Topic: Judiciary and Rule of LawPress Release: Cambodia’s Legislature Dismantled on the Eve of the National Elections
Published on June 10, 2013; Cambodia’s National Assembly – its key legislative organ – has been thrust into a Constitutional crisis less than two months before the country’s national elections. Last week, the National Assembly’s Permanent Committee, which is comprised entirely of ruling Cambodia People’s Party members, stripped all 29 opposition party members of their parliamentary status. Because this expulsion took place within 6 months of a national election, the seats left empty by the purged parliamentarians were effectively terminated and will remain so under until after the election.
Published on May 30, 2013; In 2010 and 2012, LICADHO reported on Cambodia’s widespread problem of in absentia appeals hearings. Due to Cambodia’s minimal inmate transportation system, hundreds – if not thousands – of prisoners were being systematically refused the right to attend their criminal appeals. Cambodian law requires the presence of the accused at appeal hearings.
After years of delays, prison authorities have finally begun transporting provincial prisoners to their appeals hearings in Phnom Penh, but the failure to offer return transport is threatening to undermine progress.
Published on May 22, 2013; This year's Mothers Day coincided with the 250th day of imprisonment Yorm Bopha, a key Boeung Kak lake representative. The video highlight some of her activism and call for her release.
Published on May 20, 2013; We write to you to demand justice for Cambodian garment workers Ms. Bun Chenda, Ms. Keo Nea and Ms. Nuth Sakhorn.
On 20 February 2012, an unidentified male approached a group of around 6,000 workers in Manhattan Special Economic Zone (MSEZ). They were protesting the poverty wages and exploitation that epitomize the Cambodian garment industry. That man shot three young women aged 18 to 23 for requesting a pay increase of 50 cents per day. During the shooting the police did not assist the victims. It was fellow workers who aided them onto motorbikes to be taken to the hospital. Police officers aided the shooter’s escape by running alongside him to a neighbouring factory.
We watched as one of those young women, Ms. Bun Chenda, 21, struggled for her life at Calmette Hospital whilst money was thrown at her to buy her silence.
Signed by 43 NGOs from around the world.
Published on May 1, 2013; On this International Labor Day, we, the undersigned civil society groups call upon all international garment brands sourcing from Cambodia to publicly denounce two recent baseless judicial decisions related to the garment sector. The first is the recent imprisonment of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. The two men were scapegoated and wrongly convicted in the 2004 murder of labor leader Chea Vichea. The second is the government’s failure to appropriately prosecute Chhouk Bandith, a well-connected former town governor who shot and severely injured three female garment factory workers.
Published on April 23, 2013; There has been some recent confusion surrounding the criminal case against Boeung Kak community activist Yorm Bopha. The muddling of the facts causing this confusion has been no accident – it reflects an intentional campaign by the authorities, complete with plausible allegations of payments to counter-protestors and even a disturbing weighing-in by the Prime Minister himself. In reality the facts underlying Bopha’s unwarranted conviction are simple, and reveal beyond any doubt that the authorities have targeted her to create fear and self-censorship among the remaining active members of the beleaguered Boeung Kak community.
Published on March 14, 2013; We, the undersigned civil society groups, welcome the Court of Appeal’s long-overdue decision today to release independent radio station owner Mam Sonando and his two co-appellants, Touch Ream and Kan Sovann, but caution that a long road remains to rehabilitate Cambodia’s democracy ahead of National Assembly elections in July.
Published on February 26, 2013; Today is Yorm Bopha’s 176th day in Correctional Center 2, a prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Bopha is a human rights defender from the Boeung Kak community who played an active role in the movement calling for the release of the Boeung Kak 13, a group of women who were imprisoned in May 2012 for defending their land rights. The 13 were released on June 27, but Bopha was arrested on Sept. 4, 2012, and accused of beating of a man in Boeung Kak. Though she maintains her innocence, Bopha was convicted on Dec. 26, 2012, and sentenced to three years in prison.
Since Bopha’s arrest, Boeung Kak residents and other supporters have staged approximately a dozen major protests calling for her release. This photo album documents some of these events.
Published on February 18, 2013; The human rights situation in Cambodia began 2012 teetering on the edge of a precipice, and by the end of the year had fallen off the cliff, according to a new report from LICADHO.
The past year was the most violent year ever documented in terms of the authorities using lethal force against activists, according to the report, “Human Rights 2012: The Year in Review.” The year also saw four deaths related to conflicts over natural resources, a growing atmosphere of fear and intimidation and the mass arrests of activists.
Published on February 14, 2013; Authorities continue to resort to the judicial system to silence those who assert their rights or question entrenched interests. Throughout 2012, court summonses and the threat of arrest were increasingly used to intimidate human rights defenders.
Published on January 18, 2013; We, the undersigned members of civil society, international labor support organizations and trade unions express our extreme discontent that Kingsland factory owners have failed to attend conciliation regarding outstanding payments of almost S$200,000 owed to Kingsland employees. We further express our extreme dissatisfaction with the Ministry of Labor’s decision made on January 16, 2013, not to send the case to the Arbitration Council.
Published on December 27, 2012; The Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Yorm Bopha on a trumped up charge and sentenced her to three years’ imprisonment. The charges against her and three other defendants were purportedly in connection with the beating of a suspected thief, but the real case against her is crystal clear – she, and the rest of the Boeung Kak community land activists are thorns in the side of the authorities, and they need to be silenced.
Published on December 27, 2012; We, the undersigned organizations, condemn in the strongest terms the unexpected decision by Appeals Court Judges Chhoun Sunleng, Seng Sivutha and Khoun Leang Meng to uphold the Phnom Penh court’s grossly unfair verdict against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. The two were arrested by Ministry of Interior police officers in the hearing room and sent back to jail earlier this morning.
The pair, widely believed to have been framed as scapegoats for the 2004 killing of unionist Chea Vichea, had been freed in December 2008 by a courageous Supreme Court, in a decision which ordered further investigation into the killing amid extensive evidence of their innocence.
Published on December 20, 2012; At 2 p.m. on December 26, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court will hold trials for two human rights defenders involved in high-profile land disputes: Yorm Bopha, from the Boeung Kak community, and Tim Sakmony, from Borei Keila. The women have been in prison for over 100 days, and were recently designated Prisoners of Conscience by Amnesty International.
In anticipation of the trial, the Free the 15 coalition has produced short biographies of each woman, which detail their personal stories and their legal battles.
Published on December 9, 2012; The climate for human rights defenders (HRDs) in Cambodia has soured dramatically since LICADHO's last HRD report in 2009, creating the country's worst human rights environment in more than a decade. Violence against activists is on the rise, key HRDs have been killed with impunity, and the courts have lost even the faintest semblance of impartiality.
The year 2012 has been particularly bad.