Timorese courts operating only for urgent matters
Timor-Leste’s courts are functioning during a state of emergency, but they only address urgent and urgent matters, with many employees working from home, the President of the Court of Appeal said today.
“During the state of emergency, the courts are functioning, albeit to a limited extent. They have not closed completely and work for urgent cases and urgent situations,” said Deolindo dos Santos.
At the end of a meeting with the East Timorese head of state, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, the President of the Court of Appeal indicated that among the urgent topics are cases of “arrested defendants, precautionary measures or cases in which the judge considers that there is danger or risk of loss of evidence “.
“The Superior Council of the Judiciary decided to limit the operation to non-urgent cases, so as not to cause additional risks for the employees”, he noted, referring that the mobile courts were also suspended.
“People are working at home, and if necessary they go to court, but we want to avoid concentration of employees and to avoid risks with the covid-19,” he added.
Lu-Olo also met with the Minister of Defense and Interim Minister of the Interior, Filomeno Paixão, to analyze the security situation in the context of the state of emergency.
To the journalists, Paixão said that the police continue to act within the legal framework of the state of emergency, with particular attention to patrolling the land border, monitoring in quarantine sites and community policing.
On the border, Filomeno Paixão explained that there have been some cases of illegal entry by Timorese citizens, who were then sent to quarantine sites.
Paixão said, in this case, that the police lack personal protective equipment and reiterated the call to local authorities to help identify who may have entered illegally, to be quarantined as a preventive measure for covid-19.
“The message to the population and to the administrators and local authorities is that they cooperate as much as possible with border patrol. It is just a matter of trying to control entrances and ensuring that people are quarantined. We want to avoid risks,” he said.
With regard to cases reported of possible abuse by agents, Filomeno Paixão said that “two or three” cases are being analyzed by the authorities and will be subject, if necessary, to disciplinary proceedings.
The official reiterated that the police will always act within the law, using proportional measures for those who do not respect the state of emergency.
“We are acting within the law and just to avoid spreading the virus. Whoever does not respect it is a crime, a crime against public health,” he said.
Timor-Leste has 22 confirmed cases of covid-19, including one recovered.
The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 168,000 deaths and infected more than 2.4 million people in 193 countries and territories.
To combat the pandemic, governments sent 4.5 billion people home (more than half the world’s population), ended non-essential trade and drastically reduced air traffic, paralyzing entire sectors of the world economy.