14 June 2013

Dili District Court tries 8 defendants for crimes against humanity

Dili District Court, East Timor
ETLJB 14 June 2013 - According to East Timor's peak law and justice monitoring civil society organisation, the Judicial System Monitoring Progam, on 11 June 2013 the Dili District Court tried a case involving crimes against humanity that occurred in 1999 in Aileu District before, during and after the autonomy referendum. This case was registered as Case No. 273/C.Ord/2011/TDD. The hearing was scheduled to hear the indictment and the testimony of the defendants.

There were 27 defendants in this case; however the court only tried 8 defendants because the others (19 in total) were still in Atambua, Indonesia. The defendants in this trial were TM, AP, ASC, MC, JdA, JP,  MdA and  DP. The defendants were members and leaders of the AHI militia group (Aileu Hametin Integrasaun) in 1999, that was supported by the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the Indonesian police (POLRI).

“Crimes against humanity are very serious crimes and therefore JSMP urges the courts to deal with these matters appropriately to ensure and guarantee justice for the victims” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

The public prosecutor alleged that in 1999 before, during and after the referendum, the defendants were involved in the commission of aggravated murder, attempted murder, illegal detention, forced removal of civilians to Atambua-Indonesia, burning the homes of residents, committing rape against women and sabotage against community groups working for and under the CNRT movement.

The public prosecutor alleged that the defendants violated Article 14 of UNTAET Regulation No.15/2000, regarding crimes against humanity.

During the hearing the defendants refused to give testimony and requested for the court to allow them to give testimony only after the court hears the testimony of witnesses.

The trial will continue before a panel of judges comprising Jose Maria de Araujo, Paulo Teiquera and Julio Gantes.The Public Prosecution Unit was represented by Luis Landim and the defendants were represented by public defenders Jaime Leite and Jose da Silva.

The hearing to examine witnesses will take place on 8 July 2013 at 9am. Source: JSMP Press Release 12/06/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

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