Summary of AsianSIL Inter-Sessional Conference ‘Rule of Law and Development Nexus: A New Deal for Asia?’ 4-5 June 2015

On 4-5 June, 2015 – The Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) co-organized with the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL) and the Ministry of Justice Thailand (MOJ) the “AsianSIL Inter-Sessional Regional Conference 2015” on “The Rule of Law and Development Nexus: A New Deal for Asia?”.

The conference was organized to promote research, education and the practice of international law in Asia. The focus was to support mainstreaming the rule of law, justice and security in the Post 2015 Development Agenda and to strengthen the rule of law and criminal justice system in Asia as a means to achieve sustainable development.

Linkages between the rule of law and sustainable development, relevance of international legal frameworks in response to threats of organized crime and drug problems, international law and the protection of women and children, the rule of law and justice reform and the ASEAN integration were addressed. Detailed report of the proceeding of the meeting highlighting substantives focus and conclusions will be released by TIJ in due time.

Professor Simon Chesterman, Secretary-General of the AsianSIL and Dean, Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore welcomed participants and opened the conference.

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, Chair of the Special Advisory Board to TIJ provided a keynote speech during the opening ceremony and also participated as a panelist in the second plenary on “International Law and the Protection of Women & Children”.

In the open plenary there were speeches by H.E. Mr. Direk Ingkaninanda, President of the Supreme Court of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Hassan Lahdah Saqr AL-Mohannadi, Minister of Justice of Qatar, and Professor Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, President of AsianSIL, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the Chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC).

The five panels were chaired by Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak, Executive Director of TIJ and former Permanent Secretary for Justice of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Norachit Sinhasensi, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Professor Raul Pangalangan, Executive Council Member of the AsianSIL and Professor of Law at the University of Philippines, Professor Shin-ichi Ago, Vice-President of the AsianSIL, Professor of Law at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan and Judge of the Administrative Tribunal of the Asian Development Bank, and by Professor Jayavadh Bunnag, Vice-President of the AsianSIL and President of the International Law Association of Thailand.

Panelists included the Director and Vice Chairman of Credit Suisse Asia Pacific, the Attorney General of Thailand, Former Permanent Secretary of Justice to Sri Lanka, Chairman of the Board of Mae Fah Luang Foundation, Thailand’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations at Geneva, President of Asia Justice and Rights, the Director of United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), senior representatives from UNDP, UN Women, UNODC, UNICEF, professors from the National University of Singapore and Sogang University of Korea, and representatives from the Commonwealth Secretariat, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, International Center for Transitional Justice, and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women.

More than 330 participants from 17 countries in Asia joined the conference. In attendance were representatives from governments, diplomatic missions, universities, the United Nations offices, private sector, law professionals, and non-government organizations. They included H.E. General Paiboon Koomchaya, Thailand’s Minister of Justice, H.E. Mr. Jesus Miguel Sanz Ambassador to the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand, Dr. Chaowana Traimas, Secretary-General of Office of the Constitutional Court, Mr. Pongdej Wanichkittikul, Secretary-General to the President of the Supreme Court, Mr. Nakorn Silpa-archa, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, Dr. Yongyuth Mayalarp, Government Spokesperson, Dr. Areepong Bhoocha-Oom, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Dr. Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, Secretary General of the Law Reform Commission of Thailand.

Representatives of diplomatic missions from Japan, Sweden, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia participated. The conference was also attended by representatives from Raks Thai Foundation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Ministry of Mines and Energy of Cambodia, International Labor Organization (ILO), World Bank, International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNHCR, UN-ACT, Asia Foundation, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP), Australian National University (ANU), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Assumption University, Flinders University of Australia, Georg-August University Goettingen Germany, Waseda University of Japan, and Baker & McKenzie, Siam Premier International, to name a few.

In parallel with the AsianSIL Inter-Sessional conference, TIJ also organized the TIJ Youth Forum on Justice and the Rule of Law. The purpose of the forum is to engage with and cultivate the rule of law principles among youths and to groom a new generation of young justice leaders. More than 60 undergraduate university students from 12 countries in Asia joined the forum to discuss the potential role of youths to promote the rule of law, public policy, justice and sustainable development at a global level. As part of the forum, the youths joined sessions of the AsianSIL conference and delivered statements on the outcome of their forum during the conference’s closing session.