ASIA PACIFIC WOMEN'S TRIBUNAL
The Asia Pacific Women's Tribunal will put World Trade Organisation (WTO) into a political trial, and will hear testimonies and evidence of gross women human rights violations it has committed over the ten years of existence, through its trade policies particularly on Agreements on Agriculture (AOA) and General Agreements on Trade and Services (GATS). The women human rights violations which will be highlighted are within three major areas ' Economic, Socio-Cultural and Political.
This Tribunal is one of the major activities within the 'Don't Globalise Hunger! Assert Women's Right to Food Sovereignty!' campaign of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). It will be the culminating activity from the series of actions of awareness-raising and organising among grassroots women within the region on the impacts of the WTO trade policies, particularly on food and agriculture, for the 6th Ministerial Meeting of WTO to be held in Hong Kong this December 2005. This is being organised with GABRIELA and AMIHAN (Philippine National Peasant Women's Organisation).
The Tribunal aims to methodically collect and document concrete experiences of women on the severe and critical impacts of the trade policies of WTO on their livelihood and quality of life. It further aims to identify violations of specific women human rights based on the international law standards. The Tribunal aims to contribute to providing further substantive evidence to why there is the intensifying and growing global resistance against WTO.
A Tribunal Committee will be formed to select and invite members of the panel of judges, jurors, prosecutors, possibly defense counsel, and women witnesses who will give their testimonies. The Committee will set the criteria for the witnesses and their testimonies.
Testimonies and pieces of evidence will be accepted and screened by the Tribunal Committee. Actual witnesses will be selected and invited to testify in the Tribunal. Other testimonies and evidence may be recorded, documented and be submitted to the panel of judges and jurors during the Tribunal.
A panel of three (3) Peoples' Judges will be constituted. They will be chosen based on their integrity, knowledge of the issues at hand, competence and commitment to human rights. Each of them is considered expert on the three areas of rights that are being looked at ' economic, socio-cultural and political. They will preside over the proceedings of the Tribunal.
The panel of jurors will be composed of 8-10 individuals with different relevant profiles and background: peasants, fisherfolk, women activists, lawyer, NGO worker, parliamentarians, UN representative, workers, human rights activist, journalist and indigenous women. They will hear the testimonies and receive the evidence presented to them. They will then deliberate on these and the allegations against WTO, after which, they will issue a Guilty or Not Guilty Verdict.
A team of People's Prosecutors will provide documentation evidence ' reports, videos of other testimonies, photos, expert analyses and opinions; and present arguments. The team shall also present an Indictment against the WTO by the Asia Pacific Women. The Indictment will be based on the reports and statements previously issued by women; the documentation of impacts gathered in the last few years, particularly in the last months prior the Tribunal; and expert opinions issued in the recent years.
At the Tribunal, selected women from different basic sectors will give their testimonies. Documentary evidence, photos, video recording of some of the eyewitness accounts, and expert opinions will be presented.
The Verdict will be arrived at based on the testimonies heard and evidence presented before and during the Tribunal. This will be read during the Tribunal by the Panel of Jurors. The Panel of Judges will give and announce the sentence, if found guilty.
- Testimonies and eyewitness accounts will be accepted and screened by the Tribunal Committee within the month of October.
- There will be a final list of Panels of Jurors, Judges and Prosecutors by the month of October.
- The Initial draft of Indictment will be drafted and circulated to the Panel of Jurors and Judges by the mid-month of November.
- The witnesses will be brought and confined within the Tribunal area from December 11-18, 2005 in Hong Kong.
- The Tribunal will take place on December 16, 2005, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, at the Boy’s and girls club Auditorium, Hong Kong. The Tribunal is open for the public and media coverage.
- This will be followed by a Women's March, in which other groups and communities not present in the Tribunal will be invited to participate.
The proceedings of the Tribunal will be documented, and will be made a public record. This will include selected evidence, reports, testimonies, Indictment, Verdict and Sentence; photographs and sketches taken during the Tribunal and other relevant materials.
General Flow of the Tribunal
Convening of the Tribunal ' Opening Remarks by the Tribunal Committee
Introduction of the Panel of Judges and Jurors
Entry of Appearance of the Prosecutors / Defense Team
Opening of the Tribunal by the Panel of Judges
Reading of Indictment by the Prosecutors Team
Enter of Plea by the Defense Team
Presentation of Evidence
Submission of Documents/Other Evidence
Deliberation by the Jurors
Presentation of the Verdict
Promulgation of the Sentence
** There will be cultural intermissions.