CHRAC STATEMENT: The ECCC at the Cross Road: Obligations to Ensure Road to Justice Completely Achieved

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)—a coalition of 21 NGO members—is very concerned at the pending unsolved financial shortfall at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), particularly on the national side, by the responsible authorities and the slow judicial developments of Cases at the tribunal.

The recent boycott by the ECCC’s Translation Unit staff and the previous statements released by the Office of Administration have demonstrated that the lack of fund continues to become a major concern and will negatively affect the performance and commitment by the employees working at the tribunal. It seems that on one hand the tribunal is now at the cross-road of facing both serious financial crisis and of addressing the efficiency and effectiveness of the current trials. On the other hand, the deteriorating and fragile health problem of the accused: Ieng Sary (87 years old), Nuon Chea (86 years old) and Khieu Samphan (81 years old), have frequently been unable to attend the scheduled hearings since the trials started in late 2009.

JOINT STATEMENT: Cambodian Civil Society Concerned at Appeal Court’s Decision to Reinvestigate Charges Against Chhouk Bandith at Provincial Court

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, welcome the decision by the Cambodian Court of Appeal today to reopen criminal charges against former Bavet City Governor, Chhouk Bandith. However, we are concerned that the investigation will take place under the jurisdiction of Svay Rieng Provincial Court, which has proven once before that it may be susceptible to political pressure exerted by Mr. Bandith and his supporters. Given the evidence, we welcome the prospect of new investigation. This process should be transparent and offer guarantees of independence and rights of the defense if it is to provide justice for the victims and demonstrate that the rich and powerful cannot act with impunity when accused of grave crimes.

Land Disputes – A Case of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Banteay Meanchey Province

ADHOC was jointly requested to mediate a land dispute in Roung Kour Deam village, Chamnoume commune, Monkulborey District, Banteay Meanchey Province. On 22th February 2013 at 8:30am, at Roung Kour Deam Pagoda, Mr. Soum Chankea, ADHOC’s Provincial Coordinator and Mediator, took part in the mediation of a land dispute originating in 2006. Other participants were Mr. Thun Saray, ADHOC President, Ms. Chhan Sokunthea, Head of the ADR Section, Ms. Jobien Monster, from Tilburg University, local authority representatives (Chamnoum Commune Chief, Secretary, Village Chief, Deputy Village Chief), the parties to the conflict, and witnesses.

REPORT: A Turning Point? Land, Housing and Natural Resources Rights in Cambodia in 2012

A Turning Point - Cover

Whereas 2011 had seen a sharp increase in the number of Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to private companies, in 2012 conflicts became more acute and protests multiplied. The government showed that it had understood the seriousness of the situation by taking initiatives aimed at resolving land disputes, addressing some of the issues related to ELCs and granting thousands of land titles to rural families.

However, some of the most pressing concerns about the overall pressure on land, landlessness, land tenure insecurity, lack of law enforcement, power abuses, and encroachment on livelihoods and natural resources remained unaddressed. [...]

REPORT: Victims Participation before the ECCC – Baseline Study (ADHOC & Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, 2013)

ECCC 2013 report picture

Victims’ participation is one of the unique features of the trials held by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT). In November 2011, the ECCC Trial Chamber began its second trial, hearing evidence against three former top ranking Khmer Rouge leaders.

Nearly 4,000 victims participate as Civil Parties in this second case (Case 002), over ten times more than in the first trial. This unprecedented large number of Civil Parties in an already complex trial poses challenges for the Court, lawyers and NGOs alike to achieve a balance between the rights of victims to an effective participation and the rights of the accused to a timely trial.

STATEMENT: Journalist Daniel Lainé Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court confirmed yesterday the verdict pronounced against French reporter Daniel Lainé in 2010 and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment for sex trafficking. However, it is widely believed that Mr. Lainé, who is currently in France, has been targeted for his investigative work into sex tourism and sex trafficking in Cambodia. The trial, which took place on 10 January and which the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) monitored, only served to demonstrate the absence of credible evidence against Mr. Lainé. He may have been a victim of judicial persecution for informing the public about sex trafficking and painting a “bad” image of Cambodia.

JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT: Situation of Land/Housing Rights and Activists in 2012 and the Way Forward

Press conference 23 Jan. 2013

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and the Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), as well as community representatives, today called for sustainable and inclusive land and housing reforms, in a media conference at which issues such as forced evictions, the impact of landlessness and the position of land and housing activists in Cambodia were discussed.

They called on the Royal Government of Cambodia to take measures to support Cambodia’s poor and vulnerable people in regard to land and housing improvements.