Timor-Leste: Rogerio Lobato's appeal dismissed

UNMIT has welcomed the unfolding of the judicial process over the past few months in the ongoing case of the Former Minister for Interior, Rogerio Lobato. Justice is a pre-requisite for reconciliation and stability.

Lobato was one of number of individuals who were recommended for investigation and possible prosecution by the Commission of Inquiry Report for his role in the violence that besieged Timor Leste in April and May last year.

He was sentenced by the Dili District Court on March 7, 2007 to seven and a half years in prison. Immediately following the decision, lawyers for Lobato filed an appeal which was yesterday dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The head of the United Nations Mission in Timor Leste, Atul Khare has commended all relevant parties involved in the trial of the former Minister for the Interior noting that Lobato submitted voluntarily and peacefully to justice.

Mr Khare expressed his hope that that others including Alfredo Reinado would follow this example.

Mr Khare added that the observation of both prosecution and defence to the fundamental principles of the rule of the law bodes well for the future of justice and reconciliation in Timor Leste.

Yesterday's decision shows that a culture of impunity will not be tolerated in Timor-Leste and that respect for the legal process will lead to the longer term goals of national reconciliation and unity.

United Nations police officers (UNPol) provided security at the Court of Appeal in Dili yesterday and also assisted in the transfer of Lobato to Becora Prison later in the day.

UNMIT looks forward to working with the national authorities to ensuring that all recommendations set forward in the COI report are acted upon.

UNMIT is mandated through Resolution 1704 to "assist in further strengthening the national institutional and societal capacity and mechanisms for the monitoring, promoting and protecting of human rights and for promoting justice and reconciliation.

Statement attributable to UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper.

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