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Independent justice system to contribute to peace

Dili Weekly - November 25, 2016

Venidora Oliveira – First Lady Isabel Ferreira said that an independent justice system in Timor-Leste would contribute to the country's peace and stability and therefore the state should guarantee it.

She said that justice and peace cannot be separated because in order to strengthen the country's stability a strong justice system free of political interference was needed.

It is her view that Timor's justice system is still not independent as there continues to be political interference from politicians.

"The experts say justice and peace are not separate, so we need to create a strong and independent justice [system] to contribute to peace in the country," she said while participating in commemorations in Dili marking the 20th anniversary of the joint awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to Timor's Dr Jose Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo.

She also called on the whole of society to make a contribution to strengthen the country's judicial system."Anyone who is involved in cases – like the accused and the victim – should cooperate with the justice system, come to the court and give their declaration, so we don't accuse each other of not making contribution," she said.

Human Rights and Justice Ombudsmen (PDHJ) Silverio Baptista Pinto also agreed because an independent justice system would help ensure the state is protected.

"To have a democratic [system] that is more fair and balanced, the justice [system] should be strong and running independently," he said.

However, National MP Arao Noe Amaral disagreed with calls for the justice system to be free of political interference from politicians in Timor.

He said the courts cannot function alone without the government, National Parliament and the president. "The four organs should complete each other because they are inter-dependent on each other," he said.

He said those working in the justice system understood about the separation of powers, but should not forget that the four organs were interdependent on each other.

"The court cannot make decision without law: the government presents, the parliament approves and the president promulgates," he said.

"When it (laws) has already been promulgated then the law can be implemented, so this means the court also depends on the parliament, government and the President of the Republic."

Therefore, he said these organs were interdependent and did not function independently.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/security-defencejustice/14212-independent-justice-system-to-contribute-to-peace