International Panel holds hearing on Southeast Asia

The “Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights” begins a sub-regional hearing in Jakarta.

The Panel members are visiting Jakarta to examine how Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand have responded and continue to respond to the threat of terrorism in South East Asia.

The public hearing, co-hosted by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Imparsial, is the ninth of a series of hearings held around the world by the Eminent Jurists Panel, a group of eight highly respected judges, lawyers and academics. The Panel was appointed by the ICJ in October 2005 to study the impact of terrorism and the fight against terrorism on human rights and the rule of law internationally. The hearing will be held on 4-5 December at the Santika Hotel in Jakarta.

The two Panel members present in Jakarta are: Raúl Zaffaroni (Argentina), Judge of the Supreme Court of Argentina and former Director of the United Nations Latin American Institute on Crime Prevention (ILANUD) and Vitit Muntarbhorn (Thailand), Professor at the Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

At the public hearing, the Panel will hear submissions and testimonies from lawyers, representatives of civil society groups and human rights defenders, and State officials from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. During their visit, the Panel members will also meet in private with high-level Indonesian authorities.

“The Panel is visiting South East Asia to hear the many views of State authorities, lawyers and civil society on the justifications for the adoption of counter-terrorism laws, policies and practices and whether such measures are having an impact on human rights and the rule of law”, said Justice Raul Zaffaroni.


The Panel is composed of eight judges and lawyers of all regions of the world. It exercises its mandate independently, with the logistical support of the ICJ Secretariat and its network of organizations. Arthur Chaskalson, former President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, chairs the Panel. The other members are Georges Abi-Saab (Egypt), Robert K. Goldman (United States), Hina Jilani (Pakistan), Vitit Muntarbhorn (Thailand), Mary Robinson (Ireland), Stefan Trechsel (Switzerland) and Raúl Zaffaroni (Argentina).

The Panel has held hearings in Australia, Colombia, East Africa (covering Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), the United Kingdom (in London on current counter-terrorism policies and in Belfast on lessons from the past), North Africa (covering Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), the United States and the Southern Cone (covering Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay). Other countries or regions where the Panel will also hold hearings include the Russian Federation, South Asia, Canada, the Middle East and Europe.

Panel hearing Asia-Pess releases-2006 (full text, PDF)