28 August 2014

Report on land dispute case heard in Baucau District Court in May 2014

17.  Land dispute, Case No.20/Civ.2008.TDB

Composition of judges            : Panel
Judge                                       : Jose Gonçalves, Antonio Fonseca, Afonso Carmona
Lawyer for the plaintiff          : Mujariah Amaral
Lawyers for the respondent    : Grigorio de Lima and Juvinal Yanes
Conclusion                              :Ongoing

On 15 May 2014 the Baucau District Court conducted a hearing to examine the testimony of the respondent. This case involved the plaintiff Francisco de Oliveira and the respondent Aderito de Carvalho. The land in dispute is located in Uatukarbau Sub-District, Viqueque District.

The witnesses Sebastião Pinto, aged 70, and Bernardo da Costa, aged 92, testified that their father and the plaintiff have been managing the rice field on the land in dispute and the father of the plaintiff has been using the rice field since Indonesian times. The two witnesses added that ever since the plaintiff has been occupying the land no one has claimed to be the owner of the land. The witness heard that in 1999 the respondent stopped the plaintiff from using the land. The witnesses did not know when the Department of Land measured the land because the two witnesses were not there. The witness Sebastião Pinto was traveling (back to his village) and the witness Bernardo da Costa was in Dili.

After hearing testimony from the two witnesses, the court scheduled a date to continue the trial on 22 May 2014 to hear testimony from the respondent.

The witness Jeremias Quintão, aged 68, and the witness Agapito Pinto testified that they knew the respondent’s father and in Portuguese times the respondent’s father had managed the rice field on the land in dispute and channeled water into the rice field. The witnesses added that they helped to channel the water. At that time the witness Agapito was assigned to look after the buffalo belonging to the father of the respondent. At that time they managed the rice field with the use of the buffaloes. In 1983 the respondent and his brother were still young so the plaintiff took the opportunity to manage the rice field belonging to the respondent until 1999. On the last occasion the witnesses heard from the respondent himself that he had been managing the rice field until now.

After hearing testimony from the two witnesses summoned by the respondent, the court adjourned the trial to 5 June 2014 at 10am to hear further testimony from the plaintiff and respondent.

See the full report of cases heard in the Baucau District Court in May 2014 on the East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin