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NEWS UPDATES 13 July 2010

Asian high courts adopt Jakarta Declaration

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Seven Asian countries declared the founding of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions in Jakarta on Monday.

The Jakarta Declaration is part of the 7th Conference of Asian Constitutional Court Judges, which is hosted by the Indonesian Constitutional Court from July 12 to 15.

Representatives of seven of the eight founding countries — Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand and Uzbekistan — signed the declaration.

Kyrgyzstan was unable to send a representative due recent ethnic violence in the country. Indonesian Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD said the association will serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas where members can learn about each other’s legal concepts, experiences, strengths and weaknesses.

“This association will strengthen communication between members and strengthen democracy in each country, which is unstoppable,” he said on Monday.

The group also intends to promote human rights protection and law enforcement. This is Asia’s first such association, he said, adding that such associations already exist in Europe and the Middle East.

Association members will not exercise power over each other since each country has its own sovereign authority and legal system, which may not be compatible with other nations, he said. Justice Dong-heub Lee of South Korea’s Constitutional Court said that the exchange of experiences through the association “could be very helpful for development”. Established in 2003, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court rules on matters that could violate the 1945 Constitution. The conference will also discuss matters regarding electoral laws, which is this year’s topic.

In addition to the seven founding countries represented at this year’s meeting, 19 other countries from Asia, Europe, America and Africa will attend the conference, including Singapore, Timor Leste, Morocco, Egypt, Austria, Germany, Columbia, and Mexico.

Representatives of the Konrad Adenaur Foundation from Germany and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission in France are also attending.

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