INTERVENTION - RESPONSE BY HIS
EXCELLENCY THE PRIME MINISTER KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO ON THE OCCASION OF
THE MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE
(Plenary Session of the National Parliament - 12 October 2009)
According to Section 111.1 of the Constitution of the RDTL, motions
of no confidence against the Government must concern: 1 - the execution
of its program or 2 - a matter of relevant national interest.
As such, the present motion of no confidence
moved by Fretilin concerns a
'matter of relevant
national interest' And the
'matter of relevant
national interest' in question is Mr
Martenus Bere, since he was the person who according to Fretilin was
'released from the Becora
jail in a clear assault on the Constitution of the RDTL and on the valid
laws of our Country'.
(The man would probably be most surprised to know he is classified as a
'matter of relevant
national interest' in a country that is
not even his own!) The document of the Motion also reads that:
'whoever decided this did
so illegally' and that:
'the Prime Minister
himself, who in his statements to the media ... admitted to have ordered
the release of Martenus Bere from the Becora jail without a judicial
document and accepted to take responsibility for this
In the same document, the Members of Parliament for Fretilin mention a
supposed 'amnesty proposal
for all crimes committed in Timor-Leste from 1974 until
now'. But later on they say that
'only a decision by the
competent Court in view of the matter can be considered as a decision by
Since I can see that the petitioning Members of Parliament for Fretilin
are confused, I ask the honourable holders of this sovereignty body to
allow me to divide my intervention / response in 3 parts, so that I may
present a broader approach. Therefore my intervention will require more
time than the 30 minutes allocated by your Regulation.
I wish to remind everyone that in March 1993, I was tried in Dili by an
Indonesian Court. The panel of Judges, whose competence to try me I
questioned, ordered me to stop reading my plea, thereby preventing me to
continue presenting arguments in my defence.
I hope that, in view of the importance that such a
'matter of relevant
national interest' deserves, the
honourable Members of Parliament, who are the true representatives of the
democratic aspirations of our People, will not prevent me from speaking
in my defence for the necessary period of time. Should you do so, you
would be acting exactly like the Indonesian judges who sentenced me to
life imprisonment without listening to my arguments.As for myself, I feel
that it would not be fair for my defence to be limited by the internal
rules of this Parliament.
National Interests - State Policies - State Decisions
I am aware that the Fretilin bench would
like me to have come here just to speak about the illegality of my act,
so that the National Parliament might conclude that the Government which
I lead 'is not fit to guide
the nation', as the motion of no
However one cannot discuss the illegality of the act without having a
broader understanding of national interest issues. As I have stated
before, the ground on which the motion of no confidence was accepted was
the perspective of 'matter
of relevant national interest', and that
is why we are here today.
Therefore, in Part I of my intervention, I will be covering the subjects
of national interests, State policies and State decisions. For a start,
what does NATIONAL INTEREST actually mean?
- I was a member of the Central Committee of the Fretilin:
- The changes that took place in 1986 for the establishment of the
National Council of Maubere Resistance were done within the interest of
the Struggle, within the national interest. When in 1997 the National
Council of Maubere Resistance changed its designation to National Council
of Timorese Resistance that was done within the interest of the Struggle,
within the national interest.
- When in 1999 there were meetings between all Timorese, known as Dare I,
in Dare, and Dare II, in Jakarta, they were held within the context of
the national interest.
- When in August 1999 the FALINTIL decided not to engage the militias,
which were killing our people, that decision was made within the context
of the national interest.
- When throughout 2000 and 2001 there were reconciliation meetings
between Timorese people at the borders, with the effective and often
decisive participation of the honourable petitioning Member of Parliament
Mr Mandati, without financial or logistic conditions, they were held
within the context of the national interest.
- When in 2001, after the administration of the Country was transferred
to the Timorese, the then Chief Minister Mr Mari Alkatiri went with
Sérgio Vieira de Melo to Jakarta, in representation of Timor-Leste, to
shake hands with Indonesian generals, this was understood within the
context of the national interest.
- When, on 20 May 2002, President Megawati Soekarnoputri was greeted with
an ovation by the population and by all Timorese in attendance in Tasi
Tolu, our People demonstrated a clear grasp of the concept of 'national
- When, on 12 June 2003, the then Prime Minister Mr Mari Alkatiri, during
an official visit to Jakarta, gave an interview to Lusa stating that
'a general amnesty for
those responsible for the crimes committed in Timor-Leste in 1999'
'the only solution to
correct 'the injustice
and inequity' (Mr Alkatiri's words)
that there was, with third
grade Timorese citizens in jail and other responsible persons
'hardly to ever appear
in Court' (Mr Alkatiri's words)....
in a clear acknowledgement
that it would be
to take the main
responsible persons to court'. According
to Lusa, 'for the Head of
Government it was
for the UN Security
Council to approve the creation of any international court, knowing that
it would be even more complicated taking an Indonesian soldier, police
officer or civilian to a Timorese
court'.... Also according to Lusa, the
most important part of the statements made by the then Prime Minister Mr
Mari Alkatiri was: 'Nobody
denies or can deny justice. It is a sacred issue. The pragmatic vision
seeks to let the social and political development procedures in each
country run normally, until each side becomes aware of its
responsibilities concerning these situations'
(Dr Alkatiri's words).
All of this displays an exact understanding of the national interest, and
would lead to State policies.
- When in its First Legislature the National Parliament, where Fretilin
held 65 out of a total of 88 seats, created the Commission for Reception,
Truth and Reconciliation, that was done in the spirit of defending the
national interest. I myself submitted the report of the Commission for
Reception, Truth and Reconciliation to the National Parliament, in
In the motion of no confidence, the petitioner Members of Parliament
state that 'there is
complete disrespect by the Government in relation to this sovereignty
body and to the courts'. The truth is
that the First Legislature, in which Fretilin held a majority, never took
the initiative to schedule a discussion on the report and its
recommendations, which would have been a tremendous help to the State in
the definition of its policies - this showed a complete lack of interest
by Fretilin regarding matters of
- When in its First Legislature the National Parliament, where Fretilin
held 65 out of a total of 88 seats, created the Commission of Truth and
Friendship, working together with Indonesia, that too was done in the
spirit of defending the national interest. The Prime Minister of the
First Constitutional Government signed the agreement with Indonesia. Mr
Mari Alkatiri was in attendance to receive the Report, showing that he
had successfully completed the task he had begun.
However this Parliament never took the initiative to schedule a
discussion on this Report, which the President of the Republic already
delivered, thereby making it difficult to implement its recommendations.
When they had a Parliamentary Leader who was a Commissioner in the
Commission of Truth and Friendship and the President of the Commission
for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, Fretilin did not move a finger,
and now they claim that
'there is complete
disrespect by the Government in relation to this sovereignty body and to
the courts'. This shows lack of
awareness regarding what the national interest is, and it is because of
this that we now have Martenus Bere appearing as a 'matter of relevant
- When the Government of Mr Mari Alkatiri agreed to sign Status of Forces
Agreements, namely with the USA, as the President of the Republic
recalled on a recent interview, it was within the context of the
Honourable Members of Parliament,
National interest means developing the Nation! National interest means
defending progress, political stability, economic stability and internal
National interest means defending the interests of each and every
Timorese citizen. National interest also means creating an atmosphere of
unity and cohesion, as well as promoting reconciliation!
But we cannot isolate ourselves from the world. Thus national interest
assumes compliance with Section 8.4 of the Constitution of the RDTL,
which Honourable Members of Parliament such as Francisco Branco, Joaquim
Amaral, Elizário Ferreira, António Cardoso, Joaquim dos Santos and Manuel
Tilman, who have now submitted the motion of no confidence, also signed
on 22 March 2002.
The Constitution says 'The
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste shall maintain special ties of
friendship and cooperation with its neighbour countries and the countries
in the region. I ask you, gentlemen who
drafted the Constitution of the Republic, what is or what should be the
most appropriate meaning for the expression 'special ties'?
- I do not know if Member of Parliament Arsénio Bano is aware of
incursions by the TNI in Oecussi, the latest happening just 2 weeks ago!
I do not know if he is aware of the difficulties in the border
demarcation process in Oecussi. As he has also signed the motion of no
confidence, I would assume that he is not. It is possible that he no
longer goes to Oecussi, or perhaps he only goes there to consolidate his
- I also do not know if Member of Parliament Aniceto Guterres is aware of
the difficulties in the border demarcation process in areas of the
Bobonaro district. It would appear that he does not, since the border
demarcation is not a matter of national interest for Member of Parliament
Aniceto Guterres; it is the issue of Martenus Bere that has relevant
- I do not know if the Members of Parliament for Fretilin are aware that
there are over 8 thousand Timorese studying in Indonesia. I can
understand if they do not, because the Members of Parliament for Fretilin
never go to Indonesia, do not have any relatives living in Indonesia, and
most of all do not have children studying in Indonesia. God forbid it
should ever happen! Fortunately the Members of Parliament for Fretilin
have a broader strategic vision that surpasses Indonesia. They can leave
Timor-Leste by Air North or by Silk Air.
- I do not know if the Members of Parliament for Fretilin are aware that
over 75% of trade movements in Timor-Leste are with Indonesia.
- Lastly, I think that the Members of Parliament for Fretilin, and since
they have declared Martenus Bere a 'matter of relevant national
interest', must have forgotten that Indonesia is the main reason why we
were able to enter the ARF (Asian Regional Forum) and is lobbying to
enable Timor-Leste to enter ASEAN.
Honourable Members of Parliament,
How can one define the interests and policies of the State? And for what?
And why? These are difficult questions that I cannot answer! They go
beyond my political competences. The true place for defining such
interests and policies is the National Parliament. I look forward to it,
since we all stand to gain by learning from you!
I would just like to say that the policies to be taken by our State must
necessarily safeguard the national interests, and these interests must
- ensure sovereignty
- ensure stability and peace
- ensure diplomacy of insertion or regional integration
If we do not have clear goals to define the interests of the Nation, in
order to set State policies, our Country will not know where to
During his official visit to Jakarta in June 2003, Mr Mari Alkatiri said
to Lusa: 'As the Government
and the Office of the President of the Republic have to deal every day
with bilateral relationship issues between the two countries, we seek a
pragmatic approach that enables us to move the relationship forward. We
do not want to use an approach that ultimately will not enable us to
achieve a goal and that in real terms will only create more problems
between the two countries'.
If this political statement by Mr
Alkatiri, which I have just quoted, cannot help the Members of Parliament
for Fretilin to understand what a State must do, I shall be forced, by
reasons of friendship and democratic solidarity, to tell the Secretary
General of Fretilin that it is necessary to renew your Party.
Serious Crimes - Justice or Amnesty?
The petitioning Members of Parliament
wrote in the Motion of No Confidence:
'The release of Martenus
Bere has already been acknowledged... as a political
decision...'. Further on:
'Martenus Bere, leader of
the Laksaur militias, which were responsible for the Suai massacre where
around 200 people were killed... was released...'
The document also reads:
'the current situation
should be seen within a broader context of a willingness by the
Government and the President of the Republic to present an amnesty
proposal covering all crimes committed in Timor-Leste from 1974 until the
If before I have said that the petitioning Members of Parliament must be
confused, it is because they contradict themselves.
At the meeting with the benches represented in the Parliament, in the
current Legislature, summoned by the President of the Republic, our Head
of State submitted a draft and said:
'The decision is in your
hands, in the hands of the National Parliament. If the Parties agree that
this is a matter of national interest, then let it be discussed. Fretilin
agrees, it is up to the other Parties to decide as well. But should you
think that this matter is not important, then I assure you that I, while
President of the Republic, will not pressure
It was the President of the PSD and then Member of Parliament Mr Mário
Carrascalão who suggested changing "from 1999 to 2006" to "since
So that there can be no doubts, I would like to return to the interview
that Mr Mari Alkatiri, then Prime Minister, gave to Lusa on 12 June 2003:
'It is up to the Parliament
to decide in relation to the amnesty, which I think is the only solution
for the problem. This is an issue that deserved a national debate in
Timor-Leste.' Further on Mr Mari
Alkatiri added: 'I believe
that the debate should review the entire policy concerning the issue (of
As a citizen and as Prime Minister I will defend amnesty in that debate,
because I think that justice has already been served and that the time
now is to bring those people back into
Honourable Members of Parliament,
What was the purpose of the Commission for Reception, Truth and
Reconciliation? To draft the list of criminals and hand them over to the
Courts? What was the intention, as a State? Justice? And if so, what
justice? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth... or justice by one's
own hands? And justice for whom? For the Indonesian generals and they
alone? Or should the militias be punished as well?
Is justice only good if it is applied for the cases of 1999? And what
about the cases before 1999, should they simply sink into
What is the notion of justice in relation to the Timorese? Would
political parties have nothing to respond? What about UDT? What about
Fretilin itself? And what about the remaining parties that signed the
integration to validate the invasion and the occupation? Or are the
outcomes of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Friendship no good?
Or are the recommendations of the Commission for Reception, Truth and
Friendship devoid of sense? The petitioning Members of Parliament for
Fretilin are completely wrong when they claim that there is
'a willingness by the
Government... to present an amnesty
proposal', as in no occasion whatsoever
did I, as the Head of Government, declare that my Government would take
such an initiative.
The Parties that make up the AMP have no special interest in an Amnesty
Law. Out of the 5 parties, only ASDT remembers participating in the
process since 1974. PD and PSD only came from the Constituent Assembly,
and UNDERTIM and CNRT only appeared at the time of the 2007
Who among the Government Parties would be interested in an amnesty law?
What gains or benefits might this Government, which was formed only by
Parties not directly involved in the killings of 1974 and 1975, derive
from the presentation of a draft Amnesty Law? As Parties, there would be
- No AMP Party, therefore included in the Government that I lead, is
accountable for the violence and killings that took place from April 1974
to August 1975!
- No AMP Party was involved in the civil war that took place in
- No AMP Party is accountable for the Aileu and Same massacres, which
took place in December 1975!
- No AMP Party is accountable for the imprisonment and inhuman torture of
Francisco Xavier do Amaral, and for the execution of dozens of innocent
people, which took place in 1977!
- No AMP Party is accountable for the deaths of so many civilian and
military resistance fighters during the Support Bases!
Therefore, speaking of 'willingness by the Government' would suggest that
the Parties that form the IV Constitutional Government had crimes to
And, Honourable Members of Parliament, it is I who am addressing you -
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão! I was a member of the Central Committee of
Fretilin from 1975 to 1986, leading a war when most of you had no
responsibilities over your shoulders, since your main responsibility now
is in overseeing the acts done by the Government.
In December 1986 I sent a mission to the comrades abroad, recognizing as
was my moral and political duty that we, the Timorese, also committed
crimes! I must say... that this message displeased many people!
I declared at the 1st Fretilin Conference, held in the Gymnasium in May
2000, that I and my Fretilin comrades assumed all errors we made up to
December 1986. And I also said that the Timorese citizens might rest
assured since I would be assuming every possible crime committed by the
National Council of Maubere Resistance, the National Council of Timorese
Resistance and the FALINTIL from 1987 to 1999, as it was I who was
leading the struggle. I hope that His Honour the Judge of Suai is
listening to me, so that he may believe he can give credit to the State
decisions to be made by the District Court.
But the draft amnesty law, with effects from 1974, which does not even
affect the AMP Parties, must be seen as a political act by the State.
Such draft Amnesty Law, with effects from 1974, would imply the
acknowledgment of crimes, some of which were 'war crimes', defined as
However, as the case of Martenus Bere is already considered a matter of
relevant national interest, does the Fretilin Bench accept that an
amnesty law does not go against the concept of Justice of
Amnesty means the political act of pardoning a crime. It is never an act
taken by a Court. Why must we pardon a crime? Where is the notion of
Justice? These are the questions that the document of the Motion of No
Confidence infers. Because the petitioning Members of Parliament know
that I have not released Martenus Bere to go drown him in the
If 'the decision by the
Government to release Mr Martenus Bere from the Becora jail is a clear
affront on the Constitution of the RDTL and on the valid
Laws', I shudder to think how big an
affront on our Constitution it would be if any Parliamentary bench would
submit a draft amnesty law for the crimes committed since 1974. I will
immediately ask my Party, CNRT, to avoid affronting the Constitution of
the RDTL, thereby saving Fretilin the trouble.
This is because, Honourable Members of Parliament, I am trying to imagine
the judicial and legal pandemonium it would be! Section 161 of the
Constitution of the RDTL states (oh, I am sorry, it is not the
Constitution that states but rather the 6 petitioning Members of
Parliament for Fretilin and others, who have drafted the Constitution,
that do): 'Acts committed
between 25 April 1974 and 31 December 1999 that can be considered crimes
against humanity, crimes of genocide or war crimes, shall be liable to
criminal proceedings in national or international
Still, we can view this from a more positive perspective: if Fretilin
agrees with the draft Law, Fretilin will appear to be inconsistent
regarding its values in terms of Justice. This is truly a major
Should the Law be approved and promulgated, and should the Court of
Appeal turn a blind eye when the Law is enacted the Parliament would have
interfered in the competences of the Courts, as the very motion says that
only a decision by the Courts is a decision by the State. The Parliament
would be legalizing what is illegal and legitimating what is
Can it be that only when a law legalizes what is illegal there is no
violation of principles? If so, then if Fretilin takes part in the
approval of an Amnesty Law, we can ask why all the fuss in relation to
Martenus Bere, who by now must be proud to be a 'matter of relevant
national interest' for Timor-Leste.
Let us assume the draft law is presented, the Members of Parliament for
Fretilin do not sign it, the draft law is approved by the AMP majority
and Fretilin submits to the Court of Appeal that the law is
unconstitutional. And as I believe in the independence of the Courts, the
law would be unconstitutional and the affront would be as big as the
crimes committed since April 1974.
I repeat: the AMP Parties, while Parties, have nothing to lose if there
is no Amnesty Law, as none of them intervened directly in the crimes that
took place from April 1974 to December 1999.
State institutions: legalities and illegalities
The petitioning Members of Parliament
also justified the Motion in the following manner:
Martenus Bere... was released through a non-judicial act'. Also,
'releasing Martenus Bere from the Becora jail without a judicial act' and
'the Government's decision... is a clear affront on the Constitution and
on the valid laws of our Country.' Lastly, 'whosoever decided this did
Our State has been being built for the last 7 years, and Timor-Leste is
still in the list of fragile States. What I am now going to present to
you is the actual situation of our State's development process.
I must do so to rectify some facts and to prevent politicians without
much sense of responsibility from trying to spin the truth for their own
Let me now update you as to the chronology of the facts:
- Martenus Bere entered Timor-Leste legally on 9 August, i.e. his
passport was stamped.
There was an error by Government agencies;
- Relatives of victims saw him and beat him up - as a principle it is not
admissible for one to take justice in his or her hands;
- The police prevented the worst and detained him. Knowing his identity,
they delivered him unto justice;
- The District Court of Suai starts the process and orders his preventive
Clearly there was no knowledge regarding UNTAET's Regulation no. 2000/15
on the 'creation of
chambers with exclusive and special jurisdiction over serious
offences', which establishes an
exclusive and special jurisdiction,
expressly excluding any
other Court, belonging to the District
Court of Dili and to the Court of Appeal. The Penal Procedure Code,
through Decree-Law no. 13/2005 of 1 December, expressly safeguards the
regime created by UNTAET's Regulation no. 2000/15.
- I am sure you will all agree that the District Court of Suai did not
order the arrest of Martenus Bere because he had been beaten; it would be
completely irrational to think such a
Section 30.2 of the Constitution of the RDTL states that
'no one shall be arrested
or detained except under the terms expressly provided for by the
applicable laws'. A detention or arrest
must always be submitted to the appreciation of a competent judge within
the legal timeframe, which
did not happen.
Therefore I must ask the Honourable
Members of Parliament for Fretilin:
Who is violating the
Constitution and the applicable laws in our Country after all? Just
because the decision is the District Court's to make (which is not even
competent in relation to the matter) can it be considered... a decision
by the State? And what about the affront that the District Judge is doing
on the Constitution, the Penal Procedure Code and UNTAET's Regulation no.
2000/15? Must we all bow down here to
the independence of the Courts and to the separation of powers? Just
because the Court has made a decision, that decision is already the
State's? Regardless of whether the Court is competent or not?
- On the 26th, when meeting with the Speaker of the National Parliament
(at that time I was precisely here, at this Noble Hall), the President of
the Republic called me on the telephone. I told the President of the
Republic that I would join him and the Speaker. When I arrived, the
President of the Republic was talking to Minister Hassan Wirajuda on the
The President of the Republic then told me that the Indonesian minister
had called him and asked him to look into the case of Martenus Bere,
within the spirit of the Commission of Truth and Friendship, saying that
it had been our mistake since he was not prevented from entering
Timor-Leste. In one of its recommendations, the Commission of Truth and
Friendship suggests greater coordination in terms of border activities,
precisely regarding this matter. Hassan Wirajuda asked our President of
the Republic to intercede before the in relation to this case.
- Regretting the mistake of having let Martenus Bere enter Timor-Leste -
and this means that the socialization process concerning the
recommendations by the Commission of Truth and Friendship is not yet
complete - I asked the President of the Republic to talk with the
Prosecutor General of the Republic, as she reports to the President of
the Republic. I made this request to safeguard the independence of the
institutions and to prevent interferences by the Government.
- Then I spoke with the Minister of Justice regarding this case, who
informed me later on that she was trying to contact Martenus Bere's
Attorney, who is a Public Defender, to look into the best legal ways to
handle the case - the Government was indeed moving, but in order to
facilitate the process without intervening in it directly;
- On 28 August the President of the Republic, after having spoken with
the Prosecutor General of the Republic, called me on the telephone so
that I would speak with the Deputy Prosecutor General and with the
international Prosecutors, on the recommendation of Ms Ana Pessoa, who
was presently in Singapore. I immediately called Mr Vicente, the Deputy
Prosecutor General, as well as the international Prosecutors Mr Arlindo
Figueiredo and Mr Luís Landim, but they all ensured me that the Office of
the Public Prosecutor was simply not involved in the case. Although they
were unfamiliar with the case, they offered to provide the due support to
Martenus Bere's Attorney, in order to find the proper legal way for
solving this problem. It was suggested that the Attorney could present a
request to the Court asking for Martenus Bere's release due to health
- The Minister of Justice also offered to establish contact between the
Attorney and the 3 Prosecutors.
- On the 29th we learned that Martenus Bere's Attorney had already
submitted such request and that the Court only required confirmation from
a medical panel. The Minister of Health was called and offered to help in
the search for a solution. For legality reasons we used as an example the
case of Mr Rogério Lobato, which the III Constitutional Government
offered us as a gift on the day we entered into office.
- On 30 August, being concerned with the lack of information on the case,
I was at the Palace of the President of the Republic well before 8 AM.
The Commander General of the PNTL then told me of the lack of progress on
the case, as the Judge of the District Court of Suai was hard to reach,
having decided to spend the weekend in Oecussi. And I believe - as I
always want to believe in the good faith of people - that His Honour the
District Judge entered through Atambua and Kefa, since the Indonesians
did not close the borders just because of internal problems in
Timor-Leste. Should they have closed the borders because of Indonesian
issues, I would not have an answer for that. At our request, during the
crisis, the Indonesian State accepted to close the borders, so as to
safeguard the national interests of Timor-Leste.
- Meanwhile I received a telephone call from Minister Zacarias, who was
waiting for Minister Hassan at the Dili airport, conveying to me the
concerns of the Indonesian minister regarding the lack of solution in the
case of Martenus Bere. I asked the Commander General of the PNTL to try
to establish contact with Minister Lúcia, with the Defender-General Mr
Sérgio Hornai and with the interim President of the Court of Appeal, Ms
Natércia. When the interim President of the Court of Appeal and the
Minister of Justice arrived we assembled at the entrance room of the
Ms Natércia said that there was nothing she could do, since the case
belonged to the District Court of Suai. I told her that we needed to
consider the problem from a political viewpoint, rather than from a
legalistic one, but as the legal path was barred we ended up going in and
sitting down with the guests.
I knew deep inside that the President of the Republic was also waiting
for me to inform him as to any solution, but since I had not found any -
instead I had only come across various types of difficulties - I remained
silent and avoided contacting the President of the Republic.
- Later on, with the guests, I received another telephone call from
Minister Zacarias telling me that Minister Hassan stated he would only
come if he was assured of a solution for the case. Minister Hassan
recalled again the good faith of both States in the establishment of the
Commission of Truth and Friendship, and said that should there be no
solution to the case of Martenus Bere, it could affect the relationship
between the two countries. He added that our refusal to cooperate in such
a sensitive matter for Indonesia might force the Indonesian state to
review their diplomatic policy towards Timor-Leste.
- At this time I requested the presence of the interim President of the
Court of Appeal, Her Honour the Judge Natércia, at an emergency meeting
in the Waiting Room of the Palace. I also called the Minister of Justice
and the Commander General of the PNTL.
I explained to them that we needed to make a decision, and that it had to
be a political decision. I insisted with the interim President of the
Court of Appeal to help solve the problem, so that we could find a way
out of this situation. Because I raised my voice during our discussion,
Ms Natércia told me: 'Prime Minister, the time of the guerrilla is over'.
And I replied: Indeed, and it is because of that that I have called you
all here, so that we can solve this problem together. Let us all accept
that in reviewing this case it is vital to consider many factors, and let
us be more than merely legalistic. This case concerns State
I then turned to the Minister of Justice and told her to release Martenus
from the Becora jail. The Minister reminded that she could only order
such release with an authorization by the Court. Although she kept
insisting - and I appreciate her consistency - that in legal terms there
was nothing she could do, Ms Natércia suggested an alternative - and this
is something I appreciate a great deal more, as she understood there had
to be some flexibility in order to preserve the legal system but at the
same time responding to the interests of the Country - and turning to the
Minister of Justice she said: 'Since the prisons are under your charge,
you can have Martenus transferred to another location, outside
Being thankful for the idea and knowing that otherwise we could not move
on with this case, I ordered the Minister of Justice have Martenus Bere
transferred from the Becora prison to the Indonesian Embassy. In view of
her refusal, I said: 'If you do not do it, I will go there and get him
- The Minister contacted the Indonesian Embassy and it was agreed that
Martenus Bere would be transferred there immediately but that he would
not return to Indonesia, instead awaiting the completion of the rest of
- The Minister also called the Head of the Prison Guards on the
telephone, but when the police arrived in Becora without a document from
the Court the Head of the Prison Guards refused to comply with the order
of the Minister. This should be praised, as it displays a great deal of
professionalism. I told the Minister to convey to him that I would assume
all the responsibility but that he had to obey the command he was being
given. Consequently THE ORDER WAS CARRIED OUT AND MARTENUS BERE WAS
TRANSFERRED TO THE INDONESIAN EMBASSY, IN DILI!
- Before noon, during my meeting with Minister Hassan, I told him that we
could not send Martenus Bere back immediately, that Minister Hassan would
have to respect the rules of the Country and system of the country and
that Martenus Bere could only be returned after the process had been
concluded, therefore maintaining respect for the system of separation of
- At the evening, during the award ceremony with the President of the
Republic, Ms Natércia told me: 'Prime Minister, we are going to have
problems. Aniceto knows of this and will raise the issue in the
Parliament', to which I responded: 'Tell him to do so!
- The Government continued its efforts and on 1 or 2 September. Mr Sérgio
Hornai arrived, at our invitation, to see how the process of the medical
panel was moving along. As I have said before, this was similar to what
happened with Mr Rogério Lobato.
- To our great amazement, His Honour the Judge of the District Court of
Suai sent and order to the UNPOL Commissioner asking him to determine the
whereabouts of Martenus Bere, capture him and return him to the Becora
jail. I assume that His Honour the Judge of the District Court of Suai
already thinks as the Honourable Members of Parliament for Fretilin do:
'only a decision by the
competent Court... can be considered a decision by the
It seems that our State, the State of Timor-Leste, already has an address
- it is located at the District Court of Suai! I do not know why we are
losing time here in this Parliament, since our State is in Suai!
- On 2 September the President of the Republic summoned the Speaker of
the National Parliament, the Secretary General of Fretilin Mr Mari
Alkatiri and me to review the issues concerning Martenus Bere. Mr Mari
Alkatiri, the Secretary General of Fretilin, said that the decision had
to be a political one. Mr Mari Alkatiri also suggested the medical panel
as an alternative to facilitate the release procedure. I said that I was
against it, but only because we had already tried it to no avail, as
there was no political willingness by the Justice.
- All individuals in Dili received the invitation to attend the ceremony
on 8 September in Suai, well before 30 August.
Reporter Jill Jolife also wrote an Article in Australia claiming that I
had travelled to Suai 2 days before to convince the two bishops to change
the celebrations to the 8th, so as not to coincide with the day of the
massacre, which happened on the 6th.
Well, I only arrived in Suai on the afternoon of the 7th, where I met
with relatives of the victims to explain the decision by the State. These
relatives displayed maturity and only requested the Government to improve
roads, supply water and power, repair bridges, build more schools and
expand medical coverage.
I must also add that on 4 March 2003, the day when the monument to the
victims of Suai was dedicated, I was there to place flowers and pray for
the victims... and I cannot recall seeing the face of even one of the
Members of Parliament who have submitted this motion.
- On 10 September the media asked me my reaction to the press released by
the President of the Court of Appeal. Contrarily to what the document of
the motion of no confidence says, I did not admit anything, since I HAD
ALREADY ASSUMED the responsibility and am currently waiting to go to the
District Court of Suai, where our State is located, whenever His Honour
the Judge asks me to. But if the State has already relocated to the Court
of Appeal then that suits me just fine, since it is closer to my
- The document of the Motion of No Confidence reads: 'The President of
the Superior Council of the Magistracy and of the Court of Appeal of
Timor-Leste has himself decided to order an investigation on the 'Bere
case', to determine whether there was an illegal release and, if so, to
start the corresponding penal and disciplinary proceedings'.
As you can see, I am confused and I do not know if the State is still
located at the District Court of Suai or if it has already moved to the
Court of Appeal, in Dili. I like to believe in the good faith of people,
and as such I want to believe that the case of Martenus Bere has entered
the Court of Appeal, at least on 9 September, the date of the press
release by the President of the Court of Appeal. When I was in the woods
I learned something: those who do not know something should not try to
speak about it. This saying still guides my actions today. And it is
precisely to be ready for the penal action that is going to be moved
against me that I have drafted this chronology of the facts, also
including the weaknesses of other institutions in the process of State
In conclusion, Honourable Members of Parliament, I want to state that
since the IV Constitutional Government entered into office it has been
giving priority to the system of Justice in Timor-Leste. Despite the
allocation of more funding and more national and international human
resources, the volume of cases pending at the Office of the Prosecutor
General of the Republic is still high. The number of prisoners not yet
presented to the Courts is also high, with many of prisoners doing
sentences when they could very well be innocent.
The Ministry of Justice adopted vital legislation pieces and is now
giving special attention to the material and human situation at the
Only this Government, which I lead, may be able to defend the interests
of the State, meet the expectations of our People and develop our
Thank you very much!
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão
12 October 2009