Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI)


Leaders of the 2015 AIJI Summer Institute in Bali, Indonesia. Director of AIJI, David Cohen, is on the right.

The Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI) develops capacities and partnerships related to international justice, judicial reform, the rule of law, and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. The focus is on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). More than a decade old, AIJI is a collaboration between the East-West Center (EWC) and the 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 with the expertise of the Handa Center on capacity building and policy-oriented research in areas such as the rule of law, human rights, and transitional justice in post-conflict societies. The Initiative was formed in recognition of the joint aim of the two centers to promote standards of excellence in international justice, good governance, and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Professor David Cohen, a leading expert in international humanitarian law and international criminal law, directs all AIJI activities.

AIJI is currently involved in a wide range of projects in Southeast Asia, some focusing on the national level in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste and others aimed more broadly at the regional level in ASEAN.

Current and recent activities are summarized in the February 2018 AIJI flyer.

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 Southeast Asia. AIJI collaborates with ASEAN to support human-rights research and policy advocacy in the ASEAN region.

  • ASEAN-related research and capacity development: AIJI has supported the development of ASEAN’s Human-Rights Resource Centre (HRRC), a network of 12 major universities in the region. The HRRC provides research and training on a range of human-rights issues including, most recently, freedom of religion, the rule of law, business and human rights, migration, and gender-based violence and discrimination. More information is available at
  • Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights: AIJI’s Summer Institute is an annual meeting that brings regional and international experts together with the three ASEAN human-rights bodies and other officials. Focusing on a theme of importance to ASEAN each year, the Summer Institute provides a forum for key stakeholders to interact and discuss timely and important human-rights issues.

Rights of Women and Children and Human Trafficking

AIJI places a special emphasis on vulnerable populations, including women and children.

  • 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 anti-trafficking initiatives in Southeast Asia. AIJI has published reports on the challenges of assessing the scale of human trafficking and on best practices for data collection and analysis. These studies provide policymakers with a roadmap toward a more unified ASEAN data-collection and analysis system as a resource for combatting human trafficking.
  • Ending conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence: In 2016, AIJI produced a documentary series for Cambodian television entitled Time to Speak Out. Together with an accompanying international documentary, Breaking the Silence, the film explored the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence and forced marriage at the Khmer Rouge trials. These films were produced in partnership with Khmer Mekong Films as part of the British Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI). AIJI has also conducted training for judicial professionals and civil-society leaders to promote awareness and capacity on this critical issue.

Rule of Law and Justice-Sector Capacity Development

AIJI has long-standing technical-assistance partnerships with judiciaries and rule-of-law institutions in Southeast Asia and is currently implementing capacity-building programs in Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste.

  • Judicial capacity building and human-rights training in Indonesia: Since 2003, AIJI has been involved in a variety of judicial capacity-building projects in partnership with the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office of Indonesia. Recent projects include a policy-oriented assessment of the discriminatory implementation of the Blasphemy and Electronic Communications laws and a training program for the Supreme Court on international criminal law and maritime security. AIJI is also working with the National Human-Rights Commission to improve the Commission’s capacity to investigate and submit cases of gross human-rights violations for prosecution by the Attorney General.
  • Legal and human-rights education in Cambodia: AIJI has worked with Cambodian universities―including Royal University of Law and Economics, Pannasastra University, and the University of Cambodia―to improve the quality of human-rights and legal education and to support capacity building among Cambodian legal academics and lecturers. During intensive courses, lecturers at these universities receive training in fair-trial rights and interactive-teaching methods. Afterwards, they receive ongoing mentorship and teaching advice. 
  • Support for judicial reform in Timor-Leste: AIJI Director, David Cohen, is a recognized expert on Timor-Leste and has been deeply engaged with transitional-justice efforts there since 2001. In 2017, AIJI inaugurated a multi-year training program for the Prosecutor-General’s office, which will expand in 2018 to include training for the judiciary at all levels.
  • Anti-corruption project in Indonesia: Since 2015, AIJI has been implementing a project in partnership with the Institute for Human-Rights Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) and the Institute for an Independent Judiciary (LeIP) that trains lawyers and academics to monitor the newly established Indonesian regional Anti-Corruption Courts. Funded by the European Union, this project involves monitoring five Anti-Corruption Courts and producing assessments of these courts’ performance. The assessments provide the basis for revising the curriculum on corruption at Indonesia’s national judicial training centers.
  • Judicial capacity building and human-rights training in the Philippines: At the request of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, in 2016, AIJI inaugurated a multi-year training program on international criminal law and maritime security for the Philippine judiciary. Program participants are judges at all levels as well as lawyers from relevant government ministries and institutions.

Transitional Justice and Dealing with the Past

AIJI and its parent organizations have a track record in helping societies deal with the legacy of a violent past, including major transitional-justice and accountability processes in Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.

  • Khmer Rouge Tribunal monitoring and community outreach in Cambodia: AIJI has been administering a trial-monitoring program at the Khmer Rouge trials since 2009. The program aims to boost public awareness of the trials through the dissemination of weekly reports summarizing and analyzing the proceedings. AIJI has worked with Khmer Mekong Films to produce television programs covering topics of interest at the trials in a way that is easy to understand, including Duch on Trial, covering Case 001, and Facing Justice, covering Case 002. The program also trains young lawyers in monitoring and legal analysis at an international tribunal. In 2017, AIJI completed a multi-media project that explored the Tribunal’s legacy through Cambodian eyes. For more information, visit the program’s blog at

Recently Completed AIJI Projects

Over the past decade, AIJI has completed numerous training initiatives, monitoring programs, and workshops. These included a trial observation program at the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, community outreach efforts linked to justice-sector reform, and numerous transitional justice and rule-of-law workshops in Cambodia, East Timor, and Indonesia and at the regional level for ASEAN bodies. More details are provided under the following headings:

Selected Publications

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, AIJI collaborates with a number of university-based centers around 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. AIJI also collaborates with criminal tribunals around the world.

AIJI Team Members

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

David Cohen is the Director of the WSD HANDA 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 as the Ancker Distinguished Professor for the Humanities, and he was the founding Director of the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center, which moved to Stanford University in 2013 to become the Handa Center. He directs an international project on the World War II war crimes trials in Asia, the Pacific, and Europe and has monitored and reported on the East Timor trials before the Serious Crimes Panel in Dili and the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in Jakarta. Cohen also serves as Advisor to the Executive Director and Governing Board of the Human Rights Resource Center for ASEAN. 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 honorary Doctorates in International Law from the University of Zurich and the University of Cambodia. He is the author of numerous publications.

Christoph Sperfeldt—Senior Advisor and Collaborating Scholar, AIJI

Christoph Sperfeldt is responsible for advising AIJI on developing programs in Southeast Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region. He brings to the role more than 10 years of experience in research and capacity development in the areas of transitional justice, rule of law, and conflict transformation. 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 master's degree in Political Science from the University of Jena in Germany, and is a doctoral candidate at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) of the Australian National University. He has published widely in the field of transitional justice and human rights.

Dian Rositawati—AIJI Indonesia Program Director

Dian Rositawati coordinates the implementation of AIJI's programs and liaises with partner government and non-governmental institutions in Indonesia. She has been involved in judicial reform in Indonesia since 2000 and participated in the drafting of the Supreme Court Blueprints that have become the foundation of Indonesia's judicial reform. Rositawati has 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 and the former director of the Indonesian Institute for an Independent Judiciary (LeIP). She holds a master's degree in law, development, and globalization and is currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands.

Daniel Mattes—Program Consultant, AIJI 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 Case 002 in different roles with AIJI since 2012.

Lina Tay—Program Consultant, AIJI Cambodia

Lina Tay holds a bachelor of law degree from the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) in Cambodia and a master of law degree in public international law from the Transnational Law and Business University in the Republic of Korea. During field study in Europe, Tay visited the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice, which sparked his interest in international criminal justice, especially the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia’s Case 002.

Somaly Kum— Program Consultant, AIJI 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 AIJI, she worked as an intern and 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).

Caitlin McCaffrie—Program Consultant, AIJI Cambodia

Caitlin McCaffrie holds an honors degree in international studies from the University of Adelaide in Australia, where her master’s thesis focused on French colonialism and France’s military intervention in Mali. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in arts and international studies, majoring in French, Chinese, and politics. Before joining AIJI, McCaffrie served as an intern with the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the United Nations Office for Project Services.

Melanie Hyde—AIJI Advisor and former Cambodia Program Director

Melanie Hyde was responsible for coordinating a range of AIJI programs in Cambodia, including the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Monitoring Program at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Voices of Reconciliation Program, the Facing Justice television series, and various legal education initiatives related to rule of law and transitional justice. Hyde is an Australian qualified lawyer with a background in commercial law, human rights law, and international criminal law. She previously served as the Legal Advisor to AIJI, with a particular focus on legal education and fair trial rights. Prior to joining AIJI, she worked on gender justice and equality initiatives in Australia, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Cambodia, and Libya.


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