Friday, April 17, 2009

Timor-Leste is Demonstrating a Commitment to Justice, Rule of Law, and Democracy

The top United Nations envoy to Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, who heads the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), has given a quite positive view of the situation there as it has developed over the past seven years.  He told a Timorese Ministry of Justice Workshop this week that in its seven years of independence, Timor-Leste has demonstrated its commitment to justice, rule of law, and democracy. He noted that when he first arrived in 2002, judicial institutions were dysfunctional due to a lack of trained judges, prosecutors, and public defenders.  But he said that Timorese justice personnel are increasingly taking on functions as they receive training and that access to justice has been improved with districts courts functioning outside Dili, the capital.  He also said that the prison service has improved and the country has also ratified all major international human rights instruments.  Timor-Leste also recently adopted important legislation, such as the criminal code, which is broadly in line with international standards, he said.

He noted that the UN family in Timor-Leste has been continuously supporting the authorities in their efforts by providing technical advice and mentoring with the  strong support of bilateral partners.  Challenges include the completion of investigations of crimes against humanity and other serious crimes committed during the violence before independence and in 2006, he said.

He also said that pending key legislation, such as the Civil Code, the law on Domestic Violence and a Juvenile Justice Law must be adopted swiftly and implemented efficiently.  There is also a need for additional human rights education and raising legal awareness, with particular emphasis on women’s rights and gender based violence, he maintained.

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For readers of this blog who would like to know more about the law in East Timor, East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin promotes global online awareness of rule of law issues in the East Timor legal system. ETLJB publishes legal information and news from East Timor daily sourced from national and international media, law and justice civil society groups, the government, parliament, court reports and the united nations mission (UNMIT). It includes a free email subscription service to the East Timor Legal News feed. A related site, the East Timor Law Journal publishes articles and analyses of law and policy issues in East Timor written by both East Timorese and international jurists. Readers are encouraged to submit articles to ETLJ for publication.

Posted by: Warren | Apr 17, 2009 4:34:40 PM

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