07 March 2014

Fundasaun Mahein: Scope and Severity of East Timor National Police Regulation Violations

ETLJB 07/03/2014 Fundasaun Mahein’s Voice report No.70 discusses regulations violations committed by the PNTL during field operations. These infractions have become a cause for concern for community members who question the PNTL’s professionalism and capacity to fulfill its role of upholding the law and maintaining order.

The objective of this report is to analyze PNTL violations in relation to the laws and regulations of the PNTL. Such analysis is necessary to understanding the ways in which PNTL officers can better conduct their activities, when it is appropriate for them to use force, the amount of force they should use, and the level of accountability officers should be held to for their actions.

According to FM’s monitoring, many PNTL activities are not conducted in accordance with the PNTL’s “Standard Operational Procedure”, especially in regards to policies highlighting the use of force. There are strong indications that PNTL members have broken laws in numerous instances.  

East Timor police assault a citizen
To highlight a few examples, a young man was shot to death in Balibo by a PNTL officer in 2014, a PNTL Task Force member physically assaulted a deputy of the National Parliament in Audian-Dili in 2013, and in 2012 a PNTL member from Becora shot and killed a young man to death in Hera. (emphasis added by ETLJB)

These three cases in particular have raised legitimate concerns from the public regarding the professionalism and competence of the PNTL. These cases are major blows to the public’s perception and trust in the PNTL as a law enforcement organization. Another consequence is that some PNTL members have become criminal suspects as a result of their actions, which violated PNTL laws and regulations.

In response to this issue, FM recommends that the Secretary of State for Security (SES) and the General Command of the PNTL re-assess the training regimen for PNTL officers. Training should be intensified and should include an increased focus on upholding the law and human rights, as well as a clear understanding of when and how the use of force is permitted, especially by the Special Police Unit (SPU) and Task Force. Source: Fundasaun Mahein Press Release 21/02/2104 Images added by ETLJB

See also 
Seven East Timor police officers to be dismissed from the force
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