Annual Summer Institute for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
In May 2008, under the auspices of the Asian International Justice Initiative, the War Crimes Studies Center and the East-West Center, held its inaugural Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Bangkok (the Summer Institute). Directed by David Cohen and Michelle Staggs, the two-week workshop was designed for participants working across a broad range of fields and disciplines related to international humanitarian law and human rights, including journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, investigators, monitors, government agency workers, lawyers and advanced law students. The Summer Institute was held with our partners, the Office of Human Rights Studies and Social Development at Mahidol University in Bangkok.In 2009, we will hold our second annual Summer Institute for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in collaboration with the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission in Bali, Indonesia. This year’s Summer Institute theme is “Transitional Justice and Post- Conflict Human Rights.” The course focuses on the inter-relationship between transitional justice and the establishment of robust human rights institutions (both in the aftermath of violent conflicts and as a preventative measure to safeguard against State instability and civil unrest). It centers on the case study of Southeast Asia, asking participants to analyze both in-country and regional dynamics, but encompasses a comparative focus as well.The goal of the course is to engage participants in the key debates surrounding both: (i) the utility and effectiveness of transitional justice mechanisms in the region (particularly those which are or have been utilized in Indonesia, East Timor and Cambodia); and ((ii) the establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights Body for the protection and promotion of human rights. The aim will be to link a study of post-conflict efforts towards establishing and maintaining peace with that of ongoing national and regional human rights reform.
Building an ASEAN Human Rights Resource Center by 2010
The Human Rights Resource Center (HRRC) would provide intellectual resources for the ASEAN mechanism and would also serve as a focal point for developing regional networks of experts and practitioners who could support the mechanism in a variety of ways. The Center would have a staff of modest size, but through its research, analysis, and training projects would bring together senior, midcareer, and young professionals from government and civil society across the region with common interests in advancing the work of the mechanism. This would serve the dual purposes of helping to develop regional collaborative networks of experts and of providing a venue for young professionals from around the region to develop skills and acquire practical experience.The core areas of activity for the HRRC would be: (i) Research (ii) Training; and (iii) Developing models and programs for human rights education.
The ongoing process the WCSC, in partnership with the East-West Center, is engaged in with key stakeholders to foster the development of an HRRC foresees completion of the planning phase in 2009. Thereafter, we anticipate the creation of the HRRC and its network of supporting institutions based in major regional universities in 2010. The Resource Center will develop research teams, prepare analyses, and create and implement human rights training and education programs for the ASEAN mechanism. It will also serve as a focal point for developing regional networks of experts and practitioners who will support the mechanism in a variety of ways and contribute to the implementation of a robust ASEAN human rights agenda.
Fostering Civic Engagement
The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Film Series
The WCSC and East-West Center Initiative (AIJI), have developed an outreach program for the Khmer Rouge trials that involves the production of a film series entitled “Time for Justice.” The films, produced by Khmer Mekong Films in Phnom Penh, are disseminated through regular television broadcast on the largest Cambodian TV network and through radio and community meetings. In the 18 months leading up to the first trial at the ECCC (which began March 30, 2009) we produced 5 “pretrial” films to educate the Cambodian public as to the structure and mission of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC).With the beginning of the Tribunal’s first trial in March 2009 we entered the second, and main, phase of the film project. We are currently producing a a half-hour minute film each week for weekly broadcast on CTN through a show we produce, called “Time for Justice: Duch on Trial”. The films use a talk show format, with two well known Cambodian journalists as moderators. “Duch on Trial” is broadcast on Monday at 1:15 pm, CTN’s second peak time slot with an estimated viewing audience of 1.5-2.5 million. They are also uploaded every Monday morning in a sub-titled version at the East-West Center website (www.eastwestcenter.org).