For the fist time, about 40 judges and representatives from judicial training institutions across Southeast Asia gathered to discuss recent developments in international human rights law on the right to life, with a focus on extrajudicial executions, deaths in custody and enforced disappearances.
Judges attending the dialogue, held in Manila, Philippines, and organized by the ICJ in collaboration with the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, included current or former Supreme Court justices from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand.
The meeting was part of the ICJ’s effort to support the development of stronger ASEAN judiciaries and regional collaboration.
“With all ten ASEAN countries committed to greater economic integration by 2015, it is very important for courts from these countries to look at each other’s decisions on cases related to human rights, with a view to contributing towards the development of a strong, independent and effective regional framework for promoting and protecting human rights,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
“The ICJ hopes to continue this process with the involvement of Supreme Courts and judiciaries from the entire ASEAN region to ensure that human rights develop along with economic growth,” he added.
Professor Vitit Munthabhorn, ICJ Commissioner and Law Professor at Chulalongkorn University, stressed that in the face of allegations of violations of the right to life or other human rights, judges must ensure effective investigations are conducted, victims have access to effective remedies and reparation and fair proceedings against those responsible for violations.
On the picture, from left to right: Sam Zarifi, Professor Vitit Munthabhorn, and Matt Pollard, Head of ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.
Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, ICJ Commissioner from the Philippines.
Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
Matt Pollard, Head of ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.
Justice Suntariya Mianpawong, judge at the Supreme Court of Thailand.
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