THE FOLLOWING IS OUR TRANSLATION FO A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE RDTL COURT OF APPEAL (EQUIVALENT TO CHIEF JUSTICE IN OTHER COUNTRIES) ON 9 SEPTEMBER 2009.
THOUGH ALL CARE HAS BEEN TAKEN TO EFFECT A FAITHFUL TRANSLATION, THERE MAY BE SMALL ERRORS. WE APPRECIATE ANY ERRORS BE BORUGH TO OUR ATTENTION. THE ORIGINAL SCANNED TEXT WILL BE AVAILABLE LATER TODAY.
In the last days the media has emitted news that non-judicial Timorese authorities ordered the release from prison of Maternus Bere who has been in prison by a court order; and there may have been some questions asked in the media as to why the President of the Court of
Appeal has not taken any measures regarding this fact.
On this issue, as the President of the Court of Appeal and the Superior Council of the Judiciary, I would like to make the following clarifications:
According to the information that I have been able to gather, the judge of the Suai District Court ordered Maternus Bere await his trial in prison; against the accused were pending indictments on allegations of serious crimes committed in 1999; the court had some time ago issued arrest warrants for the accused to be tried. The release referred to in the media as having occurred, was not ordered by a court decision.
Pursuant to our law and our constitution, only a judge can order that someone who has been placed in prison be released from prison. No non-judicial authority has any powers to release or order the release from prison whoever has been imprisoned by a court order.
Pursuant to section 245, subsection 1 of the Timorese Criminal Code, whoever, through illegal means, frees or through other means assist in the freeing and evasion of any person legally detained is punishable by imprisonment of 2 to 6 years.
Our constitution defines Timor-Leste as a Democratic State under the Rule of Law – a state that is governed according to the law and the rules of democracy.
Our constitution attributes to each sovereign state body* a set of powers that it can exercise and does not allow that each sovereign state body exercise powers attributed to other bodies.
No non-judicial sovereign state body has the power to release a prisoner that has been imprisoned pursuant to a court order, not even for political reasons.
In a Democratic State under the Rule of Law we all have to obey the law.
When legal means are not used to resolve problems they tend to surmount themselves. The 2006 crisis was a good example of this.
Because of this, the Superior Council for the Judiciary and the President of the Court of Appeal are accompanying attentively the process that is the case of the accused Maternus Bere. The Superior Council for the Judiciary during its meeting on 4.09.2009 charged the Judicial Inspector of undertaking the necessary inquiries. Upon verification that there has been an illegal release of the accused imprisoned by a court order, the appropriate authorities will be
notified of that fact to launch the correspondent legal and disciplinary action.
Dili, 9th of September 2009
Claudio de Jesus Ximenes
President of the Court of Appeal and of the
Superior Council for the Judiciary
*this is a translation according to our interpretation, a "sovereign state body" refers to the respective constitutional bodies, ie the president, the executive government, the parliament and the judiciary. Each is known as an "orgao de soberania" which we have translated as
thus. The powers and role of each is defined in the constitution of the RDTL.
Image added by ETLJB: Claudio de Jesus Ximenes President of the Court of Appeal and of the
Superior Council for the Judiciary
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