In 2010, the UN Secretary General issued a guidance note on transitional justice, affirming the key principles and a way forward to strengthening the rule of law. Transitional justice is defined as “the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation.” Many countries in Asia are in transition towards stronger democracies as a foundation for sustainable peace. What contributions do human rights and transitional justice make to such transitions happening in Asia?
Timor-Leste, Thailand and South Korea have established truth commissions, while other Asian countries and territories (such as Nepal, and Aceh and Papua in Indonesia) have the unrealized promise of a truth commission built into peace agreements or special autonomy settlements, The prosecution of perpetrators of serious crimes in Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Indonesia and Bangladesh have led to mixed outcomes. Although governments in Thailand, Aceh (Indonesia) and Nepal have provided some interim relief for victims, no country in Asia offers a comprehensive reparations program and the majority of Asian countries have yet to ratify the Rome Statute. The lack of a strong regional organization in Asia to protect and promote human rights makes the struggle to combat impunity in Asia a tough one.
This six-day foundational course will bring together youth, civil society actors and policymakers from across the region to learn lessons from the field, human rights principles, and best practices for accountability. AJAR will also invite human rights practitioners as resource persons to share their concrete experiences of working in difficult transitions. This foundational course will encourage debate and exchange among participants, and will include sharing and reflection on country contexts and innovative transitional justice strategies.
What participants can expect from the course:
Transitions to democracies based on the rule of law may take decades to achieve. Increasing expertise and knowledge in Asia can be a bridge to pursue accountability for mass crimes through policy change, broadened cross-regional collaboration and innovative human rights initiatives. This bi-annual intensive course facilitates learning for those who seek to study and address challenges to justice and peace commonly faced in transitional settings in Asia.
Patrick Burgess: Patrick Burgess, co-founder and President of Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) is an Australian barrister who has lived and worked in Asia full time for 20 years. Patrick was the Senior Member of the Australian Refugee Tribunal, Director of Human Rights for two UN peacekeeping missions to Timor-Leste, Principal Legal Counsel to the Timor-Leste Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Asia Director for the International Centre for Transitional Justice. He was a member of the Panel of Experts responsible for drafting the UN model Criminal Code and UN model law on legal aid. He has been Team Leader on a range of complex emergency projects including post-genocide Rwanda, DRC, Uganda, Yemen and Indonesia. Patrick is a recognized international expert and trainer of post-conflict issues, transitional justice, legal aid and human rights.
Galuh Wandita: Galuh Wandita worked on women, peace and conflict during Indonesia’s turbulent years under Soeharto. She worked with East Timorese NGOs during the referendum in 1999, and later joined the UN. In 2002-2005 she was appointed Deputy Director of Timor-Leste’s truth commission (CAVR). She returned to Indonesia, as Senior Associate for the International Center for Transitional Justice, working on accountability in Indonesia and TImor-Leste. In 2012, she co-founded Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) and continues to lead the organization as its Director.
Karen Campbell-Nelson: Karen Campbell-Nelson’s work in gendered transitional justice, human rights, and participatory research spans many years. She has taught courses in gender, human rights and theology in West Timor, Indonesia. She has also worked with the Indonesian Women’s National Commission (women and human rights documentation in Aceh), the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth-Seeking and Reconciliation/CAVR (coordinator of the women’s research team); and been a consultant on gender issues to truth commissions in Liberia and the Solomon Islands. Besides providing support for AJAR’s institutional development, Karen also works on issues of human trafficking with several faith-based organizations in West Timor.
Indria Fernida: Indria Fernida is a human rights lawyer specializing in international human rights law, transitional justice and security sector reform. She was Deputy Coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), an Indonesian NGO, from 2006-2012, joining the organization since 1999. She obtained a B.A. in law from the University of Parahyangan, Indonesia and graduated as Master of Philoshophy in Theory and Practice of Human Rights at the University of Oslo, Norway. She currently works as AJAR’s Regional Program Coordinator.
Nicole Janisiewicz: Nicole Janisiewicz is a United States (US) licensed attorney specializing in international criminal litigation and the rule of law. After obtaining her law degree from Stanford Law School in 2006, Nicole spent several years prosecuting war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. She then returned to the US to assist the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with the resolution of criminal and immigration appeals. Nicole now lives in Indonesia and serves as a Legal Advisor to AJAR.
Registration will remain open until seats are filled. For inquiries and registration for this course, please contact AJAR’s Program Assistant, Clevyra Wang at email@example.com.
To download the entire information packet, please click here.
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