05 July 2013

Suai District Court fails to protect child victim of sexual violence

Image: W. Wright 2006. Arte Moris
ETLJB 5 July 2013 - East Timor's Judicial System Monitoring Program has released the English translation of its report on a case of aggravatd sexual violance against a minor. The text of the report follows.

On 26 June 2013 the Suai District Court conducted a mobile hearing in Maliana, Bobonaro District. The hearing was held so the court could read out its decision in a case involving aggravated sexual violence.The defendant in this case CP committed sexual violence against a girl JMF who is a minor.

This case is very serious because the defendant committed sexual violence against the victim by threatening to hurt the victim with a machete if she refused.The defendant also threatened the victim not to tell her parents about the incident.The court sentenced the defendant to 8 years imprisonment and ordered him to pay court costs of $25.

In cases of sexual violence involving a minor the court has the responsibility to conduct hearings that are closed to the public to protect the identity and privacy of the victim as set out in Article 76 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Code. However the court failed to anticipate this situation and everyone there was allowed to freely attend the hearing.

"JSMP is very concerned with this incident because the court has failed to protect the identity and privacy of the victim. This situation will be very detrimental for the victim in the future. Hearings like this will not encourage other child victims to report their cases in the future because they will be worried that others will see them and find out about their case” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

JSMP warmly welcomes the initiative of the mobile court which was proposed by the judicial actors in each district court as a way of bringing justice to the people. However JSMP is still concerned with the locations used to conduct the hearings. Although the hearings are conducted in different locations the court still has to ensure that the rights, privacy and security of the parties are protected.

JSMP understands that when matters have reached the final decision the hearing will be open to the public; however JSMP encourages the courts to make exceptions in cases involving sexual violence and minors and to provide adequate protection.

JSMP requests for the judicial authorities to address this situation to provide proper protection to victims and other citizens in Timor-Leste.

This case was registered as Case No.102/PEN/2012. The hearing was presided over by judge PedroRaposoFiguerodo, the public prosecution service was represented by Jacinto Babo Soares and the defendant was represented by public defenderJoĆ£o Henrique.The court clerk appointed to handle this process was Vasco Kehi. Source: JSMP Press Release 03 July 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright 

Related report
Suai District Court hears homicide, rape, manslaughter and property damage cases

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