UNDP and Australia partner to strengthen coordination in the Justice System

10 Feb 2014

imageSIMPLÍCIO BORGES, JUSTICE OFFICIAL AT THE DILI DISTRICT PROSECUTION OFFICE, INSERTS INFORMATION DIRECTLY INTO THE ELECTRONIC SYSTEM AS HE LISTENS TO A STATEMENT. PHOTO: UNDP/TL

Dili – UNDP and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) have signed an agreement in support of UNDP’s long-running programme focused on strengthening the Timor-Leste’s Justice System. Under the agreement, signed 10 February, 2014 DFAT allocates US$608,702 towards UNDP’s “Consolidating the Democratic Rule of Law and Peace through a strong Justice System in Timor-Leste”, more widely known as the Justice System Programme (JSP). (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

JSP works with the Ministry of Justice, Courts, Prosecution and Public Defense to help develop a strong and effective justice system, and ensure access to justice for the people of Timor-Leste. It was launched in 2003 and is currently starting its fourth phase for the period 2014-18.

DFAT’s support will specifically focus on this improved coordination effort through the establishment of the Integrated Information Management Systems project (IIMS).  IIMS is a series of electronic information management systems in each justice institution. It was launched by consensus of the Council of Coordination in March of 2010 and is a key part of the Justice Sector Strategic Plan.

The individual parts of IIMS are presently operational in the police, prosecution, prisons and public defense, enabling institutions to better manage their information. The Courts are at the final testing stage before ‘going live’ in April 2014. Once it is linked up across the institutions, IIMS will allow tracking the progress of cases from beginning with police activity through the legal process, and thereby ensure accurate statistical information is gathered and assessed. It will also support the Government to monitor progress of the justice institutions and measure effectiveness and performance against indicators to improve public confidence in the sector.

Since its inception in 2003, UNDP’s Justice System Programme continues to have a far reaching impact on the development and growth of Timor-Leste justice systems. To date, 51 judges, prosecutors and public defenders, including 13 women, have graduate through the two-and-a-half year magistrates programme of the Legal Training Centre (LTC). Notary services are now available in four districts outside Dili (Baucau, Oecusse, Ermera and Suai). A training-of-trainers programme begun in 2013 will ultimately lead to a reduction in the dependency on international trainers. Mobile courts are bringing justice to citizens in remote locations, reducing the time and cost borne by citizens who previously needed to go Dili.  The result is a substantial reduction in the backlog of cases and making justice more accessible for all Timorese.