Suesmitha appointed as the legal adviser for Sri Lankan issue to the ICJ

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Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court were paid a courtesy visit by delegates from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) on Thursday afternoon, August 4, 2022, at the En Banc Session Hall.

ICJ Commissioner and Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) Chancellor Emeritus Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, who was elected in 2014 as the first Filipino ICJ Commissioner, led the ICJ delegation. Joining him were Atty. Caleen Chanyungco Obias, National Legal Adviser of ICJ – Philippines; Atty. Sushmitha Thandayen, National Legal Adviser of ICJ – Sri Lanka; Atty. Adi Alanieta Velulu, ICJ National Legal Consultant ‒ Fiji; and Ms. Phanpaporn Tameyasan, Finance Assistant ‒ ICJ Regional Office.

The Supreme Court presented a video showcasing three of its recent initiatives, organized through the Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary (CGRJ), to promote gender equality and gender inclusion throughout the Philippine courts.

Atty. Thandayen then delivered an introduction on the ICJ’s Access to Justice for Women Project, which was followed by an introduction of the

Bangkok General Guidance (BGG) and the Proposed Judicial Dialogue by Atty. Obias.

The proposed Judicial Dialogue is a two-day event where trial court judges nationwide will be invited to discuss and solidify ideas to incorporate international human rights principles including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, BGG, and other domestic laws in actual court practice.

In response, Chief Justice Gesmundo underscored the issuance by the Court En Banc of the Rules on the Use of Gender Fair Language in the Judiciary and Gender-Fair Courtroom Etiquette, which was approved on February 15, 2022. He also urged ICJ to invite not only judges to the Judicial Dialogue but also those involved in the processing of cases involving children and women, such as social workers.

The three Co-Chairpersons of the CGRJ, Justices Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Jhosep Y. Lopez, and Maria Filomena D. Singh, were also present during the meeting. They expressed their agreement that the Dialogue is aligned with the CGRJ’s capacity building initiatives.

“I am confident it will be a success,” said Chief Justice Gesmundo of the proposed Judicial Dialogue, emphasizing that it will be under the guidance and leadership of PHILJA Chancellor Emeritus Justice Azcuna who has been an ICJ Commissioner for the past eight years.

Joining Chief Justice Gesmundo and the Associate Justices were Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva; Atty. Brian Keith F. Hosaka, Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of the Public Information Office; Atty. Laura C.H. Del Rosario, Deputy Clerk of Court and Judicial Reform Program Administrator; Atty. Jed Sherwin G. Uy, Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief Technology Officer; and Atty. Devery Jean Katrina T. Tumilba, Head Executive Assistant of the PHILJA.

The ICJ was established in 1952 and is a global organization of 60 judges and lawyers united in affirming international law principles that advance human rights and the rule of law. It has been working in Southeast Asia to identify and remove barriers to justice through advocacy, legal reform, and litigation. (Photo and caption courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)

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