29 October 2015
1. The Government Decree on the Legal Regime of Fixed-term Employment Contracts in Public Administration - Article 27 of Law No.8/2004, of May 5th, which approves the Civil Service Statute, in the wording given by Law No.5/2009, of July 15th, defines fixed-term employment contract as the bilateral agreement by which a person not integrated in the staff ensures, with character of subordination, transitional service needs with a fixed duration.
With the goal of consolidating the Public Administration and ensuring a disciplined management
of its financial and human resources, the approval of the present diploma establishes rules and
standard procedures for recruitment, remuneration and management of contracts, as well as the
evaluation of the performance of all fixed-term workers by the Public Administration.
The legal regime approved shall come into force on January 1st, 2016, and does not overturn the
contracts currently in force, which can only be renewed through evaluation, and must comply with
the rules defined in the diploma.
From 2017, the payments relating to fixed-term contracts shall be made from the wages and
salaries budget category, which allows more precise information on the amount which the State
spends with its work force.
2. Decree-Law on Awards and Prizes in the Public Administration - The Council of Ministers approved the Law No.8/2004, of June 16th, amended by Law No.5/2009, of July 15th, which provides for the granting of awards and prizes to officials of the Public Administration.
The Government intends to highlight the officials and institutions that differentiate themselves by
their exemplary fulfilment of obligations, efficiency and professional dedication. It should further
dignify the officials who benefit from old-age and disability pension and those who died in the
course of their professional activity.
3. Decree-Law approving the Licensing, Operation and Control Process of Social, Entertainment, Traditional and Machine Gambling Activities
The regulations in this field intends to contribute to the reduction and punishment of clandestine
gambling, usually associated with illicit activities, which deserve the widespread rejection of the
Timorese society. Its approval ensures the rights and obligations of its patrons and the significant
improvement in the attendance of venues, which we want to see reflected in the best possible
conditions of safety and protection for the players.
The Council of Ministers also reviewed:
1. Timor-Leste’s Programme of Reform and Economic Promotion for 2015-2017
The Council of Ministers examined the first Programme of Reform and Economic Promotion of
Timor Leste for the period 2015-2017, presented by Minister of State, Coordinator of Economic
Affairs (MECAE in Portuguese), Estanislau da Silva. Timor-Leste’s Programme of Reform and
Economic Promotion is a strategic binding instrument of the whole Government which is intended,
on one side, to operationalize the Government Programme and the Strategic Development Plan
and, on the other, to work as an instrument of economic coordination of all Government entities
under the coordination of MECAE. It is expected that, in the next two years, this programme
creates the structuring bases for the transformation and diversification of Timorese economy, with
private sector growth and creation of more jobs. -ENDS-
The Prime Minister Araujo welcomed representatives from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe, remarking that in today’s environment countries face increasingly diverse challenges in the security sector. Security, he explained is about “human safety as well as country security and the fight against illegal activities and economic crime, which contributes to stability at political, economic and social level.”
He declared that in this regard “Timor-Leste has been walking in the right path, which is why the country enjoys today an environment of security that, together with the effort to attract national and foreign investment, constitutes a cornerstone of Timor-Leste’s development.”
During today’s meeting, which comes at the end of a serious of technical workshops convened since the 20th of October, participants discussed Crime Prevention and Proximity Policing, Protecting Nature and the Environment, the Civilian Management of Crises, Weapons and Explosives, Criminal Investigation, Preventing and Combating Illegal Immigration and Human Trafficking, Observing the Migration Flows and the Network of Female Police Officers.
The Dili Declaration was signed at the conclusion of the meeting setting out the decisions and commitments of the group including specific actions in the areas of Police; Migration, Foreigners and Borders; and Public Safety, Civil Protection and Fire.
Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira noted “cooperation in the area of security along with the sharing of experiences and perspectives over these past days helps all of our CPLP countries as we seek to maintain peace, uphold the rule of law, respect the integrity of our citizens and promote development. As Timor-Leste said so persistently in the development of the new Sustainable Development Goals, peace is necessary for the positive development of all societies and economies.”ENDS
East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English
22 October 2015
1. Decree-law that establishes the Organisational Structure of the Ministry of Education
The approved Organizational Structure maintains, in large part, the structure of the Ministry of Education, reinforcing the areas of curricular development, assessment of students and the area of planning, monitoring and evaluation.
The Government undertakes to strengthen the proper planning, institutional coordination, human
resources and educational infrastructures, as well as sound administrative and financial management of education and teaching institutions, in order to ensure that better services are rendered in the education sector.
2. Government Resolution that creates the National Park Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao
Situated in the protected zone of Mount Cablaque, Municipality of Ainaro, administrative post of Hatu Udo, suco of Leolima, the creation of the National Park presents itself as an essential instrument of appreciation of the Resistance and its tripartite structure. The objective is to preserve a symbolic location, fundamental for the collective memory of the fight for the liberation of the Timorese people and the sacrifices of the martyrs of the Motherland.
3. Government Resolution which approves the list of place names for the city of Dili
Considering the accelerated growth of the city of Dili, in terms of population and housing, the Government approves the list of place names for the avenues and streets of the capital of Timor-Leste. The toponomy constitutes an important element of the identification, guidance, communication and location of all buildings in the territory, contributing to optimize both the various service areas as well as make territorial planning more efficient.
The assignment of the approved toponomy will have its first implementation phase in six pilot sucos: suco of Colmera, suco of Motael, suco of Grincedor, suco of Vila Verde, suco of Akadiruhun and the suco of Bidau Lecidere.
4. Government Resolution approving the Protocol between the Portuguese Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Finance of Timor-Leste on the Integrated Programme of Partnership in Technical Assistance in the area of Public Finances and the respective annexes and addenda Following the need to intensify the technical cooperation in the area of Public Finances between Timor-Leste and Portugal and strengthen the national human resources, the Government approves the Protocol between the Ministries of Finance in both countries.
5. Resolution on support for the electoral registration process in the Democratic Republic of
Sao Tome and Principe Following the request for support from the National Election Commission and by the Government of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, the Timorese Government approves acquisition of twenty IT equipment and respective software kits, to support the organization and implementation of the electoral registration process.
This request comes in the wake of the Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries, on July 21st, 2014, assisting the consolidation of Peace and sustainable development of the Rule of Law.
Presidential elections are scheduled for the beginning of 2016.
6. Resolution on support for the referendum and electoral processes in the Central African
Republic The Timorese Government approved the granting of financial support for the referendum and electoral processes in the Central African Republic, demonstrating the commitment of Timor-Leste in consolidating the initiative of the g7+ for the promotion of resilience and development of fragile States. Presidential and parliamentary elections will take place during this month of October.
7. 2016 State General Budget Proposal
The Government approved the proposal of the 2016 State General Budget, which encompasses all the revenue and expenditure and covers the period between 1 January and 31 December 2016. The stated proposal will still be subject to the approval by the National Parliament.-ENDS-
21 October 2015
Due to insufficient evidence, the Dili District Court acquits defendant in case of sexual abuse of a minor
The Court also found that the actions of the defendant did not satisfy the elements of the crime of rape as set out in Article 172 of the Penal Code because there were no threats, force or violence used against the victim.
“This decision sends an improper and dangerous message to the community and will encourage other people to take advantage of shortcomings in the Penal Code and continue to commit crimes against adolescent girls in the future. JSMP is troubled by this decision because the Court has failed to protect girls like the victim, who do not have sufficient knowledge about sexual relations,” said Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, Executive Director of JSMP.
JSMP is concerned with the Court’s lack of sensitivity when considering and assessing the capacity of teenage girls to engage in consensual sexual relations, especially when they are in vulnerable situations. In this case, the Court proved that the defendant threatened the victim, saying he would approach victim and yell at her in front of her family if she did not meet him. JSMP believes that in situations like this, such acts place a lot of pressure on the victim, and the victim is not emotionally mature enough to accept or deal with the pressure exerted by the defendant. The Court also failed to consider the status of the defendant as a family man, who could easily take advantage of a young victim inexperienced in sexual relations.
Even though the Court considered that the victim had the capacity to say no to the defendant’s advances, JSMP believes that the victim did not have a good and sufficient understanding about the impact of sexual relations like this.
In addition, when the Court found that the victim was 14 years old, the Court should have amended the indictment and instead charged the defendant under Article 178 of the Penal Code for committing sexual acts with an adolescent aged 14 to 16.The maximum sentence for this crime is 5 years in prison. JSMP believes that if the Court applied this article, the defendant would have received a more appropriate penalty.
Article 178 of the Penal Code specifies that any person who, being an adult and apart from situations provided in this section, practices any relevant sexual act with a minor aged between 14 and 16 years, taking advantage of the inexperience of the same, is punishable with up to 5 years imprisonment.
JSMP believes that situations like this should be used as reference point by the National Parliament to give careful consideration to the proposal from JSMP and ALFeLa about amending the Penal Code, which was submitted in early 2015. In this proposal JSMP and ALFeLa recommended that the National Parliament amend the Penal Code to include a specific article for cases of incest and to harmonize the age of a minor for the purpose of sexual offences with several other related legal provisions.
Currently, several provisions in the Timor-Leste Penal Code inconsistently set out definitions on the age of minors in Timor-Leste. JSMP and ALFeLa feel it is important to ensure consistency with Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines minors as those under 18, and Article118 and 126 of the Civil Code, which states that a minor in Timor-Leste is a person under 17.
The public prosecutor alleged that on 8 August 2014 the defendant sent a message via facebook to meet with the victim, but she refused. On 09 August 2014 the defendant sent another message threatening that he would yell at the victim at her house if she refused to meet him. The victim therefore went out to meet the defendant. He then took the victim on his motorcycle to his friend’s house and had sexual intercourse with the victim. After that, the defendant and the victim continued to have sexual intercourse 10 times at his friend’s house on different occasions.
This hearing was presided over by a panel of judges comprising Jumiati Soares Freitas, Antonio do Carmo and Maria Solana. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Reinato Bere Nahak and the defendant was represented by Abilio Tavares from the Office of the Public Defender.
20 October 2015
Dili District Court sentences Defendant in case of rape to 10 years and 6 months in prison and orders him to pay compensation pursuant to the Penal Code and CEDAW
The public prosecutor charged the Defendant with violating Article 172 of the Penal Code on rape and Article 23 on attempt to commit a crime. The Court found the Defendant guilty of committing rape under Article 172.
“JSMP values this decision because the penalty imposed on the Defendant is close to the maximum penalty available and the Court also ordered the Defendant to pay compensation as restoration for the victim. JSMP also welcomes this decision because once again the court has referred to CEDAW when deciding a case of violence against women and children. This is an important development in protecting the rights of female victims, and ensuring they receive justice,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.
CEDAW is an instrument of international law that sets out the obligation of State Parties to take action to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. CEDAW establishes three basic principles, namely: equality, non-discrimination and the need for State action. Timor-Leste is a party to this Convention and is obliged to adhere to the aforementioned principles, including in its formal judicial system. Therefore, JSMP welcomes the Court’s decision, which shows its commitment to ensuring CEDAW is applied in Timor Leste’s judicial system in decisions involving violence against women.
JSMP believes the application of prison sentences and compensation in cases of gender-based violence is a positive development in the formal justice sector and a reference point for future court decisions. Compensation is necessary to address the suffering of the victim, and contributes to combating violence against women.
In this case, the public prosecutor charged the Defendant with committing attempted rape because the Defendant tried to have sexual intercourse with the victim, but she resisted. During the trial the Court removed the attempt charge because the Defendant forced the victim to have oral coitus, which also meets the definition of rape as set out in Article 172 of the Penal Code.
Article 172 states that: Any person who, by the means referred to in the previous article, practices vaginal, anal, or oral coitus with another person or forces the same to endure introduction of objects into the anus or vagina is punishable with 5 to 15 years imprisonment.
JSMP observes that, in this case, the public prosecutor charged the Defendant incorrectly by including Article 23 on attempt. However, JSMP praises the Court because after examining the evidence the Court amended the indictment to remove attempt, and found the defendant guilty of raping the victim.
In her final recommendations the public prosecutor agreed with the Court’s amendment and requested the Court to impose a 12 year prison sentence on the Defendant.
This case was heard by a panel of judges comprising Jumiaty Freitas, Jacinta Correia da Silva and Benjamin Barros. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Remigia Fatima and the defendant was represented by Marcal Mascarenhas and Marcelino Coro the Office of the Public Defender. This case was registered as Case No. 0069/15. DICMR.
16 October 2015
Timor-Leste passes Law establishing a Maritime Council, affirming its intent to settle Maritime Boundaries with near neighbor Australia
Law No 2/2015 gives expression to the October 24th, 2014 Resolution of National Parliament to support the Government in the creation of this Council.
The law prescribes the main duties of the Council and they are to define the key terms of the negotiation of a treaty to delimit final maritime boundaries with the Commonwealth of Australia, to serve in a supervisory role to ensure the quality and overall direction of the negotiation process and provide instructions and guidelines on relevant decisions and strategy.
The Council will be led by the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste and is going to include former Presidents and Prime Ministers and other eminent and qualified participants.
The law outlines the practical workings of the Council and includes sections on structure, membership, administration and funding.
Activities in the Timor Sea, which stretches between the shores of Timor-Leste and Australia, are currently guided by provisional arrangements in the form of three treaties: The Timor Sea Treaty [TST], Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea [CMATS – which Timor-Leste has declared to be invalid due to espionage activities by Australia] and the International Unitization Agreement [IUA].
Timor-Leste and Australia, as parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS], have a positive obligation to reach a final agreement on maritime delimitation of their boundaries, with the current provisional arrangements “not to hamper or jeopardize the reaching of the final agreement.”
The new Law declares that “Twelve years have passed since the restoration of the independence of the Nation, and it is now necessary to determine, once and for all, the national maritime boundaries in light of their enormous social, political an
ETLJB Editor's Note: Unfortunately, there is some text missing. ETLJB is late in publishing this news but wishes to embed it in the record.
ETLJB 16/10/2015 Source: AAP 15 OCT 2015 - 11:06 AM UPDATED YESTERDAY 3:23 PM On October 16, 1975, five Australian journalists were killed in Balibo by Indonesian forces. Forty years on, Tony Maniaty remembers that day like it was yesterday.
Barely a week goes by without Tony Maniaty thinking about Balibo.
Maniaty, an up-and-coming ABC journalist, travelled with a film crew to the East Timorese border town in October 1975, just as the Portuguese colony was about to be overrun by Indonesia.
Shelled and shot upon by Indonesian forces, the ABC team retreated with the pro-independence Fretilin group towards the capital of Dili.
In the opposite direction sped a Channel Seven news crew of Australians Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart and New Zealander Gary Cunningham, looking for the big story. They were followed some days later by Channel Nine journalists and Britons Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters.
Crossing paths, Maniaty unsuccessfully warned both crews to turn back.
It was the last he saw of them.
Friday, 16 October marks the 40th anniversary of the deaths of the 'Balibo Five', who were shot by Indonesian military forces as they reported on the East Timorese bloodshed.
Indonesia maintains the Five were killed in crossfire, despite a 2007 NSW Coroner's Inquest finding the journalists were murdered by Indonesian forces in what constituted a war crime.
Maniaty stayed to report on the deaths from Dili. It was the most harrowing period of his life.
"The longer I stayed, the more likely I too would be killed. We assumed the clock was ticking," the 66-year-old told AAP.
"It was a very dangerous game, to stay as long as you could to report on the suffering and conflict in East Timor but also to stay alive.
"In many ways it remains the defining event of my adult life."
Maniaty returned to Balibo in 2008 as a consultant for the film 'Balibo' about the investigation into the murders by Australian journalist Roger East, working for AAP, and East's ultimate death in Dili at the hands of the Indonesian military on December 8, 1975.
The film, starring Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia, will be shown in various locations across Australia and East Timor on Friday with proceeds to go towards building a Balibo dental clinic.
Film director Robert Connolly, 47, was the man tasked with re-telling the Balibo history to a modern audience and didn't take his role lightly.
"We tried to be as forensic as possible about their murder for history's sake. You definitely feel that responsibility to get these things right," Connolly said.
"We did know it would become for a lot of people a historical document.
"I think it managed to put a lot of things on the record in a way that was quite commercially available."
Connolly said the deaths ultimately helped maintain interest in the East Timorese story on Australian shores.
"The clearest observation I have of the murders was that it kept the story of East Timor alive in Australian consciousness, for those many years when terrible things were happening," he said.
"This was a very small place. At the time there were only 400,000 people in East Timor," Maniaty said.
"To be blunt about it, the deaths of Australian journalists brought media focus onto that story in a way that perhaps wouldn't have been so intense, and that of course had its outcome in the eventual independence of the East Timorese."
Photo and caption added by ETLJB. This is the Indonesian man, Muhammad Yunus Yosfiah, who is accused of primary responsibility for the extra-judicial killings and mutilation of the Balibo 5. Indonesia, true to form, has denied this and asserts that the Balibo 5 were killed in cross-fire. It is a lie; among an ocean of lies from the Indonesian State about the multitude of atrocities it committed in East Timor. See here for an interview with him.
A short service will be held at dawn at the War Correspondents' Memorial of the Australian War Memorial. The dedication will include a minute's silence and the laying of wreaths.
Journalists and the public are invited to attend. Discrete camera positions will be available. Interviews will be available after the ceremony.
Who: Shirley Shackleton, wife of Greg Shackleton;John Milkins, son of Garry Cunningham; Paul Stewart, brother of Tony Stewart; Warwick Costin, CEW Bean Foundation; Representatives from the Timor Leste Embassy; The Hon. Nick Xenophon, Independent Senator for South Australia; Mark Riley, Seven Network; Quentin Dempster, Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA);
What: Commemorative Wreathlaying Ceremony
Where: War Correspondents Memorial, Australian War Memorial Treloar Cres, Campbell ACT 2612, Australia When: 6 am for 6.15 am start, Friday 16 October 2015
14 October 2015
PRESS RELEASE - The Government met extraordinarily this Monday, October 12th, 2015, in the Council of Ministers’ meeting room, at the Government Palace, in Díli, and approved:
1. Government Resolution that Renews the Mandate of the President of the Board for TIMORGAP, E.P
Under Decree Law no. 6/2015, of 11 March, the Council of Ministers approved the reappointment of Mr. Francisco da Costa Monteiro as President of the Board of Directors and President of the Executive Committee of TIMOR-GAP, E.P, for a new 4-year mandate. TIMOR-GAP, E.P, is a national petroleum company in Timor-Leste, created in 2011, with the objective of representing the government in conducting business within the oil and gas sector.
2. Recommendation to reappoint the Chief and the Vice-Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces for F-FDTL
Based on Decree-Law no. 7/2014, of 12 March – Statute of the Military Forces of F-FDTL – the Council of Ministers approved a recommendation to reappoint Major-General Lere Anan Timur (Tito da Costa Cristovao) as Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces for F-FDTL and Brigadere-General Filomeno da Paixao de Jesus as Vice-Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces for F-FDTL.
The Council of Ministers also analysed:
1. General State Budget Proposal for 2016
The Government made a preliminary analysis of the Draft Law of the General State Budget (GSB) for 2016, which encompasses all the revenues and expenses and covers the period between 1 January and 31 December 2016.
2. Presentation of the program for the celebrations of the 500th Anniversary of the Affirmation of the Timorese Identity
The Minister of State Administration, on behalf of the Organising Committee for the celebrations, presented a budget for the schedule of activities, for the Council of Minister’s appreciation. The activities are been developed following a historical, cultural and intellectual approach, with highlight on the role of the Catholic Church in the history of Timor-Leste.
East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English
13 October 2015
Dr. Vicente Fernandes e Brito sworn in as Director of the Timor-Leste Police Scientific Criminal Investigation
The new National Director has worked for some fifteen years within the Timorese Justice sector as a career magistrate and Prosecutor, rising to the role of Deputy Prosecutor General.
The Police Scientific Criminal Investigation [PCIC] was officially created in May last year to work cooperatively with other entities undertaking criminal investigation domestically, such as the National Police Force [PNTL], the Anti Corruption Commission and the Migration Service, and internationally such as INTERPOL and other Agencies combatting transnational crime. It is a scientific law enforcement agency focused exclusively on criminal investigation, independently structured, technically equipped and with highly specialized staff.
The swearing in ceremony, before senior members of Government and Judiciary, included speeches by the Acting Prime Minister Pereira, the Secretary of State for Land and Property representing the Minister of Justice, H.E. Jaime Xavier Lopes and the new Director, Dr. Vicente Fernandes e Brito.
Secretary of State Lopes noted that the PCIC had an important role in fighting serious organized crime and was key to addressing increasingly sophisticated and complex criminal activities. He reminded that the PCIC was expected to maintain high standards of “professionalism, ethical behavior, impartiality and independence”.
The new National Director, Dr. Brito, remarked that the PCIC must do its work with scientific rigor as it identifies and collects evidence to contribute to a fair, credible and impartial trial process. He recognised the role he would have to play in consolidating this institution in these early years of its activities and pledged to do everything needed to meet the expectations of his appointment.
Minister of State Agio Pereira congratulated Dr. Vicente Fernandes e Brito on his appointment wishing him every success in his new role. He noted “Dr. Brito’s experience in the justice sector and high professional standards equip him well to lead and consolidate the PCIC, as it investigates, gathers evidence, rigorously applies scientific methodology and ultimately serves the rule of law under the Constitution of Timor-Leste”.ENDS
12 October 2015
Timor-Leste has initiated this new arbitration to resolve a dispute that exists between the two Governments concerning the proper interpretation of Article 8(b), which arose in early 2014 in the context of an inappropriate interference by Australia in a third-party international arbitration, without prior consultation with Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste disagrees with Australia’s assertion that it has absolute and exclusive jurisdictional rights, including taxation rights, relating to the entire length of a petroleum export pipeline including into the Joint Petroleum Development Area. Australia’s claim would deny Timor-Leste any jurisdictional rights relating to this pipeline or activities relating to this pipeline. This is inconsistent with the text and purpose of the Treaty and is not supported by any negotiating or other documents that have been brought to light, in particular as it pertains to jurisdiction within the Joint Petroleum Development Area.
Over the past eighteen months Timor-Leste has consistently been willing to discuss with Australia the meaning of Article 8(b), and to acknowledge the shared nature of jurisdiction that the Timor Sea Treaty establishes as part of the compromise necessary to permit the temporary arrangement allowing each party to benefit from the exploitation of the resources in the still-disputed area. On this basis, Timor-Leste has invited consultations on the scope of each party’s jurisdiction to determine where it is shared, where it is exclusive to Australia and Timor-Leste, and where it is yet to be determined. Its efforts in this regard have been to no avail.
Given the inability to discuss the degrees of jurisdiction in the disputed waters, Timor-Leste is now of the view that the only way to resolve this matter is by submitting the dispute to an arbitration Tribunal as provided for under Article 23 of the Treaty. The initiation of arbitration will allow for each party to present its position supported by facts and law.
Timor-Leste remains willing to resolve the dispute directly with Australia. This will be possible if Australia can help break the current impasse by recognizing the existence of shared jurisdiction, according to the terms of the Timor Sea Treaty, and engage in productive consultations to determine the degree of each nation’s jurisdiction over the shared pipeline and related activities.
Timor-Leste is hopeful of the satisfactory and speedy resolution of this matter.” ENDS
09 October 2015
ETLJB 09/10/2015 On 14 August 2015, ETLJB resumed publishing but on a more limited basis than previously.
Thanks to all readers and followers for your patience and continuing support.
Warren L. Wright BA LLB
East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English
The purpose of the training was to educate key community leaders-suco chiefs, Lia-Na’in, and women’s representatives—about access to justice and women’s rights under the Constitution of Timor-Leste and associated laws and the ways in which local leaders can assist members of the community to access formal and traditional justice.
The training was implemented by Ba Distrito’s national partner, the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP), who developed and delivered this training to members from 100 suco councils in Baucau, Covalima, Ermera, Liquiça and Oecusse.
The training is part of a series of 10 training modules, which are being delivered to 100 suco councils as part of Ba Distrito, a project which is generously supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
USAID Mission Director, Mr. John Seong, said, "USAID’s Ba Distrito Project’s Access to Justice and Women’s Rights training to suco councils members enables members of suco councils to have a proper understanding of applicable laws. The training aims to facilitate access to justice for Timorese, especially women and girls as well as citizens living in rural areas, and promote gender equality within the Timorese Society."
The training was delivered over three days, and participants learned about rights and laws in Timor-Leste, gender equality, women’s rights, law against domestic violence, access to the formal justice system, andelping victims in the community.
“JSMP believes that this training will help community leaders understand our legal system in terms of women’s rights and this will help them to make appropriate interventions in the context of conflict resolution in the community, based on the nature of individual cases and within reponsibilities that the law provides them,” said Mr. Luis Oliveira Sampaio, Executive Director of JSMP.
In many cases, local leaders are the first point of contact for members of the community, and they often provide advice about various issues including prevention and resolution of conflict.
To strengthen understanding about key legal issues and increase access to justice at the grassroots level, Ba Distrito has partnered with legal aid organizations to provide legal education and consultation to poor and vulnerable people in Baucau, Ermera, Liquica and Oecusse.
Ba Distrito Chief of Party, Ms. Carolyn Tanner, from Counterpart International, said, “The training provided by JSMP will increase the ability of community leaders to make decisions and guide their community in a way that reflects the rights provided to all people under the constitution. Given the roles of the suco council members, particularly suco chief, Lia-Nai’n, and women representatives, this training will equip them with adequate knowledge to better understand and contribute to social harmony and inclusion in their respective sucos.”
In addition to the providing training to suco council members, Ba Distrito also funds legal aid partners to provide legal information outreach sessions and legal aid directly to members of the community at suco level.
Ms. Francisca M. Soares, Chief of Village in suco Soba, Laga Administrative post, who participated in the three day training, said that, “This training is important in order to increase our understanding about how we can resolve problems, and also how we can promote women’s rights to inheritance such as property, and rights to alimony.”
The information delivered at these sessions is further reinforced through a series of public service announcements about similar issues that are covered in the suco council training and legal outreach sessions such as law against domestic violence, civil and penal codes, women’s property rights, and alternative dispute resolution. The series is currently being broadcast on community radio in Covalima, Ermera, Liquica, and Oecusse. -ends-
See also Members of Village Councils in Oecusse Municipality received training from JSMP on access to justice and women’s rights
07 October 2015
Suai District Court sentences defendant to 13 years in prison and orders him to pay compensation of US$3,000 in case of sexual abuse against a minor
The court found that the defendant committed sexual abuse in accordance with Article 177 (2) of the Penal Code, with aggravating factors under Article 182 because the victim was only 12 years old. The public prosecutor originally charged the Defendant under Article 177 (1) of the Penal Code. However, after examining the evidence and finding that the defendant did not have sexual intercourse with the victim, the court amended the charge to Article 177 (2).
The defendant was found guilty based on the testimony of the victim and the testimony of the victim’s mother, who did not witness the incident but testified that the victim was crying when she told her about the incident. The court also referred to the medical report from Pradet that stated that the victim suffered injury to her genitals.
"JSMP welcomes this decision because the court imposed a penalty on the defendant close to the maximum penalty of 15 years available under Article 177 (2) of the Penal Code. JSMP also commends the order that was imposed on the defendant to compensate the victim for her suffering. This sends a strong message to potential offenders and will deter others from committing sexual violence against minors," said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.
The public prosecutor alleged that on 30 July 2014, at approximately 1pm, the victim and her friends were walking on the main road when the defendant stopped his motorcycle to pick her up. When she refused he continued to urge her to get on his motorcycle, so she eventually agreed to ride with him. When they arrived at her home the victim told the defendant she was experiencing pain in her abdomen and went into her room. The defendant followed the victim and told her to remove her clothing. The defendant then started to hug the victim from behind, grabbed the victim’s breasts and put his finger into her genitals. The victim fled and told her mother and other members of her family that lived not far from the scene of the crime. The actions of the defendant caused the victim to suffer injury to her genitals.
The public prosecutor charged the defendant for violating Article 177(1) of the Penal Code for sexually abusing a minor as well as aggravation under Article 182 of the Penal Code because the victim was only 12 years old.
During the trial the defendant admitted all of the facts charged against him and testified that the case had been resolved in accordance with local customs as he had given US$2,000 to the victim’s family. However, the court did not consider the US$ 2,000 because it was given to the victim’s family. Therefore, in its decision, in addition to imposing a penalty of 13 years in prison, the court also applied a separate order for the defendant to pay US$ 3,000 compensation to the victim.
JSMP values the decision of the court to order the defendant to pay compensation to redress the victim’s suffering, even though the defendant testified that he had already provided compensation to the family of the victim.
JSMP would especially like to congratulate the judge presiding over this case for showing great sensitivity towards the victim and for demonstrating progressive thinking by disregarding the traditional settlement directed to the victim’s family. JSMP believes this decision is an important step forward in the formal justice system.
JSMP hopes the courts in other jurisdictions can use this decision as a reference when they consider and hand down decisions in similar cases.
JSMP believes that a separate order for compensation to be paid directly to the victim is appropriate and fair because the victim herself suffered trauma and psychological pressure. The violence suffered by victims classified as minors can have a lasting and serious effect for the duration of their lives.
After hearing this decision the public defender was not satisfied with the court’s order that the convicted person pay compensation of US$3,000, so the public defender will lodge an appeal with the Court of Appeal.
This case was registered as Case No. 167/pen/2015/TDS. The hearing to announce the decision was presided over by judge Costáncio Barros Basmery representing a panel of judges. The public prosecutor was represented by Mateus Nessi and the defendant was represented by public defender Joanico da Costa (legal graduate, replaced by public defender João Henrique).
06 October 2015
From these 10 cases, 8 involved simple offences against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence, 1 case involved the mistreatment of a spouse and 1 case involved rape.
From the cases processed, 6 resulted in suspended prison sentences, 1 case resulted in a fine, 2 cases were adjourned because the parties did not respond to the court summons and in 1 case a prison sentence was imposed.
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. 0310/14. DIBCR
Composition of judges : Single
Judge : Jumiati Freitas
Public prosecutor : Rogerio Viegas (trainee)
Public Defender : Marcelino Marques Colo (trainee)
Conclusion : Sentenced to 6 months in prison, suspended for 1 year.
On 2 July 2015 the Dili District Court tried a case of domestic violence involving the defendant AdC who allegedly committed the offence against his wife in Dili District.
The public prosecutor alleged that on 21 August 2014 at 8:00 am, the defendant slammed the victim’s head into a wall and elbowedher.These actions caused the victim to suffer an injury to her forehead. This case allegedly occurred because the victim put some motorcycle keys away without telling the defendant.
The public prosecutor alleged that the defendant violated Article 145 of the Penal Code on simple offences against physical integrity in conjunction with Article 35 of the Law Against Domestic Violence.
During the trial the defendant admitted all of the facts set out in the indictment and stated that he regretted his actions and he and his wife had reconciled.
When the court sought confirmation from the victim, she maintained the charges of the public prosecutor, andconfirmed that they had reconciled immediately after the incident.
In his final recommendations the public prosecutor requested the court to sentence the defendant to 6 months in prison, suspended for 2 years, in order to deter the crime of domestic violence.
The public defender asked the court to impose a lenient sentence given that the defendant had admitted all of the facts, had cooperated with the court and regretted his actions.
On 13 July 2015, based on the facts proven during the trial, the court concluded this case and sentenced the defendant to 6 months in prison, suspended for 1 year.
2. Crime of simple offences against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence –Case No. 0116/13. DIBCR.