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VI. Detailed Recommendations
Meaningful contribution to the long-term capacity of the
PNTL will depend on related actions by the Timorese leadership, including
clear commitment to respect for the professional and non-political nature of
policing; encouragement to PNTL officers to adhere to the highest standards of
professional conduct, based on internationally accepted values; and
demonstrated readiness to take swift and decisive disciplinary action when
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
I think it is very correct to say that lack of speed and
proper responses to PNTL violations or other activities remains the problem. I
think it is important for us to provide tangible assistance for the
institutions to be able to deal with these human rights violations.
to the Secretary-General Sukehiro Hasegawa134
- The minister of interior and the police commissioner must
publicly reinforce that all use of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment is illegal and will not be tolerated. They should publicly
denounce use of torture, arbitrary detention, and excessive force.
- The PNTL commissioner, with the support of the government,
should issue clear guidelines for the use of force consistent with
international legal standards, including the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law
Enforcement Officials, and the U.N. Basic Principles on the Use of Force
and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
- Police training must include best practice in police
investigation, emphasizing how use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or
degrading treatment, including during interrogation, is not only illegal
but renders evidence inadmissible and is counterproductive. The training
component must be designed to emphasize the prohibition on use of torture
and other illegal activities. Training should also highlight the important
role of independent monitoringincluding by civil societyof police
- The PNTL should take prompt and decisive action against
police officers who torture, arbitrarily detain, or use excessive force
against individuals. This should range from administrative measures,
including dismissal, up to and including criminal prosecution where
appropriate. Commanding officers who know or should know of such acts, and
who fail to take action to prevent and punish them, should face similar
- The police commissioner should issue a directive to each
district commander advising that he or she will be held personally
responsible for ensuring that officers under his or her command comply
with the existing disciplinary regulation and the Rules of Organization
- The minister of interior and the police commissioner
should strengthen the police forces Professional Ethics and Deontology
Unit (PEDU) by providing strong support for the units authority to
enforce its decisions, including by penalizing officers who do not comply
with its directives, by developing coordinated disciplinary and criminal
investigation processes, and by providing adequate resources, including
- The minister of interior and the police commissioner
should support the PEDU to build the necessary capacity to manage
effectively its caseload. Clear criteria for ranking the gravity of the
offenses should be established, with the most serious human rights
violations receiving priority.
- The PEDU should ensure that disciplinary and criminal
investigations are conducted in a fair and transparent manner, so that
confidence in the process is engendered in the victims of police abuse, and
police officers are assured that they will receive due process in the
investigation of any allegations.
- The ministry of the interior should take steps to enhance
coordination between the internal and external oversight bodies, including
ensuring that effective protocols for the bodies working together are
- The power to dismiss a police officer should not be a
political function of the minister of interior, but should be able to be
exercised only after a police officer has been found responsible for a
dismissable offense through an appropriate disciplinary process.
Regulations should provide for an open and transparent disciplinary
- Where a credible allegation has been made against a police
officer, that officer should be reassigned to appropriate non-operational
or non-public duties or, in more serious cases, suspended during the
course of investigation of the allegation and any disciplinary process
- The sanctions imposed on officers who are found guilty of
offenses that do not lead to dismissal from the force should include
- The PEDU and the Provedor should develop a system whereby
the progress of an investigation is regularly reported to complainants,
both in writing and in meetings. All final outcomes of investigations into
complaints must be communicated to the original complainant.
- The government should undertake a public information
campaign on the role and responsibilities of the various police oversight
mechanisms including the PEDU and the Provedors Office. This should
include distribution of written information and public information
- The government should allow independent monitoring of
detention facilities. Detainees should be permitted to meet privately with
representatives of independent organizations conducting monitoring.
Given the critical role of the United Nations and of
international donors, particularly the U.K. and Australia, in funding the
police sector in East Timor, a serious effort to eradicate police violence will
require a continued and active role on the part of the international community.
To supplement existing efforts international donors should:
- Raise with the government of East Timor in all official
meetings, and at the highest level, concerns over police violence,
including torture. Call on the East Timor government to ensure that police
treatment of civilians conforms to international human rights standards.
- Substantially increase support for effective human rights
monitoring in East Timor through existing mechanisms, such as civil
society. As an integral part of this strategy, provide assistance for the
development of local human rights groups with the capacity for independent
monitoring of police violence, and prison monitoring, and to agencies that
can provide services for victims.
- Continue and expand support for the police forces
Professional Ethics and Deontology Unit and the Provedors Office.
- Evaluate the appropriateness and the effectiveness of past
police training, use this information to inform future training, and
monitor whether this training changes performance.
- Initiate and support joint meetings between the East Timor government, NGOs, and the PNTL to coordinate, fund and plan for long-term
strategies on capacity building, training, and other support to the PNTL.
Rights Watch interview with UNMISET SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa, Dili, May 27, 2005.