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Juvenile Sentenced 1999 Militia Killings in 1999

Timor-Leste Court Sentences Juvenile For Killings After Un-Run Ballot In 1999

A special court in Timor-Leste today sentenced a juvenile to one year in prison following his conviction last month for the manslaughter of three people during the violence that followed the 1999 popular consultation organized by the United Nations.

The 12-month sentence given to the minor, identified only as "X" because he was 14 years-old at the time the crimes were committed, was the first case involving a youngster to be tried by the Special Panel of Dili District Court for Serious Crimes, according to the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).

During the trial, the court was told that "X" had been abducted and brutalized by the Skunar militia before the crimes were committed. The prosecution had recommended a maximum penalty of time already served, while the defence recommended that no sentence be recorded in light of the particular brutality endured by the juvenile and his young age at the time of the offence.

After credit for time served in pre-trial detention, only nine days of the one-year sentence remain to be served. The court suspended the remainder of the sentence, declaring "X" able to return home and free from the conditions of his earlier conditional release.

UNMISET's Human Rights Unit and Timor-Leste's Social Services are planning a reconciliation meeting between the juvenile and the families of the victims as part of the reintegration process following his release.

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