Judiciary & Rule of Law

Statement The Culture of Impunity and Violence Must Stop

May 30, 2012

We, Cambodian and International civil society organizations represented in this statement, condemn the use of armed force and escalating violence against citizens peacefully defending their land, labor and natural resources rights. We are referring to not only the events earlier last week on 22nd May, when dozens of peaceful Boeung Kak Lake (BKL) protesters were violently dispersed and two days later when fifteen (fourteen women and one male) BKL residents were sent to Prey Sar prison and charged and convicted of unfounded criminal offenses, but also the recent shooting incidents-the killings of environmental activist Chut Wutty in Koh Kong province and 14-year old girl Heng Chantha in Kratie province, and the shooting of three young women protesting for better working conditions in Svay Rieng province. These incidents are particularly disturbing because they indicate an increasing readiness on the part of security and military forces to use lethal force against civilians.

Statement Supreme Court Upholds Baseless Conviction of LICADHO Staff

May 25, 2012

The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) denounces this morning's decision by the Phnom Penh Supreme Court to uphold Leang Sokchouen's groundless conviction and two-year prison sentence.

NGOs Condemn Baseless Convictions and Violence Against Cambodian Human Rights Defenders

May 24, 2012

Shortly after a joint statement condemning the violent and arbitrary arrest of 13 women from the Boeung Kak community, Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Equitable Cambodia, Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), Inclusive Development International (IDI), and Licadho Canada express their outrage at the baseless criminal convictions of the women and the utter travesty of justice that occurred today.

Briefing Paper
In Absentia 2012: An Update on Cambodia's Inmate Transportation Crisis & The Right to Appeal

April 23, 2012

In 2010, LICADHO reported on an epidemic of in absentia criminal appeals trials in Cambodia. Hundreds of inmates were stranded in provincial prisons, unable to attend their hearings in Phnom Penh due to lack of transportation funding, poor organization between the prisons and courts and, more generally, an indifference to their plight. Two years later, the problem remains unaddressed.

As of February 2012, nearly 800 inmates with pending appeals were held in 11 provincial prisons surveyed by LICADHO. As was the case in 2010, the General Department of Prisons (GDP) still has no means to transport these prisoners to their appeal hearings in Phnom Penh. The prison system lacks the vehicles, gasoline, staffing and funding necessary for a comprehensive long-distance inmate transportation network. This report examines the scope of the problem and possible solutions

Statement All Talk, Little Action: Two Years After UN Human Rights Review, Cambodia Continues to Ignore Key Recommendations

March 22, 2012

This week marks the two year anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council's adoption of Cambodia's Universal Period Review (UPR) outcome report. Remarkably, during the UPR, Cambodia accepted all 91 recommendations presented by dozens of countries on a wide range of human rights issues. Since then, the government has tasked the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) with coordinating Cambodia's response - a process which has amounted to little, if any, meaningful implementation of the recommendations by relevant state institutions.

After two years of ignoring the substance of the majority of those recommendations, and two years of an ever deteriorating human rights landscape, the Cambodian government owes the UPR delegates and Working Group, and most of all its own citizens, an explanation.

Statement Civil Society Urges Authorities to Arrest the Shooter Behind Last Month's Tragedy in Svay Rieng's Manhattan Special Economic Zone

March 15, 2012

We, the undersigned groups and individual members of civil society, are calling for justice to be served in accordance with the rule of law, with regard to the brutal shootings of three young Cambodian female workers - Buon Chinda, Keo Nei and Nuth Sakhorn - on Feb. 20, 2012, in Svay Rieng's Bavet district.

Many Cambodian garment workers already live a life of hardship, suffering, poverty and uncertainty. As such, the workers should receive protection and support from the State, not face further victimization through brutal acts of violence.

Statement Stop Gun Violence Impunity: Arrest and Prosecute the Svay Rieng Shooter

February 21, 2012

After years of blatant impunity for similar crimes, the latest shooting of three young women while protesting for better working conditions in Svay Rieng province comes as little surprise. Gun violence directed at unarmed protestors has been on the rise recently throughout Cambodia.

"This latest shooting appears to be a clear-cut case of attempted murder," said Am Sam Ath, from LICADHO. "Reports indicate that the gunman shot directly at the protesting workers. There can be no question that such actions constitute premeditation and an intent to kill under the Penal Code."

Statement Revise or Abandon Draft NGO Law: Donors Should Insist on Protections for Civil Society

December 22, 2011

Donors, who provide approximately half of Cambodia's national budget, should make clear to the Cambodian government that the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) must be revised to protect civil society or be withdrawn, a group of concerned international human rights organizations said today. Any revisions should involve meaningful consultation with civil society organizations and aim to support their activities instead of creating a legal framework allowing for arbitrary closure of organizations or the denial of registration.

Photo Album
230 Meter Long Petition Submitted to the National Assembly in Cambodia

December 20, 2011

On the morning of December 20, 2011, at 8:30 AM, over 100 Cambodian citizens from Phnom Penh and 23 provinces peacefully unrolled a 230 meter long blue kramar petition in front of the National Assembly. The petition addressed in Khmer to the Royal Government of Cambodia from the citizens of Cambodia calls on the government to: '... halt its intention of passing the Law on Associations and Non governmental Organizations, the Law on Trades Union and the Law on Farmers' Cooperative which restrict the basic rights and freedoms of Cambodian citizens."

Statement Cambodian Democracy Absorbs Another Blow as Assembly Strips Opposition MP's Immunity

December 20, 2011

LICADHO condemns the National Assembly for its decision today to lift the parliamentary immunity of opposition party lawmaker Chan Cheng.

The vote, which took place Tuesday morning, was a politically-motivated attack against Cheng, who is a member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP)representing Kandal Province.

"Cambodia's democracy is already foundering, and this brings the system one step closer to becoming a total farce," said LICADHO's Director, Naly Pilorge. "The suspension of Chan Cheng's immunity renders the concept of parliamentary immunity meaningless. This is yet another disgrace for Cambodia's democracy."

The National Assembly is dominated by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and has previously stripped the immunity of opposition politicians under dubious circumstances.

Briefing Paper
Draft Law On Associations & NGOs: Comments on the Fourth Draft

December 15, 2011

On Dec. 12, 2011, the Royal Cambodian Government released the fourth draft of its proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO). The release comes almost exactly one year after the first draft was introduced in mid-December 2010.

The contents of the three earlier drafts provoked extensive criticism from local and international civil society organizations, donor governments, and legal analysts. Twice previously the government has acknowledged these criticisms and promised to come up with a better draft. Twice previously they have failed.

With the fourth draft, they have failed again.

Criminal Charges Against Activists Won't Solve Boeung Kak Lake Crisis

November 29, 2011

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, deeply regret the Phnom Penh authorities' decision to bring criminal charges against four Boeung Kak Lake residents following their participation in a protest on Nov. 28.

We do, however, commend Investigating Judge Chhay Virak's decision to release the accused under court supervision today.

The four female activists - Tep Vanny, Bo Chhorvy, Heng Mom and Kong Chantha - appeared before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today, and were charged with insult and obstruction of public officials, respectively, under articles 502 and 504 of the new penal code. If tried and found guilty, they face up to one year in prison and fines of up to 2 million riel.

The Delusion of Progress: Cambodia's Legislative Assault on Freedom of Expression

October 26, 2011

Since 2008, the Cambodian government has embarked upon a furious campaign to propose and enact a wide range of new laws. While this new legislation is typically touted as evidence of Cambodia’s progress toward the rule of law, a new LICADHO report has found that in many cases, it actually marks the opposite.

In the report, “The Delusion of Progress: Cambodia’s Legislative Assault on Expressive Rights,” LICADHO analyzes five key laws proposed or enacted since 2008: the Penal Code, the Anti-Corruption Law, the Law on Associations and NGOs, the Law on Peaceful Assembly, and the Law on Unions of Enterprises. Overall, the analysis reveals several disturbing trends: Legislation is littered with improper restrictions on freedom of expression, provisions are misapplied, and vast sections are deliberately drafted to be used as weapons against those who speak out against the political and financial elite.

Briefing Paper
Comments and Legislative Recommendations on the Draft Law on Prisons

October 19, 2011

A draft prison law which is set to go before the National Assembly is a positive step for Cambodia's prison system, but falls short of fully protecting prisoners' rights in several key respects.

The draft law's shortcomings are detailed in a new briefing paper from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). The paper also highlights a handful of the law's positive provisions.

Statement District and Provincial Authorities are not Above the Law

September 9, 2011

CCHR, LICADHO and CLEC condemn efforts on the part of Kampong Thom province and Sandan district officials to impose conditions on human rights activities above and beyond that provided for in law. Such conditions have no basis in law and any attempts to impose such conditions are in flagrant disregard of the human rights of the people of Kampong Thom province as well as others who travel to that province to participate in activities in the promotion and protection of human rights.

On the afternoon of 7 September 2011, representatives from CCHR, LICADHO and CLEC as well as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) Cambodia attended a meeting with district officials in Sandan district, Kampong Thom province. The meeting was called after a training event organized by CCHR and the Natural Resource Protection Group (NRPG) was disrupted by officials accompanied by armed police.