Torture, Truth and Justice

The Case of Timor-Leste

By Elizabeth Stanley

© 2009 – Routledge

208 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415666732
pub: 2011-04-15
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415478076
pub: 2008-10-15
US Dollars$165.00

About the Book

This book highlights how, and why, torture is such a compelling tool for states and other powerful actors. While torture has a short-term use value for perpetrators, it also creates a devastating legacy for victims, their families and communities. In exposing such repercussions, this book addresses the questions ‘What might torture victims need to move forward from their violation?’ and ‘How can official responses provide truth or justice for torture victims?’

Building on observations, documentary analysis and over seventy interviews with both torture victims and transitional justice workers this book explores how torture was used, suffered and resisted in Timor-Leste. The author investigates the extent to which transitional justice institutions have provided justice for torture victims; illustrating how truth commissions and international courts operate together and reflecting on their successes and weaknesses with reference to wider social, political and economic conditions. Stanley also details victims’ experiences of torture and highlights how they experience life in the newly built state of Timor-Leste

Tracking the past, present and future of human rights, truth and justice for victims in Timor-Leste, Torture, Truth and Justice will be of interest to students, professionals and scholars of Asian studies, International Studies, Human Rights and Social Policy.


'This well articulated and impressive book provides far more than a case study of torture and transitional justice in Timor-Leste. Elizabeth Stanley’s analysis of how torture was used and resisted as well as the efficacy of the extant transitional justice mechanisms for those victims provides a frame for critiquing and understanding common issues surrounding transitional justice modalities, victims’ needs, and social justice far beyond the borders of Timor-Leste.' - Dawn L Rothe, Old Dominion University, Punishment and Society Journal, 2009

'Stanley's book deserves to be read and engaged with – it makes a valuable contribution to the literature and practice.' - Paul Hainsworth, University of Ulster, Aseasuk News no. 46 Autumn 2009

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Contextualizing Torture 3. Introducing Justice 4. Transitional Justice 5. Torture in Timor-Leste 6. Entrenching Criminal Injustice 7. Justice in Truthtelling? 8. The Continuation of Violence and Insecurity 9. Looking to the Future

About the Author

Elizabeth Stanley is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the Victoria University of Wellington. She is the author of a number of book chapters and articles on Social Justice and Torture.

About the Series

Politics in Asia

Politics in Asia
Politics in Asia has long been established as a source of distinctive and authoritative studies on the political life of Asia. The series covers a broad range of countries and aspects of politics, and includes volumes from some of the leading scholars working in the field.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General