Harvard Law School holds rule of law workshop in Thailand

Harvard Law School, partnering with the Thailand Institute of Justice, conducted a groundbreaking workshop in Bangkok last week for scholars, emerging leaders and young people designed to promote the rule of law and its essential role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the first conference of its kind in Southeast Asia.

“The objective of the TIJ-IGLP workshops is to cultivate appreciation of the importance of the rule of law, particularly its vital role in the achievement of sustainable development,’’ said Prof. Kittipong Kittyarak, executive director of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ).

He added that the workshop, which brought together policymakers, scholars, businesspeople and other stakeholders, was “a very good opportunity to work together to promote the rule of law among the public.”

The TIJ is dedicated to strengthening education about the rule of law, building faith in the criminal justice system and working to ensure that United Nations standards are applied as far as rights-based treatment of offenders. It works to build the capacities of those working in crime prevention and the justice system.

“It must be understood that the rule of law is not a single recipe,’’ said Prof. David Kennedy, director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School. “Each society needs to interpret the rule of law in its own way according to its contexts. However, the key is that the citizens in each society engage in legal power and know how to exercise their rights appropriately.”

“As a legislator, law is regarded as a tool to control and govern people. But at these workshops, it was time to open my mind and learn how the rule of law must embrace conventional lawmaking to create sustainable development in global communities,’’ said Viengthavisone Thephachanh, a member of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic National Assembly who attended the conference.