CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations ("standbys") to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.
PM and Minister of Defence and Security Xanana Gusmão scheduled to visit Singapore 3-5 June and Philippines 5-9 June to strengthen country’s bid for ASEAN membership.
Govt continued to face difficulty in evicting hundreds of supporters of dissident group CPD-RDTL from encampments on south coast where it plans to develop oil and gas industry installations.
2013 State Budget received unanimous approval from parliament after opposition party Fretilin set up ad hoc committee to make key cuts to budget and Petroleum Fund withdrawals. PM Gusmão lauded new political environment.
Former Justice Minister Lucia Lobato transferred to Gleno prison 22 Jan for 5-year sentence on charges of unlawful conduct in process of a procurement contract after second appeal rejected.
Dili District Court 11 Dec sentenced 3 former members of Besi Merah Putih militia to 3-6 years jail for crimes against humanity committed in 1999 in Ulmera. UNMIT mandate ending 31 Dec.
UNMIT 31 Oct announced final certification of reconstitution of Timorese national police (PNTL).
In 2 Oct letter to UNSG Ban, PM Gusmão explained govt not interested in UNMIT follow-on mission, asked for end to UNSC consideration of situation in Timor-Leste. Planned Dec withdrawal will mark end to over 13 years of continuous political/peacekeeping missions.
Govt led by PM Gusmao inaugurated 8 Aug. UNSG Ban in 15 Aug visit to Dili confirmed plans for UN withdrawal by end 2012. Journalist investigating corruption 10 Aug stabbed by unknown assailants in Dili. Unidentified group 12 Aug killed 1 soldier in Quintal Boot.
In 7 July parliamentary elections incumbent PM Gusmão’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction party won 30 of 65 seats in National Assembly, 15 July announced coalition with Partido Democrático, Frente Mudança; announcement followed by unrest in Dili; 1 student 16 July killed by police.
Taur Matan Ruak 20 May sworn in as president during ceremonies marking 10-year independence anniversary.
In largely peaceful presidential run-off, former rebel and defence force chief Taur Matan Ruak 17 April defeated Fretilin party president Lu Olo, winning 61.2% of votes; inauguration set for 20 May. Parliamentary polls set for 7 July.
First round of presidential elections held peacefully 17 March. Lu Olo (29%) and Taur Matan Ruak (26%) will face run-off 16 April after third-place finish for incumbent Jose Ramos-Horta (17%).
20 Feb arson attack on offices of electoral administration bodies, UN police car. Court of Appeals same day announced 13 candidates certified for 17 Mar presidential polls; Angela Freitas disqualified 16 Feb. Presidential campaign opened 29 Feb. In sudden vote, parliament 9 Feb approved long-awaited land law establishing basis for assigning land ownership, balancing existing claims.
President Ramos-Horta 13 Jan set 17 March date for presidential polls, set parliamentary polls for June, declared his candidacy 31 Jan.
Fighting between members of PSHT and other rival martial arts groups in Comoro area of Dili 19 Dec killed 1, injured 3, further raising concerns of potential for violence in 2012 elections. Govt announced 20 police under investigation for alleged role in fighting.
Parliament 25 Nov passed $1.7bn 2012 budget, almost half intended for Infrastructure Fund in line with strategic development plan; state budget has increased 381% over 4 years. Hopes for quick ASEAN accession dimmed 17 Nov with announcement that ASEAN FMs had agreed to refer issue to new working group to examine country’s readiness.
Former head of armed forces Taur Matan Ruak 10 Oct announced intention to run for president in March 2012 elections. Hundreds of members of dissident group CPD-RDTL held demonstration in Dili 5 Oct.
Head of armed forces Taur Matan Ruak resigned 2 Sept after 10 years in role; presumed first move towards announcing candidacy for March 2012 presidential polls.
Violence between rival martial arts groups erupted in Zumalai 14 Aug, with 1 policeman killed, some 70 homes burned; motive unclear. Formal demobilization ceremony held 20 Aug for 236 longest-serving veterans of Falintil guerrilla army, including PM Gusmão. Indonesian and TL defence ministers signed MoU 19 Aug committing to future training. Opposition party Fretilin 20 Aug held national poll of supporters for party leadership; no challengers to incumbents.
Following series of shootings in Dili killing at least 2, police 20 July announced increased security measures.
Country’s first ambassador to ASEAN accred- ited 27 June; ASEAN SG Surin Pitsuwan pledged to look for ways to increase cooperation. F-FDTL reportedly dismissed military police officer indicted in May killing in Dili, following internal disciplinary process; 4th dismissal in past 2 months.
3 soldiers convicted then pardoned in May 2006 murder of 8 police officers dismissed from military 27 May following disciplinary proceedings. PM Gusmão 17 May accused UN of interfering in country’s sovereignty after leaked UNMIT document called his leadership a potential threat to independence of parliament, judiciary; UNMIT 20 May said internal presentation does not represent its “official views”. Court 9 May cleared deputy PM Jose Luis Guterres of corruption charges.
During visit to Timor-Leste, Australian Defence Minister Smith 14 Apr said decision on possible withdrawal of Australian troops to be taken after 2012 Timorese elections. Indonesian President Yudhoyono 30 March expressed “unconditional” support for Timor-Leste’s bid to join ASEAN; followed late March visit by PM Gusmao to Indonesia, during which govts took steps to improve bilateral relationship through series of trade and development agreements.
UNMIT 27 March formally handed over all policing responsibilities to Timorese police; UN will continue in supporting role until after 2012 presidential elections. Govt 4 March formally applied to join ASEAN.
UNSC 24 Feb extended mandate of UNMIT peacekeeping mission by 1 year.
Ahead of Feb UNMIT mandate renewal, govt-UNMIT discussion on handover of security to Timor police continued. Govt 4 Jan criticised leaked UNDP report alleging slow govt progress on poverty alleviation, prosecution of war criminals.
PM Gusmão 21 Dec reportedly told high-level meeting of security force leaders that time had come for international forces maintaining security in country to leave.
Dili district court 23 Nov dismissed corruption charges against FM da Costa, accepted those for vice-PM Gutierres. UNTAS, grouping of former militia and pro-integrationist Timorese now in Indonesia, met in Kupang 28 Nov to discuss future leadership and direction; announced end to policy rejecting Timorese independence.
UNMIT 5 Oct reported “significant progress” on human rights in country, including on accountability for those involved in 2006 violence. UN SRSG Ameerah Haq 19 Oct raised concerns about “excessive use of force” by police and President Ramos-Horta’s Aug pardoning of 23 rebels involved in 2008 attack on president, VP.
PM Xanana Gusmão’s coalition govt weakened after deputy PM Mario Carrascalão resigned 8 Sept in response to public comments by PM that he was “stupid” for trying to follow up on report that $3mn was missing from state coffers. UN 24 Sept handed over tenth district to Timorese police control; responsibility for immigration, border patrol and Interpol units handed back 28 Sept.
President Ramos-Horta 20 Aug pardoned or commuted sentences of 23 rebels convicted of involvement in Feb 2008 attack on him and PM Gusmão. During late July visit, Indonesia FM Natalegawa denied knowledge of alleged harassment by Indonesian army (TNI) of villagers along joint border. Gusmão 18 Aug reportedly cut short visit to disputed Naktuka area (Oecusse) due to TNI presence.
FM da Costa downplayed concern over “aggressive” Indonesia army patrols in disputed Natuka area (Oecusse enclave) from May. Timor-Leste National Police commander announced major rotation of senior officers in further step towards full implementation of promotions law. Australia PM Gillard 6 July announced plans to create regional processing centre for refugees in Timor-Leste; President Ramos-Horta expressed cautious support, but parliament 12 July unanimously rejected plan in non-binding resolution.
Angelita Pires, former partner of late rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, cleared 16 June by appeals court of plotting to assassinate political leaders in Feb 2008; appeals court 14 June reduced some sentences of 24 others jailed in connection with 2008 attack. Govt 11 June took delivery of 2 new Chinese-built patrol boats, doubling size of navy; planned operations include joint police-army patrols.
Police reportedly clashed with 13 men of illegal armed group 16 May in Ermera district; followed recent reports illegal weapons circulating in area. Police alleged group, which remains at large, led by retired Indonesian soldier.
UN 16 Apr handed over former control of policing in Baucau, 2nd largest city and southern Ainaro district on 12 April. Prosecutor-General 9 Apr appealed against March acquittal of Australian Angelita Pires on charges of conspiracy to kill political leaders in 2008.
Dili court 3 March convicted 23 rebels of involvement in 2008 attacks on President Ramos-Horta, PM Gusmao; 4 others acquitted. Ramos-Horta 11 March repeated opposition to establishment of international tribunal to examine human rights abuses during Indonesian occupation, 16 March said Indonesia still needs to apologise for “suffering” it caused during occupation.
Country’s first anti-corruption commissioner, lawyer Aderito de Jesus Soares, appointed early month; Soares 6 Feb called for campaign to change public attitudes about corruption. Defence lawyers 15 Feb said new evidence undermined prosecution case against 28 people accused of Feb 2008 attack on President Ramos-Horta and PM Gusmao. UNSG Ban 18 Feb expressed concern about fragile security and justice institutions. UNSC 26 Feb extended UNMIT mandate until Feb 2011 and endorsed gradual drawdown of international police presence.
Complaints about police misconduct in wake of late-Dec fatal shooting by police of popular musician at Dili party; results of investigation into shooting not yet announced, preliminary proceedings launched against 1 officer; PM Gusmao ordered police commander to limit operations. President Ramos-Horta late Dec announced pardons or commuted sentences for 50 prisoners, including individuals involved in violence during 2006 political crisis. New UNSR for Timor-Leste Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh arrived in Dili 5 Jan.
UNMIT handed over formal control of policing in Viqueque district to Timorese police 5 Dec, 4th district to receive such powers. In 9 Dec speech President Ramos-Horta outlined timetable for UNMIT withdrawal, with nationwide handover by end 2010. Agreement reached for joint Australia-New Zealand International Stabilisation Force to withdraw 250 members of 800-strong force by March. At 5-6 Dec national conference in Dili, opposition FRETILIN party renounced long-planned “peace march” on capital, committed to active participation in parliament. Parliament 14 Dec adopted resolution calling for justice committee to develop measures for implementing recommendations of truth and reconciliation commissions.
Prosecutors in trial of 28 people accused of Feb 2008 attack on President Ramos-Horta and PM Gusmao 20 Nov refused to release autopsy photos allegedly showing rebel leader Alfredo Reinado executed at close range. RamosHorta 12 Nov repeated calls for “mutual reconciliation” with Indonesia. Court of Appeal investigation continued into govt’s Aug release of Maternus Bere, Indonesian-era militia leader indicted for crimes against humanity; Bere repatriated to Indonesia 30 Oct.
UN, opposition, local judges criticised govt over its Aug decision, after Indonesian pressure, to release Maternus Bere, former Suai commander of Indonesia-era Laksaur militia indicted by UN Serious Crimes Unit for crimes against humanity. Appeals Court president Ximenes 9 Sept said release illegal, courts to investigate. UN OHCHR 15 Sept said normal legal procedures were not followed. Opposition Fretilin party 14 Sept pushed parliamentary censure motion over issue, threatened to force early elections. President Ramos-Horta 16 Sept continued to defend release, said UN “out of touch”. TNI Commander Gen Santoso, during first visit by Indonesian military commander since independence, 3 Sept announced plans for increased military cooperation.
Timor police early Aug arrested Maternus Bere, former Suai commander of Indonesia-era Laksaur militia indicted by UN Serious Crimes Unit for crimes against humanity, after he entered country from Indonesia; late Aug reportedly handed him over to Indonesian officials. In speech marking 10th anniversary of independence referendum, President Ramos-Horta called on Timorese to forgive Indonesian crimes committed at time of vote, including over 1,000 killed; said no international tribunal will be established, UN should disband its Serious Crimes Unit. Activists calling for prosecution of crimes later dispersed by police.