Press Release Period : April 2012 Edition : 24 April 2012 - Baucau District Court unable to conduct trial in a case of aggravated murder because no interpreter available
On 18 April 2012 the Baucau District Court was unable to conduct a trial in a case of aggravated murder that had been listed in the court schedule. The case was registered with the court as Case No. 29/Crm.C/2012/TDB. There were seven defendants in this case, namely TL, OL, AL, ATL, OLL, FS and VS who allegedly committed the crime against the two deceased victims David Armando Ramos and Alarico Soares. This case allegedly occurred on 20 August 2012 di Hailarino Sub-Village, Luro Village, Luro Sub-District, Lautem District.
The trial was led by a panel of judges comprising judge António Fonseca Monteiro, José Gonçalves and Ângela Faria Belo. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by prosecutor Adérito Tilman and the defendants were represented by public defender Gregório de Lima and private lawyer Ângelo Neves.
The Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, said that JSMP encourages the Ministry of Justice to give serious attention to this situation and recruit interpreters for all mother tongues/dialects that are used in the respective jurisdictions to ensure that the trial process in the courts can be conducted effectively.
Previously in its annual report entitled 'An Overview of the Justice Sector in 2011' JSMP found that the issue of court interpretation continues to be a common problem or obstacle that has not yet been resolved.
The trial of this case could not take place because interpretation from Tetum into Sae’ene was not available. For this reason the court decided to adjourn the trial until 25 April 2012.
Based on information JSMP obtained from the court, the public prosecutor charged the defendants with Article 139 of the Penal Code which carries a penalty of 12 to 25 years.
To anticipate similar problems in future hearings the court will send an official request to the Lautem District Administrator to appoint/provide a person who has a good understanding of Tetum and Sae’ene to provide interpretation on the date set by the court because most of the parties do not understand Tetum.
Based on JSMP monitoring in Baucau District Court, there are three interpreters who provide interpretation from and into Makasae, Naueti, Uaimua, Galole, Tetum-Terik, and Tetum to Portuguese, however there is no interpretation for other languages such as Sae’ene, Fataluku, Makalero and others, so this often makes it difficult for the court to conduct trials in cases involving perpetrators who use one of these languages.