[TimorLesteStudies] Phd thesis on line- Laakso 2007 Justice, Order and Peace:Transitional Peacebuilding in Timor-Leste

bu.wilson at anu.edu.au bu.wilson at anu.edu.au
Tue Jul 15 09:19:15 EST 2008

Laakso, Jennifer (2007) Justice, Order and Peace:  Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding in Timor-Leste. University of  Queensland    http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/list/browse=author&author=Jennifer+LaaksoAbstract The question of how the international community should administer  justice in post-conflict situations has become increasingly urgent. Scholars, practitioners and  policymakers grapple with the puzzle of why violence recurs in post-conflict nations despite international  peacebuilding efforts. This thesis contributes to peacebuilding by exploring what the successes and  challenges of Timor-Leste’s transitional justice process reveal about the role of imported and  indigenous mechanisms and processes in fostering sustainable peace. A qualitative research approach is  utilised in this analysis, involving interviews with grassroots actors, UN officials and people working  with national or international nongovernmental organisations in Timor-Leste, in addition to  secondary sources, in order to produce a new theory of transitional justice. This thesis expands the  traditional notion of transitional justice to include formal and informal, and retributive and restorative  justice mechanisms, utilising first-hand information gathered in interviews in Timor-Leste. The result is a  framework, derived from field research and the literature, which summarises important objectives  of transitional justice in a more comprehensive way than currently exists. The central argument of  this thesis is that during times of political transition, a hybrid legal system, which combines local  and introduced justice systems; utilises indigenous language; and is sensitive to cultural tradition and  context is more likely to promote sustainable peace than imported systems. In Timor-Leste,  traditions of social ordering and conflict management processes have remained resilient throughout Portuguese  colonisation, the Indonesian occupation, the UN transitional administration and in the current  post-independence period. This thesis argues that it is crucial to engage in ongoing dialogue and  collaboration with the local population, while fostering multiple, integrated and complementary processes  for addressing justice, human rights and reconstruction. Although each post-conflict situation is  different, valuable lessons about mechanisms and processes that could maximise the conditions for  sustainable peace in societies undergoing transition from violence to peace can be drawn from  Timor-Leste’s transitional justice experience.
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