Timor-Leste’s only HIV criminalisation law is one that allows for a sentence enhancement if HIV transmission occurs as an aggravating factor in the event of sexual abuse or sexual assault cases, stating that penalties for those offences shall have their minimum and maximum limits increased by one third if the perpetrator has transmitted “any venereal disease, syphilis or AIDS”.
Since becoming an independent country in 2002, the government of Timor-Leste has worked to introduce a strong legislative framework although the legal system continues to develop. The Penal Code was approved in 2009, although it is unclear whether the Code might be applied in cases of HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission. Timor-Leste has laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s health or physical condition (Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste), although it does not yet have comprehensive national laws providing legal protections for people living with HIV.
There have been no reported cases of HIV criminalisation in Timor-Leste to date.
Penal Code - Law No.19/2009
Article 182 Aggravation
1. The penalties prescribed from Section II to Section IV of this chapter shall have their minimum and maximum limits increased by one third if:
a) The victim is less than 12 years of age at the time the act was committed;
b) The perpetrator has transmitted to the victim any venereal disease, syphilis or AIDS;
c) Due to the act, the victim attempts or commits suicide or the same results in death.
d) The victim is a descendant, collateral, relative or similar to the second degree, a person adopted by or who has adopted the perpetrator or a person cohabiting with the perpetrator under similar conditions or there is a hierarchical, economical or work-related dependence;
2. Whenever more than one of the circumstances described in the preceding subarticle are present, only one may be evoked as a modifying circumstance and those remaining shall be weighed in determining a specific penalty.