PNTL’s Weapons: Items of Security or Threat?
Mahein’s voice no. 25 will discuss whether the PNTL’s arsenal is a source for security or a threat to the Timorese population? Timorese history has been filled with conflicts marred by heavy weaponry. These conflicts have been listed in the history of Timor-Leste and include the 1975, 1999, 2006 crises and the attempted assassinations of the head of State and Government of RDTL on the 11th of February 2008.
This report explains that the use of weapons in conflict continues to be used by State institutions against ordinary citizens. The report cited that, wrong doing caused by the use of weapons that lead to the intimidation and murder of civilians is caused by the lack of systems of control whereby the State has insufficient control over the weapons in use in the Army and the Police institutions. In addition to this, the individual soldier or Police officer is most often unaware of the laws relating to the use of weapons. This often results in the carrying of weapons by off duty officers, which leads to the use of weapons for wrongdoing. A striking example of this was the murder by two off duty PNTL border patrol Unit officers of a young girl on 4th November 2011 in Bobonaro district.
The report later goes on to reveal that the PNTL officer who committed the killing of a young man in December 2009 is still on duty while the case is ongoing and has not been sent to prison yet. Moreover, FM also lists in this report the various incidents of murder and intimidation, which were committed by PNTL and army officers in Timor-Leste.
In this report FM also offered several recommendations to the Government of Timor-Leste.
Fundasaun Mahein recommends the Government to set up a control system to better monitor the use of weapons by on and off duty Police and Army personnel.
Fundasaun Mahein recommends the Government of Timor-Leste to conduct psychological tests of Police and Army officers to probe for cases of mental ill health and to ban the use of weapons while off duty.
Fundasaun Mahein recommends the Government to have regular auditing of weapons within both the PNTL and the F-FDTL.
Fundasaun Mahein recommends that the commanders within the PNTL and the F-FDTL control their officers and soldiers when using weapons in the community.
For more information on this issue, please see the following:
Director of Fundasaun Mahein
Tlp : +670 737 4222