Cambodia

Ratanakiri: Training students in human rights and exploring nature

We had an unforgettable holiday and training at Ratanakiri province. It was our first time going there for four days. Ratanakiri is 588 km far from Phnom Penh city, which took us exactly 9 hours and a half by a 12-seater-van. Of course, when we arrived there, we were so tired. However, we fell deeply in love with the natural views there because the green is almost everywhere and the weather is wet all the time due to the fact that it is in the rainy season. These made the air so fresh, and made our heads clear. It was unbelievable. In fact, our main purpose of going there was to train around 25 students – mostly from high school and a few from university – about fundamental human rights, introduction to democracy, and land rights of indigenous people. This was because most of them are indi...

Protesting without permission: A brief analysis of freedom of assembly laws in Cambodia

In the wake of Cambodia’s contested election results, public gatherings and demonstrations have become increasingly common. The most recent discourse in this area has identified a lack of clarity regarding what constitutes a demonstration according to the law, when permission is needed from local authorities and when simple notification will suffice.  This briefing note takes a look at what the Law on Peaceful Demonstration 2009 provides, and whether it stands consistently with international norms. 1. What constitutes a demonstration? The Law on Peaceful Demonstration (“the Law”), enacted in December 2009, sets out the procedure for obtaining permission for all “peaceful gatherings or marches for demonstration in the Kingdom of Cambodia”, and the measures demonstration organisers must take...

Destination Justice signs an MoU with Transparency International Cambodia

On Monday 30 September 2013, Destination Justice and Transparency International Cambodia (TIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalising their commitment to collaborate in the areas of accountability, integrity, anti-corruption and legal reform. Transparency International, with an international secretariat in Berlin, Germany, is the leading global civil society organisation fighting against corruption. It counts more than 90 chapters worldwide. The chapter in Cambodia was officially founded on 5 July 2010 and since then has been working with relevant national and international stakeholders including government, civil society, businesses, media and individuals to promote integrity and fight corruption in Cambodia. Destination Justice strongly advocates for better access to info...

Alternative Report on Access to Justice for Children in Cambodia

Destination Justice prepared an alternative report on ‘Access to Justice for Children in Cambodia’ for the Cambodian NGO Coalition for the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC) during the last week of September 2013. This report was then submitted by the NGOCRC to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on behalf of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The purpose of this report was to examine and assess the situation of access to justice for children in Cambodia including defendants, victims and witnesses alike. The research undertaken in order to complete the report included a comprehensive desk survey of all applicable laws, both international and domestic, and participatory research including a series of interviews with representatives of Civil Society Organisations (...

The Legality of Potential UN Involvement in Elections

The Cambodian national elections took place on July 28, 2013. The process of independently verifying the legitimacy of the results of that election is far from over. Although the Cambodian Government has taken measures to verify the election results, including, verification of ballot papers by the National Election Committee (NEC), referral to the Constitutional Council by the opposition and election monitoring from many non-governmental organizations, the opposition suspects the NEC and the Constitutional Council of bias due to their relationship to the ruling party. According to the opposition, the method of nomination of members of the NEC is one of the most controversial elements involved. The two major political parties in Cambodia have agreed to enter into negotiations to establish a...

ECCC: International Co-Prosecutor Andrew Cayley resigns

Andrew Cayley, an international criminal lawyer who has acted for the Defence and Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”), International Criminal Court (“ICC”), Special Court for Sierra Leone (“SCSL”) and most recently the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (“ECCC”), has resigned from his post at the ECCC, citing personal reasons for his departure. He served as Chief International Co-Prosecutor of the ECCC, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, based in Phnom Penh. He was nominated to this position by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki – moon, on 18 August 2009, and appointed by the King of Cambodia, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, to be Chief International Co- Prosecut...

Destination Justice’s Coaching Provides Cambodian Students with Good Opportunities

 Six months after having been coached by three of the Destination Justice associate consultants – Julianne Romy, Mélanie Vianney-Liaud and Céline Martin – for the national round of the ICRC Moot Court Competition 2012, students come back on their experience and what it has brought to them. For a month and on a daily basis, Destination Justice staff trained Sothy (22), Sreynith (22), Sengheng (23) and Daro (23) in both advocacy and drafting skills and in International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law.  The four students are currently in their last year of Bachelor in International Relations at the Royal University of Law and Economics.  The ICRC moot court competition was the first law competition in which they had the opportunity to participate through Destinatio...

Cambodia: Does the boycott of CNRP seats in the Assembly amount to a forfeiture?

The CNRP has threatened to boycott the National Assembly over allegations of irregularities and inaccuracies in the reporting of the election results on 28 July, but Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned the main opposition party that they will forfeit their seats if they carry out such a threat.  But is Hun Sen’s warning constitutionally possible? What are the possibilities if a party refuses to take their seats in Parliament? What would be the impact of the boycott to the functioning of the Assembly? According to Article 76, the National Assembly must consist of at least 120 members, however there is no other provision which stipulates that the National Assembly cannot be held if their members number below 120. This was illustrated in 2008, when the opposition party also boycotted the first ...

Destination Justice First Quarterly Rule of Law Report 2013

Destination Justice has released today its first Cambodian Quarterly Rule of Law Report, focusing on the months of January, February and March 2013. This report provides insight into the challenges and progress in developing the rule of law in Cambodia during those first three months of the year 2013 by outlining the most significant rule of law developments. In particular, the 2013 first quarterly report features preparations for the upcoming 2013 national elections, human rights defenders and activists’ trials, land titling issues, garment workers asking for rights and justice, and more. The Cambodian first Quarterly Rule of Law Report is intended to reach a global community of law practitioners and students, the report focusing on areas of justice, law making and implementation, violati...

Civil Parties’ Statements of Suffering at the ECCC

In national systems of criminal procedure that recognize Civil Parties, they express their suffering as their testimony proceeds. At the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) however, the first fifteen Civil Parties who came to testify in the first trial of Case 002, from the end of December 2011 to the middle of May 2013, were only allowed to discuss their suffering after the other parties had finished asking them questions on the facts at issue. The President of the Trial Chamber notably required Civil Party Lawyers to avoid questions about suffering. Only after they finished their testimony were the Civil Parties allocated time that was specifically dedicated to the expression of their suffering. Isolating the Civil Party’s statement of suffering from his or her testim...

Headspace Diary – Entry 1: DJ team starts meditation

Headspace Diary – Entry 1: The Beginning Due to the nature of our work and the potentially challenging issues we encounter, the team at Destination Justice have started meditating to help create a more equanimous, constructive and level way to work with these situations. Originating from Buddhist and Eastern spiritual practice, meditation has recently come under the spotlight of neuroscientists who have discovered a host of benefits from the practice, ranging from decreased stress, improved mood, increased energy levels, and improved self control. All of this has a knock-on effect in your daily life, which allows a more helpful state of mind in dealing with work and relationships. From a personal point of view, I first started meditating when a friend introduced me to www.getsomehead...

Oh Battambang!

It was another short trip back to my second home in Cambodia. Battambang, the city of the lost stick. In the heart of Battambang lies the reason that initially brought me to Cambodia: the Apostolic Prefecture and most of all, the work of an inspiring figure, ‘Lok-ou-pok’ or Father Kike. Currently the Bishop of Battambang, Enrique Figaredo, commonly known as Kike, started his work in Southeast Asia back in 1985. He first worked with Cambodian people, mostly with the disabled, through the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the refugee camps in Thailand and later in Banteay Prieb, a technical formation school for disabled people facilitating the repatriation of refugees. The Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang, where Kike is now based, covers 9 provinces, supporting 26 communities and the populat...