JOINT STATEMENT: “Rights to Justice and Rehabilitation of Tortured Victims”

Presconference on Torture

As part of their concerted attempt to combat torture, five civil society organizations have joint to mark the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture with an event at the Imperial Hotel on June 26, 2013. The Right to Justice and Rehabilitation of tortured victims is the theme for this year’s campaign.

The event is being organized by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)[1], the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Cambodia (TPO), the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture (Dignity). The organizers urge the government to implement the criminalization of torture and reaffirm its commitment to end impunity and provide compensation to victims of torture. Nearly 21 years have passed since the Cambodian Government ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 1992 and its Optional Protocol in 2007, including the incorporation of this convention into its new national legislation under the Criminal Code 2009. However, Cambodia is yet to enforce its new legislation that criminalizes torture and provides adequate redress to victims of torture.

STATEMENT: Chhouk Bandith Sentence Means Little if he Remains at Large

Phnom Penh, 25 June 2013 – The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is concerned with the light sentencing of Mr. Chhouk Bandith, the former Bavet City Governor who was today sentenced while absent from court for firing into a crowd of garment factory workers in February 2012. Mr. Bandith was found guilty of causing unintentional violence and sentenced to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay 38 million riel to three people injured in the shooting. The charges against Mr. Bandith do not fairly represent the severity of his actions. He injured three people by wildly shooting at demonstrators, an act of violence that seems anything but unintentional.

Jakarta Post Article – Human rights violations can be costly for business

Observing human rights such as labor standards and community rights may not necessarily improve business profits but violating them could certainly be costly, as corporate executives learned from a conference here this week.

Many major companies have incorporated human rights principles into their core business practices, to avoid large sums of money spent unnecessarily said John Ruggie, the Harvard professor who proposed the United Nations guiding principles for multinational corporations (MNC) to better observe human rights.

Release Yorm Bopha and Find a Just Resolution for the Boeung Kak Community

On 05 June 2013 monitors from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) attended the appeal hearing of Ms. Yorm Bopha. Bopha was arrested on 04 September 2012 and detained for four months before being sentenced to three years in prison under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code 2009: “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances”. The conviction relates to an incident in which two motodop drivers were assaulted at Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak Lake area on 07 August 2012, allegedly at the behest of Bopha. The trial at the Court of First instance on 27 December 2012 saw the witnesses for the prosecution ­ – who are also the alleged victims – repeatedly contradict their previous comments to the investigating judge when describing their assault, giving clear reason to doubt their account of the incident and any notion that Bopha was involved. The testimonies of the victims crumbled under the scrutiny of Bopha’s defense team at yesterday’s hearing. There is no credible evidence linking Bopha to the attack.