Press Release On the letter addressed to the Prosecutor-General by His Excellency the Chairperson of CNRT

Press Release                          On the letter addressed to the Prosecutor-General by His Excellency the Chairperson of CNRT

The letter by His Excellency the Chairperson of the National Congress for the Reconstruction of Timor-Leste (“CNRT”) addressed to the Prosecutor-General, DR José da Costa Ximenes was made public. It questions the performance of the Public Prosecution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and calls into question its competence, appropriateness and impartiality. The Authority of the Special Administrative Region of Oé-Cusse Ambeno believes the letter offends the principle of separation of powers and is an attempt to hinder the work by the Public Prosecution and the Courts. Consequently, in defence and out of  respect for the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste the Authority of the RAEOA feels the need to answer and clarify some of the issues raised in the letter.

According to the Constitution, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is a democratic state that abides by the rule of law, it is sovereign, independent and unitary, based on the will of the people and the respect for human dignity. As in all democratic states which abide by the rule of law, Timor-Leste enshrined the separation of the judicial, legislative and executive  powers in its Constitution adding that there should be mutual respect between these and a duty of non-interference whilst performing their duties.

As regards their duties, judicial institutions have their own hierarchy and independence and owe exclusive obedience to the Constitution and the Law. This is the reason why the Authority of the RAEOA has to repudiate the letter by His Excellency the Chairperson of CNRT as it aims to curb the independence and performance of the judicial institutions, and also to hinder and influence them in an unacceptable manner which is contrary to the Constitution and the Law.

It should also be noted that His Excellency claims the existence of breaches in the confidentiality of justice proceedings and suggests the undertaking of enquiries to bring those responsible for it to justice whilst, simultaneously, requests additional clarifications to the Public Prosecution which jeopardises the confidentiality of justice proceedings.

RAEOA upholds its respect and trust in the judicial institutions, it abides by and complies with their decisions as they seek to rigorously apply the law and follow the formalities imposed without discriminating citizens according to their political ideology, social or professional background.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is still a young democracy, one can see the clear improvement of the judiciary and the capacity of the courts and of all those working in them and this should be an incentive for the State to further invest and increase the investment in the training of professional staff in the judiciary and the Timorese in general.

Regarding the statements made by His Excellency the Chairperson of CNRT, the Authority of RAEOA wishes to make it clear that it is complying with and implementing all the recommendations made by the Accounts Chamber of the Administrative Court, namely its Financial Audit Chamber and, is finalising an information document addressed to the Accounts Chamber to attest the compliance of all the recommendations.

The Authority of RAEOA considers the report and the recommendations made by the Accounts Chamber of the Administrative Court an opportunity to improve procedures and to strengthen its structures. We believe that this is a normal procedure in the ongoing learning process of an institution which has been in activity less than four years.

RAEOA has no reason for apprehension regarding the performance of the Public Prosecution Service, in particular the report of the Accounts Chamber of the Administrative Court. We deem that it followed all the principles required by the law and consider that the performance of the Public Prosecution Service is clearly justified.

Office of the President of the Authority of RAEOA-ZEESM

30th January 2019