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East Timor files world court case vs. Australia

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December 18, 2013 01:55 PM EST | AP


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — East Timor has filed a case against Australia at the United Nations' highest court claiming that Australian agents illegally seized documents from a lawyer who represents the impoverished Asian nation in a legal dispute over a multibillion-dollar oil-and-gas deal.

The case announced Wednesday by the International Court of Justice is the latest step in a dispute between the neighbors over a 2006 deal that shares seabed oil-and-gas reserves between the countries.

That dispute is under arbitration. Australia enraged East Timor earlier this month by raiding the home of its legal representative in the arbitration and seizing documents on the eve of a hearing.

East Timor wants the court to order Australia to return the documents and apologize for the raid.