17 November 2012

MP calls for Courts in all thirteen districts of Timor-Leste

The 13 Districts of East Timor
ETLJB  17 November 2012 - Member of Parliament Pedro da Costa has called for the establishment of a District Court in all of the 13 Districts, saying this was necessary to ensure people in the Districts have access to justice and any information relevant to the sector.

The Dili Weekly reported on 14 November that Mr da Costa had told the Parliament that “[t]hese Courts must be set up in each District to alleviate the backlog of cases and reduce the lengthy delays which people are used to endure. This would speed up the legal processes in the country and while some Districts already have their courts,some have not.” He added the Ministry of Justice should have a plan to ensure all Districts will eventually have a court.

Presently, there are District Courts in only 4 Districts: Dili, Oecusse, Suai and Baucau. The Vice-Minister for Justice Ivo Valente said the Justice Ministry's strategic plan foresees the installation of a court in the remaining Districts.

“The National Strategic Development Plan exists, however to do so means we must look at human resource issues which are not easy to resolve and we do not have sufficient numbers of judges to handle all the cases, as well as defence and prosecution lawyers. Many things are still lacking,” said the Vice-Minister.

According to him, efforts are being made by the Ministry of Justice to provide an office of the Prosecutor General in the Districts such as Ermera, Viqueque and the sub-District of Maliana.

Source: The Dili Weekly. Edited by Warren L. Wright Map: Page F30

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