Source: (2007) The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology. 8(1): 1-8.

The remarkable emergence of East Timor as a sovereign nation has focused public attention on the historical legacy of injustice and human rights abuses that shadowed the achievement of independence; the euphoria of victory tempered by memories of suffering and loss. One considered governmental response to these concerns was the establishment of the Timorese Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in 2001. Modelled on contemporary concepts of restorative justice, the Commission’s procedures encouraged a process of public confession and acceptance of criminal acts perpetrated between 1974 and 1999. This period covered the atrocities committed in the name of the nationalist Timorese political factions of Fretilin and UDT, as well as those of the Indonesian army and its indigenous militias. CAVR processes also promoted forms of locally based justice and reconciliation where those accused of minor crimes could offer public apologies to their communities and be punished accordingly through community reconciliation acts (JSMP 2006). These mediated and informal agreements around acts of wrongdoing formed part of state-sponsored processes of restitution and post-conflict recovery in Timor Leste. They highlighted the possibilities and potentials for local and customary systems of dispute resolution in the delivery of justice. (Excerpt)