U.S. Embassy Dili Resident Legal Advisor David Lewen Remarks at RLA Welcome Reception

Thank you Ambassador Fitzpatrick for hosting this event and for that wonderful introduction.

Good afternoon! My name is David Lewen and I’m from the United States of America. I’m very happy to be working in Timor-Leste. My respects to Deputy Prosecutor General Dr. Alfonso Lopez; CAC Commissioner Dr. Sergio Hornai, Ombudsman of Human Rights and Justice Dr. Jesuina Gomes, Director of PCIC Vicente Britos representatives from all levels of government, colleagues within the justice sector, civil society members, and private sector friends. Thank you all for attending today’s reception. I also wish to thank my wife Julie for all her love and her enthusiastic support in moving our family from the State of Tennessee to Timor-Leste.

I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting personally with many of you over the last two weeks. For those whom I haven’t met, I look forward to introducing myself to you during the reception this afternoon and discussing how the RLA program can help enhance, through your agency, the rule of law in Timor-Leste. The Ambassador mentioned some of the cases I have prosecuted in the United States. For example, I recently prosecuted two violent men who targeted bank executives on Facebook and other social media. Using the information learned on social media, the criminals then kidnapped the executive’s family, including a 4-month old infant and 3-year-old boy, and forced the bank executive to rob his own bank while they held the family at gunpoint. In that case, as well as all the other cases I have prosecuted, I learned the importance of cooperation and partnership between the prosecutor’s office and the investigator’s office. Cooperation – early cooperation – between those two offices is often the difference between success and failure in criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Just as cooperation and partnership between prosecutor and investigator are needed to keep communities and citizens safe and secure, cooperation and partnership between democratic nations are also essential for society to thrive and succeed. I know that the United States and Timor-Leste are already excellent partners. My desire is to continue our great partnership through the RLA program. I look forward to assisting law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and civil society with important training conferences. Specifically, I’m excited about:

  • providing anti-corruption training to prosecutors and the Anti-Corruption Commission;
  • training law enforcement on enhanced investigative techniques to combat transnational crime, including money laundering and human trafficking; and
  • I’m also looking forward to assembling a delegation of Timorese judges to join me and Maun Domingos on a home-study tour to the United States in August 2019.

These opportunities will equip you and your agencies with the tools to cooperate and partner with each other in the successful investigation, prosecution, and prevention of crime and corruption in Timor-Leste.

Please enjoy yourselves, and I look forward to meeting with you. And one more thing: Happy Valentines’ Day!