The Problem of Security Weapons:
Civil Institutions Continue to Form with Weapons
Fundasaun Mahein (FM), 27 November 2014
This FM report is about the problematic status of security weapons in Timor-Leste. Civil institutions continue to be established with weapons, which further contributes to the ongoing weapons issue in Timor-Leste. In fact, existing weapons dilemmas of the security institution have not yet been fully resolved. This report follows-up on previous FM reports, which have discussed the audit process for weapons, the missing weapons in 2006 crisis, the acquisition process of new weapons, and the misuse of weapons by individual security personnel.
Even though the investigations for weapons in Timor-Leste have not yet been finalized, Timor-Leste continues to form new civil institutions with weapons. Many of these institutions, such as the Scientific Police of Criminal Investigation (SPCI), are related to criminal investigation.
This report does not aim to provoke conflict over the issue weapons in Timor-Leste but, rather, to provide policy recommendations and public concerns for the government to consider for the present and future. This report also encourages public debate surrounding the crucial issue of weapons, because people of this state have endured a long history of weapons.
The public has expressed its desire to know which types of the weapons will be used by the SPCI and KAK, two new security institutions. Timor-Leste does not have any legislation that designates the types of weapons appropriate for state security authorities. FM believes that the government should legally define the types of the weapons permissible for security authorities.
Fundasaun Mahein worries that Timor-Leste may soon face conflicts similar to those in the past. The control systems for weapons have not yet been fully developed, yet Timor-Leste wants to establish additional civil institutions whose personnel are permitted to use weapons. Holistic viability studies should be conducted before establishing these new departments.
This issue contributes to the tentative state security situation in Timor-Leste. Many historical examples around the world have demonstrated that the use of arms by citizens poses significant threats to national stability. A report by The Small Arms Survey estimates that 75% of small and light weapons in the world are used by civilians. This situation could appear in Timor-Leste if the control mechanisms for weapons are not developed. Furthermore, Timor-Leste’s legislation must be strengthened, especially as it pertains to the regulation and usage of weapons.
FM believes that sooner or later, investigative personnel will misuse weapons. As such, these personnel may pose grave risks to professional investigations. Therefore, relevant security authorities must consider the following recommendations:
1. The National Parliament should urge the Ministry of Justice as well as the Ministry of Defense and Security to clarify the creation policies of investigative units that use weapons.
2. The Ministry of Security and Defense and the Ministry of Justice should create controls systems and concrete regulations for weapons before investigators use these weapons.
To learn more, please see the following:
Executive Director of FM
Phone (+670) 7737-4222 or contact to (+670) 7756 1184