From JSMP's English translation of the report on Hearings Conducted in the Baucau District Court May 2009
On 11/5 a hearing was conducted relating to a land dispute in the region of Maukali, Gariwai, Baucau involving the respondent PF and the plaintiffs F and others. The hearing took almost five hours (14.30-19.30). It took so long because the court had to hear testimony from six witnesses (3 from each side) to finish the case.
After hearing witness testimony, the court finally declared that there was sufficient evidence and asked each of the lawyers to make their final recommendations orally.
The lawyer for the respondent, Dra. Muzariah S.H., stated that none of the witnesses presented by the plaintiff had told the court that they knew about the document that was signed by the two parties (plaintiff and respondent) in relation to the land being disputed. The witnesses also stated that they did not know the history about who had originally started working the piece of land under dispute.
The lawyer for the respondent also added that one of the witnesses presented by the respondent, namely the former village chief during the Indonesian period had stated that he had good knowledge about the history of this piece of land, because a dispute had been taken to the village authorities in 1993 and 1995 and at that time the parties agreed to enter a written agreement that had been signed by them in front of the village authorities.
The lawyer also quoted the testimony of the witness who had said that “the contents of the agreement were that the plaintiff could only make use of the existing plants on the aforementioned piece of land, but could not plant anything else in the aforementioned field”.
Finally the lawyer for the respondent requested for the panel of judges to decide the case in good conscience and in the interests of justice.
The lawyer for the plaintiff said that during the trial none of the witnesses from either side could provide complete and accurate testimony. Each of them was only able to vaguely mention a part of the story relating to the land under dispute. Therefore the lawyer asked the panel of judges to decide the case impartially and honestly so that all parties could accept the court's decision in good faith.