Convention on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of Genocide,
Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and other International Crimes
(Mutual Legal Assistance Convention or MLA Convention)
The Asia Justice Coalition secretariat (AJC secretariat) participated in the MLA Diplomatic Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia as an observer civil society organisation (15 - 26 May 2023).
AJC secretariat welcomes the adoption of an international treaty concerning inter-State cooperation on atrocity crimes. See the full statement here.
The MLA Convention is an important step in the right direction in bolstering international cooperation and bridging gaps in international justice architecture. In particular for the Asian region, the Treaty is important in the absence of a regional cooperation framework for atrocity crimes and could play a significant role in complementing the established transnational crime cooperation framework. The AJC secretariat believes that the MLA Convention would encourage greater South-South cooperation on investigation and prosecution of atrocity crimes and strengthen the principle of complementarity.To know more about the MLA Convention and its relevance for Asian States, check AJC’s backgrounder here.
On 15 May, Dr Priya Pillai, secretariat head, spoke at the opening ceremony of the Conference. Dr Pillai reiterated the fact that at the heart of this convention is the need for greater cooperation – between and among states within regions, and importantly, across different regions – to be a truly global effort in addressing impunity. Most importantly, the Convention encourages so-called Global South-South cooperation to address impunity. The full text of the speech is available here. Alternatively, watch the video here (see about 1:14:00).
AJC secretariat released three videos as a part of its advocacy campaign focused on the MLA Convention. Three members of the Asia Justice Coalition addressed different questions about the MLA Convention, and they are as follows:
I. Pavani Bhat (Investigations Associate, Fortify Rights) explores the possibilities and challenges of pursuing justice in Asia.
II. Hugo Relva (Legal Adviser, Amnesty International) explains how the MLA Convention complements the Rome Statute and the Draft Convention on Crime Against Humanity.
III. Raquel Saavedra (International Legal Adviser, International Commission of Jurists) elucidates the importance of the MLA Convention for Asia and its practitioners.
On 23 May, the AJC secretariat released an update from the MLA Conference. See below.
AJC secretariat published a backgrounder on the Draft Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty capturing what the treaty offers to the region and how it is relevant for Asian States. In October 2022, the AJC secretariat wrote a letter to the MLA Initiative welcoming the movement on the draft Mutual Legal Assistance Convention and made certain recommendations.