Decentralized training improves justice services

Justice services
EMELITA SEIXAS (IN THE FOREGROUND) AND MARTINHA DA COSTA (THIRD FROM THE LEFT), ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF WORKING IN BAUCAU DISTRICT, PARTICIPATE IN TRAINING HELD AT ONE OF BAUCAU’S COURT ROOMS. PHOTO JOANA SARAIVA/ UNDP TL

Baucau – All 56 justice officials throughout Timor-Leste are participating in a training programme that combines theoretical, practical and on-the-job learning. The initiative, designed to increase effectiveness and efficiency of justice services, brings trainers to the officials’ workplace, allowing for the normal running of the Courts and continuous follow-up on topics discussed. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

Highlights

  • The first systematized training programme specifically designed for Court staff is being held with all 56 clerks and administrators across Timor-Leste’s judicial districts, and combines theoretical, practical and on-the-job learning.
  • The training programme, supported by system-wide procedural improvements and the implementation of an electronic case management system, is aimed at increasing effectiveness and efficiency of justice services in the country.

 “It is being great to have the trainers come here, so we can keep our activities and, in addition, receive support on the spot when the doubts arise”, said Martinha da Costa, justice official in Baucau Court.

This is the first systematized training program specifically designed for court staff. Training topics, such as ethics, statistics, inventory, the officials’ statute, penal and criminal processes, which were defined through a comprehensive need assessment, are supported by system-wide procedural improvements designed to ensure consistent implementation across all judicial districts. Importantly, the training will support implementation of the electronic case management system.

In Baucau, the 12 justice officials are excited about the training, and are positive on the impacts it will bring once the electronic case management system is piloted, next March.   

“The changes will facilitate our work, accelerate the processing of Court orders and allow quicker resolution of cases”, said Emelita Seixas, civil section.

“With the case management system, organizing and monitoring our work will be much easier, thus improving the services we offer”, added the secretary of Baucau Court, Sebastião Soares.

The training, which began in September 2013 and will conclude in June 2014, is being supported by UNDP’s Justice System Programme (JSP). New recruits and experienced staff are being taught differently, appropriate to their skills, but all will be given extensive training on the case management system. Some classes mix experienced officials such as Martinha, that started working in the justice system when the country institutions were being established back in 2000, with newly arrived staff like Emelita, who became a Court clerk in August 2012, encouraging participants to exchange and incentivizing peer support. The training is reinforced by the distribution of reference manuals for staff.

Through this initiative, JSP is helping to bring a transformational change in the functioning of the justice system beyond the central level.  By extending the existing training possibilities beyond Dili, a significant impact can be made in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of justice services at the local levels. In addition, by building local level capacities, the initiative also supports the new decentralization framework.

The training program is made possible by a US$500,000 grant from UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.