Irregularities Involving F-FDTL and PNTL Members Require Serious Attention
This report is to call attention for leaders of the institutions of F-FDTL and PNTL to pay strong attention to its members, where lately a few incidents have occurred.
Fundasaun Mahein’s (FM) monitoring noted that for the last few years, members of these institutions, whether individual or a groups, acted as a security force that was feared by the people, and undertook their role by using force which is not necessary according to legal law of Timor-Leste. FM has raised many times that discipline by members of state security institutions need a serious attention by the relevant commands. However, it appears that these problems do not get serious attention, and have continued in the last few years.
Indeed, members of these institutions are still even attacking each other, and the tensions between the organisations are inflamed further by the respective leaderships. For example, in May 2016, members of the PNTL, Battalion of the Public Order (BOP) hit a member of the F-FDTL, and the Vice Chief of F-FDTL, Brigadier General Filomeno Paixão de Jesus only further inflaming the incident through a press conference held the next day. Likewise, an incident occurred on June 2016 where member of the F-FDTL assaulted a member of PNTL in Ainaro.
Such incidents have contribute to the public perception that members of these two institutions have (re)started a war within the security sector. FM is also concerned that seemingly minor incidents, if allowed to continue unabated, will might worsen and possibly lead to more systematic violence.
Therefore, FM supports decisions by the two institutions to strengthen discipline in the system and give suspension for members who violate their rules. FM also feels that good legal principles of consistency, transparency and accountability must be maintained when enforcing such systems. Those guilty of offences in the security sector will be more effective through three aspects; first, any member of security forces who violates the law of Timor-Leste should be referred to a criminal judge in public court; second, all disciplinary proceedings must be independent, without intervention from others either inside or outside of the security institutions; and finally, that the respective laws of the PNTL and F-FDTL will be carried out as intended, with consistency, honesty and integrity.
In order to maintain these principles, and to increase professionalism and confidence both within and outside of the police and military, FM makes the following recommendations.
1. The Government and the Command of F-FDTL and PNTL need to rigorously assess and document the performance members of the two institutions, including maintaining disciplinary files.
2. The command of the F-FDTL and PNTL need to apply consistent and transparent disciplinary mechanism, including rules for carrying out internal proceedings and the process for referring matters to the criminal courts.
3. Where possible, members of the F-FDTL and PNTL should work together to promote consistent values of discipline while at the same time further harmonizing their relationship.
For more details on this issue please contact:
Phone: (+670) 78316075 no 77561184