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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

East Timor argues Australia must hand over seized treaty arbitration documents to UN court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - East Timor is asking the United Nations' highest court to order Australia to turn over documents and data its agents seized from the impoverished nation's lawyer last month ahead of arbitration in a multibillion-dollar treaty dispute.

The International Court of Justice is holding three days of hearings into East Timor's request for the U.N. panel to order Australia to turn over the seized documents pending the outcome of a case challenging the legality of Australia's raid on the lawyer's office in Canberra.

East Timor lawyer Elihu Lauterpacht told judges Monday the case is simple: "One state has taken the property of another and should be required to give it back untouched and without delay."

Australia is presenting its case Tuesday.

Decisions by the court are final and legally binding.

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