23 May 2014

East Timor Domestic Violence: Man faces trial for beating pregnant wife

ETLJB 23/05/2014 - The Dili District Court (TDD) has tried a man, known as MG, for assaulting his pregnant wife (MF).

The incident took place in Ermera in March 2012.

The allegations made by the Ministry of Public, read out by the judge president, claimed that about 9pm, the defendant became angry with MF for sleeping at her brother’s house without telling her husband.

The prosecution alleged the defendant threw a pillow at his wife and pushed her onto the bed and then searched for a machete with which to threaten his wife, who was five months pregnant.

MF ran to her brother’s house in fear and, together with her brother, reported the incident to the police.

MG admitted to some of the allegations made against him but disputed others.

He told the court he was looking for a machete with which to cut plants in front of the house to release his anger, not to kill MF.

“My wife knows when I get angry I often release my anger on things butI never beat her,” MG said.

The couple lived together from the time of the assault and there were no further incidences of violence in those intervening years.

Counsel for the defence, public lawyer Paulino da Costa Alves, requested the judge hand down a suspended sentence to his client as MG had been living with his wife without problem since the incident.

The judge president obliged, handing MG a one year suspended sentence. Source: Venidora Oliveira The Dili Weekly 08 May 2014

22 May 2014

Belun's Early Warning Early Response Program: Monitoring Results: Parliamentary Resolution No. 5/2014 on Illegal Groups

ETLJB 22 May 2014 - On 3 March 2014, Parliamentary Resolution No. 5/2014 was released, outlawing a number of groups based on their contravention of several articles in the National Constitution, Penal Code and Decree Law No. 7/2004.

This response follows the increasingly visible mobilisation of Sr. Mauk Moruk's Concelho da Revolução do Povo Maubere (CRM), and the group's criticisms of the Timor Leste Government. Since the passing of the resolution, PNTL have conducted several operations, raiding the cantonment of CRM in Laga, Baucau as well as offices of CPD-RDTL across the country.

This report contains monitoring of Government action taken against 'illegal' groups since 2013, as well as recent updates over the past week.
For further information, click on the link to see the reports in Tetun and English. http://belun.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=28f7ca838aa874deb73e18b95&id=63e6d6da15&e=6d40bd351a

21 May 2014

East Timor Council of Ministers extends joint police and military operations against illegal groups

ETLJB - Mon. 05 of May of 2014, 17:50h Following the Government Resolution no. 8/2014 of March 31, in which the government supported the joint operational commitment of the Security Forces (PNTL) and the Defence Forces (F-FDTL) in order to restore public stability in Laga, Quelicai Baguia and Wato-Lari, it appears that illegal groups that have caused instability in the country and threatened national security have come to move to regions other than those mentioned in this Resolution.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on Friday May 2nd, the Government decided to extend the operation of the Forces throughout the national territory, until May 17, 2014, to ensure the effectiveness of the joint operation, therefore Forces can act wherever illegal groups are.

With this measure, the Government intends to ensure the promotion and enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens as well as public order and social discipline. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release 05/05/2014

Gender based violence cases in Dili District Court and Suai District Court March 2014

ETLJB 21/05/2014 JSMP has released the English translation of its case summaries of cases of domestic violence heard in the Dili and Suai District Courts during the month of March 2014. The text of the translation follows.

In March 2014 the Women’s Justice Unit continued to monitor trials involving gender based violence at the Dili District Court and Suai District Court, however no monitoring was conducted at the Baucau District Court and Oecusse District Court.

This edition will summarize 15 cases observed in the two aforementioned district courts. There were 11 cases heard at the Dili District Court and 4 cases at the Suai District Court.

From the 15 cases observed, 12 involved simple offences against physical integrity, characterized as Domestic Violence, and the other 3 involved mistreatment of a spouse.

In 6 cases prison sentences were handed down, however their execution was suspended. In 5 cases an admonishment was issued, and the other 4 cases are ongoing.

JSMP praises the court for its decision in Case No.594/2013/TDD, because the court included an additional penalty as well as handing down a suspended jail sentence against the defendant. This is a positive development because in almost all cases of domestic violence the courts hand down suspended sentences, without imposing any other obligations, which means the penalties have almost no meaning, because the defendants feel that they don’t have any obligations during the probationary period.

In addition, in five of the aforementioned cases the courts issued an admonishment. JSMP believes that this type of penalty can be applied to crimes that don’t have psychological and physical consequences. An admonishment is a lenient penalty, to remind the defendant not to reoffend, however it does not impose any obligations or consequences on a defendant who commits the same offence again.

JSMP has observed that cases involving gender based violence continue to increase in all of the district courts. JSMP believes that to reduce crimes involving gender based violence, the courts must ensure that adequate penalties are imposed to punish offences committed by defendants and to ensure redress for the harm suffered by victims, as well as preventing crimes from occurring, to educate the defendant and the wider community so that these crimes are not committed in the future.

The following information summarizes the trials of each of these cases:

1.      Crime of simple offences against physical integrity, characterized as Domestic Violence, Case No.445/2013/TDDIL


Judge                                       : Antonio Helder Viana do Carmo
Public Prosecutor                    : Matias Soares
Public Defender                      : Manuel Sarmento
Conclusion                              : Ongoing

On 10 March 2014 the Dili District Court tried a case involving simple offences against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence involving the defendant JPF who allegedly committed the offence against his wife, in Dili District.

The public prosecutor alleged that on 1 August 2013 the defendant hit the victim in the head three times and struck the victim on her leg and back. These actions caused the victim to suffer heavy bleeding from her head. In addition to beating his wife, the defendant also struck his father in law above his right eye and verbally abused his father in law. Therefore, his father in law felt embarrassed and pushed the defendant.

Dili District Court sentences defendant to 8 years in prison and orders him to pay compensation in case of sexual abuse against a minor

ETLJB 21/05/2014 - JSMP has released the English translation of its report on a case in the Dili District court involving the sexual abuse of a minor. The text of the English translation follows:

On 05 May 2014 the Dili District Court sentenced a defendant to 8 years in prison for committing the crime of sexual abuse against a minor, who was aged 11 years old, and ordered the defendant to pay compensation of US$ 250 to the victim.

The public prosecutor alleged that on 23 September 2011 in Aileu District, at approximately 10am, the defendant grabbed the victim, covered her mouth, removed her clothes and committed sexual violence against the victim.

The defendant committed this act when the victim went by herself to get some water from a well that was located a long way away from the victim’s house. These actions had a huge impact on the physical and psychological health of the victim.


"JSMP observed that in cases involving the sexual abuse of a minor, normally the court does not order the defendant to pay compensation to the victim. JSMP believes that in cases of like this it is really important to provide restitution to the victim in the form of compensation because both the victim and her family were severely damaged as a result of the defendant’s actions. Therefore, JSMP really appreciates the decision to include compensation for the victim," said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The public prosecutor charged the defendant for violating Article 177 of the Penal Code on the crime of sexual abuse of a minor.

The court found that the facts presented to the court had been proven and that the defendant had committed sexual abuse against the victim, as stated by the victim and witnesses.

The witnesses testified that they saw the defendant commit sexual violence against the victim and when they saw the incident they yelled at the defendant and he became afraid and ran away.

After examining all of the facts presented during the trial, the court then decided the matter and sentenced the defendant to 8 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of US$ 250.

The case was registered with the court as Case No. 644/2012/TDD. The hearing was presided over by a panel of judges, comprising Ana Paula Fonseca, Hugu Pui and Zulmira da Silva, The public prosecution service was represented by Gloria Alves and the defendant was given legal representation by the public defender Rui Guterres. Source: SMP Press Release 07 May 2014

Twelfth Anniversary of the Restoration of Independence of Timor-Leste 20 May 2014

ETLJB -  20 May 2014 marks the 12th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of East Timor which had been declared on 28 November 1975.

ETLJB congratulates the East Timorese State and its people on the occasion of the restoration of independence that was so brutally quashed by the illegal invasion of the homeland by Indonesia on 7 December 1975; done with the complicity and support of the Western powers who should have supported the democratic ideals of liberty and truth.

On 20 May 2002, the United Nations officially transferred sovereignty to the East Timorese State. but it had taken 24 years of a bloody and devastating struggle for justice and self-determination for the East Timorese people to free themselves from the tyranny of the second foreign hegemony during which many thousands of East Timorese lost their lives and which ended in the destruction of the nation in 1999.

Viva Timor-Leste!

Viva Povo Timor-Leste!

Warren L. Wright BA LLB
Publisher, ETLJB


Suai District Court sentences defendant in case of sexual abuse of a person incapable of resistance to 6 years in prison

ETLJB 21/05/2014 - East Timor's Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on monitoring of a case of sexual abuse in the Suai District Court. The text of the translation follows.

On 14 May 2014 the Suai District Court read out its decision in a case involving sexual abuse of a person incapable of resistance. Previously on 28 April 2014 the mobile court in Manufahi conducted a hearing to examine evidence.

The public prosecutor alleged that on 20 May 2012 the defendant went into the room of the victim who was ill at the time. The defendant removed the victim’s clothes and then raped the victim. The defendant was the stepfather of the victim.

“JSMP believes that this penalty is not proportional to the crime committed because there are two things that need to be considered; firstly the defendant was the stepfather of the victim and secondly, the victim was a person suffering a serious illness who should have been protected by the defendant. JSMP believes that the defendant should have received a heavier penalty than this,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

In this case, the public prosecutor alleged that the defendant violated Article 172 and 173 (c) of the Penal Code on rape and aggravation, however after examining the evidence, the court amended this article and replaced it with Article 179 of the Penal Code on sexual abuse of a person incapable of resistance.

During the trial the defendant rejected all of the facts described in the indictment of the public prosecutor. The defendant stated that the victim had made accusations and slandered him. The defendant also stated that he was angry at the victim because the victim did not go to school, so the victim went and lived with her uncle.

On the other hand, the victim stated that the defendant committed the act when the victim was suffering from epilepsy. Although she was sick, the victim was aware of what the defendant did to her because at that time her feelings were functioning as normal. At that time, the defendant ordered the mother of the victim (F) to go and find some medicine, and the defendant took advantage of the victim and raped her. When the victim woke up, she saw a lot of blood on the bed and victim could not move because of pain in her genitals.

The court confirmed the facts with the mother of the victim. Moreover, another witness C (uncle of the victim), stated that the victim told him that she did not want to go to school because her stepfather had raped her. Then the court rechecked the facts with the victim.

In her final recommendations the public prosecutor stated that the defendant had committed sexual violence against the victim, and therefore she requested for the court to sentence the defendant to 15 years in prison. On the other hand the public defender argued that the defendant had rejected all of the alleged facts, the witness did not see the incident first hand, and this means that the defendant was not guilty, and therefore he requested to the court to acquit the defendant.

After examining the facts established during the trial, and after amending the article listed in the indictment, the court then sentenced the defendant to 6 years in prison and ordered him to pay court costs of US$ 30. However, this decision did not include compensation for the victim.

This case was registered as Case No: 15/PEN/2014/TDS. Previously the hearing was presided over by a panel of judges comprising: Constancio Barros Bâsmery, Pedro Raposu Figueredo (international) and Argentino L. Nunes (trainee). However when the decision was announced the panel of judges was represented by Constancio Barros Bâsmery. The public prosecution service was represented by Benvinda da Costa do Rosario and the defendant was represented by public defender Manuel Amaral who replaced João Hendrique de Carvalho.Source: JSMP Press Release 14 May 2014

Oecusse District Court sentences defendant in case of domestic violence to one year in prison: A step forward in the application of the Law Against Domestic Violence

ETLJB 21/05/2014 JSMP has released the English translation of its report on monitoring of a case of domestic violence in the Suai District Court. The text of the translation follows.

On 6 May 2014 the Oecusse District Court sentenced the defendant AO to one year in prison after he was found guilty of committing simple offences against the physical integrity of his wife. This case allegedly occurred on 28 August 2013 in Pante Makasar, Oecusse.

Previously, on 09 April 2013, the local court sentenced the defendant to 9 months in prison that was suspended for 2 years for committing simple offences against the physical integrity of his wife.

“Effective prison sentences in cases of domestic violence are a positive development and step forward in the application of the Law Against Domestic Violence. JSMP believes that this decision will have a deterrent effect on the defendant and the community in general,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

JSMP encourages the other courts to ensure justice for victims of domestic violence by handing down sentences that reflect the nature and severity of violence committed as well as trends of violence occurring in society. JSMP notes that the majority of cases heard by the courts in Timor-Leste involve domestic violence. Therefore, there is a need for a mechanism to control this phenomenon via the formal justice system, in addition to other available mechanisms.

In this case, the public prosecutor alleged that on 28 August 2013 at 1am the defendant punched the victim once in the forehead, choked the victim and punched their child. This case allegedly occurred because the victim was asleep and did not prepare dinner for the defendant. In addition to committing maltreatment, the defendant also verbally abused the victim.

The public prosecutor charged the defendant for violating Article 145 of the Penal Code as well as the Law Against Domestic Violence.

During the trial the defendant admitted all of his actions and testified that he regretted the acts he committed against the victim.

In his final recommendations, the public prosecutor requested for the court to sentence the defendant to a minimum of 30 days and maximum of 3 years in prison, because the defendant committed this crime when he was still on probation for a suspended sentence.

In his final recommendations the public defender requested for the court to provide justice for the defendant because he confessed and regretted his actions.

This hearing was presided over by judge João Ribeiro. The public prosecution service was represented by Alfonso Lopes, and the defendant was represented by Afonso Gomes de Fatima.

Source: JSMP Press Release 13 May 2014

Fraud, abuse of power, civil disobedience, arson, assaults and theft cases heard by Dili District Court in February 2014

ETLJB 09/05/2014 - JSMP has release the English translation of its report on monitoring hte Dili District Court in the month of February 2014. The text of the translation follows.

Introduction

In February 2014 JSMP observed 14 criminal cases at the Dili District Court.

These 14 cases compromised 1 case of aggravated fraud, 1 case involving an abuse of power, economic involvement in business and falsification of documents, 1 case of disobedience to an order of dispersal, 1 case of arson, 1 case of minor theft, 1 case of simple offences against physical integrity, and 7 cases of simple offences against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence, and 1 case of mistreatment of a minor.

4 of these cases have been decided by the court and the other cases are still ongoing.

The information below outlines the hearings conducted:

1.    Crime of aggravated fraud, Case No. 1297/2011/PDDIL

Composition of judges            : Panel
Judges                                     : Julio Gantes, JulmiraAuxiladora Barros, Hugo Pui
Public Prosecutor                    : Vicente Brites
Public Defender                      : Marçal Mascarenhas
Conclusion                              : Ongoing      

On 3 February 2014 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing against the defendant JPS who allegedly committed the crime of aggravated fraud in the Legasi store, Audian against the victim MS. The crime allegedly occurred on 12 February 2011.

The public prosecutor alleged that on12 February 2011 the defendant took some goods from the Legasi store, such as tables, chairs, cupboards valued at $ 5,830. The defendant had still not paid for the goods after 3 years. The actions of the defendant caused the victim to suffer losses totaling $ 5,830.

In court, the defendant explained that company funds had been delayed and he admitted his guilt and promised to repay the amount on 7 February 2014. Because the defendant admitted his guilt and promised to return the money the court decided to continue proceedings by hearing the final recommendations of the parties.

In his final recommendations the public prosecutor requested for the court to apply a prison sentence of 2 years if the defendant fails to fulfil his promise, however if the defendant fulfils his promise then the public prosecutor requests for the court to apply a suspended sentence of 4 years against the defendant.

The public defender requested for the court to apply an appropriate suspended sentence against the defendant because he had cooperated with the court and was willing to pay for the goods that he had taken.

After hearing the final recommendations, the court adjourned the trial until 14 February 2014, at 2pm, to announce its final decision.

2.      Crime of abuse of power, economic involvement in business, falsification of documents, Case No. 699/C.Ord/2011/TDD

Composition of judges            : Panel
Judges                                     : António Helderdo Carmo, Julio Gantes. Jumiati Maria Freitas    
Public Prosecutors                   : Vicente de Brito, Gloria Alves
Public Defenders                    : Manuel Exposto, Pedro Apariço
Conclusion                              : Ongoing

On 3 February 2014 the Dili District Court tried the defendants EFdC and RJBdC who were allegedly involved in the crime of abuse of power, economic involvement in business and falsification of documents, on 10 March 2010.

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