01 January 2015
Dismissal of international officials and advisors in the Timor-Leste judicial sector
The resolutions passed on 24 October 2014, followed by the 31 October 2014 resolution, are likely to have serious negative effects for Timor-Leste. This is the case even if they are not revoked or challenged: the very fact of the Parliament and Government’s actions has already in itself caused damage to the functioning and independence of the judicial system.
Particular impacts on the justice system include:
a. The Government has shown that it is willing to interfere in the judicial system so that the future ability of the judiciary to decide matters impartially without threats or interference has been called into question. The ability of prosecutors and other lawyers to carry out their professional functions without interference has also been called into question.
b. The functioning of the courts and access to justice has been affected in the short term, as many cases have been adjourned and require retrial because they were being heard by international judges or prosecuted by international prosecutors. The immediate removal of these judges and prosecutors without any provision for transition is causing hardship to people seeking justice, threatening their rights to a fair trial, and will continue to delay the processing of cases.
c. The removal of significant resources (including judges, prosecutors and other judicial officers and advisors) from Timor-Leste’s justice system will impede the ability of the justice system to process cases quickly and fairly, as there is not a sufficient pool of additional resources with expertise or capacity to fill the roles which are left vacant. People will lose confidence in the ability of the justice system to deal with cases fairly and effectively.
See the full report at http://jsmp.tl/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Report-and-legal-analysis-16-Dec-English.pdf