ASEAN is strongly committed to establish dispute settlement mechanisms in all fields of cooperation. This was a message conveyed by HE Mr. Bagas Hapsoro, Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) for Community and Corporate Affairs at a Workshop to familiarise stakeholders with ASEAN Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanisms (EDSM) last week in Jakarta.

In his opening remarks, DSG Bagas said, “Putting in place dispute settlement mechanisms with proper institution and the right resource persons instills trust and confidence to all stakeholders on the seriousness of ASEAN in its efforts toward a rules-based community.“

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Mr. Georg Witschel,also gave an inspiring speech during the event. He stated that understanding dispute settlements will give certainty for both people and governments of ASEAN and its partners.

Supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GmbH (GIZ) and the Federal Foreign Office (FFO), the workshop did not only aim to familiarise participants with dispute settlement mechanisms, but it also provided a forum for participants to exchange views and ideas with speakers and experts on ensuring the effectivenessof these mechanisms within both national and regional contexts.

DSG Bagas further said, “This workshop contributes to efforts in further strengthening interaction and engagement among representatives of relevant lines agencies of governments of the ASEAN Member States such as the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM)and the Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM).”

The workshop commenced with a look at existing mechanisms for settling disputes that were centered on the ASEAN Charter and other ASEAN Legal Instruments. Moderated by HE Mr. Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community, the workshop also featured a lively panel discussion that focused on challenges and next steps on the ASEAN Protocol on EDSM. Workshop participants mulled over a range of issues that require tangible follow ups such as: the need to increase understanding compliance for obligations, additional engagement with the business sector, as well as having an ASEAN Law moot court competition on dispute settlement matters.

A few prominent names that were invited to present at the workshop included: Ms. Linggawaty Hakim, the Director General for Legal Affairs and International Treaties of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paolo R. Vergano, an Expert on International Trade Law and Dispute Settlement Mechanisms in Europe, as well as Prof. Robert C. Beckman, Director of Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore. The subsequent panel discussion also featured Prof. Hikmahanto Juwana, a Professor of International Law from University of Indonesia.

The workshop was attended by ASEAN Member States representatives, practicing law professionals, think-tanks, and civil society organisations, as well as ASEAN Secretariat staff members.

Please click here for the opening remarks by H.E. Mr Bagas Hapsoro, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN on Workshop on ASEAN Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanisms (EDSM)