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Evaluating UNMIT's Contribution to Establishing the Rule of Law in Timor-Leste

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Timor-Leste began the democratic transformation process in the beginning of this century with a heavy past legacy of external domination. Since then, it has been experiencing many difficulties in its path towards democracy especially in what concerns one critical issue: the respect for the rule of law. Focusing on two important pillars of the rule of law—justice and security—this paper seeks to understand why has been so difficult to establish the rule of law in Timor-Leste.

The article initially provides a generic picture of the rule of law as an important dimension of the United Nations peacekeeping operations. It also aims to outline the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) capacity in strengthening the processes of peacebuilding and reforms in Timor-Leste, as well as on ensuring the credibility and integrity of institutions, such as the courts and the national police, which are serious challengers to the country's future. It concludes by providing some thoughts that can help to determine whether Timor-Leste is ready to look after its own security after 2013.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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