Judiciary & Rule of Law
April 28, 2016 This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court began the trial of three members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit charged with the brutal beating of two CNRP MPs, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sophea, outside the gates of the National Assembly during an anti-Kem Sokha protest on October 26 last year.
The three soldiers, Mao Hoeung, Sot Vanny and Chhay Sarith are charged with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional property damage with aggravating circumstances under Criminal Code Articles 218 and 411, respectively. Despite clear evidence of additional perpetrators, the authorities closed the official investigation after the three men came turned themselves in to the police.
Chhay Sarith admitted responsibility for the violence against one of the MPs, citing verbal provocation and - contrary to previous denials - confirmed the identity of the defendants as members of the elite bodyguard unit. However, lawyers for the MPs were prevented from questioning the role of the unit in the violence and wider anti-CNRP protest by the trial judge after complaints from the prosecutor and defence lawyers.
The judge has now suspended proceedings until 10 May 2016 and will resume to hear testimony from all defendants on the attacks against both opposition MPs.
March 7, 2016
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. To mark the event LICADHO is releasing a new audio book and summary audio clip titled Getting Away With It: The Treatment of Rape in Cambodia’s Justice System. Both the book and the summary present evidence of the immense failure of the Cambodian justice system to properly investigate and prosecute cases of rape involving women and children. They provide details of multiple systemic flaws – corruption, discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls, misinterpretation of the law, and lack of resources – which, together, mean that many perpetrators of rape receive only very lenient punishment or go completely unpunished.
February 23, 2016
In response to the brutal attack on protesting workers on February 6, 2016, we, the undersigned trade unions, community representatives and civil society organizations (CSOs), declare our strong support for the ongoing boycott of Capitol Co. Ltd, also known as Capitol Tours, and call upon the general public to join the boycott in solidarity with the wrongfully dismissed Capitol employees, and the wider Cambodian trade union movement. Capitol Tours has relentlessly violated the labor rights and fundamental freedoms of its employees and we wish to unreservedly condemn the company’s actions.
February 15, 2016
In response to the latest unjust charges brought against three further members of the environmental NGO Mother Nature, we, the undersigned civil society organizations (CSOs), declare our support for Mother Nature, and condemn the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC)’s crackdown on the organization and Cambodian civil society in general.
January 25, 2016
We, the undersigned Cambodian civil society groups, urge US Secretary of State John F. Kerry to call on the Royal Government of Cambodia to commit to upholding human rights and democratic obligations as a condition of strong and prosperous relations with the United States of America. During the Secretary of State's visit to Phnom Penh ahead of the US-ASEAN special summit at Sunnylands we request him to consider the numerous actions of the Cambodian government that clash with the fundamental values of the United States of America and are harmful to the rights of Cambodian citizens and the economic growth of Cambodia.
December 17, 2015
To celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD), about 10,000 people from rural and urban communities participated in 20 marches and events across the country from December 6 to December 10. These were organized by the informal network Friends of December 10th, which includes youth, land communities, associations, farmers, monks, and NGOs. On December 10, groups peacefully marched from various locations in Phnom Penh toward the Ministry of Justice to demand that the government resolve Cambodia’s land conflict epidemic; reform the judicial system and release human rights defenders and activists; raise the minimum wage and respect labour rights; end state-sponsored violence; and respect freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. This year’s IHRD theme was ‘Justice’.
December 9, 2015
From December 6 to December 10, groups across Cambodia are celebrating the 67th anniversary of IHRD under the theme of ‘Justice’. Join us as we share events across the country and recap on events so far.
December 9, 2015
This briefing paper documents a non-exhaustive list of attacks and threats against human rights defenders in 2013 and 2014, as well as three key trends that emerged over the two years: an escalation in state-sponsored violence, the prevalence of human rights defenders silenced by the criminal justice system, and finally, the resistance and resilience shown by Cambodian human rights defenders as they continued to, and intensified, their calls for a more just Cambodia.
December 4, 2015
Thousands of Cambodians in 16 provinces will gather to celebrate the 67th International Human Rights Day (IHRD), culminating in a joint celebration in Phnom Penh on December 10. From December 6 onward, grassroots groups such as communities affected by land conflicts, youth networks, associations, and monks as well as unions and NGOs across the country will hold a series of celebrations under an overall theme of ‘Justice’.
November 2, 2015
To mark the United Nations’ second International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we, the undersigned civil society organizations (“CSOs”), call upon the Royal Government of Cambodia to bring an end to Cambodia’s rampant culture of impunity, and to ensure that the perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to justice.
July 21, 2015
This afternoon, 11 officials and supporters of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) were convicted of charges relating to insurrection and sentenced to between seven and 20 years imprisonment. They were taken to CC1 prison immediately following the sentencing.
July 14, 2015
We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn the Cambodian People’s Party’s unanimous approval yesterday of the repressive and unnecessary Law on Associations and Non-Government Organizations (LANGO) and call on the Senate to reject the law. The vote at yesterday’s extraordinary session of the National Assembly is a catastrophic development for civil society in Cambodia and is a major step in the government’s wider campaign to undermine democracy and restrict citizens’ rights and freedoms.
July 7, 2015
Amid mounting national and international criticism of the proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO), the ruling party has expedited the schedule to pass LANGO into law by calling an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on Friday July 10th. Join LICADHO for live coverage of the main events in the last 72 hours before the vote.
July 4, 2015
The CPP, Cambodia’s ruling party, has announced its intention to hold an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on July 10th, during which members of parliament will vote on whether to pass the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO). For the past three months Cambodian civil society has been voicing its opposition to the law and between June 28 and 30, numerous grassroots groups, networks and NGOs conducted a spirited 3-day campaign to protest against the LANGO and also the draft Trade Union Law. Both laws have been widely criticised in Cambodia and abroad for the threat they represent to Cambodian civil society. This music video shows some of the campaign events at which activists and civil society members sang and danced to a classic Cambodian pop song “I Don’t Accept It”. The lyrics were specially rewritten by Cambodian youths and Boeung Kak activists to express their rejection of the laws and to assert their right to gather and express themselves freely.
July 2, 2015
From June 28-30, various sectors of Cambodian civil society conducted a spirited 3-day campaign to protest against two draft laws, the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) and the Trade Union Law (TUL). On the third day, authorities used force to prevent hundreds of members of civil society from peacefully marching toward the National Assembly from four locations.