BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor .........home ...... Oct news

The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin

Volume 2, No. 6&7
October 2001

Issue focus: Justice

The entire bulletin with a downloadable printable PDF version, will be available shortly at http://www.etan.org/lh/
Editions in other languages will also be available there. Printed, PDF and online versions contain additional graphics.


CONTENTS:

Part 1 (this part)
Justice for East Timor?
UNTAET and “Serious Crimes”
East Timor’s New Judicial System by the Judicial System Monitoring Programme

Part 2
The Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation: An Overview
Solidarity and International Justice by Paul Barber
An International Tribunal for East Timor? by Jon Cina
Women and Justice by Kate Halliday

Part 3 (coming soon to BD)
Editorial: Time to Get Serious About Justice for East Timor
In Brief
Letter from SRSG Sergio Viera de Mello
La’o Hamutuk Responds: Refugee Return Too Slow, Strategy Still Misguided

Part 4
Supplement: Chronology of Justice and Accountability for East Timor: September 1999 - October 2001


"In the September 2001 issue of Tais Timor, UNTAET outlines its “twenty major achievements,” which do not include anything related to Serious Crimes prosecution. (Their claimed “functioning judicial and legal system” deals only with “ordinary” crimes.) UNTAET’s silence about its achievements reflects what is widely seen as insufficient progress in this area. Of course, this is a problem not only of UNTAET’s making, but more importantly a result of the lack of political will on the part of Indonesia and the United Nations’ most powerful members to ensure that East Timor sees justice. Nevertheless, there are serious shortcomings with UNTAET’s efforts to ensure justice for human rights crimes committed in the context of Indonesia’s invasion and occupation." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
See also:

Sep 20 A Popular Challenge to UNTAET’s Achievements  Statement
BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity
BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal

Introduction: Justice for East Timor?

A little more than two years ago, the Indonesian military (TNI) and its militia forces began their final campaign of terror and destruction in East Timor. The results are well known: approximately 70 percent of the country’s buildings and infrastructure destroyed; over two thousand people killed; untold numbers of women raped; and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. These atrocities shaped the creation of the UNTAET mission and spurred efforts to ensure accountability for the Crimes Against Humanity and war crimes committed against the people of East Timor.

This Bulletin focuses on attempts to achieve accountability for crimes committed during Indonesia’s attempt to conquer and “integrate” East Timor. These crimes began in 1975 when Jakarta initiated its campaign of aggression against Portuguese Timor and formally ended in 1999 when TNI withdrew from the territory. In many ways, the international crimes continue today as militia and their backers in TNI still hold thousands of East Timorese virtual hostages in Indonesian West Timor.

In addition to an overview of various efforts to achieve justice, the issue includes a critical analysis of the investigation and prosecution by UNTAET of Serious Crimes (genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, war crimes, murder, torture and sexual offenses) and an article that discusses the activities of the international solidarity movement to bring about an international tribunal. Also contained within are an overview of the embryonic Commission on Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation, an article on East Timor’s evolving judicial system (for “ordinary” crimes), an examination of the relationship of the evolving justice system to incidents of violence against women in East Timor, and a piece that explores an alternative to an international tribunal. We are including a letter from Transitional Administrator Sergio de Mello to La’o Hamutuk on the ongoing refugee crisis, together with our response. A chronology listing important justice developments over the last two years is appended as a supplement.
 

In the September 2001 issue of Tais Timor, UNTAET outlines its “twenty major achievements,” which do not include anything related to Serious Crimes prosecution. (Their claimed “functioning judicial and legal system” deals only with “ordinary” crimes.) UNTAET’s silence about its achievements reflects what is widely seen as insufficient progress in this area. Of course, this is a problem not only of UNTAET’s making, but more importantly a result of the lack of political will on the part of Indonesia and the United Nations’ most powerful members to ensure that East Timor sees justice. Nevertheless, there are serious shortcomings with UNTAET’s efforts to ensure justice for human rights crimes committed in the context of Indonesia’s invasion and occupation.

“Sites” of Justice-related Efforts
 * The United Nations
 * Indonesia
 * UNTAET

There are three relevant “sites” of justice-related activity: international (more specifically, within the United Nations system), Indonesia, and East Timor.


The United Nations

Internationally, the United Nations quickly launched an investigation of the atrocities committed in the context of the UNAMET mission. On 27 September 1999, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) passed a resolution calling upon the Secretary-General to establish an International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor (ICIET) into gross human rights violations in East Timor. The UNCHR limited the Commission’s mandate to begin in January 1999, when President Habibie first suggested a vote in East Timor. UNCHR also requested that three Special Rapporteurs carry out missions to East Timor focusing on extrajudicial executions, torture, violence against women, disappearances, and forced displacement.

In a 10 December 1999 report to the Security Council, the Special Rapporteurs accused the TNI, along with militia, of crimes including “murder, torture, sexual violence, forcible transfer of population and other persecution and inhumane acts, including destruction of property,” crimes “committed on a scale that is widespread or systematic or both.” They recommended that the Security Council consider setting up an international tribunal unless Jakarta produced credible results from its investigation and promised prosecution of those responsible for the 1999 terror in East Timor “in a matter of months.” At the same time, the rapporteurs asserted that the tribunal “should have jurisdiction over all crimes under international law committed by any party in the Territory since the departure of the colonial Power [Portugal, in 1975].”

Less than two months later, the ICIET report called upon the UN to “establish an international human rights tribunal consisting of judges appointed by the United Nations” for crimes committed in 1999. While releasing the report, the Secretary-General stated that he was “encouraged by the commitment shown by President Abdurrahman Wahid to uphold the law and to fully support the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators through the national investigation process under way in Indonesia.” Mr. Annan also reported that Indonesia’s foreign minister had “strongly assured” him “of the Government’s determination that there will be no impunity for those responsible.”

Kofi Annan went on to write that he intended “to pursue various avenues to ensure that [accountability for the crimes] is accomplished adequately, inter alia, by strengthening the capacity of UNTAET to conduct such investigations and enhancing collaboration between UNTAET and the Indonesian … KPP-HAM” investigation.

Given this opening, the members of the Security Council especially Indonesia’s powerful allies were more than willing to defer to Jakarta’s request that it have the right to prosecute its own. But the Security Council stated that Indonesia had to bring the perpetrators to justice “as soon as possible” and should “institute a swift, comprehensive, effective and transparent legal process, in conformity with international standards of justice and due process of law.”

Since that time, little has happened in official circles apart from occasional warnings to Jakarta that lack of progress will lead to renewed efforts to establish an international tribunal. There is no progress at the United Nations toward an international tribunal for East Timor, and some powerful countries are retreating from earlier passive support for the idea. In the last few meetings on East Timor in the Security Council, for example, no member-state has mentioned a tribunal, nor have UNTAET or East Timorese officials done so in their testimony. Only the efforts of local and international NGOs and the work of the international solidarity movement keep the issue alive.


Indonesia

Soon after Indonesia violently and reluctantly withdrew from East Timor, Jakarta promised to rigorously investigate and prosecute gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in 1999. On 22 September 1999, the Habibie government gave its approval to Indonesia’s official human rights body, Komnas HAM, to form its own Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in East Timor (KPP-HAM) to investigate human rights crimes committed during 1999. Soon thereafter, Habibie signed a regulation authorizing Komnas HAM to establish an ad hoc court to prosecute civilians and soldiers for human rights crimes in East Timor and elsewhere.

On 31 Jan. 2000, KPP-HAM released the Executive Summary of its report stating that “gross violations of fundamental human rights have been carried out in a planned, systematic and large-scale way in the form of mass murder, torture and assault, forced disappearances, violence against women and children (including rape and sexual slavery), forced migration, a burnt-earth policy and the destruction of property.” The report accused 33 people of gross crimes. They included the former governor of East Timor, five district heads, sixteen army officers, one police officer and ten civilian militia heads. The report specifically named General Wiranto, the Defense Minister and head of the TNI in 1999, and Major-General Zacky Anwar, then head of military intelligence.

In early February 2000, Indonesia’s Attorney General, Marzuki Darusman, stated that it would take three months to decide whether to file charges against those accused by the Komnas HAM investigation. That never happened. In November of the same year, he promised that Jakarta would prosecute 22 suspects implicated in crimes against East Timor in January 2001. That did not occur either.

On 23 April 2001, Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid approved the establishment of a human rights court for East Timor, but one that would have only prosecuted violations committed after the August 1999 popular consultation. In response to criticism from many quarters, Megawati changed the court’s mandate in August 2001 to include crimes committed in April as well as in September 1999, but not those committed in other months. At the same time, the new decree restricted the court’s jurisdiction to crimes committed in Dili, Liquiça and Suai only.

While the redefined court could potentially try former militia leader Eurico Guterres (now head of Megawati’s PDI-P party’s youth wing), it appears that the goal of the change was to placate international critics. As one Jakarta-based diplomat explained, Megawati may be prepared to sacrifice Guterres in order to appease the international community. Amnesty International was more pointed in its criticisms, stating that the limitations on the court mean “that hundreds of victims of violations during 1999 throughout East Timor will be denied justice and the full truth of the events will not emerge.”

In August 2001, Benjamin Mangkoedilaga (responsible for establishing the court) stated that he expected court hearings to begin in October. However, in October Indonesia announced that the judges would not be named until December. Given such stalling, it is not surprising that Bishop Belo has stated that “We have no faith in the investigations being conducted in Jakarta. Those whoauthorized the crimes in East Timor will not face justice there.”


UNTAET

After InterFET troops arrived in East Timor on 20 September 1999, about a dozen Australian military police became responsible for investigations into human rights crimes. InterFET transferred this responsibility and relevant files to CivPol in December 1999. On 22 March 2000, UNTAET head Sergio Vieira de Mello formally shifted this task to a division headed by UNTAET’s Human Rights Unit (HRU), but still within CivPol.

The transfer of responsibility to the Human Rights Unit had many advantages, particularly as the HRU understands East Timor’s recent history and how the human rights atrocities fit into a larger political-military pattern, as well as enjoying good relations with East Timorese NGOs. Nevertheless, the Human Rights Unit never received the resources needed to effectively manage this responsibility.

Between June and August 2000, UNTAET established a prosecution service to oversee investigations into Serious Crimes first within its Judicial Affairs Department, and then within the Ministry of Judicial Affairs, removing this responsibility from HRU. UNTAET also established a Special Panel for Serious Crimes within the Dili District Court, which has the exclusive power in East Timor to try cases of genocide, war crimes, torture and Crimes Against Humanity (irrespective of time) as well as murder and sexual offenses committed between 1 January and 25 October 1999.

With the arrival of a new Deputy SRSG in July 2001 and the restructuring of the government in September 2001, UNTAET is reassigning responsibility for Serious Crimes. At press time, they had not finalized the details.

Serious Crimes investigators have prioritized ten cases from 1999, including the massacres at the Catholic churches in Liquiça and Suai, and the killings at Manuel Carrascalão’s house. Since its establishment, the Prosecutor General’s office has indicted over 42 individualsincluding a few low-ranking Indonesian and East Timorese TNI membersfor Crimes Against Humanity, and many others for individual cases of murder and other serious crimes. There have been seven convictions thus far, all low-level militia members; no Indonesian military officers have yet appeared before the court.

Many have criticized the slow pace of investigations and prosecutions by UNTAET, which is partly due to a shortage of staff and other resources. The Indonesian government’s refusal to cooperate with UNTAET investigations and prosecutions despite having signed a memorandum of understanding on 6 April 2000 obligating Jakarta to do so has weakened UNTAET’s effectiveness in this area. At the same time, however, there are significant problems within and around the Serious Crimes Unit that are independent of resources and Jakarta’s lack of cooperation. (See article following this introduction.)

Other “sites” of justice could be in third countries which can host civil or criminal trials for Crimes Against Humanity, war crimes and other crimes subject to universal jurisdiction. The recent civil suit and $66 million judgment against TNI general Johnny Lumintang (in absentia) in the United States demonstrates the potential for such efforts.


See also:

Sep 20 A Popular Challenge to UNTAET’s Achievements  Statement added Sep 20
"UNTAET has recently published in the September issue of its broadsheet Timor Tais 20 of the UN’s major achievements in East Timor. Many of these achievements are either misleading or things that UNTAET has been forced to do under pressure from Timorese people, civil society and leaders and international critics. It is time for UNTAET to be held accountable, once and for all, for not fully achieving its mandate, and for now preparing to withdraw and redefining its mandate according to the few things it has done rather than what it was supposed to do."

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

BD: 'Refugees' & Missing Persons - A collection of recent information, reports, articles and news

BD: Sexual & related Violence as a weapon of war - A collection of recent articles and news

back to top


"Since the arrival of UNTAET, one of its most critical responsibilities has been to initiate and achieve accountability for some of those who perpetrated crimes against the people of East Timor during 1999. ... many East Timorese and internationals here feel that investigations and prosecution of Serious Crimes are moving much too slowly, and that the goals set by the SCU fail to include the systematic and coordinated nature of the atrocities, or to explore crimes committed before 1999. Many believe that the problems stem from several principal factors: mismanagement, incompetence, lack of vision, inadequate resources, and insufficient political will within the international community." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
See also:

Sep 20 A Popular Challenge to UNTAET’s Achievements  Statement
BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity
BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal

UNTAET and “Serious Crimes”

Contents:
Mismanagement, Incompetence, Lack of Vision
Inadequate Resources
Lack of Political Will?

Since the arrival of UNTAET, one of its most critical responsibilities has been to initiate and achieve accountability for some of those who perpetrated crimes against the people of East Timor during 1999. Early in the mission, UNTAET assigned people to investigate Serious Crimes (murder, rape, massive arson and worse). This was originally part of the Human Rights Unit but was transferred to the Ministry of Justice in June 2000. Throughout, the UNTAET leadership (through the SRSG and the Deputy SRSG) has been responsible for administrative management of the unit. As we go to press, the unit is undergoing major personnel and structural changes.

The General Prosecutor has overall responsibility for investigation and prosecution of both “ordinary” and “serious” crimes, each of which is assigned to a Deputy General Prosecutor (DGP). The DGP for Serious Crimes heads what has come to be known as the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), encompassing prosecutors, forensic specialists, data management personnel, and investigators. However, in reality, the structure of the SCU has been confusing and ill-defined, even for those who work there, with dual reporting to both the UNTAET leadership and the ETTA Ministry of Justice.

From August 2000 until mid-October 2001, Mohamed Othman served as General Prosecutor. From July 2001 to October 2001, Jean-Louis Gillisen served as DGP for Serious Crimes, filling a long-standing vacancy. Øyvind Olsen, head of the investigation branch of the SCU, functioned as the de facto head of the SCU until Gillisen arrived.

Within UNTAET, overall responsibility for justice is now assigned to New Zealander Dennis McNamara, who became Deputy SRSG in July 2001. In September, with the formation of the all-East Timorese Second Transitional Government, Ana Pessoa became Minister of Justice, replacing Gita Welch. The new General Prosecutor is East Timorese lawyer Longuinhos Monteiro, 33, who had been DGP for Ordinary Crimes. As we go to press, UNTAET/ETTA has not filled the top position in the Serious Crimes Unit (formerly held by Jean-Louis Gillisen).

It is impossible to predict the effects of these changes, but we are optimistic that UNTAET leadership is finally addressing long-standing problems. Much of this article describes the problems that existed up to October.

The Serious Crimes Unit has brought more than 40 indictments for Crimes Against Humanity (mostly militia members and supporters, and East Timorese TNI), and has investigated several hundred murders. These accomplishments reflect the fact that the unit includes many highly dedicated and strongly qualified investigators and prosecutors. Nevertheless, many East Timorese and internationals here feel that investigations and prosecution of Serious Crimes are moving much too slowly, and that the goals set by the SCU fail to include the systematic and coordinated nature of the atrocities, or to explore crimes committed before 1999.

Many believe that the problems stem from several principal factors: mismanagement, incompetence, lack of vision, inadequate resources, and insufficient political will within the international community.
 

Mismanagement, Incompetence, Lack of Vision

La’o Hamutuk interviewed current and former staff associated with the investigation and prosecution of Serious Crimes. Almost uniformly, they were highly critical of Øyvind Olsen’s leadership, reporting that he had very poor relations with many of the staff. Criticisms were also raised about communication within the division, and with General Prosecutor Othman’s and former justice minister Gita Welch’s unwillingness to deal with personnel problems. Staff morale within Serious Crimes is very low, and has caused several competent, committed people to resign.

La’o Hamutuk has learned of many specific incidences of incompetence, poorly-defined strategy and objectives, ineffective data management, and bad judgment in the Serious Crimes Unit. As Amnesty International wrote in its July 2001 report on justice in East Timor, “Apart from resolving the 10 priority cases there appears to be no strategy for investigating other cases which took place during 1999 or indeed thousands of human rights violations which took place in previous years.” We have also heard numerous anecdotes illustrating lack of even rudimentary knowledge of East Timor’s recent history among SCU staff. Given that SCU management has recently resigned, we will not go into detail, but, like many others, we hope for significant improvement during UNTAET’s final months.

The SCU has no public outreach program, which is essential in a traumatized post-conflict society where survivors and communities need and want to be informed about what authorities are doing to ensure justice. Many are critical of the lack of cooperation between the SCU and East Timor’s civil society, including the SCU’s failure to work with NGOs and others with extensive information, evidence and documentation.

The SCU has not reached out to work with UNTAET’s Human Rights Unit (HRU), whose international and local staff throughout the country know a great deal about East Timor’s recent history. The HRU has strong ties to local communities and organizations who could aid in investigations.

Taken together, these examples illustrate the danger of an over-reliance on international experts with little background in East Timor, while doing almost nothing to integrate East Timorese into the process. Although current changes may address these problems, many ask why they were allowed to persist for so long.
 

Inadequate Resources

Amnesty International wrote “There has been a continual shortage of staff, including investigators and prosecutors with experience and expertise in investigating and prosecuting cases of human rights violations and Crimes Against Humanity.” In December 2000, for example, there was only one prosecutor for Serious Crimes. While the situation has improved, there are still only seven prosecutors.

Outgoing DGP Gillisen estimated that at least 55 investigators are needed to cope with the workload. But there are only 26 investigators assigned to the SCU, and only 11 of them are on the ground at any one time, due to contract rotations. Frequent contract rotations (every 6 -12 months) of investigators (many of whom are CivPols loaned by governments on 6-month contracts) mean that continuity and knowledge have been lost.

At present only one three-judge panel is functioning to try perpetrators of Serious Crimes. Although UNTAET is in the process of setting up two more panels, many doubt that the necessary support staff interpreters, public defenders, etc. exists to conduct more than one trial simultaneously. With the first Crimes Against Humanity trial already in its third month, it will take a long time to try even those who have already been indicted.

Material resources are also in short supply. For example, half of the investigators do not have vehicles, nor does the Deputy General Prosecutor. This lack of human and material resources makes it difficult to create an effective judicial system.
 

Lack of Political Will?

For at least a year, it has been clear that the Serious Crimes Unit was fraught with problems. In early 2001, Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello requested Mary Fisk, a person with a long and respected association with the United Nations, to conduct an internal investigation of the SCU. UNTAET never released the Fisk Report, but well-informed people describe the report as recommending significant changes, including new management. It took six months before major changes were made, during which time, UNTAET renewed contracts of people cited as problems in the Fisk Report, while others who identified the problems left in frustration.

This raises the question of political will. As one former Serious Crimes staffer stated, “There’s an argument that elements of UNTAET and the donor countries really don’t want a rigorous Serious Crimes Unit. It might embarrass Indonesia at a time when they don’t want to do so.”

It is, of course, impossible to assess the validity of such suspicions, but the fact they are present even within the SCU speaks to how profound the unit’s problems are. These doubts are reinforced by the poor performance of the governments that dominate the United Nations regarding justice for East Timor.

As UNTAET nears its end, the UN is planning for the investigation and prosecution of Serious Crimes in the successor mission, with expected increases in international and local staff. A major funding problem exists, however, as the United States and France do not want assessed contributions to be used for activities outside of the narrow parameters of traditional peacekeeping. The Secretary-General has proposed that Serious Crimes prosecution in UNTAET II be funded from assessed contributions, although most civilian functions, including the judiciary, will depend on voluntary contributions.

The Serious Crimes Unit is, at present, the only place where perpetrators of Crimes Against Humanity committed during the Indonesian occupation can be called to account. With the justice process in Indonesia going nowhere, and with the UN not yet willing to establish an international tribunal for East Timor, hopes for justice rest here for now. Although the unit has some accomplishments, performance in many areas has been lacking, and UNTAET’s leaders, as well as influential governments, have been reluctant to take action. Although recent SCU management changes indicate that this may finally be changing, consistent public vigilance and advocacy are needed to ensure that the changes have significant, lasting effect. Furthermore, until UNTAET and the UN broaden their vision and deepen their determination, many of the worst perpetrators will continue to enjoy impunity in Indonesia.


See also:

Sep 20 A Popular Challenge to UNTAET’s Achievements  Statement added Sep 20
"UNTAET has recently published in the September issue of its broadsheet Timor Tais 20 of the UN’s major achievements in East Timor. Many of these achievements are either misleading or things that UNTAET has been forced to do under pressure from Timorese people, civil society and leaders and international critics. It is time for UNTAET to be held accountable, once and for all, for not fully achieving its mandate, and for now preparing to withdraw and redefining its mandate according to the few things it has done rather than what it was supposed to do."

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

back to top


"It is vital that the international community continues to support and provide material assistance to the fledgling justice system well beyond the expiration of the UNTAET mandate. If the new justice system does not receive the necessary support, the legacy of impunity and corruption left by Indonesia will continue to undermine the development of the rule of law in an independent East Timor." The Judicial System Monitoring Programme
See also:

BD: East Timor's Judicial System
BD: Violence Against Women

East Timor’s New Judicial System

By The Judicial System Monitoring Programme

When UNTAET was established in Oct. 1999, the judicial system that had been in place throughout the Indonesian occupation of East Timor was effectively in ruins. The Indonesian military and its militia has destroyed infrastructure such as court buildings, and documents such as court files and legal texts. The Indonesian bureaucracy that had administered the court system had fled, taking with it the vast majority of judges, prosecutors and qualified lawyers. There was an immediate vacuum of not only law enforcement but also of a legal system to enforce. As a result, an urgent and integral part of UNTAET’s mandate was to recreate a functioning justice system, including the very foundations on which that system would be based.

Since then, UNTAET has created four district courts in Dili, Baucau, Suai and Oecusse, as well as a national Court of Appeal. UNTAET also appointed 25 judges, 13 prosecutors and 9 public defenders in early 2000. The judges now hear both criminal and civil cases, including disputes relating to commercial contracts, land agreements and border control activities. With the exception of a special panel of the Dili District Court that hears the Serious Crimes cases, most of which relate to the violence in 1999 and use international judges and prosecutors, East Timorese judicial officers deal with all legal cases. Furthermore, a Timorese police force is now in place, although still supported by the international Civilian Police. There are also public defenders UNTAET-appointed lawyers that represent people in court if they have no other lawyer. Finally, court buildings and prisons are largely rebuilt, and the slow task of developing skills and knowledge of how to run a justice system has begun.

Despite this progress, however, insufficient resources, both in equipment and personnel, are hampering the effective administration of justice. Basic rights to a fair trial, such as the right to legal representation are jeopardized due to the insufficient number of public defenders. Currently there are only nine public defenders for the entire country. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that, prior to 1999, few East Timorese had received a legal education and nearly all of those who were qualified were not allowed by the Indonesian administration to practice law. As a result the lawyers have either very little or no practical experience.

The same problem applies to the new East Timorese judges. They have only received minimal training, yet must struggle to manage extraordinary case loads. In countries that employ the Anglo-American common law legal tradition judges are only chosen from the most experienced senior lawyers. In the continental European civil law tradition, which forms the basis of Indonesian law, judges undergo an extensive training program and begin with only minor cases.

The laws that now apply in East Timor are an unusual combination of Indonesian law, UNTAET regulations, and international human rights law. For most day-to-day legal matters, particularly criminal offences, the Indonesian laws that were in place throughout the occupation continue to apply. Although the UN regulations dictate that only Indonesian laws that are consistent with international human rights law are enforceable, to date the Transitional Administration has still not undertaken a comprehensive review of these laws to assess the extent of their incompatibility with international standards. This system has caused considerable confusion, not just for ordinary people who are subject to the laws, but also for the police, judges, prosecutors and lawyers who are trying to follow and implement them.

As most East Timorese have never experienced an independent and impartial formal justice system, considerable ignorance and mistrust of the official justice system continues. Basic public information about the new justice system is currently lacking, including information about how to access complaint mechanisms and the entitlement to formal justice procedures. Similarly, there is a great need for education and information about a person’s rights upon arrest, including the right to legal representation and the right to silence. There have already been instances in which police investigators question suspects, sometimes in relation to extremely serious allegations, without the protection of having a lawyer present on their behalf to ensure the upholding of the laws that guarantee these rights.

In addition, East Timor has many valuable traditions of community-based mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, of which local communities are justifiably proud. Some of these have long histories that pre-date even the Portuguese colonial presence and are administered by local leaders such as the lia nain (traditional law person). Some of these systems have been developed or adapted as alternatives to the corrupt and arbitrary nature of the Indonesian justice system.

In many formal justice systems around the world there has been increasing recognition of the usefulness of mediation and other dispute resolution alternatives to going to court, which can often be inflexible and expensive. Such systems can complement a formal justice system when used in appropriate cases. At the same time, there is a need for caution. As Amnesty International noted in a recent report on East Timor, “the use of alternative, non-judicial criminal justice mechanisms can lead to serious human rights violations” where they operate in an unregulated way without adequate protection.

Certain violent activity in particular, such as murder or rape, should be treated as criminal offences and penalized accordingly. Amnesty cited several cases in which violent crimes against women and children have been “resolved” by means including the payment of money, sometimes against the victim’s wishes. In the absence of a functioning justice system that has earned the trust of the community, vulnerable groups such as women and children face pressure to accept alternate forms of community “justice” that may place them at greater risk.

An independent and impartial justice system is one of the most important foundations of any just society based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. When perpetrators of abuse and other injustices can act with impunity, the basic principle of equality before the law is undermined. While the pursuit of justice for the victims of past atrocities and abuses committed in East Timor remains an important goal, the proper establishment of a justice system with the capacity to fairly determine disputes and to prosecute current and future crimes according to law must also be a priority in the reconstruction process.

It is vital that the international community continues to support and provide material assistance to the fledgling justice system well beyond the expiration of the UNTAET mandate. If the new justice system does not receive the necessary support, the legacy of impunity and corruption left by Indonesia will continue to undermine the development of the rule of law in an independent East Timor.


Bahasa Indonesia:
Program Pemantauan Sistim Peradilan / Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP)  Updated Oct 27
Program Pemantauan Sistim Peradilan (JSMP) merupakan sebuah projek independen yang telah dikembangkan dibawah perlindugan Asosiasi Juris Timor Loro Sa’e dan La’o Hamutuk, sebuah organisasi  yang terdiri dari orang-orang Timor Loro Sa’e dan internasional. Melalui pemantauan kasus-kasus pengadilan dan menghasilkan analisa hukun dan laporan-laporan tematis tentang perkebangan sistim peradilan secara menyeluruh, JSMP bertujuan membantu Administrasi Transisi, masyarakat umum Timor Loro Sa’e dan masyarakat internasional dengan memberikan rekomendasi-rekomendasi bagi perbaikan yang terus-menerus di mana masalah-masalah spesifik diidentifikasikan. Sasaran utama dari program adalah memperbaiki mutu keadilan yang diberikan oleh sistim peradilan yang baru didirikan, memajukan HAM dan pemerintahan yang berdasarkan hukum dengan cara yang bermanfaat dan transparan bagi masyarakat Timor Loro Sa’e.
Sahe Institute building, Rua da Mozambique I/1-A Palapaso, Dili – East Timor Phone: (Mobile) 0419 804 600
Alamat pos: P.O. Box 340 Dili, East Timor via Darwin, Australia
Christian Ranheim, christian@jsmp.minihub.org, Télpon (Mobile): +61(0) 419 804 600;
Caitlin Reiger, caitlin@jsmp.minihub.org, Télpon (Mobile): +61 (0) 419 366 404;
Email/Phone: info@jsmp.minihub.org, Télpon: +670 (390) 325-013
Situs-Web (Bahasa Inggeris): http://www.jsmp.minihub.org

English:
Judicial System Monitoring Programme / Program Pemantauan Sistim Peradilan (JSMP)  Updated Aug 27
JSMP is a new human rights project set up by the East Timorese Jurists’ Association and the Timorese/international organisation La'o Hamutuk. JSMP aims to assist the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, the East Timorese public and the international community by making recommendations for ongoing reform of the fledgling judicial system of East Timor.
The main objective of the programme is to improve the quality of justice provided by the newly established judicial system, and to promote human rights and the rule of law in a meaningful and transparent manner for the people of East Timor through:

  • sending legal observers to monitor the serious crimes trials;
  • providing legal analysis and thematic reports; and
  • dissemination of information on the developments of the justice system as a whole.

  • At this stage, the programme’s courtroom observation work focuses primarily on the cases related to the violence in 1999, which include crimes against humanity, genocide and torture.
    Regular updates: subscribe to JSMP’s news service by sending an empty e-mail to list-subscribe@jsmp.minihub.org
    Sahe Institute building, Rua da Mozambique I/1-A Palapaso, Dili – East Timor Phone: (Mobile) 0419 804 600
    P.O. Box 340 Dili, East Timor via Darwin, Australia
    Christian Ranheim, christian@jsmp.minihub.org, Phone: (Mobile): +61(0) 419 804 600;
    Caitlin Reiger, caitlin@jsmp.minihub.org, Phone: (Mobile): +61 (0) 419 366 404
    Email/Phone: info@jsmp.minihub.org, Phone +670 (390) 325-013;
    Homepage: http://www.jsmp.minihub.org
    Jun 1 2001 JSMP: New Human Rights Project in East Timor: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01junjsmp.htm


    See also:

    BD: East Timor's Judicial System - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

    BD: Violence Against Women - A collection of recent articles and news

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    Tetum: (the most common East Timorese language)
    La’o Hamutuk, Institutu Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitor Reconstrusaun / Institut Permantauan dan Analisis Reconstruksi Timor Loro Sa'e  Updated Oct 30
    Saida mak La’o Hamutuk? La’o Hamutuk organizasaun klibur Ema Timor Lorosa’e no Ema Internacional ne’ebe buka atu tau matan, halo analize ho halo relatorio kona ba hahalok (actividade) instuisaun internacional ne’ebe oras ne’e haknaar iha Timor Lorosa’e, liu-liu hahalok sira ne’ebe iha relasaun ho rekonstrusaun fizika no social Timor Lorosa’e nian. La’o Hamutuk fiar katak Povo Timor Lorosa’e mak tenke hakotu iha procesu rekonstrusaun ne’e nia laran no procesu rekonstrusaun ne’e tenke demokratiku no transparante duni.
    Staf Timor oan: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; Staf Internasional: Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer; Kuadru Ejekutivu: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito Soares Durubasa: Benjamin Sanches Afonso, Tomé Xavier Jeronimo, Maria Bernardino, Manuel Tilman, Djoni Ferdiwijaya Ilustrador: Sebastião Pedro da Silva, Nan Porter Design Jeronimo Staf Monitoriu Projektu Judiciariu JSMP: Christian Ranheim, Caitlin Reiger, Rayner Thwaites
    Local Contact:  P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)  Mobile fone: +61(408)811373;  Telefone Uma: +670(390)325-013 Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org
    International contact: +1-510-643-4507 Email: lh@etan.org Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
    Boletim La’o Hamutuk: [Tetum PDF format]
    Vol. 2, No. 3 Junho 2001 Fundu Monetariu Internasional (IMF) iha Timor Lorosa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulv2n3T.pdf
    Vol. 2, Nos. 1-2 Abríl 2001 Vizaun Jeral Hosi Fundu Ba Rekonstrusaun Timor Loro Sa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/lhbl2n1t.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 4, 31 Dejembru 2000 Banku Mundial iha Timor Loro Sa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/lhbul4tm.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 3, 17 Novembro 2000 Hari Sistema Saude Nasional iha Timor Lorosa’e:  http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/LHbul3tm.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 2, 17 Julho 2000 Protesaun ba meio ambiente iha TL: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin02tetum.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 1, 21 Juñu 2000 Rekonciliasaun: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin01tetum.pdf

    English:
    La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis  Updated Oct 30
    La'o Hamutuk is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
    La'o Hamutuk (Tetum for Walking Together) is a joint East Timorese-international organization that seeks to monitor, to analyze, and to report on the reconstruction activities of the principal international institutions. It believes that the people of East Timor must be the ultimate decisionmakers in the reconstruction process and that the process should be as democratic and transparent as possible ...
    East Timorese staff: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; International staff: Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer Executive board: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito de Jesus Soares Translators: Maria Bernardino, Tom‚ Xavier Jeronimo JSMP staff: Christian Ranheim, Caitlin Reiger, Rayner Thwaites
    International contact: +1-510-643-4507 Email: lh@etan.org Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
    La’o Hamutuk Bulletin: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletin.html
    Mar 23 2001 LH: Job announcement for La'o Hamutuk in East Timor: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01marjob.htm
    Activity Report: Mar 16 2001 LH: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01marlhreport.html


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