08 January 2009

UNDP Justice System Extended For Five Years in East Timor


Dili, 6 January, 2009

As a continuation and expansion of its support to the rule of law in Timor-Leste, the United Nations Development Programme and the members of the Council of Coordination (CoC), signed on 22 December 2008, the revised project document on Enhancing the Democratic Rule of Law through Strengthening the Justice System in Timor-Leste in a ceremony held at the new Prosecutor-General's Office in Suai. The CoC is comprised of the acting President of the Court of Appeal, Dr. Natérica Gusmão, the Prosecutor-General, Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro, and the Minister of Justice, Dr. Lúcia Lobato.

In her remarks at the signing ceremony the Minister of Justice noted that "we expect that this new revised programme will continue to provide support to the strengthening of the Ministry through continuous trainings at the Legal Training Center, to improving people's access to justice by the Public Defender’s Office, and for the correction service to meet international standards."

This project document is the result of the second revision of the Justice System Programme, and replaces the project document: Enhancing the Justice System to Guarantee the Democratic Rule of Law: Strengthening the Justice System in Timor-Leste, signed by the CoC and UNDP in December 2005.

This is a five-year project and an Annual Work Plan for each project year will be elaborated in thorough consultations among key partners and will be accordingly approved by the Council of Coordination, prior to its implementation.

"We expect that with the support of the UNDP Justice System Programme the Prosecution Services will be able to strengthen the working relationship between police and prosecutors in order to ensure effective case investigation and avoid increasing the backlog of cases", said Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro, Prosecutor-General of the Republic.

The programme was revised based on the findings and recommendations of the Revision Mission which were presented to the CoC and development partners.The CoC gave a mandate to UNDP to proceed with substantive revisions to the programme management structure and programme units, and consequent expansion of the objectives of the project.

"The revised UNDP programme will expand capacity development activities as a means to increase the current number of magistrates and public defenders and to ensure their full presence in all four judicial districts over the next years," stated Dr. Natércia Gusmão, acting President of the Court of Appeal.

A new key feature of the revised programme will be the establishment of a national Timorese Chief Executive Officer’s post. The Chief Executive Office post will be assisted by a UNDP Programme Justice Specialist. The CEO will be responsible for the overall management and implementation of the judiciary program to support the judicial institutions to uphold the rights enshrined in the Constitution of RDTL and to consolidate the rule of law.

"This next phase of the Justice System Programme will be important to reinforcing existing interventions conducted during the previous programme cycle while embracing key recommendations to reform its structure to further enhance its effectiveness," said the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Finn Reske-Nielsen.

The UNDP Justice System Programme in Timor-Leste is currently funded by the governments of Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNDP.


East Timor Law Journal - Towards the rule of law in Timor-Leste!

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