Elizabeth Stanley



Transnational Crime and State-Building: The Case of Timor-Leste

Following the Indonesian-led “scorched earth” events of 1999, Timor-Leste (East Timor) stood in ruins: police stations, court buildings, and prisons had all been decimated; the vast majority of criminal justice personnel had left the country; and the written records of the previous regime had been destroyed. The Timorese people were faced with the challenges of building a domestic criminal justice system from scratch and implementing justice mechanisms to bring serious human rights violators to account. These processes were completely dependent on international assistance, principally derived from the various U.N. missions that have been established in the region. This article illustrates how a range of actors from across the globe garnered strategic, political, and economic power from the human rights violations in Timor-Leste. It also pays particular attention to the transnational trade in criminal justice strategies that have been consolidated within the nascent criminal justice sector. Finally, it exposes the intermeshing of transnational criminal justice initiatives with geopolitical and trade relations.

human rights violations, state-building, transnational crime, Timor-Leste

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, No. 2 (2007): 124-137