Handa Center Director and Other Experts Lead Courses on International Criminal Law for the Philippine Judiciary
Events, Human Rights Education, Rule of Law and Accountability
For a week in late November, the Handa Center completed the second and third of its courses on international criminal law and maritime security for the Philippine judiciary. This program is conducted at the request and under the auspices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Maria Lourdes Sereno, has provided the initiative and the support to make the course possible,
The November workshops followed on the first course, which the Handa Center conducted for the Supreme Court in January 2016. That course included approximately 55 participants from all branches of the judiciary, as well as lawyers and legal officers in various government ministries and other bodies. Owing to the success of that pilot course, the Supreme Court decided to move ahead with an ongoing program of at least two workshops per year. Based on positive feedback from participants in the January course, Handa Center leadership suggested to the Chief Justice that she consider adding an advanced course to the program. She agreed and the November program consisted of another three-day basic course and a three-day advanced course for participants who had participated in the January program.
The faculty for the international criminal law component of the courses consists of Handa Center Director David Cohen and three distinguished international criminal law practitioners/experts: Judge Fausto Pocar of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and former President of that Tribunal; Dato Shyamala Alagendra, international defense counsel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and former prosecutor at the UN tribunals in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and the ICC; and Karim Khan QC, international defense counsel at the ICC and also a former international prosecutor.
The 55 participants for the November basic course included judges from the trial and appellate levels and lawyers from the Senate, Foreign Ministry, Solicitor General's office, legal staff of the Supreme Court and other government officials. Topics ranged from crimes against humanity, genocide, modes of liability, extra-judicial killings, evidentiary and procedural issues, and the requirements for bringing cases to the ICC. The advanced course dealt with many of the same issues, but in greater depth and with more analysis of the relevant decisions of the international criminal tribunals. Both courses were highly interactive with extensive questions and discussion from the participants. The advanced course included a moot court component that met with great enthusiasm from the participants.
The Maritime Security component of the course consisted of one day plus a lecture by Antonio Carpio, Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and leading Philippine expert on the situation of the South China Sea. Academic oversight and curriculum design of this component of the course is provided by Professor Diane Desierto, currently a Handa Center and CASBS Fellow, and a leading expert on maritime law and other areas of international public law.