Asia Justice Coalition 2023 Annual Newsletter

Dear Colleagues,



2023 was an eventful year for international justice! A new MLA Treaty, progress on a Crimes Against Humanity Convention, steps towards justice for the Rohingya at the ICJ, and many more. At every turn, the Asia Justice Coalition (AJC) Secretariat advocated for the region through panels, publications, roundtables, and more.


Here is a round-up of some of our most notable highlights of the past year:

Women in International Justice and Accountability (WIJA)
The Asia Justice Coalition officially started their new multi-year project on “Women in International Justice and Accountability” (WIJA). The project will develop women’s leadership in international law by building expertise and facilitating constructive dialogue around critical issues of international justice and accountability in three jurisdictions in Asia: India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The project kicked off this year by constituting the project board, holding our first meetings with board members and relevant stakeholders, establishing our partnership with The Centre for Peace and Justice in Bangladesh, and conducting our first systems mapping exercise in Dhaka, that will inform our upcoming project interventions.

Draft Crimes Against Humanity Convention

The Asia Justice Coalition Secretariat advocated for progress on a Draft Crimes Against Humanity Convention (CAH) alongside other coalition members, co-sponsoring events at the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly, and the 22nd Session of the Assembly for States Parties for the International Criminal Court, and webinars. We released a CAH Briefing Paper and a blog post mapping Asian States’ positions on the draft convention, outlining its relevance and potential to the region. At the Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue for Human Rights 75, Legal Advocacy and Communications Manager Aakash Chandran called on States to pass the convention at the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee.

Jurisdictional Briefs for International Justice

In this series, the Asia Justice Coalition secretariat identifies and analyses existing avenues for accountability in civil and criminal law for survivors of atrocity crimes. The series covers nine jurisdictions across East, Southeast, and South Asia. 

Check our briefs on Japan and South Korea.
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty
The Asia Justice Coalition Secretariat - Dr Priya Pillai and Jennifer Keene-McCann- participated in the Ljubljana – The Hague Mutual Legal Assistance Convention Diplomatic Conference in Slovenia. Dr Priya Pillai, secretariat head, delivered a statement at the opening ceremony of the Conference. Building on its work, the AJC secretariat along with its members and fellow CSOs undertook a series of  a advocacy initiatives to advance the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, including  engagement with the MLAT secretariat and Asian States, video campaign, statements, papers, and an online blog symposium

AJC Secretariat published statements, briefing papers, articles, and updates to support its advocacy throughout the year:

AJC Advocacy

  1. Submissions: Keeping with the aim of the AJC Secretariat to highlight the regional and women's perspective in international law, we made submissions to  The UN Special Rapporteur on The Independence of Judges & Lawyers and The Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

  2. AJC and the ICC:

    AJC delivered a statement at the General Debate of the ASP and called for inclusive, timely, and collaborative justice at the International Criminal Court. We also co-sponsored three side events at the 22nd Session of the Assembly of States Parties for the ICC, namely – CSO workshop and a side event on the Crimes Against Humanity Convention, and survivor centric approach to international accountability – from Sudan to Myanmar.

    AJC submitted inputs to the Office of the Prosecutor on the Complementarity and Cooperation and the Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes Policy Papers. AJC also participated in various ICC thematic Roundtables throughout the year, including CSO-ICC roundtable, Children’s Policy, and SGBV Policy. 

  3. Events: The AJC Secretariat advocated for justice and accountability at many international forums and events, including: the International Bar Association Annual Conference, Rekjavik Global Forum 2023, the annual meeting for the American Society for International Law, the ASEAN & Human Rights Conclave, Legal Action Worldwide's Gender Practitioner Justice Hub etc.

  4. Partnerships: The Asia Justice Coalition entered into partnerships with two civil society organisation networks to  further international accountability and be at the forefront of the global fight against impunity. In May, we joined the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC).
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