East Timor

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East-West Center: 'Justice on the Cheap' Revisited: The Failure of the Serious Crimes Trials in East Timor

Author: David Cohen

This critical report from the East-West Center looks at the operation of the UN tribunal in East Timor that sought to achieve accountability for the violence associated with the 1999 vote for independence. The report argues that the East Timor tribunal represents a virtual textbook case of how not to create, manage, and administer a "hybrid" justice process. Problems included a lack of resources, an unclear mandate, inadequate recruitment, ineffective management by a peacekeeping mission that had other priorities, and a lack of political will both at UN headquarters and at the mission level. The report argues that it is particularly important to assess the failings for the East Timor trials as the UN risks repeating some of the same mistakes in Cambodia.

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