20 February 2009

Interview with Judge Ivo Rosa


The justice system in Timor-Leste is not independent and is worsening, said Ivo Rosa, the most controversial Portuguese judge in Timor-Leste.

Ivo Rosa is the judge of the Court of Appeal who was removed by Timor-Leste's Superior Council for the Judiciary – according to him, an example of political sphere interfering with the judiciary sphere.

He explains that his removal was due to a "decision, that I reported but which was not mine, which declared unconstitutional some aspects of the revised budget". To this is also added the fact that two members of the Superior Council exercise roles in the political sphere.

"One of them is the secretary general of the CNRT and another is the advisor in the office of the Prime Minister. These two facts indicate that the decision was based on political reasons, as there are no technical aspects or my human qualities which were put in cause", he accuses.

Ivo Rosa considers that, because of this, the decision of the Superior Council for the Judiciary is illegal and says that, in general, the justice system in Timor-Leste has worsened.

"Justice changed for the worse, in the sense that which is of essence to justice, this issue of independence and of credibility has been left hanging," he affirmed, saying, "This weakens the very judicial system and the State".

"My case was an example of this. Its patently an interference by the political sphere in the judicial", he underscored.

The Portuguese judge was accused by the Timorese President of colonial attitudes and of arrogance – he wanted for example to arrest the rebel Alfredo Reinado, against Ramos Horta's opinion. Reinado ended up being killed following attempts more than a year ago against the
Timorese President and the Prime Minister.

Ivo Rosa returns to Portugal in March, when his service commission will end. He confessed to Renaissance that he was not interested in extending his mission in Timor-Leste: "I have already been here for two and a half years and it is time to return to reality". (END)

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