[TimorLesteStudies] New article: Challenging the Therapeutic Ethic; A Victim-Centred Evaluation of Transitional Justice Process in Timor-Leste

Bu Wilson bu.wilson at anu.edu.au
Tue Feb 7 11:45:52 EST 2012

Robins, S. 2012. Challenging the Therapeutic Ethic: A Victim-Centred Evaluation of Transitional Justice Process in Timor-Leste. International Journal of Transitional Justice, doi: 10.1093/ijtj/ijr034 First published online: February 2, 2012

Empirical work with those most affected by transitional justice, namely victims of violations and populations of states in transition, remains rare. Here, an effort is made to use ethnographic research methods to understand the expectations and needs of transition of victims of serious crimes committed during Timor-Leste's conflict, as well as the extent to which these needs have been met by the decade of transitional justice process undertaken in the country. The study is an attempt to evaluate the success or otherwise of transitional justice process on the terms of victims. The process in Timor-Leste was led by the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR), which articulated a claim that is standard for such bodies: that its truth-telling role would be healing for victims. This study suggests that CAVR was not well known by victims and had little impact on their lives. Victims emphasize the need for economic support and appropriate treatment of the missing and the dead. They share the views of Timor-Leste's leadership that prosecutorial justice is not a priority. The most successful mechanism in terms of victim comprehension and appreciation has been the valorization programme, which has seen veterans of the liberation struggle awarded medals, compensation payments and pensions. The victim-centred evaluation discussed here offers a contextualized measure of the quality of transitional justice process based not on global practice and international prescription but on the needs of those most impacted by violence. 
Dr Bu V.E. Wilson
T: Australia +61 0 407 087 086
T: Timor-Leste + 670 744 0011
E: buvewilson at gmail.com
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