Establishing the CILC: a double-interview with Professor Jan Michiel Otto and Mr Jan Van Olden

This summer, Jan Michiel Otto and Jan van Olden (former Director of CILC and subsequently General Secretary of the Van Vollenhoven Institute) were interviewed for the website of the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC). Otto and Van Olden are considered ‘founding fathers’ of the CILC’s predecessor, ‘The Netherlands Council for Legal Cooperation with Indonesia’ which was founded in May 1985. In this interview, they look back at the political and academic context within which they worked to improve the legal cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Interview part 1

Interview part 2

Interview part 3

One of the successes of this Council was the establishment of a research department at the Indonesian Supreme Court, along the lines of the one in the Netherlands. Building on the successful cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands, the Council’s leadership decided in the early 1990s to open to the post-Soviet sphere. And so in 1993, the Council was transformed into the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC).

But to this day, Otto and van Olden find that in-depth knowledge of legal systems developed through long-term partnerships is a rare but essential element to successful legal cooperation. Otto: "If Western donors and academic institutions are not willing to make a certain investment in acquiring knowledge about a recipient country’s legal system in context, and instead come with the outdated idea that it is all about consultants who should offload their western knowledge, chances of success are slim."

Last Modified: 24-09-2015