The Asian International Justice Initiative is a collaborative project between the East-West Center, Honolulu and the UC Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center. Since 2003, the two Centers have been collaborating on projects relating to the establishment of justice initiatives and capacity-building programs in the human rights sector in South-East Asia. These projects and activities have included:
1. In cooperation with the Supreme Court of Indonesia, undertaking ongoing judicial and legal training project involving workshops and seminars for judges, prosecutors, investigators of the National Human Rights Commission, and non-governmental organizations involved in trials and appeals in human rights cases;
2. Producing analytical reports on the Special Panel for Serious Crimes in Dili, East Timor, and the track record of the United Nations at that tribunal;
3. As part of the WCSC’s ongoing relationship with key participants at the international tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, as well as the UN-administered and government-backed tribunals in Sierra Leone and East Timor, establishing a ‘lessons learned’ conference for the newly appointed judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (‘ECCC’) in Bangkok in May 2006;
4. Organizing an NGO Coordination Workshop in Phnom Penh and establishing an ongoing collaborative relationship with NGOs in Cambodia, including the Documentation Center of Cambodia, the Centre for Social Development and Open Society Justice Initiative (in Cambodia) to develop outreach programs which are aligned with AIJI’s aim to increase the involvement of domestic organizations in disseminating locally-produced information and analysis about the ECCC and the trial process;
5. Organizing legal training in international humanitarian law and international criminal law at the ECCC for lawyers for both the Defense Support Section and the Office of the Co-Prosecutors; and
6. Working towards establishing an ongoing collaborative relationship with the ASEAN Working Group for a Human Rights Mechanism, as it pursues its mandate for developing a human rights mechanism for the Southeast Asian Region. This has included fostering individual relationships with the in-country representative members of the Working Group from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.
The aim of AIJI is to provide on-the-ground support for ‘rule of law’ and ‘human rights’ initiatives in Asia, in both the domestic and international legal context. Its objective is to do so, primarily by partnering with: (i) courts; and (ii) institutions working in the justice sector, to assist them to achieve their goals in these areas.
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