Aniceto Guterres Lopes
This profile was prepared when Aniceto Guterres Lopes was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Aniceto is creating a legal profession in East Timor, an area under severe military rule, and with courts appointed by outside judges unsympathetic to the human rights abuses occurring. Although many Timorese do not believe they are bound by Indonesian law, Aniceto is working within the Indonesian legal framework to denounce the forces violating human rights abuses. He is pushing through cases of land rights, political freedom and rape to give Timorese a voice in the courts, which is a first for the region. The results of these cases are ammunition for Aniceto's national and international advocacy efforts. In preparing for the future, Aniceto is recruiting Timorese Law students. He seeks to build an independent legal profession to confront the existing government appointed, government serving system. Regardless of the future status of East Timor (autonomous, independent or otherwise), there can be a true rendering of justice within a well-functioning and respected legal system.