Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick Opening Remarks at the Trial Advocacy Symposium

My respects to Mr. Cancio Xavier, the Chief Public Defender, Mr. Augusto da Costa Castro, the Deputy Commissioner for Criminal Investigation, Mr. Alexandre Faustino Freitas, CAC Deputy Commissioner for Support and Cooperation Service, and our special guest today, Mr. Bruce Harvey, a well-known criminal defense attorney from Atlanta, Georgia.

Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us here at Timor Plaza for a very special event. I am very pleased to see so many of you here today. In the audience we have a mix of prosecutors, defense attorneys, private attorneys, investigators, law students and faculty. It is clear from this room that all of you are committed to improving your professional skills and contributing to the rule of law in Timor-Leste.

In the short year and a half that I have been in Timor-Leste I have witnessed great progress in developing and strengthening a rule of law based system. That includes the continued growth of the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and prosecute corruption. The United States was instrumental in establishing the Anti-Corruption Commission and we are pleased that it now has an Anti-Corruption Commission and a full slate of Deputies. Your work is important because a peaceful and prosperous democracy is built on a foundation of justice. Building that foundation is what you all do every day.  As my colleagues will discuss today, effective and persuasive trial advocacy is a critical part of a strong rule of law based system. Trial advocacy is a skill developed with education, practice, and training. The United States is committed to supporting Timor-Leste’s efforts to improve its criminal justice system through exchanges like this.

This morning’s training will highlight skills and techniques that American lawyers use to prepare for a trail and advocate for their case.  My colleagues have designed this workshop so that you can take what you learn here and put it to use in your current legal cases and in your legal studies. I am particularly eager to watch their educational (and entertaining) mock trial in which they will act out an American style trial. The Resident Legal Advisor from the US Embassy, David Lewen, will lead the discussion. David is an experienced federal prosecutor from the United States. And, we are pleased to have a very special guest here today in Timor-Leste, Mr. Bruce Harvey. Mr. Harvey is taking time from a personal visit to be with us today. He is a very experienced and highly skilled criminal defense attorney and trial advocate from Atlanta, Georgia.  Mr. Harvey has been a criminal defense attorney in the U.S. for more than 30 years and I am sure he has a lot to share today.

I hope that you all will gain a lot this morning from this exchange. I encourage you to have an open discussion with our American colleagues about particular challenges and unique aspects of the judicial system here in Timor-Leste.

Thank you again for the work you do every day to help strengthen and improve Timor-Leste’s criminal justice system.