The trials at Indonesia's Ad Hoc Court for Human Rights in East Timor have been widely condemned. ‘Sham’ and ‘show trial’ are the terms frequently used to describe the process, yet to date there has been little substantive assessment that adequately explains or documents the process. This article offers a detailed assessment of the first three trials at the court, namely that of a former governor of East Timor (Abilio Soares), a former police chief of East Timor (Timbul Silaen), and five members of the military, police, and civil administration accused of responsibility for the Suai church massacre. In 2000, the international community gave a shamed nation the opportunity to redeem its honour and reputation by bringing to justice those of its nationals responsible for the destruction of East Timor in a process that met international standards. But the inescapable conclusion for the author is that the cases of Abilio Soares, Timbul Silaen, and the Suai church massacre were not conducted in a way that was consistent with an intent to bring to justice persons responsible for gross violations of human rights in East Timor.
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