Southeast-Asia

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...

Cambodia: 2013 Election Analysis – A Practical Perspective

The provisional results of the 2013 elections have been announced, with Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith declaring a victory for the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). In the statement released on Sunday night, the Minister announced that the ruling party had won 68 of the National Assembly’s 123 seats, whilst the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) won 55 seats, although this figure varies. But what do the provisional results mean in relation to the formation of the new Government? Are they definitive? Can the CNRP challenge the result based on the alleged irregularities? When will the new Government officially be formed? Destination Justice takes a practical look at the Cambodian Elections 2013. Background Khieu Kanharith’s statement cut through the con...

Myanmar: UN chief welcomes release of dozens of political prisoners

On Tuesday 23 July 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the release of 73 political prisoners in Myanmar, as well as the announcement by the country’s leader that the rest will be freed by the end of the year. The military junta, which ruled Myanmar for decades, had long denied the existence of political prisoners, but hundreds of dissidents have been freed since Thein Sein took power two years ago and he has initiated a series of reforms following the establishment of a new Government. Over 29,000 prisoners are estimated to have been pardoned since the new civilian government took office on 30 March 2011. Last November, he announced a review of all “politically concerned” cases. “The president said in Britain that there would be no political prisoners at the end ...

2012 Destination Justice Annual Rule of Law Report

Destination Justice has today released a Report on Rule of Law in Cambodia, focusing on 2012. This report provides insight into the challenges and progress in developing the rule of law in Cambodia in the past year by outlining the most significant rule of law developments that occurred. In particular, the 2012 report features land titling issues, Beehive radio owner Mam Sonando’s trial, main opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s possible return before the upcoming 2013 national elections, the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Cambodia, and more. The Cambodian Annual Rule of Law Report is intended to reach a global community of law practitioners and students, the report focuses on areas of justice, law making and implementation, violations and improvements concerning human rights standards.

Cambodia: the electoral process

Background In 1991, after having suffered of civil war for about two decades, the Cambodian political system marked a new turning point. All belligerents signed the Paris Peace Agreement, whose main purposes were to establish a ceasefire and hold democratic elections. It is no later than September 21, 1993 that a democratic Constitution was adopted. Under article 78 of Cambodian Constitution, the elections are held every five years. The Government is borned by the National assembly and shall be held accountable to this same body. Celebrating its 20 years this year, the 1993 Cambodian Constitution already saw the general elections being held four times, and will insure that the July, 28 2013 general elections will be held democratically. In order to better understand the electoral process i...

Drafted a report on “Access to Justice for Children” in Cambodia filed to the U​N Committee on the Rights of the Child

Drafted a report on “Access to Justice for Children” in Cambodia filed to the U​N Committee on the Rights of the Child.​ This report, drafted on behalf the NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child, was based on extensive interviews we conducted with government officials and NGO representatives, detailed Cambodian children’s experience with criminal justice and outlined several areas for improvement.

Coordination de rendez­-vous entre le Président de l’Association du Barreau Américain et plusieurs o​rganisations clés de la société civile cambodgienne

Coordination de rendez­-vous entre le Président de l’Association du Barreau Américain et plusieurs o​rganisations clés de la société civile cambodgienne. C​es rendez­-vous faisaient partie d’une mission exploratoire dont le but était de déterminer dans quelle mesure l’Association du Barreau Américain pourrait assister les défenseurs des droits de l’homme cambodgiens.

Coordinated meetings of the American Bar Association president with several k​ey Cambodian civil society organisations

Coordinated meetings of the American Bar Association president with several k​ey Cambodian civil society organisations.​ These meetings were part of the president’s fact­-finding mission to determine whether and how the American Bar Association would be able to provide assistance to Cambodian human rights defenders.