absence of justice is a fundamental obstacle

An interesting article in the Guardian on the reaction of East Timorese President, Xanana Gusmao, to the report by the nation’s Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission – established in 2002. Far from welcoming the recommendations it contains he has criticised the commissioners for their “grandiose idealism” and, according to the Guardian, “recommended that the 2,500-page document not be made public, implying that it would not be in the national interest to do so.” In relation to matters closer to home some quotes in particular stand out. See over the fold.
From the Guardian article –

The commission conducted scores of town hall meetings and took more than 8,000 statements. Aniceto Guterres, the commission chairman, told the Guardian that the majority of people they talked to wanted to see the perpetrators brought to justice and the victims to receive compensation. “That’s what we found; that people want justice,” he said. “We knew people weren’t going to like our findings and accept them but we didn’t work to make certain people happy, we worked to reveal the truth about what happened.”

Mr Gusmao said the commissioners had been almost irresponsible in their recommendations. “The grandiose idealism that they [the commissioners] possess is well manifested to the point that it goes beyond conventional political boundaries,” he told parliament. “The report says the ‘absence of justice … is a fundamental obstacle in the process of building a democratic society’. My reply to that would be not necessarily.”[all emphasis added]

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