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Press Release

Press Release SPR 10-23
July 12, 2017
Senate 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau – Statement from the President
For Immediate Release

 

Senate Joint Resolution No. 10-11 : Urging His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of the Republic of Palau to establish a Trade Agreement with the People’s Republic of China was introduced on May 25, 2015 by Senate President Hokkons Baules. The resolution’s legislative findings state that “In order for the Republic of Palau to advance and develop its economy, all avenues should be explored to facilitate a sustainable economic future for the Republic.” Options that include the consideration of a trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China should be considered. A similar Senate Joint Resolution No. 10-12 was introduced on the same day by Senator Regis Akitaya and Camsek Elias Chin and awaits committee consideration.

As recently reported in the media, Senate Joint Resolution 10-11 was placed on the Agenda of the fifth day of the Third Special Session on July 5, 2017 with an accompanying Standing Committee Report No. 10-45 submitted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and State Matters Chaired by Senator Aric Nakamura. Following discussions on the floor, the Committee Report was adopted while SJR 10-11 did not receive enough votes for adoption.

A report on the Island Times newspaper attributes the same day announcement by the Senate President to remove Senator Reklai as Chairman of the Committee on Tourism and Development Committee to his “no” vote on SJR 10-11. Without confirming other possible reasons, the writer reports this as the sole purpose for removal and reports it as uncontested truth when it is not. On record, Senator Reklai expressed support for efforts to explore trade and other agreements between the People’s Republic of China and Palau in statements made during the Fourth Day of the Third Special Session, contrary to his dissenting vote made later on the resolution. The article further quotes President Baules on a response he purportedly made. This comment is erroneous and lends neither veracity to the statement nor credibility to its undisclosed source, all in the name of “reliable news reporting”. One may surmise you can create so called news as you please or cry wolf in the name of the same if you were the publisher.

The President of the Senate made an announcement for the removal of Senator Reklai as Chairman of the Tourism and Development Committee and as a member of the Foreign Affairs and State Matters Committee, stating as well that appropriate resolutions to conform to any requirements outlined in the Rules of Procedures of the Senate 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau will be forthcoming in this Third Regular Session of the Senate. This is fact.

Each Senator of the Olbiil Era Kelulau has the privilege to influence and to persuade other members to vote one way or another or to be convinced to take a particular view on any given issue. This actually brings out the passion in healthy debate and heated discussions on any given issue that eventually result in a stated position of the institution of congress. Senator Reklai, as with any other Senator may continue to participate in these debates at his discretion, relying on tactful persuasion and political finesse or continue to engage in these floor debates of congress in the pages of his Island Times newspaper.

The Leadership of the Senate of the 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau does not share the most recently published opinion that the electorate should be alarmed when the Executive Branch and both Houses of the Olbiil Era Kelulau are mindful that cooperation and compromise is key to its deliberations and the resolve of decisions that best serve the electorate. It will continue to perform its work in the interest of the public, less the dramatic flair of impulsive bickering.

 

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Ministry of Justice
Serial No. PR -17-023
Keiden Kintol
July 12, 2017

 

Case Dismissal – ROP v. Inis Remoket

Upon request of the Minister of Justice, the following is provided to assist the public in understanding case dismissals and the considerations that accompany filing and/or dismissing criminal charges.

The First principle to understand is the governing concept that a prosecutor occupies a unique position in the legal framework. Whereas all other attorneys are tasked solely with zealously advocating for their client’s interests, the prosecution has a much more ambiguous responsibility to not merely seek conviction, but to see that justice is done. This responsibility is reflected in the Rules that govern filing a case and the discretion that a Prosecutor exercises in case disposition.

The second principle that needs to be understood is the presumption of innocence and burden of proof. A person is presumed innocent and cannot be arrested by police without some basis for doing so: this level of proof required of police arrest is referred to as “probable cause.” Probable Cause has been defined by some courts as “facts or circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime has been committed and that the person arrested committed a crime.” There are actually a number of these levels of proof in the legal system, with the lowest level labeled “reasonable suspicion” and the highest level of proof labeled,  “beyond a reasonable doubt;” probable cause falls somewhere between these two levels. While a person may be arrested based on probable cause, conviction of a criminal offense requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt as follows:

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced the defendant is guilty. A reasonable doubt based upon reason and common sense and is not based upon and common sense and is not based purely on speculation. It may arise from a careful and impartial consideration of all evidence, or from lack of evidence. If after a careful and impartial consideration of all evidence, you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, it is your duty to find the defendant not guilty.

This discrepancy between levels of proof leads to the practical result where a person arrested for a crime may not be tried for that offense, since a mere arrest requires such a lower proof threshold.

Jaycee Ochob was last seen in the Republic of Palau around September 18, 2016, but her disappearance was not noted until almost a month late. After an extensive investigation, police submitted an affidavit of probable cause to support an information and arrest warrant for her estranged husband, Inis Remoket, Mr. Remoket was charged with Murder in the Second Degree, or in the alternative Manslaughter. After some preliminary matters, the matter was set for trial to commence July 11, 2017. On June 20, 2017, the defense filed a Motion to dismiss alleging a lack of probable cause to support the information, or charging instrument. This motion was denied by the Court, which found there was probable cause and also finding the motion to be untimely.

In preparation for trial, however, after a careful thorough review of the evidence under the greater scrutiny of reasonable doubt, the case prosecutor determined the matter should not proceed to trial and the case was dismissed upon motion by prosecutor on June 28, 2017.  This action was in accordance with the American Bar Association Standards for Prosecutors, Standard 3-3.9(a), which mandate in the prosecutor “should not permit the continued pendency of criminal charges in the absence of sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction.” Since the matter was dismissed before trial, the dismissal is “without prejudice”, meaning charges could still be filed again at anytime with the statute of limitations. In the case of Murder, there is no time limitation in which to file a charge.

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Date: 06/08/2017

 

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PICRC brings on new researcher to assist Research Department and Support the PNMS

Michelle Dochez from the the United States, has been hired by Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) as the newest Researcher. With four PICRC researchers overseas pursuing their PhD and Masters Degrees, Ms. Dochez will full fill a large gap at the Center and ensure that the research department can continue to work while the researchers off-island complete their education.

Aside form assisting the PICRC Research Department, Ms. Dochez responsibilities will include support for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) Office. PICRC is committed to supporting the PNMS with science and research to help guide the management of the Sanctuary. The hiring of Ms. Dochez will ensure that PICRC can effectively support the PNMS Executive Director and the Executive Committee by developing and implementing the PNMS Science Plan as well as collaborating with different partners to ensure relevant scientific information on PNMS is gathered and available.

Ms. Dochez received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology for George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and her Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Ms. Dochez first came to Palau in 2009 and was instantly captivated by Palau’s beauty, above and below the water. Ms. Dochez spent five years in Palau working as dive guide and an underwater naturalist with Sam’s Tours.

Ms. Dochez worked in clinical research for eight years and spent three years working in biomedical labs. Prior to returning to Palau, Ms. Dochez worked a s consultant with Sirenas, a marine drug discovery start – up in San Diego. She developed a benefit sharing solution that promotes marine conservation initiatives in, and provides financial compensation to, nations that permit Sirenas to collections of marine sponges and cyanobacteria whose chemistry is being analyzed for potential biomedical applications to treat cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to explore and learn more about the coral reef environments of Palau” Ms. Dochez shares on her new position. ” I hope to contribute to the important research PICRC is doing to benefit marine conservation efforts in Palau, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, Micronesia, and the world.”

 

 

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Date: 06/24/2017

“Last week PICRC staff visited Camp Ebiil to talk about coral reefs”

 

Ministry of Justice
Serial No. PR-17-018
Keiden Kintol

On June 20, 2017 Mr. Maynord Elwel was sworn in to the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) thru the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Justice. The Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold B. Oilouch in his message to Mr. Elwel and his family stated that one of his goals coming in to the offce is increasing the number of Police Officers which is already happening. Vice President and Minister Oilouch also thanked Mr. Elwel for his decision to join the Police family.

Acting Director of BPS Mr. Aloysius Alonz conducted the Swearing in Ceremony for Mr. Elwel who was accomplished by his wife, kids, and mother. Acting Director Alonz and his Chiefs all shared the same message to Mr. Elwel, that the job comes with risks and sacrifices but the rewards of safeguarding our people and families is great. Mr. Elwel expressed his appreciation to the Bureau for the opportunity to be part of the Police Family and that he will work hard to uphold the law and security of this island nation.

Congratulation to Mr. Elwel and that the Bureau of Public Safety looks forward to have you in the Police family.

Thank you!

Ministry of Justice
Serial No. PR-17-019
Keiden Kintol

On June 19, 2017 three new officers were sworn in to the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) thru the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry Justice. Another great day for the Ministry as Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold B. Oilouch began the ceremony by welcoming the officers with excitement and officially welcomed the Officers to the Family of the Police Force. On June 16, 2017 three new officers were sworn in to the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) thru the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry Justice. Another great day for the Ministry as Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold B. Oilouch began the ceremony by welcoming the officers with excitement and officially welcomed the Officers to the Family of the Police Force.

Acting Director of BPS Mr. Aloysius Alonz conducted the Swear In Ceremony for Ms. Georgette Mad, Mr. Aiu Betok Andres, and Mr. James Baulechong. All three Officers expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Vice-President and Minister of Justice for his consideration of their employment with the Bureau and their pledge to uphold the law in the Republic.

Congratulation to you all and the Bureau of Public Safety looks forward to working with you and being a part of your family.

Thank you.

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Date: 06/08/2017

“The Palau International Coral Reef Center continues to receive donations for the 2018 Arts and Tides Calendar. Thank you to Wallant International Trade Palau, Ltd, Surangel & Sons Company, Surangel & Sons Construction Company, and Palau Pacific Resort, this calendar would not be possible without your support.”

Palau Supreme Court
PRESS RELEASE #110
June 6, 2017

Re: Non-Resident Associate Justices of the Appellate Division, Palau Supreme Court

(It is our duty at the Judiciary to inform the people what we do.   This Press Release is one way to achieve that responsibility.)

Before the 14th Constitutional Amendment, the Supreme Court consisted of a Chief

Justice and at least three Associate Justices. The Chief Justice and the three Associate Justices served as Trial Justices. When an appeal is taken on a Justice’s judgment, the other three Justices form an appellate panel to review that judgment. All the Justices served both Trial and Appellate divisions.

There were three non-resident Justices who were available to serve either at Trial or Appellate division in case of conflicts of interest by resident Justices. The non-resident Justices were sitting Justices or Judges of judiciaries in the CNMI, Guam and FSM.

These non-resident Justices serve the Palau Supreme Court without compensation, except travel and lodging when they are needed to be in Palau for oral arguments. In case a non-resident Justice retires from his court, Palau Judiciary would compensate that Justice for work done for the Palau Supreme Court based on the same hourly rate of a resident Justice’s salary.

These three non-resident Justices were quite busy in the early days of this Judiciary. These were full time Judges of their court with a full docket and it was not always convenient for them to travel to Palau. But as judges of the statutory courts in Palau became law trained and became qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, they were appointed to serve on the Appellate Division of the Palau Supreme Court and give some relief to the only three non-resident Justices.

This was the Palau Supreme Court structure before the 14th Constitutional Amendment. The Amendment separates the Justices of the Appellate Division of the Palau Supreme Court. No longer would the same Justices be moving between the divisions of the Supreme Court.

The 14th Amendment also eliminated the limit on the number of non-resident Justices to three. This is important because of the inevitable number of conflict of interest of the resident Justices of the Appellate Division.

 

Since January 15, 2017 when the 14th Amendment took effect, Chief Justice Ngiraklsong, Justices Rechucher and Michelsen have declared a total of 24 conflicts of interest or disclosures of potential conflict of interest.

Fortunately, President Remengesau, Jr. has appointed three new non-resident Justices for the Appellate division. In addition to non-resident Justice Katharine Maraman, Chief Justice of Guam Supreme Court, retired Judge Daniel Foley, Intermediate Court of Appeals, Hawaii

Judiciary, the new Justices are Dennis Yamase, Chief Justice of FSM Supreme Court, Alexandro Castro, Chief Justice of CNMI Supreme Court and Kevin Bennardo, law professor at North Carolina School of Law.

Meet all of the non-resident Justices of the Appellate Division, Palau Supreme Court:

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Date: 06/07/2017

Six Palauan college students begin their Summer Internship Program at PICRC

June 5th marked the start of the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) Summer Internship Program. This week, six interns joined PICRC for a month and a half long internship. The interns will be mentored by PICRC researchers at the Center. During the internship, they will gain hands on experience in the field and in the lab. This is the second summer PICRC has offered this program.  This summer internship program is being supported by Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated.

The students selected for this year’s internships include Maikani Osismereng Andres and Onglibl Diana-Rae Lakobong, Environmental and Marine Science majors from Palau Community College; Itu Bells and Kelutel Darrin Yoshiwo, Marine Biology majors from University of Guam; Kaylee Giramur, an Environmental Studies major from Chaminade University of Honolulu; and Yubee K. Isaac, an Environmental Studies major from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

This six-week immersion program gives PICRC interns the chance to gain field and lab work experience, practice report writing skills and develop lasting professional contacts. The program also allows students to broaden their knowledge of marine ecosystems and conservation efforts in Palau. Additionally, as part of the Summer Internship program, the students are required to participate in a Cultural Immersion Program to acquire local knowledge to understand how Palau’s history plays a role in today’s marine conservation efforts and for the future of Palau. This year the cultural immersion program is run in collaboration with Camp Ebiil where the interns will work as councilors for 10 days alongside Palau Cultural Instructors.

The purpose of these internships is to help students fulfill school requirements and give them a chance to explore potential career paths. Through this internship, students gain a deeper understanding of current conservation efforts in Palau. It is the hope of the Center that upon completing their degrees these students will return to work in Palau and contribute to conservation efforts here at home.

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