Contesting International Norms of Transitional Justice: The Case of Timor Leste

  • Eva Ottendoerfer


A discussion of the interplay of different concepts of justice and reconciliation in United Nations peace operations in Timor Leste and in the Timorese political leadership. Drawing on research into norm diffusion and concepts of localization and norm contestation to understand how societies deal with their violent past under the auspices of international actors in UN peace operations, the analysis challenges the UN’s functionalistic concept of transitional justice as a precondition to state- and nationbuilding in post-conflict societies. As the case of Timor Leste demonstrates, the Timorese leadership has been successful in promoting its own concept of justice and reconciliation, leading to a localized version of state- and nationbuilding that openly contests international approaches.

Author Biography

Eva Ottendoerfer
Research Associate

Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Program Area II: International Organisations and International Law
Focus: Transitions from Violence - The Impact of Transitional Justice