|Subject: SCU: 3 Prosecutors Sworn-in To
Appear At The Special Panels
SERIOUS CRIMES UNIT INFORMATION RELEASE
THREE PROSECUTORS SWORN-IN TO APPEAR AT THE SPECIAL PANELS FOR SERIOUS CRIMES
On 7 July 2003, Dr.Longuinhos Monteiro, the Prosecutor General of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste presided over the swearing-in of three International prosecutors at a ceremony at the Office of the Prosecutor General in Dili, Timor Leste. The Prosecutors from the Serious Crimes Unit took Oaths of Office which will allow them to prosecute cases before the Special Panels for Serious Crimes of Dili District Court Court of Timor Leste. Dr. Claudio de Jesus Ximenes, the President of the Appeal Court also participated in the ceremony which was observed by members of the Courts of Timor Leste, UNMISET and the Diplomatic community of Timor Leste.
This the first time that Prosecutors from the Serious Crimes Unit have been formally sworn-in to appear before the Special Panel for Serious Crimes since Timor Leste gained independence on 20 May 2002. At the ceremony, Mr. Per Halsborg, Mr. Mareck Michon and Ms. Wambui Ngunya from the Serious Crimes Unit took Oaths of Office to appear as Prosecutors at the Special Panels. Mr. Halsborg is a Public Prosecutor from Norway who joined the Serious Crimes Unit in March 2003. Mr Michon is a military lawyer from Poland who began work as a prosecutor for Serious Crimes in June 2002. Ms Ngunya from Kenya joined the UNTAET Serious Crimes Unit in December 2000 as a Case Manager. In January 2003 Ms. Ngunya began work as a Prosecutor at the Serious Crimes Unit.
At the ceremony, the Prosecutor General of the Republic said that the inauguration ceremony was as a significant step towards the goal of justice for the crimes committed in 1999 in Timor Leste showing the commitment of the Office of the Prosecutor General to bring those responsible for the crimes to justice. Dr. Monteiro commented that the prosecution of further trials at the Special Panels will be important to Timor Leste as the trials represent an historical record of what actually occurred in Timor Leste in 1999. He also said that the prospect of more trials will help those families of victim and their communities come to terms with their losses knowing that perpetrators have been brought to justice.
Recent developments in the judicial system such as the recent inauguration of the President of the Court of Appeal and the recent swearing-in of International Judges have meant that two Special Panels for Serious Crimes are now able to hear cases from the violence of 1999 in Timor Leste. These developments have already speeded up the process of bringing those indicted individuals present in Timor Leste to trials at the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Timor Leste .
Until now there have been 32 individuals convicted in trials at the Special Panels for Serious Crimes since trials began in January 2001 during the UNTAET transitional period.
All of those convicted in trials at the Special Panels of Judges have been convicted of Crimes against Humanity or of Serious Crimes such as murder or rape which took place during the violence of 1999.
With the prospect of more trials scheduled to commence at the Special Panels, the inauguration of the Prosecutors will enable all six of the International prosecutors presently working at the Serious Crimes Unit to prosecute cases of Crimes against Humanity and Serious Crimes committed in 1999. At present there are more than 35 indicted persons awaiting trial in Timor Leste with more suspects under investigation. Another 170 persons indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit remain at large in the Republic of Indonesia.
8 July 2003