13 November 2012
Interrogating the "Gap" Between Law and Justice: East Timor's Serious Crimes Process
Lia Kent. Human Rights Quarterly 34, no. 4 (2012): 1021-1044. - Abstract: War crimes trials are claimed to hold the capacity to contribute to a range of ambitious justice goals in post-conflict societies, such as the public recognition of victims' experiences, the promotion of respect for the rule of law, and the fostering of reconciliation. This article unsettles these claims through a case study of the UN-sponsored Serious Crimes Process in East Timor. It charts the practical and political constraints upon the Serious Crimes Process which undermined its ability to achieve its own goals. In addition, it draws on interviews with East Timorese survivors to demonstrate the difficulties faced by the Serious Crimes Process in fully meeting locally grounded demands for justice. This analysis illustrates the inherent limits of war crimes trials in responding to calls for justice, which transcend the possibilities of the criminal law.
ETLJB Editor's Note: Unfortunately, access to the full article is only available for payment. Search for the Human Rights Quarterly if you can afford to pay for this edition of the journal to read the full article. Hopefully, the Human Rights Quarterly will make this article available in East Timor's educational institutions free of charge.