How Does a Truth Commission Find out What the Truth Is? The Case of East Timor's CAVR

TitleHow Does a Truth Commission Find out What the Truth Is? The Case of East Timor's CAVR
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsRoosa, J
JournalPacific Affairs
Volume80
Pagination569-580
ISBN Number0030-851X
KeywordsAREA STUDIES, article, D, Data collection, Data processing, development–R&amp, East Timor, Human Rights, Interviews, Investigations, Methods, Qualitative research, Quantitative Methods, Research &amp, Research methodology, SOCIAL SCIENCES, Truth, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Violations
Abstract

This article reviews the data collection methods of East Timor's Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Reception (CAVR), whose 2,500-page report was released in 2006. The CAVR used four methods for gaining information about past human rights violations: oral statements recorded on tape, surveys designed by social scientists, oral interviews by experienced investigators, and community forums. The CAVR report relies heavily on statistical analyses of the oral statements and the surveys. The findings from such statistical analyses turn out to be of limited significance. The most informative parts of the report that convincingly reveal patterns of rights violations and add to what was already known about East Timorese history are based on the oral interviews and community forums.