According to COUNTRYAAH, East Timor has a population of 1.268 million (2018). East Timor was recognized during the year for progress in the work against corruption and for strengthened legal security. For the time being, the country was given an official with overall responsibility for the fight against corruption. The opposition has earlier accused the government of stopping investigations of irregularities within the state leadership.
By the middle of the year, five trials against those involved in the 2008 attempted murder of the Prime Minister and the President had ended. Two more trials were ongoing. In the most extensive judicial process, 23 people, most of them deserted by the army or police, were sentenced to prison for up to 16 years. The case was judged as the most important test to date on the capacity of the judiciary. However, the UN Security Council and key donors criticized the President for having too often pardoned convicted deserters and allowing them to return to service within the security forces.
Relations with the important neighbor Australia were noted on several occasions. In June, East Timor President Jos谷 Ramos-Horta was able to inaugurate a new embassy in Canberra. The embassy was a gift from the Australian people, funded through a public fundraiser. While thanking the embassy, the president expressed his concern that an Australian energy consortium would like to test untested and potentially risky technologies in developing a gas field off East Timor’s south coast.
An Australian proposal to build a large internment camp for refugees in East Timor was also met with skepticism. Parliament said no, but in the autumn the government negotiated with Australia on the terms of the project. East Timor just wanted to consider temporarily helping Australia deal with its many asylum seekers, while the neighboring country sought a long-term solution.