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timor trauma law tradition justice

War crimes amnesty dents fragile faith in rule of law

 

The sense of trauma continues and spirits of the dead are everywhere.

 

Driving through East Timor's western district of Bobonaro on the day Amnesty International released its report condemning East Timor's amnesties for war criminals, I experienced a compelling sense that the scars of 1999 and before had not healed. Perhaps a third of the houses I saw burnt in 1999 remain abandoned wrecks.

 

The people are rebuilding their lives, in many cases slowly, but the sense of trauma continues to manifest in sometimes imponderable acts, such as the violence of 2006.

 

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