The Partnership for Human Rights

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Previously known as the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI) and now operating out of the East-West Center’s Professional Development Program, the collaboration between the East-West Center and the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University (‘the Partnership’) develops capacities and partnerships related to international justice, human rights and the rule of law in the Asia-Pacific region, with a specific focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Partnership combines the Asia-Pacific regional expertise of the East-West Center and the expertise of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice on capacity building, policy oriented research and programming on areas such as the rule of law, human rights, legal education, and transitional justice. The two Centers work in close collaboration with regional and country-specific institutions to train professionals and assist governmental and nongovernmental institutions in implementing international standards and best practices and meeting their international and regional obligations in the justice, security, economic, and social sectors. 

Professor David Cohen, a leading expert in international humanitarian law and international criminal law, directs all activities of the Partnership. Cohen is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center and the WSD Handa Professor in Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, where he is also the Director of the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice.

 

Current Projects

The Partnership has active projects in Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, and the wider ASEAN region.

Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Human Rights System

ASEAN regional integration provides new opportunities for enhancing the rule of law, good governance and human rights in the region. The Partnership has a collaboration with the Human Rights Resource Centre (HRRC) for ASEAN to support important regional human rights research and policy advocacy and has also worked with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at the regional level since 2010.

  • ASEAN-related research and capacity development
    Together with leading human rights experts in the region, the Partnership has played a central role in the development of the Human Rights Resource Centre for ASEAN (HRRC), a network which has its administrative base at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. The HRRC comprises 12 major universities in seven ASEAN Member States and provides research, education, and training support on the full range of human rights issues in ASEAN. The HRRC provides reports, studies, and training on a range of human rights issues in the region including, most recently, freedom of religion, the rule of law, business and human rights, migration, and gender based violence and discrimination. More information and all baseline studies are available at http://hrrca.org.
  • ASEAN Judiciaries Initiative
    The Initiative was launched with expert input from David Cohen in 2012, when representatives from all 10 ASEAN judiciaries met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to discuss ASEAN integration. Delegations agreed to an action agenda of priority areas that need to be addressed including legal harmonization, enforcement of judgments, facilitating cross-border investment and transactions, and increasing transparency in the judicial process. The Initiative was brought under the framework of the new Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ), and enjoys the continuous collaboration of USAID and the Partnership. More recently, the Partnership has been assisting CACJ’s Working Group on Judicial Education and Training with developing a strategic plan and a work program as well as conducting a needs assessment.

Meeting of the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ)'s Working Group on Judicial Education and Training, Jakarta, 5-6 September 2019.
Meeting of the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ)'s Working Group on Judicial Education and Training, Jakarta, 5-6 September 2019.
  • Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
    The Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights is an annual meeting that brings regional and international experts together with the three principal ASEAN human rights bodies and other officials. Identifying a theme of particular importance to ASEAN each year, the Summer Institute provides a forum for key stakeholders to interact and discuss timely and important human rights issues. In 2019, the Summer Institute focused on ASEAN’s journey over the past ten years since the ASEAN Charter came into force. More specifically, it considered ASEAN’s transformation into a ‘rules-based’ regional organization and explored issues relating to legal harmonization.

Speakers at the Summer Institute 2019 on "ASEAN: The State of Rules-based Development" (Source: HRRC)
Speakers at the Summer Institute 2019 on "ASEAN: The State of Rules-based Development" (Source: HRRC)

Rights of Women & Children and Human Trafficking

The Partnership places an emphasis on considering the role of vulnerable populations in development efforts, including women and children.

  • Human trafficking in Southeast Asia
    Concern has grown steadily over the past several years about the issue of human trafficking in Southeast Asia. The entry into force in 2017 of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) creates an opportunity to advance the implementation of effective anti-trafficking initiatives. Towards this end the Partnership has published a report, Inaccurate numbers, inadequate policies, on the challenges of assessing the scale of human trafficking and a second report, Getting to good human trafficking data, on best practices on data collection and analysis in ASEAN. These studies provide ASEAN policymakers with a roadmap towards a unified ASEAN data collection and analysis system as a foundational resource for combatting human trafficking in all its forms.

Launch of study on human trafficking data collection in ASEAN, Jakarta, 29 March 2018
Launch of study on human trafficking data collection in ASEAN, Jakarta, 29 March 2018

Rule of Law and Justice Sector Capacity Development

The Partnership provides technical assistance, policy-oriented studies, and capacity development for governmental and non-governmental actors in the justice sector. It has long-standing partnerships with judiciaries and rule of law institutions in Asia.

  • Judicial capacity-building and human rights trainings in Indonesia
    Since 2003, the Partnership has been involved in a variety of judicial capacity-building projects in partnership with the Supreme Court of Indonesia and the Attorney General’s Office of Indonesia. More recently, the Partnership completed a study on the interpretation and application of the Indonesian blasphemy law. In collaboration with the Indonesia Institute for the Independent Judiciary (LeIP), the Partnership also designed training modules to enhance Indonesian judges’ understanding of Indonesian human rights law and Indonesia’s obligations under international human rights instruments that have been incorporated into Indonesian law. This was followed by a series of trainings in partnership with the Supreme Court’s Judicial Training Center, targeting more than 1,500 candidate judges and 100 judges. The human rights training initiative will be expanded to include the Attorney General’s Office, targeting prosecutors and candidate prosecutors. Additional trainings relating to environmental law are also being envisaged in collaboration with the Supreme Court of Indonesia.

Training of Trainers on human rights with Judicial Training Center of the Indonesian Supreme Court, 18-19 July 2019
Training of Trainers on human rights with Judicial Training Center of the Indonesian Supreme Court, 18-19 July 2019
  • Legal and human rights education in Cambodia
    Since 2013, the Partnership has been working with Cambodian universities, including Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), Pannasastra University and the University of Cambodia, to improve the quality of human rights and legal education and to support long-term capacity building among Cambodian law lecturers. As part of this work, lecturers have received training and mentoring in fair trial rights and interactive teaching methodologies. In collaboration with the Center for the Study of Humanitarian Law at RULE, the Partnership has also been implementing the ‘Cambodian Women in the Law’ project which seeks to strengthen the participation of women as leaders and educators Cambodia’s legal sector. This project uses policy-oriented data collection and legal education as entry points for positive change.

Project workshop "Cambodian Women in the Law", Phnom Penh, 23 December 2019
Project workshop "Cambodian Women in the Law", Phnom Penh, 23 December 2019
  • Judicial capacity building and human rights training in the Philippines
    At the request and under the auspices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, since 2016, the Partnership has provided trainings on international criminal law for the Philippine judiciary. These trainings have included basic and advanced courses and are attended by judges at all levels as well as lawyers from relevant government ministries and institutions.

Anti-corruption

  • Anti-corruption work in Indonesia
    In 2015, the Partnership began a three-year project in partnership with the Institute for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) and the Indonesia Institute for an Independent Judiciary (LeIP) to train lawyers and legal academics and monitor proceedings in the newly established Indonesian regional Anti-Corruption Courts. This project involved monitoring selected Anti-Corruption Courts and producing a comprehensive assessment of the performance of these courts. From 2020, a follow-on project will build on these findings and provide policy recommendations to the Supreme Court to improve the institutional capacity of the Anti-Corruption Courts in Indonesia. The project will also focus on the improvement of the legal framework on whistleblower, justice collaborator and witness protection, and also promote integrity and compliance across the Indonesian business sector.

Transitional Justice and Dealing with the Past

The Partnership has a track record in assisting societies in dealing with the legacy of a violent past, including major transitional justice and accountability processes in Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

  • Khmer Rouge Tribunal Monitoring and Community Outreach in Cambodia
    Since 2009, the Partnership has implemented a trial monitoring program of the Khmer Rouge trials in Cambodia. The program has been highly productive, publishing weekly critical analyses in English and Khmer and achieving deep social media engagement through Facebook and Twitter. The Partnership has also boosted public awareness of the trials by working with Khmer Mekong Films to produce weekly television programs covering topics of interest at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in a way that is easy to understand. Duch on Trial, covering Case 001 against Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch, was labelled a ‘sleeper hit‘ by Time magazine. In Case 002 the Partnership again worked with KMF to produce Facing Justice which covered Case 002 proceedings – most recently broadcasting on Cambodian television an outreach video series summarizing the Case 002/02 judgment in late 2018. The Partnership is also expanding its collaboration with the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. For more information, visit the program’s blog at http://krtmonitor.org/

"Facing Justice" outreach on the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia, Svay Rieng Province, 30 October 2019
"Facing Justice" outreach on the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia, Svay Rieng Province, 30 October 2019

Past Projects

The following provides an overview of selected, completed projects, which were implemented prior to 2017 under the umbrella of the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), which was affiliated with the East-West Center Research Program.

 

The Partnership Team Members

David Cohen—Senior Adjunct Fellow, East-West Center; Professor, WSD-Handa Professor in Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University

David Cohen is the Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University and a leading expert in the fields of human rights, international law, and transitional justice. He taught at the University of California (UC) Berkeley from 1979 to 2012 and was the founding Director of the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center, which moved to Stanford University in 2013 to become the Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Cohen's research into war crimes tribunals began in the mid-1990's with a project to collect the records of the national war crimes programs conducted in approximately 20 countries in Europe and Asia after WWII. Since 2001, Cohen's work has largely focused on contemporary tribunals and transitional justice initiatives. Cohen has led justice sector reform initiatives and tribunal monitoring programs in Indonesia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Cambodia. At the regional level, Cohen has worked closely with the ASEAN Secretariat and the USAID Technical Facility to the ASEAN Secretariat in forming and leading an expert group to create a Human Rights Resource Center for ASEAN. Cohen serves as the Advisor to the Executive Director and the Governing Board of the Resource Center and leads the Center’s research projects. He received a J.D. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, a Ph.D. in Classics and Ancient History from Cambridge University, and an Honorary Doctorate in International Law from the University of Zurich.

Christoph Sperfeldt—Collaborating Scholar and Senior Advisor

Christoph Sperfeldt is a Senior Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, University of Melbourne, and a Fellow at the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice. He has more than 12 years of experience in research and capacity development in the areas of transitional justice, rule of law, and human rights, predominantly in Southeast Asia. From 2016 to 2018, Sperfeldt was AIJI's Deputy Director, and from 2011 to 2015, he was Regional Program Coordinator for Southeast Asia. Before joining AIJI, he worked as Senior Advisor with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Cambodia from 2007 to 2011, as an Advisor both to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and then to the Victims Support Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Sperfeldt holds a PhD from the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University.

Dian Rositawati—Indonesia Program Director

Dian Rositawati coordinates the implementation of AIJI's programs and liaises with partner governmental and non-governmental institutions. She has been involved in judicial reform in Indonesia since 2000 and participated in the drafting of Supreme Court Blueprints that have become the foundation of Indonesia's judicial reform. Rositawati has also served as a member of the Judicial Reform Working Group at the Supreme Court since 2009 and provides assistance to the Supreme Court in reform programs in the areas of judicial training, case management, and judicial oversight mechanisms. She is also a board member of the Indonesian Institute for an Independent Judiciary (LeIP), of which she is the former Director. She holds a master's degree in law, development, and globalization and is currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Tilburg.

Daniel Mattes—Program Consultant, Cambodia

Daniel Mattes holds an M.Sc. degree in global politics and global civil society from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. degree in international relations and Italian from Stanford University. He completed a dissertation analyzing the transnational activist response to capital-led rubber development in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri Province. Mattes has monitored the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia’s (ECCC) Case 002 since 2012.

Somaly Kum— Program Consultant, Cambodia 

Somaly Kum holds a master of law degree in public law from the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the National University of Management (NUM), and a bachelor's degree in management from Preah Kossomak Political Institute in Cambodia. Before joining the Partnership, she worked as a program assistant with the Khmer Rouge Trial Justice Project and the Land and Natural Resources Rights Project for the Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC).

Selected Publications

Cohen, David (ed) (2018). Interpretations of Article 156A of the Indonesian Criminal Code on Blasphemy and Religious Defamation: A Legal and Human Rights Analysis, Jakarta: LeIP.

Brunner, Jessie (2018). Getting to good human trafficking data: Everyday guidelines for frontline practitioners in Southeast Asia. Stanford, CA: WS Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice; Honolulu, HI: East-West Center; West Java, Indonesia: Human Rights Resource Centre.

McCaffrie, Caitlin, Somaly Kum, Daniel Mattes and Lina Tay (2018). “So we can know what happened": The educational potential of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Stanford, CA: WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice and East-West Center.

Cohen, David, Daniel Mattes, and Caitlin McCaffrie (2017). Justice on appeal: Commentary on the Case 002/01 Final Judgment at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Phnom Penh: WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice and East-West Center.

Palmer, Emma, and Christoph Sperfeldt (2016).  International criminal justice and Southeast Asia:  Approaches to ending impunity for mass atrocities. AsiaPacific Issues No. 126.  Honolulu:  East-West Center.

Sperfeldt, Christoph, Melanie Hyde, and Mychelle Balthazard (2016). Voices for reconciliation: Assessing media outreach and survivor engagement for Case 002 at the Khmer Rouge trials. Honolulu: East-West Center and WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice.

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.

Hyde, Melanie, Emma Palmer, and Sarah Williams (2014). 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 a Workshop held on 28 November 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Sydney: Australian Human Rights Centre and the Asian International Justice Initiative.

Sperfeldt, Christoph (2014). Broadcasting justice: Media outreach at the Khmer Rouge trials. Asia Pacific Issues No. 115. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Cohen, David (2010). ASEAN’s Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and civil society initiatives in Southeast Asia. Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 51. Washington, DC: East-West Center.

Lipscomb, Leigh-Ashley (2010). Beyond the truth: Can reparations move peace and justice forward in Timor-Leste? AsiaPacific Issues No. 93. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Kelsall, Michelle Staggs (2009). The new ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights: Toothless tiger or tentative first step? AsiaPacific Issues No. 90. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Kelsall, Michelle Staggs, Mary Kristerie A. Baleva, Aviva Nababan, Vineath Chou, Rachel Guo, Caroline Ehlert, Sovannith Nget, and Savornt Pheak (2009). Lessons learned from the "Duch" trial: A comprehensive review of the first case before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Report produced by the Asian International Justice Initiative's KRT Trial Monitoring Group.

Cohen, David (2006). Indifference and accountability: The United Nations and the politics of international justice in East Timor. Special Report No. 9. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Cohen, David (2006). ‘Justice on the cheap’ revisited: The failure of the serious crimes trials in East Timor. AsiaPacific Issues No. 80. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Cohen, David (August 2002). Seeking justice on the cheap: Is the East Timor tribunal really a model for the future?  AsiaPacific Issues No. 61. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Collaborating Institutions

In addition to East-West Center and the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, the Partnership has collaborated with a number of university-based centers in different parts of the world. These include 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 and the War Crimes Documentation Center at the University of Marburg in Germany, the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law in Vietnam, and the International Institute for Child Rights and Development at the University of Victoria in Canada. The Partnership also collaborates with criminal tribunals around the world.