29 September 2013

Crimes against humanity trial continues in Dili District Court

ETLJB 29 September 2013 - The East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on observations of a trial in the Dili District Court concerning alleged crimes against humanity committed in 1999. The text of the translation follows.

In the trial of serious crimes allegedly committed by the AHI militia witnesses testify that they did not see events first hand

Between 17-19 September 2013 the Dili District Court continued its trial of crimes against humanity allegedly committed by 8 defendants (TM, AP, ASC, MC, JdA, JP, MdA and DP).This case allegedly occurred in 1999 in Aileu District.

The trial of serious crimes allegedly committed by the AHI Militia (Aileu Defenders of Integration) continued over three consecutive days to hear the testimony of witnesses.

During the trial of this case, the public prosecutor identified 144 witnesses. Based on JSMP monitoring, approximately 36 witnesses have been asked to give testimony before the court, however not one of these witnesses has direct knowledge of the events that occurred at that time.

Several other witnesses also testified that they did not know about the acts committed by the defendants because at that time they had taken refuge in the jungle to save themselves and their families.

The witnesses testified that it was true that the defendants present in court were members of the AHI Militia and were responsible and actively involved in this militia in 1999, with the support of the Indonesian Army and Police. However the witnesses testified that they did not witness first hand that the defendants were involved in the criminal acts of arson, murder and forced removal of the population to Atambua.

“Crimes against humanity are crimes that are massive and wide scale in nature, especially in relation to those who suffer as the result of such crimes, and those who lost their lives or their families. Therefore, JSMP urges the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the Office of the Public Defender to ensure that when identifying witnesses every effort is made to obtain witnesses who have direct knowledge about the events” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, Executive Director of JSMP.

This hearing was presided over by a panel of judges comprising José Maria de Araújo, Paulo Texeira (international), and Júlio Gantes (international) and the Public Prosecution Service was represented by José Luís Landim (international) and the Office of the Public Defender was represented by José da Silva.

The trial will continue on 30 September 2013 at 9am to examine testimony from more witnesses. Source: JSMP Press Release 24 September 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

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