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UUM ONLINE: The expertise of the academic staff of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) continues to be recognized on the international stage with the appointment of a lecturer from the School of Law (SOL), Dr. Mukhriz Mat Rus as the Head of the Regional Researcher for a project that is fully funded by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Expert in the field of criminal law and criminal justice coupled with his vast experience in that field are among the main criteria for the appointment.
Dr. Mukhriz expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the appointment and described it as a great responsibility entrusted upon him.

According to him, apart from contributing to the ASEAN community, the opportunities available will be fully utilized to develop research skills and expand the network of cooperation.

His responsibility will include the forming of and leading a team of Regional Researchers consisting of a group of experts and legal practitioners from ASEAN countries.

"Besides that, I also need to get input and cooperation from national researchers who are appointed by the government of each ASEAN countries.

"Research will focus on existing laws and practices, as well as issues related to the rights of an accused when brought to court for criminal cases in all ASEAN countries," he said, who had served as Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Attorney General Chambers of Malaysia before joining UUM in 2015.

He added that the proposed improvements will be presented to the AICHR and representatives of the ASEAN government at the end of the research period.

According to Dr. Mukhriz, the latest AICHR thematic research was on the rights of the accused in court for criminal cases in ASEAN countries and the thematic research project was proposed by Malaysian representative Mr Eric Paulsen and had been approved by AICHR, thus a regional research team was formed.

He expressed hope that with the appointment and the contribution that will be given will bring glory to UUM, particularly for the School of Law at the regional and international level.

The AICHR or the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights is one of the leading ASEAN bodies responsible for promoting and upholding human rights among ASEAN member countries.

Founded in 2009 by ASEAN leaders, the body upholds the values agreed upon by the member states enshrined in the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights. AICHR is made up of delegates appointed by each ASEAN countries.

In an effort to promote and improve the quality of human rights in ASEAN, AICHR regularly organizes thematic studies on issues faced by member states. To date, AICHR has released four key research and improvement recommendations to its member countries.