Asian International Justice Initiative

The Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI) focuses on projects and partnerships related to international justice, judicial reform, the rule of law, and human rights in ASEAN and countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Over a decade old, AIJI is a collaboration between the East-West Center (EWC) andhe WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University (previously known as the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center).

AIJI combines the Asia-Pacific regional expertise of the EWC and the transitional justice research and human rights training capabilities of the Handa Center. AIJI was formed in recognition of the joint aim of the two centers to foster initiatives that promote standards of excellence in international justice and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Under the AIJI umbrella, the Handa Center and EWC work in close partnership with regional and country-specific institutions to promote human rights education, understanding, and awareness of internationally recognized fair trial standards, as well as requirements for accountability and the rule of law, especially in international criminal trials and human rights proceedings in national courts.

AIJI collaborates with a number of university-based centers around the world, including the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) and Pannasastra University in Cambodia; Macquarie University in Australia; the University of Zurich Human Rights Center in Switzerland; Universitas Udayana in Indonesia, the University of Munich, the War Crimes Documentation Center at the University of Marburg, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Germany; the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law in Vietnam, and the International Center for Child Rights and Development at the University of Victoria in Canada, as well as with criminal tribunals around the world.

Current Projects

Currently, AIJI has a number of active projects in Southeast Asia, some focused at the national level and others aimed more broadly at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a region. At the regional level, AIJI partners with the Human Rights Resource Center (HRRC) for ASEAN to support important regional human rights baseline research and policy advocacy. AIJI also co-hosts an annual Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights with the HRRC. The Summer Institutes are regionally based workshops built around different themes each year, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian case studies, and designed for participants from within the ASEAN region. The most recent Summer Institute in August of 2015 dealt with trafficking and migration in ASEAN, which is currently also an active area of research for AIJI.

At the national level, AIJI staff and researchers are currently active in Cambodia, East Timor, and Indonesia. In Cambodia, the focus is largely on transitional justice and justice-sector capacity building.  The AIJI team monitors trial proceedings of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and facilitates community dialogues about the trials. The program aims to boost public awareness of these trials through the dissemination of weekly trial reports summarizing and critically analyzing the proceedings as they unfold. The team in Cambodia has also partnered with a number of Cambodian universities to integrate a fair-trial-rights curriculum into Cambodian legal education. In Indonesia, AIJI’s current programs include judicial capacity-building in partnership with the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office of Indonesia and efforts to strengthen the performance of anti-corruption law through trial monitoring.


Related Publications

Brunner, Jessica (2015). Inaccurate numbers, inadequate policies: Enhancing data to evaluate the prevalence of human trafficking In ASEAN. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Cohen, David, and Leigh-Ashley Lipscomb (2015). Justice at the crossroads. IPAC Report No. 22. Jakarta: Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.

Cohen, David, Melanie Hyde, and Penelope Van Tuyl, with Stephanie Fung (2015). A well-reasoned opinion? Critical analysis of the first case against the alleged senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-based Violence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC):  Reflections, Recommendations and Next Steps, report of the Workshop on Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-based Violence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia organized by the Australian Human Rights Centre, University of New South Wales Australia, the Asian International Justice Initiative and the Victims Support Section at the ECCC.  The workshop was held on November 28, 2914 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The report was written by Melanie Hyde (AIJI) and Emma Palmer and Sarah Williams both of the University of New South Wales.  Full report available here.

Broadcasting Justice:  Media Outreach at the Khmer Rouge Trials by Christoph Sperfeldt.  Asia Pacific Issues No. 115, July 2014.

Beyond the Truth:  Can Reparations Move Peace and Justice Forward in Timor-Leste? by Leigh-Ashley Lipscomb.  AsiaPacific Issues, No. 93.  March 2010.

ASEAN’s Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and Civil Society Initiatives in Southeast Asia by David Cohen.  Asia Pacific Bulletin, No. 51.  March 1, 2010.

‘Justice on the Cheap’ Revisited:  The Failure of the Serious Crimes Trials in East Timor by David Cohen.  AsiaPacific Issues, No. 80, May 2006.

Indifference and Accountability:  The United Nations and the Politics of International Justice in East Timor, by David Cohen.  East-West Center Special Reports No. 9, June 2006.

Seeking Justice on the Cheap:  Is the East Timor Tribunal Really a Model for the Future? by David Cohen.  AsiaPacific Issues, No. 61, August 2002.