The Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice was established by the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste under article 27.

Article 27(1) of Timor-Leste’s Constitution states that the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice “shall be an independent organ in charge of examining and seeking to settle citizens’ complaints against public bodies, preventing and initiating the whole process to remedy injustice.”

The Constitution gives the Ombudsman a specific power to request a review into the constitutionality of laws and unconstitutionality by omission (articles 150 and 15 of the CRDTL)

The Statute of the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice, Law. No. 7/2004, of 20 May (as amended) is the main legal framework setting out the mandate, powers, rights and duties of the Ombudsman and other public institutions.The Decree Law approving the Organic Structure of the Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice (Decree Law N. 25/2011, of 31 May) provides a clear institutional structure of the Ombudsman in light of the legal mandate of the Ombudsman. It states clearly the different competencies of the different Ombudsman units, including its directorates as well as collective coordination bodies. This piece of legislation, often called the Organic Law of the Ombudsman – was approved by the Council of Ministers on April 13, 2011 and promulgated on 31st May, 2011.

This Statute provides the legal framework for the nomination and dismissal of the Ombudsman, his/her powers and his/her rights and duties to ensure an effective implementation of his/her mandate. The Statute further establishes the Office of the Ombudsman as the technical service to support the implementation of the Ombudsman mandate.

The Ombudsman Statute was subject to an amendment in 2009, when an Anti-Corruption Commission was created with policing powers to combat corruption. The initial mandate of the Ombudsman to combat corruption as provided in its Statute was removed, allowing the Ombudsman to focus on its administrative related recommendation powers.

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