30 July 2012

Using local language to solve local issues

East Timor Legal News 30/07/2012 Source: Suara Timor Lorosae 23/07/2012 - A victim of land dispute used his local language (makasae) when responding to the judge in a trial conducted in Dili as he did not fully understand the language(s) of the court such as Tetun and Portuguese.

The court did not expect this would happen but when it happened the court did not stop the victim. One of the judges tried to explain to the other judge in Tetun and this went on until they had reached the final decision that was just and accepted by both parties.

This was unique as it has never happened before and it clearly shows that the roles of local languages are vitally important in the development process, especially in the justice system.

How can we achieve a true justice in court when victims and suspects don't understand the court's language?  

See also East Timor: Language and The Law on the East Timor Law Journal

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