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Timor-Leste has dedicated counterterrorism provisions in its Criminal Code. There is no carve-out for the exercise of fundamental human rights. The constitution prohibits the establishment of armed groups that promote terrorism.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Terrorism is defined in Articles 131 and 132 of the Criminal Code as an act whose goal is to achieve 

political, ideological, religious, or philosophical aims with a view to impairing national integrity or independence, or in order to prevent, alter, or subvert the functioning of national or international institutions, intimidate or to force a public authority, international organization or certain persons or group of persons, or the population in general, to perform an act, to refrain from performing it or to tolerate the practice of serious crimes. 

Predicate offences are the following:

a) Attacks on the life, physical integrity or freedom of persons;

b) Attacks on the security of transport and communications, including telegraphic, telephone, radio or television;

c) Wilful production of common danger through fire, explosion, release of radioactive substances or toxic or asphyxiating gases, flood or avalanche, collapse of constructions, contamination of food and water intended for human consumption or spread of disease, harmful pests, plants or animals;

d) Which involve the use of nuclear energy, firearms, explosive substances or devices, incendiary means of any nature;

e) Acts that destroy or make it impossible to function or deviate from their normal purposes, definitively or temporarily, in whole or in part, means of communication, public service facilities or international facilities or facilities intended for the supply and satisfaction of the vital needs of the population.

f) Research and development of biological or chemical weapons.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Timor-Leste is a State Party to only one of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State not party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State not party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State not party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention Signatory


Timor-Leste is joining but, at the time of writing, had not yet been admitted to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as its eleventh member. When it becomes a member State it will be able to adhere to the 2007 regional treaty on terrorism.

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The Criminal Code prescribes a penalty of twelve to twenty-five years imprisonment for terrorist offences or the sentence for the predicate offence increased by one third.Art. 132(1), Criminal Code of Timor-Leste.A similar term of imprisonment is imposable for terrorist financing.Art. 133, Criminal Code of Timor-Leste.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Timor-Leste National Police do not have dedicated counterterrorism units. Nevertheless, Project Scorpius, a two-year (2017-2019) capacity building initiative for law enforcement agencies in South and Southeast Asia aimed at preventing and disrupting terrorism and related transnational crime, supported the training of law enforcement in Timor-Leste. The project was jointly funded by INTERPOL and the Government of Canada.


Penal Code of Timor-Leste (Portuguese original)

2002 Constitution of Timor-Leste (English translation)