granted without any formal evaluation of the beneficiaries' conduct in prison or ability to reintegrate into society. Some politicians and NGOs challenged the legality of the president's actions.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides that judges shall perform their duties "independently and impartially" without "improper influence" and requires public prosecutors to discharge their duties impartially. However, the country's judicial system faced a wide array of challenges including concerns about the impartiality of some judicial organs, a severe shortage of qualified personnel, a complex and multi-sourced legal regime, and the fact that the majority of the population does not speak Portuguese, the language in which the laws were written and the courts operated. Access to justice was notably constrained.

The court system includes four district courts (Dili, Baucau, Suai, and Oecussi) and a national Court of Appeals in Dili. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for administration of the courts and prisons and also provides defense representation. The prosecutor general–independent of the Ministry of Justice–is responsible for initiating indictments and prosecutions. Until a supreme court is established, the Court of Appeals remains the country's highest tribunal.