After the Violence: Truth, Reconciliation and National Integration in Timor-Leste

Projects: Perceptions of Governance, Community Justice.
Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC)

 After the Violence? Truth, Reconciliation and National Integration in Timor-Leste
An Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant

Timeframe:                  2007-2008
Chief Investigator:       Dr Damian Grenfell
Research Team:          Mayra Walsh and Victoria Stead
Publications:                Various; see Publications below

With the closure of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) and the dissemination of its findings across 2006, this project examined the impact of CAVR on national integration. By focusing particularly on how CAVR sought to find 'the truth' regarding political violence that had occurred between 1974 and 1999, as well as to secure the reintegration of past human-rights offenders back into society, the central role of the Commission in underpinning the transition to a new nation was considered. The project asked whether the cycles of violence have been genuinely broken in Timor-Leste in relation to that period and how organizations such as CAVR contribute to building a durable peace in post-conflict societies. While the project focused on CAVR, the socio-political crises that began in 2006 and the Presidential and Parliamentary elections of 2007 were drawn into the study so as to help answer the underpinning questions of the project that relate to the nature of nation-formation in a post-conflict Timor-Leste. 

Community Perceptions of Governance Structures and Justice Processes

Timeframe:          2008-ongoing
Researchers:       Dr Damian Grenfell
                           Carmenesa Moniz Noronha
                           Victoria Stead
                           Anna Trembath
Research Sites:    Sub-district Venilale, Baucau district
                           Sub-district Fatumean, Covalima district
                           Sub-district Luro, Lautem district
                           Sub-district Dom Aleixo, Dili district
                           Sub-district Balibo, Bobonaro district
Funding:              Globalism Research Centre, RMIT University

This project is concerned with how East Timorese communities view, understand and utilise or engage with governance structures and justice and conflict resolution processes in Timor-Leste, both customary and modern-bureaucratic. We disseminated two individual surveys in five sub-districts across Timor-Leste (see above). The research team worked in a variety of languages, including Tetun, Indonesian and local languages. 

Under the theme of ‘justice and security’ the ARC grant ‘After the Violence: Truth, Reconciliation and National Integration in Timor-Leste (with Damian Grenfell as Chief Investigator) commenced its research into the relationship between reconciliation and the process of nation-formation in Timor-Leste.