10 August 2012

JSMP urges Parliament to formulate specific legislation on incest

East Timor Legal News Source: The Dili Weekly Written by Paulina Quintao - The Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) urged parliament to legislate on crimes of incest because the Penal Code only deals with the matter of sexual abuse of minors.

“We recommend amending current domestic violence and witness protection laws, or if not legislate a new to include incest,” said JSMP Executive Director, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, (01/08), at the launch of the report on incest, at Hotel Ramelau, in Aimutin, Dili.

Research by the JSMP’s Women in Justice Unit (WJU) and Victim Support Services (VSS) indicated 49 cases of incest committed against underage females in the period between January 2010 and June 2012.

JSMP urges also the Government to develop human resources at the courts and the Public Prosecutor’s Office by building the capacity and increasing the number of personnel dealing with incest and crimes of a sexual nature.

According to JSMP, of the cases they investigated, often the sentences were not consistent with the nature of the crime.

Member of Parliament (MP) Virginia Ana Belo said some articles of the penal code dealt with child abuse, but their implementation was weak, with cases always being adjourned.

“We tried to create legislation specifically for incest during this second legislature however we didn’t succeed due to lack of time. We will consult the community on this issue because it is a good idea,” said MP Belo.

She urged relevant institutions to educate people on this issue, especially communities in the remote rural areas, because incest occurred out of ignorance.

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