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January 12, 2007

Report Details Vital Impact of Rule of Law Assistance in East Timor

November 2007

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI) Research and Program Development Office recently released an assessment of East Timor’s justice sector. The report, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Rights Consortium, found that foreign assistance provided by the United States to advance the rule of law has indeed had a vital impact in the newly independent country.

The assessment team found that the USAID mission in East Timor has been especially adept at utilizing creative approaches to provide targeted, foundational, and cost-efficient assistance to key justice actors, ministries, and agencies. They also recommended that rule of law programming remain a priority for U. S. government funding, and identified the following priority areas for future assistance:

  • Increasing access by individuals to informal and traditional forms of justice
  • Capacity building through enhanced legal education that strengthens the National Law Faculty, justice actors and support staff
  • Supporting land reform and the necessary conditions for the peaceful return by internally displaced persons to their homes
  • Empowering and supporting civil society, human rights organizations, and individual human rights defenders
  • Increasing public information and outreach regarding the justice sector.

Mary Adele Greer, senior advisor for ABA ROLI’s Criminal Law Program, partnered with Alexander Gupman, senior program manager for Freedom House, to lead this comprehensive evaluation. The assessment team also included international and Timorese representatives from the East Timor and Washington, D.C. offices of USAID and the Australian Agency for International Development.  Representatives from the Asia Foundation and Management Sciences for Development, Inc. also participated in the assessment.

Click on the following link to read the assessment of the rule of law in East Timor.