Manila, 26 September 2014—On 24-26 September 2014, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) held a workshop on fair trial standards and trial monitoring for Vietnamese lawyers. The event aimed to increase the capacity of the participants to implement fair trial standards in Vietnam and contribute to trial monitoring in the region. Aside from presentations on fair trial rights and trial monitoring, the workshop sought to impart practical knowledge, with visits to courts in Manila incorporated into the agenda.
Upon the ICJ’s invitation, Faith Delos Reyes, HRRC Research and Project Coordinator, and Aviva Nababan, HRRC Assistant Research Coordinator, described how the concepts of “fair trial” and “trial monitoring” work in the context of both international tribunals and local courts, inviting the participants to share how these concepts are applied in Vietnam.
Drawing on their experiences from having worked in Southeast Asian countries as well as past research projects of the HRRC, specifically the 2011 baseline study on rule of law in ASEAN and the 2014 study on judicial training in ASEAN, Delos Reyes and Nababan provided the participants with practical advice on how to monitor trial proceedings holistically—covering the evidence presented, legal and procedural issues that arise, and how the trial is managed. They emphasised the importance of reporting trial proceedings in a balanced manner and ensuring that critiques are conveyed in a constructive manner. The discussion on fair trial rights also incorporates the ICJ’s trial monitoring manual, which, among others, provides detailed explanations on the fair trial rights guaranteed in international law.