Comparative law and justice/Cambodia

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Clint4411 17:03, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Basic Information[edit]

The temple of Angkor Wat at Sunrise Located in Siem Reap province Angkor Wat stands as a testament to the engineering capabilities of the Angkor Empire. At its zenith, Greater Angkor encompassed almost 400 square miles. Angkor's vast expanse of irrigation systems located around the temple facilitated rice production, providing sustenance for an estimated 750,000 inhabitants, with perhaps as many as 40,000 located within the temple city itself.[1]

Located in Southeast Asia, Cambodia (a.k.a. the Kingdom of Cambodia, Khmer: ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា) abuts the Gulf of Thailand located to its west and shares borders with Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.[2] Out of an estimated population of 14,494,293, 90% consider themselves to be Khmer, an ethnicity that traces its origins back to the Angkor Empire which began sometime around 800 A.D. and is thought to have collapsed within the 13th century.[3] Ravaged by decades of colonial domination and warfare, Cambodia has experienced a multitude of legal systems and governing authorities that predominately reduced the population to nominal independence if not outright subservience.[4] As of today, Cambodia is a "multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy" sectioned into varying provinces with a general growth in GDP.[5] This economic growth is due to budding textile manufacturing, tourism and agriculture (rubber and rice) sectors.[6] There have also been vast reserves of extractable oil located under Cambodian water ways along with possibilities for mining extraction in the north including "bauxite, gold, iron, and gem" deposits.[7]

Brief History[edit]

Cambodia became integrated into the French colony of Indochina in 1887 until the outbreak of WWII when French colonial domination became displaced by that of Imperial Japan.[8] At the end of WWII the French again attempted to re-colonize Indochina, requiring the suppression of grassroots movements demanding independence, most notably that of Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh; a revolutionary movement within Viet Nam combining Communist ideology centered on land redistribution, self sufficiency and anti-imperialist nationalism.[9] The French received extensive support from the United States with the U.S. funding up to 80% of the French war effort by 1954.[10] America's support for colonization in Indochina can be characterized with respect to two components of interest; one being that the United States was now locked into a global power struggle with the Soviet Union and any nation that supported Communist ideology was seen as a potential 'domino' leading to a successive virus of Soviet support that would spread from nation to nation.[11] The second lies in Indochina's strategic value; occupying a proximity to Indonesia, India, China and the Philippines with most of these countries possessing U.S. military installations. Indochina was also a key supplier of important mineral wealth. As a classified memo of the National Security Council stated in June 1952: "Communist control of all of Southeast Asia...would seriously jeopardize fundamental U.S. security interest...Southeast Asia...is the principle world source of natural rubber, tin, and a producer of petroleum and other strategically important commodities".[12] In 1954, with the French unable to suppress the populist movements in Indochina, the warring parties convened in Geneva and the peace accords were drawn up.[13] Indochina was thus separated into three nation states under the conditions of the Geneva Conference; Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.[14] A political settlement was drawn up for all three of these newly devised nation states.[15] Under the Geneva Accords, Indochina was granted 'sovereignty' with it being decided that within Vietnam the French would temporarily consign themselves to the south and the Vietminh would preside over the north, with national elections to take place encompassing a unified Vietnam in two years time.[16] The United States immediately moved to undermine the peace agreements in direct violation of their conditions, installing the Diem regime to control the client state constructed within South Vietnam as well as a client regime in Laos.[17] [18] Diem complied with U.S. intentions; putting off national elections, appointing corrupt military officials as provincial leaders, and implementing watered down land reforms.[19]

Yellow Rain There was a campaign in the 1980's to direct public attention to alleged "Yellow Rain", a chemical agent that was dropped on Cambodia by the Soviets through various units of proxy. This theory was later dispelled, although the United States did drop 20 million gallons of chemical agents on 6 million acres of Vietnamese lands; approximately 13% of the country.[20]

An internal Pentagon investigation of the Vietnam War stated; "South Vietnam was essentially the creation of the United States".[21] The ensuing war between the United States and the NLF (National Liberation Front) in the south and the Viet Minh in the north had dramatic consequences for Vietnam's neighbor. The U.S. began a secret carpet bombing campaign within Cambodia in 1969 code named “Operation Breakfast”, exacting a death toll on the population estimated anywhere from 150,000 to 500,000 casualties.[22] Nixon authorized these bombings without any congressional approval or oversight seeing as that would have entailed congress approving unilateral military action against yet another Southeast Asian country.[23] The White House along with the Washington intelligence community believed that the Vietnamese were running supply routes through Cambodia to support their combat efforts.[24] Nixon took steps to arm the government in Phnom Penh (Cambodia's capital) as a means to stymie perceived Communist advances while simultaneously dropping 540,000 tons of bombs on the rural peasantry in the countryside, with some estimates claiming that the bombing of Cambodia during this period exceeded the amount dropped on all of Europe during WWII.[25] [26] [27] Nixon's own strategy in regards to the bombing campaign can be quoted from conversations with Kissinger: "A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves."[28] Due to legislation the bombing campaign was reportedly stopped in August 1973 upon Congressional discovery, but bombings pursued until the rise of the Khmer Rouge in 1975.[29]

Tuol Sleng Prison The walls of this concentration camp turned museum are adorned with the pictures of victims of the Khmer Rouge. Before Tuol Sleng served as an internment center it was originally a school. Now one may tour the site and visit the cells of those once housed here. Upon original discovery, there were still tortured and mangled bodies hand-cuffed to the steel frames of beds.

The Khmer Rouge was a communist political party directed under the auspices of Pol Pot. It amassed the majority of its support from the peasant youth of the country side, which then went on to organize Cambodia into forced labor camps which led to the deaths of between an estimated 1.7 to 2.5 million people.[30] Many have claimed that the rural support of some 50,000 peasants constituting the Khmer Rouge joined as a retaliatory measure for the U.S. bombings, suggesting that American policy was critically vital to garnering Cambodian support for this political party.[31] [32] The Khmer Rouge's campaign consisted of the creation of what would supposedly become an agrarian utopia. In order to make this a reality Pol Pot considered it a necessity to bring the country back to the "Year Zero", which meant destroying technology (not useful to the Khmer rouge themselves) and murdering all educated sectors of society, destroying what knowledge had led to the creation of a country that had advanced under the auspices of a political ideology outside that of Pol Pot's own.[33] Under this program roughly fifteen to twenty percent of the population was murdered, with many Cambodians fleeing into Thailand.[34] The end of the Khmer Rouge nightmare did not end for Cambodians until 1978, when Vietnam invaded and deposed the murderous regime.[35] It is interesting to note that the Khmer Rouge received extensive support from the United States after they were ousted by the Vietnamese; Pol Pot receiving varying forms of political protection from the U.S. and Khmer Rouge troops residing in rural hideouts receiving tactical support.[36] It was not until 1988 that Vietnam began the process of withdrawing troops from Cambodia and 1994 that a formal cease-fire was established, with some 350,000 refugees within Thailand attempting to repatriate.[37] Today, although the country is beginning to rebuild, there is still considerable economic disparities between rich and poor along with a lack of extensive infrastructure, undetonated bombing material left by the U.S. that routinely kills or maim civilians, and high levels of disease and malnutrition.

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

A United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) document stated that as of 1999 the World Bank had "estimated the" Cambodian "GDP per capita at 260 US$", with UNCDF themselves claiming Cambodia to be among one of the poorest nations in the world.[38]

Development in Relative Terms Although Cambodia has been gradually developing, recovering from unimaginable hardship, improvements in rural areas are still lacking. According to UNICEF, some "80% of Cambodians still live in the countryside" with only "16 per cent of rural Cambodians" having "access to adequate sanitation and 65 per cent to safe water". Many, like the man in this photograph, tap palm juice from local species of trees as a source of sustenance.[39]

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) states as of 2010 that more than one-third of Cambodians survive on less than $1 a day, falling well below the poverty line.[40] Although Cambodia has seen substantial growth with people living in poverty falling from 4.7 million as of 1993 to approximately 4 million as of 2007, 45% of Cambodian children show "moderate or severe stunting" along with the country having "the highest infant and under-five mortality rates in the region" and surveys conducted by the Asia Foundation as of 2003 reporting that Cambodians cite poverty as being the number one problem they continue to face, with many citizens in rural regions being left behind by growth.[41][42][43]

Another Casualty of Politics In 1947, the Uighurs accounted for 75% (3 million) of Xinjiang's population with the Han numbering around 5% (220,000). As of 2007, with Chinese efforts to culturally, economically, politically, and numerically dominate the resource rich region the Uighur numbered at 9.6 million, but the Han population has risen to 8.2 million.[44]

Currently, key sectors of the Cambodian economy are growing. Agriculture, mostly being rice production and livestock, accounts for the largest sector of the economy; somewhere around "43% of the GDP in 1998".[45] Although agriculture comprises the largest economic sector, the industrial, manufacturing, and service sectors contribute to the majority of market growth. The garment industry alone accounted for 22% of growth in 2008 with tourism and construction accounting for sizable portions as well, although these sectors have suffered in conjunction with the world market as of late 2008.[46] For instance, the industrial production growth rate for 2009 was -6.5%.[47] Imports and exports also fell substantially that same year, to the detriment of the garment sector.[48] [49] GDP growth is cited by UNCDF as averaging somewhere around 8.4% for the last fifteen years, with 2004 to 2007 experiencing "double-digit growth".[50] Since Cambodia's stabilization efforts in the 1990's it has been highly reliant upon foreign aid, a substantial amount of which comes from the United States.[51] For 2011 alone, globally contributed aide was projected somewhere around 1.1 billion dollars.[52] The aide donated to Cambodia from international power-brokers does not come without baggage or strings attached, one fundamental motivation being which country can contain Cambodia (and developing nations in general) within it's sphere of influence. The United States and China engage in routine back and forth political and economic wrangling in this regard.[53] Military aide is routinely complimented by moral overtones emanating from the U.S.. This was the case as when in December Cambodia "deported 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China" (also spelled Uygur).[54] The Uighurs are a minority Islamic ethnic group persecuted within China due to the fact that they sit on land (consisting of the the Chinese province of Xinjiang) which "contains about 40 percent of China's coal reserves and more than a fifth of its natural gas"; a place that they have historically occupied for centuries.[55] This frequently leads to the dislocation and dispossession of the Uighurs in order to accommodate economic development and clear land to be settled by the Han, a favored Chinese population with cultural and ethnic ties compatible with the interests of the Chinese state.[56] In light of the deportations the U.S. suspended the shipment of "200 military trucks" as of April 1, 2010, claiming that the suspension of the military surplus originally to be allocated to Cambodia was due to the country's "failure to live up to their international obligations"; a highly altruistic gesture on the part of the United States in support of human rights violations.[57] However, the Cambodian decision to deport the Uighurs was announced in mid December 2009, with the U.S. announcing its decision in April of the next year; nearly a four month delay.[58] Interestingly, during the 17th to the 19th of March 2010 the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Hui Liangyu, made a visit to Cambodia.[59] The D.P.M. presided over the signing of agreements expanding commercial ties between the two countries, most notably in the sectors of agriculture (which "accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP") and "in the field of post and telecommunications".[60] In 2008, the Cambodian post and telecommunications sectors were estimated "at US$429 million" and is projected only to expand.[61] China also agreed to "export up to 418 items of goods".[62]

Food Insecure According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Cambodia, Cambodia is one among "36 countries with the highest burden of child under-nutrition" and among "33 alarming countries for levels of hunger and under nutrition." As of 2009, about 1.7 million Cambodians were "food insecure", with many Cambodians affected by global increases in food prices.[63]

These developments in 2010 were of extreme importance to the Cambodian economy due to the fact that in 2009 and 2008 overall investment from China had been tightened by the weakening of global financial markets.[64] Conversely, when in August of 2009 Virginia Senator Jim Webb ("chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee") made a tour of South East Asia, all he could offer to Cambodia were intentions to increase private investment and trade with the country.[65] It would seem that China is positioned to incorporate Cambodian exports into its continually growing domestic markets when the global financial system is continually stifled, something which the U.S. seems incapable of matching. China also delivers military aide without any pretense or preconditions, something the U.S. is seemingly unwilling to do.[66]

Rural Stagnation Poverty has been reduced in Cambodia from about 47% to about 30% within a fourteen-year period, which means that about one-third of Cambodians are still living in poverty. According to the UNDP "Rural inequality rose from 0.27 in 1994 to 0.33 in 2004 and climbed again to 0.36 in 2007" and of the poor "92 percent live in rural areas."[67]

The U.S. also chooses not to match China's ample spending on Cambodian infrastructure projects (some amounting to "US$1.6 billion") on "big ticket items like roads, bridges and railways" and hasn't proposed to forgive debt incurred by Cambodia "worth US$4.24 million", as has China.[68] In sum total, the U.S. move to suspend military aide in light of the Uighurs deportation seems to be more a reaction to China's ever expanding influence in the region and control of key market sectors. There have been no similarly reported suspensions from the U.S. to Cambodia when other human rights have been violated (land grabs carried out by the government on rural peasants, the murder of labor organizers, the imprisonment of opposition leaders). The decision to suspend the donation of the military hardware is most likely a response to China's signing of private investment agreements and integration into the Cambodian domestic market, intended as both a warning to the Cambodian government and a move to undermine Chinese influence. No doubt the U.S. is concerned with the deportation, but only due to the fact that those being deported represent the indignity and interest of a geopolitical rival (China) with the incident therefore serving a strategic interest and political utility for the U.S. on the international stage. Unfortunately, both the Uighurs and Cambodia are pawns within geopolitical power conflicts. Cambodia is a land ripe for investment when the right people benefit, leading to abuse of power at the expense of the larger community. This may also be evident in the fact that although many Cambodians (.7 million) have been lifted from abject poverty, the wealth generated from a growing Cambodian economy is being distributed extremely unequally.[69] A 2010 UNCDF report stated; "Inequality of consumption measured by the Gini coefficient increased from an estimated 0.39 in 2004 to 0.43 in 2007. Analysis of Cambodia’s progress towards MDG 1, in terms of reduction of inequality, presents a performance of -76% against the 2015 target. Cambodia’s unequal growth dynamics have strong territorial dimensions" (the Gini Coefficient is a measurement of statistical dispersion, the higher the number the greater the stratification between the things being measured).[70] The report goes on to state that the disparities in growth between various provinces is based on the strength or weakness of key sectors of industry, for instance "tourism in Siem Reap or natural resource exploitation in the cases of Mondulkiri".[71] These differences in development may distort economic indicators due to the fact that "GDP is performance is often based on activities" "that do not necessarily spread wealth broadly amongst the population".[72] What is made clear is that economic progress, commonly defined through the developing infrastructure of urban epicenters, simply measured through GDP is distorting seeing that ""92% of all the poor, or 3.7 million persons, lived in rural areas" with "Less than 10% of all rural dwellers have electricity and only about 15% have toilets, while access to safe water supplies is reported as 48% overall".[73] Infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges are routinely built in the urban provinces in order to facilitate economic activity complimentary with the global market while "Most inhabitants of rural areas of the Tonle Sap, coast and upland provinces live 10 km or more from the nearest market".[74] It is also questionable when reportedly "57.6%" of the labor force finds their occupation within the sector of agriculture that only "1.7 percent" of the national budget is "spent on agriculture", "0.7 percent on water resources" (vital to developing irrigation systems necessary for harvesting crops, not to mention clean drinking water), and "About 1.7 percent" "set aside for rural development". [75][76] Compare this total spent on fields relating to rural resource development and agriculture of a meager 3.1% of the national budget with the amount dedicated to developing the military. In 2009 the Cambodian government announced that the military was being allocated "14 percent of total spending" from the projected 2010 budget.[77] This 14% amounted to approximately "$274 million", a "23 percent" increase from the previous year, with the total national budget running at roughly "$1.97 billion".[78] The Cambodian government has denied that these constant increases in military spending are a reaction to the need to protect territory currently in dispute with neighbors, especially the "temple of Preah Vihear" ("a 900-year-old, cliff top Hindu temple") in the province of Preah Vihear (which, although designated as a world heritage site under Cambodian jurisdiction by the U.N., both Thailand and Cambodia claim as their own).[79] In spite of the denial, within the context of these events, claims were also made by the Cambodian government that "This big budget for defense is meant for preventative measures in response to international conflicts".[80] Since August of 2008 both Thailand and Cambodia have been stationing troops on their respective borders next to the temple.[81]

Governance[edit]

Flag of Cambodia under UNTAC UNTAC's involvement in the supervision of the 1993 elections involved marking the "right hand index fingers of all voters" with an "invisible" ink. This would allow UNTAC personnel to scan every new voter's finger with an ultraviolet light to make sure that they had not previously cast a ballot.[82].

Up until 1988, Cambodia was caught in a perpetual state of violence and suffered from a deficiency of democracy. Internal factions were engaged in armed conflict and the Vietnamese continued to occupy with no end of hostilities in sight.[83] In 1988 the basic framework of a settlement was established by the U.N. Secretary General.[84] The parameters for a reconciliation agreement were presented by special U.N. envoys to various political parties and members of the Cambodian government; an attempt to forge stability through compromise.[85] Soon afterward for the first time these divergent factions met in face-to-face negotiations in Jakarta, Indonesia.[86] By the next year (1989) the Vietnamese had agreed to begin unilaterally withdrawing their troops and in September of that year full withdrawal was complete.[87] In August of 1990, an agreement was accepted by the Cambodian Parties and instituted with the backing of "Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, the People's Republic of China, the French Republic, the Republic of India, the Republic of Indonesia, Japan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia".[88] Under the general framework of the agreement the Supreme National Council of Cambodia was endorsed as the legitimate Cambodian authority and was thus recognized as such along with the parameters for peace set by the Paris Peace Accords and was "unanimously endorsed by Security Council resolution 668 (1990) of 20 September 1990 and General Assembly resolution 45/3 of 15 October 1990".[89]

Norodom Sihamoni: King of Cambodia A former ballet dancer and ambassador to UNESCO, the fifty-one year old has studied abroad in Czechoslovakia and North Korea. While abroad in 1975 the Khmer Rouge took power and placed the entire royal family under house arrest, allegedly forging Sihamoni's father's (King Sihanouk) signature on a letter sent to the Prince in order to bring him back to the country. Unfortunatley this worked and Sihamoni returned, it was thought, at his father's behest. Although the present King of Cambodia survived the ordeal, the Khmer Rouge stole the lives of five out of fourteen of his brothers and sisters. It is cited that his appointment was secured at the discretion of Hun Sen.[90]

The Supreme National Council elected Prince Norodom Sihanouk as it's president in Beijing, China on the 17th of July, 1991.[91] Under the Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement on the Cambodia Conflict, signed in Paris on 23 October 1991, was constructed a transitional authority known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC); a United Nations contingent with the responsibility of the implementing the terms of the peace accords.[92][93] UNTAC carried out such tasks ranging from the supervision of elections, training Cambodian personnel in techniques and procedures for deactivating mines, enforcing cease-fire agreements, conducting cantonment ceremonies where factions including the Khmer People National Liberation Armed Forces as well as the Khmer Rouge turned over their arsenals, administrating hospitals, and repatriating refugees.[94] Under the terms and conditions of the Peace Accords and political settlement, the transitional authority would only withdraw "when the constituent assembly elected through free and fair elections, organized and certified by the United Nations, has approved the constitution and transformed itself into a legislative assembly, and thereafter a new government has been created".[95]

The Cambodian National Assembly In December of 2009 the Cambodian National Assembly passed a law "guaranteeing to withdraw legal ownership of land and other immovable properties with providing appropriate price and justice for local people". Violation of the expropriation law would subject anyone "disturbing the process of expropriation can be sentenced from one month to one year imprisonment and be fined 25 U.S. dollars to 500 U.S. dollars". The law undoubtedly is meant to facilitate the government's "land grabbing" scheme, as it is widely cited that "Many powerful and rich people have abused their power and position and are known to have been involved in land-grabbing", and "According to one NGO, at least 5,585 families in 2007 were evicted, and nearly 150 people were arrested, one-third of whom are still in prison in 2008". Mrs. Sochua, the Cambodian MP who is now facing fines and jail time, is an advocate of those being affected by this policy and was involved in a scuffle in the district of Kampot Province with soldiers attempting to expropriate land from peasants. This incident eventually led to her criticizing the Prime Minister, Hun Sen, and then filing suit against him for defamation.[96][97]

While administrating in Cambodia UNTAC acted under the "direct responsibility" of the U.N. Secretary General who elected a Special Representative, Yasushi Akashi, to carry out direct oversight of mission activity.[98][99] UNTAC's authority covered extensive sectors of Cambodian government including the complete takeover of departments such as "foreign affairs, defense, security, finance and communications".[100] Official U.N. deployment began on 15 March, 1992 and lasted until the first national election took place in May of 1993 with 4.2 million people (approximately 90% of the country) participating in what UNTAC described as "free and fair" elections".[101] At the height of their activity the organization had some "21,000 military and civilian personnel" deployed "from more than 100 countries" comprised of "human rights, civil administrative and military components, as well as a police component of some 3,600 police monitors".[102] UNTAC oversaw not only the elections but the registration of voters and promotion of voter education within most Cambodian provinces (not including those remote areas controlled by the PDK).[103][104][105] Although UNTAC officially withdrew after the elections, small contingencies of United Nations agencies remained as well as a Special Representative for Human Rights (appointed by the Secretary General) to continue to lend aid in the reconstruction effort.[106] The 1993 elections brought together twenty political parties who registered to participate, including the Cambodian Peoples' Party (CPP) led by Hun Sen (who has been Prime Minister since the mid 1980s), the royalist Front uni national pour un Cambodge indépendant, neutre, pacifique et coopératif (FUNCINPEC), and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP).[107][108] Due to the Party Democratic Kampuchea's (PDK, a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge) vow to boycott and disrupt the electoral process, violence ensued in various provinces before and during the elections (although some "1,500 rallies" carried out by some "800,000" non-PDK Cambodian citizens were all non-violent).[109] FUNCINPEC came out as the front runner with "45% of the valid votes cast" with the CCP coming in at second with "over 38%".[110] The electoral process was again disturbed, this time by the CPP who, upon losing a parliamentary majority, sought to form a break-away state comprised mainly of Cambodia's eastern provinces.[111] However, the internal revolt was put down resulting in certain CPP members losing their seats.[112] The Constitution of Cambodia emanating from the "U.N.-organized constituent election in 1993" is the framework for the Cambodian government and structures the country as a constitutional monarchy with the King acting as a symbolic Head of State.[113][114])</ref> The Prime Minister is selected by the King who must first secure a vote of confidence in the Assembly if the PM's election is to be approved.[115] Once selected by the King and approved by the Assembly, the Prime Minister serves as the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the form of the Council of Ministers.[116]

Prime Minister Hun Sen Hun Sen stands as a living testament (and the current Prime Minister) to the corruption and cronyism that exemplifies the Cambodian political system. During the 1993 election Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party moved to subvert election results even before the votes were fully tallied. It is reported, "FUNCINPEC party won the election handsomely with 45.3% of the votes compared to Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP), 38.7%. They did so in spite of a campaign of confiscations, arson, bombing and murder committed by Hun Sen's supporters". Although a coalition government was set up with a co-prime minister position constructed to accommodate the CPP, in 1997 Hun Sen and his supporters orchestrated a coup which garnered them effective control of the Cambodian government.[117])

The Council of Ministers acts as the PM's cabinet with appointments requiring the approval of the King.[118] Furthermore, the King must appoint a dignitary from among the members of the winning party to serve on the Council along with "Deputy Prime Ministers", "State Ministers, Ministers, and State Secretaries" assisting the PM.[119] The Cambodian Parliament is a bicameral body consisting of the "National Assembly (122 seats) and a Senate (61 seats). The members of both bodies serve 5-year terms".[120][121] Assembly and Senate sessions last for three months at a time and must hold ordinary sessions no less than twice a year.[122] Cambodia is "divided into 20 provinces (khett) and 4 municipalities (krong)" with "171 rural districts (srok)" falling under the authority of the provinces and "14 urban districts (khan)" falling under them.[123] Governors are appointed by the PM and control provincial and municipal sectors administratively organized into National Line Ministries, with District Administrators in control of rural and urban districts and appointed by the Minister of the Interior with recommendation from Provincial Governors.[124] At the lowest level of jurisdiction are 1,621 "administrative jurisdictions, including 1,510 rural communes (khum) and 111 urban neighborhoods (sangkat)" with local chiefs (appointed by the Provincial Governor) who serve as "a liaison between local communities and the state administration". However, with extreme fluctuations in population of these smaller jurisdictions (ranging in size "from 100 to 45,000 people") questions are raised as to the specific functions, requirements, purpose and ability of these bodies with varying capacities and capabilities.[125] For the first time in 2008 these bodies actually held elections to select the membership and composition of commune leadership.[126] The fiscal policy relating to these communes is at times ambiguous seeing that these local bodies are still in developing stages. For instance, although they are given the right to collect "direct revenues from local taxes, service fees and other charges" from the population with the government allocating "transfers from a share of national revenue", communes are still held responsible under law for their "own financial resources, budget and assets".[127] However, it is completely clear that any and all administrative tasks carried out by communes on behalf of and/or for the benefit of the national government will in turn be compensated, as well as the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) bearing responsibility for commune fiscal oversight in relation to assets appropriated by the national government.[128]

Sam Rainsy Party Campaign Vehicle Once a European Representative for Prince Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC party and later a member of the Cambodian Parliament, he was stripped of his seat in 1994 and now heads the Cambodian opposition party, the Sam Rainsy Party. In 2003 the party won 22% of the vote in light of violence directed at party heads, most notably Sam Rainsy (including grenade attacks). As of 2010 the government of Cambodia issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Rainsy for uprooting "markers on the frontier with Vietnam in October 2009" which Mr. Rainsy has claimed were encroaching upon Cambodian territory (Vietnam being a "growing investor in Cambodia").[129][130])

These communes represent more localized and decentralized (and thus, some may say, more directly democratic) political representation within the Cambodian governmental and political structure. But although Cambodia has made strides in representation of citizens in the political process, stability in government, and a move away from genocide and outright warfare, the country and its citizens still suffer from a political establishment with a propensity for corruption, murder, and dissident suppression.[131][132] The current Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held his post for over twenty years, is a former member of the Khmer Rouge and long time establishment figure.[133] In 1993 Sun's party, the CPP, was forced to form a coalition government with FUNCINPEC upon lacking a clear majority in parliamentary elections. In 1997 Sun and his supporters wrestled control from his "co-prime minister in a bloody coup", ousting FUNCINPEC leader Prince Ranariddh.[134] Currently Sun and the CPP are rumored to maintain effective control of the majority of state institutions, including "he king, the Constitutional Council, the National Assembly and the judiciary".[135] Under the circumstances political dissidents within and outside of the establishment suffer at the hands of ruing elites. Chea Vichea, an "influential Cambodian trade-union leader who fought for increased wages and improved working conditions" was killed on the morning of 22 January, 2004.[136] With the two men charged and sentenced for the murder being released from jail by the Cambodian Supreme Court and a documentary on the political figure and his murder being banned from screening within Cambodia, blame seems to reside with the government.[137] In addition to the suppression of labor organizers, political parties are also suspect to targeting by government authorities. The Sam Rainsy party is a political organization within Cambodia that has taken a line against the establishment under the leadership of Sam Rainsy, a noted opposition leader within the Parliament.[138] Rainsy was convicted in September of 2010 of "spreading disinformation and falsifying maps".[139] Rainsy's trial was closed to the public and was missing Rainsy's presence due to his "self-imposed exile".[140] Although Mr. Rainsy does not currently reside in Cambodia upon his return he will face immediate imprisonment if he returns.[141] Human Rights Watch has stated that the trial and its verdict (along with various assassination attempts upon Mr. Rainsy's life) have shattered "even the pretense of democracy" in Cambodia.[142] It is hard to predict where the government of Cambodia is heading next if these nefarious activities continue to be carried out by the government. The United States Senate proposed a bill in 2003 that would "grant Cambodia a further $21.5m in aid if Hun Sen was not re-elected" and Human Rights Watch urged multiple international governments that provide assistance to Cambodia ("Donors contribute approximately 50 percent of the Cambodian government's budget") to "take strong diplomatic action in response to the sentence against Rainsy, including recalling their ambassadors to demonstrate their outrage".[143]



Elections[edit]

The Next elections in Cambodia are the parliamentary elections scheduled for July, 2013.[144]. Unsurprisingly, Hun Sen's party, the CPP, won approximately ninety seats in the National Assembly last election (July, 2008) while the opposition won a cumulative thirty-three seats.[145] Cambodia has a bicameral legislature, with Senate members being elected directly and indirectly by the National Assembly and by the country's monarch for five year terms.[146] The Sam Rainsy Party, led by Sam Rainsy, won the most National Assembly seats with twenty-six members elected to the legislature with FUNCINPEC, led by Keo Puth Ramsey, winning two seats and the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), formerly led by Norodom Ranariddh before his ousting in 2006, winning two seats.[147] The sad state of Cambodian democracy may be indicated by the newest registered Cambodian political party, interestingly named the Human Rights Party (HRP) and led by Kem Sokha.[148] The 2008 elections were reported by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) to take place under conditions sufficient to produce "a general environment of fear" and were subject to the CPP flexing its muscle, afforded by control of the state, in a manner to influence election outcomes through unfair advantage.[149] The CPP was reportedly utilizing government vehicles as campaign advertisements next to polling stations.[150] The COMFREL also noted that there was an increase in the number of voters who faced "obstructions" to voting as well as an increase in the number of irregularities regarding the issuing of voting forms.[151] These patterns of CPP interference into the electoral process and widespread irregularities are, some might say, institutionalized within the ruling party; not four years after the official establishment of Cambodian democracy the CPP moved to subvert it. The 1998 elections were fraught with claims of fraud with at least 300 complaints being filed; the Sam Rainsy Party "alleged that more than 45,000 blank ballot papers had gone missing before the election in two provinces, citing documents from the NEC and the provincial election committees."[152] Seeing as how the CPP and Hun Sen had wrestled control from Prince Ranariddh and FUNCINPEC in a "violent takeover in July 1997" it appears obvious that they are now able to resort to simple electoral fraud rather than bloody coups to secure their power.[153] When opposition parties declared that they demanded investigations into the alleged fraud otherwise they would refuse to lend the necessary support in the National Assembly the CPP needed to secure 2/3rds of seats to form a constitutionally approved government, Hun Sen and his party declared that they would move ahead regardless.[154]

Judicial Review[edit]

We, the people of Cambodia... The composition of the Cambodian constitution bears a resemblance to the American constitution. The preamble begins: "We the people of Cambodia", and goes on to enumerate various grievances trespassed against the country as well as the inherent rights of its citizens and structure of its government; sovereignty, the status of the king, education, culture, social affairs, etc. Some judicial powers constitutionally designated in the constitution follow as such: "Article 109- The Judicial power shall be an independent power. The Judiciary shall guarantee and uphold impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens. The Judiciary shall cover all lawsuits including administrative ones. The authority of the Judiciary shall be granted to the Supreme Court and to lower courts of all sectors and levels. Article 110- Trials shall be conducted in the name of the Khmer citizens in accordance with the legal procedures and laws in force. Only judges shall have the right to adjudicate. A judge shall fulfill this duty with strict respect for the laws. wholeheartedly, and conscientiously."[155]

Due to Cambodia's history of colonization at the hands of the French, their judicial and legal system is generally influenced by French civil code as well as United Nations declarations and charters.[156] In light of gross human rights violations in an atmosphere of warfare, genocide, and occupation, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) were incorporated into the Cambodian constitution and thus became applicable to Cambodian national law.[157] The Cambodian constitution was adopted on September 21, 1993 under the auspices of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).[158] The constitution outlines the power vested within the judiciary and states that it's power shall be a separate and autonomous entity free of encroachment from either the executive or the legislative branches of government.[159] The Cambodian judiciary is safeguarded by the King who is constitutionally imparted with the responsibility of upholding and guaranteeing "the independence of the Judiciary" with the help of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy (a.k.a. the Supreme Council of Magistrates).[160] By Royal Decree the S.C.M. (Supreme Council of the Magistracy) is composed of the King, the President, the Minister of Justice, the President of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court (General of the Supreme Court), the President of the Appellate Court, the Prosecutor of the Appellate Court, three judges (elected by judges), and three alternate judges (also elected by judges as members whom replace absent members).[161] All judges in Cambodia are appointed and disciplined by the Supreme Council of Magistracy.[162] The SCM "has the duty to 'decide and propose to the king the appointment, transfer, secondment, leave of absence, delineation of duties and dismissal of judges and prosecutors' (Art. 11 Law on SCM)" and in the process "ensure the smooth functioning of the judiciary".[163] All proposed law and draft law (proposed laws written by the National Assembly and draft law by other government branches) regarding the judiciary must be reviewed by the Ministry of Justice as well as the S.C.M, although there is a question as to whether or not suggestions made by the S.C.M. are mandates or simply recommendations to be taken into consideration.[164] With the approval of the S.C.M appointed judges can potentially secure positions within various branches of the judiciary including the Municipal and Provincial Court (jurisdiction of first instance), the Appellate Court (court of appeals), the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of General Prosecution, as well as the Military Court.[165] The Ministry of Justice oversees all matters applying to "civil, criminal, administrative and commercial matters", inspects prison conditions in relation to sentences handed down, provides guidance in consideration to judgments where the law is unclear, regulates the consistency of judicial provisions set forth through legislation, and maintains criminal records.[166] The Department of General Prosecution is subdivided into three separate offices: the Office of Investigation and Supervision of Investigation, the Criminal Office, and the Civil Office.[167] It coordinates investigative procedure of the police as well as oversees the various responsibilities of the Prosecutor General.[168] The Court of the First Instance is the lowest court where cases are first heard and is divided into three departments: the Provincial Court, the Municipal Court, and the Military Court.[169] Although there is a noted division within the Provincial and Municipal courts (with a separation between hearings for civil and criminal matters), due to a shortage of judges in reality there is ample collaboration between the two departments.[170] The Military Court has exclusive authority over all instances relating to military matters and military personnel.[171] When military personnel commit criminal offenses or obstruct civil code unrelated to military conduct and/or procedure, cases fall under the jurisdiction of the Provincial and Municipal Courts.[172] The Appellate Court is responsible for appeals concerning all courts of the first instance (municipal, provincial and military) for the entire country of Cambodia and there is no criteria for basis of appeals.[173]

An MP challenges the Prime Minister Mrs. Mu Sochua speaks to reporters after a court hearing. The Cambodian parliamentary MP has both directly and indirectly challenged the authority of the Prime Minister by openly suing him in court and then defying court orders (which she claims reflect only the manipulation and influence of the Prime Minister himself) to pay fines imposed, an act with the consequence of jail time.[174]

Unlike the Supreme Court in the United States, the Supreme Court of Cambodia does not retain power of adjudication in regards to the constitutionality of law, rather it functions as the highest possible court of appeals.[175] When decisions rendered by the Appellate Court are rejected they are granted the audience of the Supreme Court whose ruling is then relayed to the Appellate Court where another ruling is made.[176] If the Appellate Court decides to neglect the recommendations of the Supreme Court then filers have the right to again bring the decision before the Supreme Court where "the SC tries both questions of fact and law" and a final ruling is made.[177] The Supreme Court is separated into two branches: a Civil/Social Chamber and a Penal Chamber.[178] The Penal Chamber's jurisdiction relates only to criminal matters with the Civil and Social Chamber residing over matters relating to "civil disputes, marriage, family and administrative matters and labor and commercial disputes".[179] The S.C. lacks the authority to create its own case law and may only serve to enforce any and all legislation already codified.[180] The S.C. is reported to publish a quarterly review articulating it's rulings in court proceedings with the intent of establishing precedent, however, it is unclear as to whether the rulings set by the S.C. will in any way become applicable to future decisions.[181] Within court proceedings themselves lawyers, clerks and judges are those responsible with the task of carrying out administrative functions. There is a distinction between standing and sitting judges, with a sitting judge actively involved in cases and standing judges those holding positions within the prosecution department.[182] Clerks act as secretaries to judges performing administrative tasks necessary for cases to be heard.[183] The legal profession is regulated by the Cambodian Bar Association which was established in October of 1995 and defines the profession as being " 'an autonomous profession involved in serving justice and may be only pursued within the framework of the Bar Association', which is an 'organization bringing together all lawyers who establish offices in the Kingdom of Cambodia' ".[184] Lawyers must submit applications to the Bar Association and then be accepted as full time members in order to practice law.[185] Those who are rejected may relate their case to the Appellate Court.[186] Khmer citizens are guaranteed a multitude of rights by a constitution perhaps even more inclusive and expansive than that of the United States, incorporating all human rights stipulated within the United Nations Charter and explicitly mentioning the freedom and status of women and children as well as protecting against discrimination directed at citizens on the basis of "race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status".[187] Any and all citizens with charges brought against them are guaranteed a presumption of innocence.[188] The rights and provisions set forth by the constitution are in turn protected by the Constitutional Council as outlined by the constitution itself.[189] The formation of the Constitutional Council is dependent on the Supreme Council of the Magistracy which is responsible for the appointments of three judges to council seats.[190] The Constitutional Council does not adjudicate on any issues besides those of the constitutionality of laws and/or issues concerning election rights.[191]

Kaing Guek Eav, 67, a.k.a. 'Comrade Duch' Case 001 tried Mr. Eav who controlled S-21, or Tuol Sleng prison. He was convicted of murdering 12,000 people. Collectively the Khmer Rouge is held responsible for the murder of approximately 1/3 of Cambodia's former population.[192]

Although in theory the Cambodian judiciary system is free from political manipulation and reserves free and fair trials for all citizens, Cambodia has only recently embraced these institutional implementations and still suffers from a lack of independence within the judiciary. It is widely stated that the Prime Minister, Hun Sen, for all intents and purposes controls various branches of government and personnel operating within including professional lawyers and members of the judiciary.[193] Hun Sen has great influence over the ruling Cambodian political party, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), a former Communist entity that has garnered criticism over their propensity for cronyism and nebulous connections to the elite business community.[194] Politically motivated killings, imprisonments, legal actions, and massacres are common occurrences carried out by centers of authority and undermine the efficacy and independence of the judiciary.[195] As of July 14, 2010, U.N. members states made "91 Recommendations" in relation to the respect of human rights unobserved by the Cambodian court system.[196] Under the Cambodian Universal Periodic Review (UPR) the Human Rights Council in Geneva made these recommendations partly in light of charges brought against Mrs. Mu Sochua, an MP of the Cambodian Parliament and outspoken critic of the Prime Minister.[197] Cambodia agreed to unconditionally accept all ninety-one recommendations made by the H.R.C., although one must remain circumspect as to whether or not these recommendations will be enforced when realities such as political murder are common occurrences. Mrs. Sochua lost the defamation suit she had filed against Prime Minister Hun Sen who then filed a counter claim against her; without surprise, the Prime Minister won his case.[198] Mrs. Sochua was fined 8.5 million riels with the threat of imprisonment upon non-payment.[199] Mrs. Sochua defied the orders of the court, which she accused of being a corrupt puppet of the Prime Minister, and has yet to be jailed.[200] In early 2009 trials began in Cambodia backed by the United Nations that were aimed at bringing members of the Khmer Rouge to justice more than thirty years after the political party originally came to power.[201] The United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT) is a division of the United Nations with the express intent of providing "technical assistance" to the Cambodian Courts.[202] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is the Cambodian domestic court supported by the UNAKRT and is staffed with international personnel provided by the United Nations.[203] The ECCC will operate within the parameters of Cambodian national law and will be partially "supplemented" by international law (with Cambodian law already being largely influenced by international law).[204]

Memories from Tuol Sleng This image depicts conditions of internment under the Khmer Rouge. This is only one of many such pictures displayed at the former prison for visitors. Others include methods of information extraction, i.e. torture. Comrade Duch confessed under the ECCC to developing various methods of information extraction for the Khmer Rouge including: cold, hot and chewing. "The cold method employed propaganda without the use of torture or insults. The hot method included 'insults, beatings and other torture authorized by the regulations'. The chewing method consisted, in Duch’s quoted words, of 'gentle explanations in order to establish confidence, followed by prayers to the interrogated person, continually inviting her or him to write' a confession. Another witness told investigators that torture could be used if 'chewing' failed to bring results in two or three days. Some inmates were also subjected to medical experiments, including 'live autopsies' and experimentation with homemade medications, according to Duch’s statements in the indictment."[205]

The Court consists of a Trial chamber composed of "three Cambodian judges and two international judges" as well as a Supreme Court chamber composed of "four Cambodian judges and three international judges".[206] The international judges are elected by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy "from a list of not less than seven nominees forwarded by the Secretary-General".[207] There is also an international prosecutor that will serve as co-prosecutor to his/her domestic counterpart.[208] The first defendant to be brought before the court was the former commander of Tuol Sleng Prison, Kaing Guek Eav, a.k.a. 'Duch'.[209] Under Duch's command an estimated 14,000 people were murdered at Tuol Sleng.[210] Duch faces murder charges for these deaths along with charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.[211] Duch was categorized under one of the two possible categories of persons eligible to be held responsible for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge as "Those most responsible for crimes committed between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979" and was found guilty of "Crimes against humanity (persecution on political grounds) including, murder and extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture and rape and other inhumane acts" as well as "Grave breaches of the Geneva conventions of 1949 (willful killing, torture and inhumane treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, willfully depriving a prisoner of war or civilian of the rights of a fair and regular trial, and unlawful confinement of a civilian.)".[212] Duch was sentenced to thirty-five years imprisonment, but the sentence was reduced in light of the fact that Duch was illegally detained "by the Military Court from May 1999 to July 2007 (more than eight years)" and Cambodian law does not allow anyone to be held in prison under pre-trial conditions for more than three years time.[213] In light of this Duch's sentence was reduced by three years time.[214] Duch was one of five members arrested by the Cambodian government to be held for trial, with the next trial scheduled for 2011.[215] Unfortunately, the trials lack the faith of the general domestic public (as well as international ex-patriots) who question both the efficacy of the trials and the intentions of the government. Many former Khmer Rouge party members today live normal lives within Cambodia among those that they may be responsible for imprisoning or murdering their family members.[216] Furthermore, many top level government officials are former Khmer Rouge themselves (including the Prime Minister) and it has been reported that Cambodian government is obstructing and interfering with the trials and possess' the clout to shield top level officials from future indictments and/or prosecution.[217] [218]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit]

The laws of the Cambodian Criminal Code creates three types of offenses; "felonies", "misdemeanors", and "minor offenses".[219] The stipulating laws that dictate these offenses are the Provisions Relating to the Judiciary and Criminal Law and Procedure Applicable in Cambodia During the Transitional Period, a.k.a. the UNTAC Code (due to the fact that it was created during the transitional authority period by the United Nations).[220] In order for an individual to be convicted under such codes all of the following criteria must be met: "Element Legal - That it is an offense set down by law"; "Element Objective (the physical act) - That the act or acts done by the accused person constituted a breach of that law"; and "Element Subjective (the state of mind of the accused) - That the accused had the required intention or state of mind to constitute the offense".[221]

Legal Defenses: Superior Orders Under the Cambodian Criminal Code, it is a legitimate defense for military personnel to claim that they were unaware that their actions taken were against the law. Orders from superiors within the Cambodian, or any, military are of premium importance and subordinates who refuse orders are subject to harsh penalties under military discipline. However, this potentially creates a problem in a country where the military illegitimately expropriates land for the benefit of the state's elite and acts with basic impunity.[222]

Complex issues and varying circumstances may effect the amount and manner in which different sections of the code may be implemented.[223] The UNTAC criminal code falls within the parameters of civil law more so than those of common law seeing that persons may only be tried for a crime that is on the books with interpretation or extrapolation of a preexisting law not specifically relating to such an incidence not applicable to the legal system and its processes (ex post facto laws).[224] Citizens are theoretically also protected from "secret laws" created by the government stipulating criminal code not promulgated and made clear and known to the citizenry.[225]

Who will police the police? The death of national police commissioner Gen. Hok Lundy on November 9, 2008 brought a sigh of relief for many Cambodians. Hok's fourteen year tenure was looked at by many as sharing direct responsibility for the impunity upon which the wealthy elite in Cambodia operate due to his lack of investigating politically sensitive issues. Hok was also personally accused of killing anti-government demonstrators in grenade attacks in 1997 as well as the "extrajudicial killing of some 40 members of a rival party in a July 1997 coup." This lack of culpability experienced by the national police force is noted as representing a systemic problem within Cambodia.[226]

Although accused persons may not be tried under laws created after an offense was committed, they are allowed by law to benefit from decreases in the harshness of sentencing (which apply to the crimes they are being accused of) if these are passed during the trial period of the accused; this is referred to as "immediate advantage".[227] The reverse implementation of "immediate advantage", where harsher sentences may be applied to accused after the crime was committed but during the trial period, does not exist.[228] Other parameters concerning Cambodian criminal code stipulated by the UNTAC laws include double jeopardy ("The principle that a person cannot be prosecuted or tried a second time for the same offense"), the vagueness of laws ("A law must clearly define the offense"), time limits for prosecution ("a criminal proceeding must be started within certain statutory time limits"), a differentiation between voluntary and involuntary acts ("For there to be criminal liability in most jurisdictions, the accused must have performed some sort of voluntary physical act"), the condition of the victim ("When a person chooses to commit a crime, s/he is liable for the harm s/he causes even if s/he could not know the mental or physical condition of the victim") and the intervening acts of the victim or third party ("An offender is liable for the harm caused by the actions of the victim or a third party, if those actions could reasonably have been foreseen by the offender"); among others.[229] Due to the fact that Cambodia's criminal code was devised under the transitional authority period, its constitution is characteristic of major international covenants concerning human rights.[230] For example, the accused in Cambodia are considered innocent until proven guilty under the current criminal code; "the accused carries no burden to prove his/her innocence at trial. If the accused is to be found guilty of an offense, the prosecutor must prove each and every element of that offense beyond a reasonable doubt".[231] Judges, rather than juries, hand down convictions and decide on the innocence or guilt of the accused and may hand down three possible sentences: "The judge may reject the defense and convict the accused", "The judge may accept the defense and acquit the accused", and "The judge may convict the accused and mitigate the sentence".[232] A defense under the criminal code by the accused may take two forms. First, the defender may raise "doubt that the prosecutor has in fact proven each element of the crime", or second, may provide a "justification" for actions taken in violation of the law for purposes of defense of "person or property, duress, and necessity".[233] Militating circumstances may be taken into account by a judge for an accused person who clearly demonstrates mental illness, voluntary or involuntary intoxication, incapacity (ex. minors), or mistake of fact.[234]

Punishment[edit]

In 2010, Amnesty International published its report on countries in which the death penalty was still implemented as a legitimate means of enforcement.[235] It cited the 21, December 2010 U.N. General Assembly's resolution which called for a global moratorium on the use of capital punishment.[236] Missing from the list was Cambodia, which abolished capital punishment for all crimes in 1989.[237] Though Cambodia has made recent progress in terms of rights and autonomy extended to its citizens, human rights organizations continually document the Cambodian state's violation of fundamental human rights. The idea of a penal system employing incarceration as a means of punishment in defiance of the existing order is a concept that has been transplanted to Cambodia through the process of colonization under the auspices of the French.[238] Before the onset of the 20th century, "punishment in Cambodia usually consisted of fines, enslavement, amputation of the nose or ears, or death".[239] The 1991 Paris Peace Accords as well as the work of UNTAC saw the further development and integration of a western legal system into the Cambodian legal framework.[240] [241] The current trials of former Khmer Rouge members also highlight this coordination between Cambodia and western legal officials.[242]

The Cost of Freedom Fines stipulated by the Cambodian National Penal Code generally run anywhere from 10,000 to ten million riels, or approximately USD $24 to $2,430.[243] Many of the Articles enumerated in the N.P.C. explicitly protect government officials from criticism and severely limit free speech. Article 534 makes it a crime to criticize any court decision with the "aim of creating 'disturbance of public order' or endangering the 'institutions of the Kingdom of Cambodia'".[244]

Punishment in Cambodia generally consists of fines and jail time. An example would be the Monogamy Law which bans adultery and imposes fines of up to 200,000 to 1 million riels as well as jail time potentially ranging from a month to a year.[245] The Cambodian National Assembly's Monogamy Law is considered controversial and was not covered under Cambodia's 2010 revised National Penal Code, turning the enforcement of the law into a gray area.[246] However, the 2010 N.P.C. (National Penal Code) does include other provisions within its articles that many consider to be objectionable. These include Articles 301 to 304 which outline offenses designed to protect "communication privacy".[247] The law stipulates that listening or recording what another person says "without the consent of that person" is punishable by prison time ranging from one month to one year as well as a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 riels.[248] The same stands for anyone who attempts to take a picture of another person "in a private place without the consent of that person" as well as anyone who attempts to commit any of these crimes.[249] Further articles provide "additional penalties".[250] Although these laws seemingly attempt to protect the privacy of normal citizens, the possibility of imprisonment defines the communication privacy provisions as not only civil transgressions but criminal ones as well. Taking into consideration the generally corrupt nature of the Cambodian state, it doesn't take one long to ask in what ways the ruling elites in Cambodia may benefit from such provisions. By guaranteeing privacy over the public good in all cases and remaining ambiguous on whether or not individuals forfeit their privacy in public settings (such as a politician making a speech or government troops partaking in illicit behavior in public), the law provides ample room for interpretation and holds the capacity to be employed as a weapon against government accountability.[251] The N.P.C. also covers legalities concerning defamation (Articles 305-308), "slanderous denunciation" (Article 311), public insult leveled at the King (Article 445), providing "Cambodian military or civilian authorities with false information with a view to serving the interests of a foreign State (Article 457)", insurrection (Article 466), the dissemination of information of a "confidential nature" (unspecified as what constitutes "confidential) (Articles 314 and 488), and lying to the courts or other authorities (Article 535), among others.[252] These various Articles have been cited as intentionally creating the potential for expansionist interpretation and application through their ambiguity as well as disproportionately protecting the rights and leverage of government officials.[253] Though punishments legitimated through codification within the Cambodian legal system stand as testaments to the repression of fundamental civil and political rights on their own, it is often the undisclosed and extralegal means through which the Cambodian government punishes its citizens that provide a clearer picture of the protection (or lack thereof) Cambodian citizens may expect to enjoy from their government. In November of 2010 Amnesty International cited an article published in The Guardian alleging that funding provided by the U.N. was being used in Cambodia to run an internment center for Cambodia's "destitute".[254] These peoples held by the Cambodian government are being detained against their will for months and subjected to rape and beatings that often lead to death.[255] A.I. (Amnesty International) also cited a September 2010 article by the Phnom Penh Post discussing the issue of overcrowding within Cambodian prisons that were responsible for the deaths of "64 inmate deaths in the first eight months of 2010".[256] The articles titled implied that many of the inmates were targets of state repression and that this was a key element to the issue of overcrowding.[257] The Cambodian government has also taken both legal and extralegal means against unions and strikers within the country. In September of 2010, A.I. alleges that the Prime Minister ordered authorities to "begin unspecified legal action" against union leaders who organized a national strike of 200,000 garment industry workers due to a new minimum wage.[258] Beginning on the 13 of September, the strike allegedly drew the attention of police and led to the subsequent harassment of strikers.[259]

The Decadence Behind Human Rights Abuses The royal palace located along the Tonle Sap river proves an exquisite showpiece of Cambodian society for citizens and tourist alike. Yet the conditions of the Cambodian prison system would paint a grim picture of the priorities of the Cambodian government. According to a 2010 report from the LICADHO, Cambodia's prisons are filled to 175% capacity, and as of December 2009 "one third of all Cambodian prisoners – over 4,000 – were in pretrial status".[260] The government's answer has been to build new prisons like CC4, which it is planning on operating "as a large-scale prison farm".[261] With the Cambodian justice system's over-reliance on prisons in the sentencing process and forced inmate labor (dedicated to the production of "sugarcane, rubber, corn, beans, cassava and sesame") seen as a step towards "rehabilitation", the Cambodian prison and sentencing system are trapped in the midst of a systemic crisis.[262]

Illegitimate expropriation of land by the Cambodian state is another ongoing problem within Cambodia and disproportionately effects the "poor and marginalized", as might be expected.[263] In March of 2009 Cambodian security forces "shot at unarmed villagers in Siem Reap province" who were protesting their loss of land and forced eviction.[264] Several of the displaced farmers were charged with robbery, jailed, and ordered to pay compensation for attempting to farm their former land.[265] The government of Cambodia has a penchant for extrajudicial and extralegal means to silencing its critics, employing collective punishment as well as targeted killings.[266] A multitude of civil society members have been murdered under curious conditions and their deaths investigated by authorities. These include trade unionist and "nine journalists working for opposition media" since 1994.[267] Along with targeted killings and collective punishment in the form of land expropriation, rape, a corrupt judiciary and police force, and the repression of freedom of expression and assembly are all indicative the all to common extralegal means through which the Cambodian government enforces policy through violence that punishes the population.[268] This presents a systemic problem within the Cambodian legal system pertaining to the channels through which officials exercise their authority and enforce their own rule of law. Although these may not be considered conventional forms of punishment intended to establish an official social order, they non the less serve the government's interest and qualify as systemically entrenched unofficial policy that intentionally punishes the Cambodian population. Unfortunately, according to a July 2010 LICADHO (Cambodian League For The Promotion and Defense Of Human Rights) Report, the Cambodian prison population is exploding with no decline in sight within the near future.[269] As of 2010 the out of eight-teen prisons surveyed by LICADHO, their collective capacity had expanded by 14% a year within a six year period.[270] While the Cambodian prison system has an 8,000 inmate capacity, by 2010 it was warehousing an estimated 13,325 prisoners (167% capacity) according to the Cambodian General Department of Prisons while LICADHO's estimate was even higher (175% capacity).[271] These eight-teen prisons monitored by LICADHO account for approximately 90% of Cambodia's total prison population.[272] The Cambodian government's only response to this apparent problem has been to expand the country's prison-system infrastructure, with the construction and opening of Correctional Center 4 (CC4) in Pursat Province.[273] Without a doubt, expanding the infrastructure of the prison-system will undoubtedly create wealth within the construction industry granted contracts from government officials, and providing an profit incentive for imprisoning citizens will potentially exacerbate the corruption already rampant within the Cambodian government. According to the 2010 LICADHO report one of the main factors contributing the phenomenon of overcrowding stems from an "over-reliance on prisons to address crime" with "Cambodia’s criminal justice system...focused almost entirely on incarceration".[274]

Legal Personnel[edit]

The Fallout from War Due to the extended period through which Cambodia experienced warfare and genocide at the hands of the French, Americans, and the D.K., the legal infrastructure of their country is in disrepair which translates into inadequately trained and corrupt legal personnel. Not only has the institutional apparatus of Cambodia been negatively affected by the war, but the physical damage to individuals is also severe. Some estimates report that "between three and four Cambodians are maimed or killed every single day by land mines" with "More than 27,000 people in Siem Reap Province alone" having "been maimed or killed by land mines". Recently a Cambodian N.G.O. has been established by a former Khmer Rouge soldier to clear Cambodian territories of unexploded land mines and cluster bombs.[275]

Due to years of war, bombings, and the regime of the murderous Khmer Rouge, the legal infrastructure (physical and social) of Cambodia along with most institutions were in complete disrepair by 1979.[276] Such problems included "penury of surviving legally trained personnel, destruction of archives and legal documentation," the "total absence of formal courts and legality under DK" and "police traditions that ignored such niceties as rights of the accused".[277] This lack of a general support system integral to maintaining a smooth and functioning legal system (and the crucial function of training legal personnel) is evident in the lack of respect for human rights experienced by the Cambodian citizenry at the hands of state actors. The groundwork for this current lack of development in terms of legal administrative functioning was laid down in the early stages of post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia where a re-armed D.K. on the Thai border provided an incentive for militarization of the state.[278] This lack of state functioning set the impetus for the international community to intervene in 1993 and construct UNTAC to broker a peace within the country and set up the ground work for a functioning government.[279] Legal personnel in Cambodia consists of judges, lawyers, administrative officials, and civil and military police, all of which are notoriously corrupt and serve as tools for Cambodia's elite class.[280][281] There have been inter-governmental and non-governmental efforts by such organizations as the United Nations and the Legal Aid of Cambodia to facilitate the development of neutral institutions within the country, yet progress is slow and ongoing.[282] The police are especially known for violent crack downs on citizens wishing to protest. In April of 2011 police beat men, women, children and elderly protesters in Phnom Penh demonstrating against land evictions.[283] The police allegedly used "electric batons" to disperse the protesters.[284] Seeing that the only criteria for enrollment into Cambodia's police force is the ability to pay a bribe, such actions are expected from a enforcement apparatus without adequate training or institutional support.[285] The ability of citizens to redress such grievances against particular state authorities is deterred by the impartiality of the judiciary.[286] These two theoretically independent sectors of the Cambodian government are in reality working in systemic collusion and predominately function only to carry out the bidding of the CPP; these institutions represent elite party interests and not the ideals and standards of the institutions themselves.

Law Enforcement[edit]

Paper Soldiers One Cambodian officer interviewed by the Asia Human Rights Commission was (reportedly) officially enlisted in Cambodia's military police force. However, by his own account this was the extant of his service and he was able collect 10,000 riels a month for simply having his name listed on a piece of paper. His actual salary was 30,000 riels, but the other 20,000 was being collected by a superior in return for the informants pay.[287]

Law enforcement within Cambodia, according to Asia Human Rights Commission, is divided among the civil police force (under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior) and the military police force (under the jurisdiction of the Defense Ministry).[288] The civil police reportedly number at around 67,000 while the military police number at approximately 10,000.[289] The police forces in Cambodia are reported to be plagued by the phenomenon of cronyism with officers support for political parties superseding that of loyalties to the government and subsequently dictating hiring practices.[290] Government machinery is predicated on party lines rather than on a neutral institutional basis as the domination of the police by the CPP (Cambodian People's Party) and reactionary efforts by FUNICPEC to assert more control over the institution has clearly demonstrated.[291] The CPP has historically relied on its influence within the civil service to control the state apparatus while FUNCIPEC has reportedly relied on support from the military to build its party base.[292] The realities of party politics heavily contributing to the administrative functions of the state is facilitated by the stipulations set forth in the Cambodian constitution; "Article 15 of the Law on Political Parties" (in the Cambodian Constitution) "says that members of the judiciary police, armed forces and members of the civil administration can be simultaneously members of a political party, though cannot be active members" and goes on to state that it is "legal to be a government official as well as a member of a political party".[293] The qualification process for police officials reads as equally troubling as the potential conflicts of interest ignored by the constitution. According to the Asia Human Rights Commission, when asked what the educational and physical requirements were for acceptance into either the civil or miltary police force, the individual questioned who works for the Human Rights Task Force in Cambodia responded "What educational qualifications? What do you mean by physical fitness? The only procedure to recruit a police personnel is money. If you have money, you can get any position in the police or in anywhere." Also noted by the Asia Human Rights Commission is the "selling of names of the police personnel"; commanders joining the force must provide a list of subordinates under their authority who there upon join the force with them.[294] This leads to officers commonly over-reporting the number of men under their purview so as to solicit greater payroll accounts.[295] The commanding officers will then sell the accounts, which include men listed who do not even exist, and produce for themselves and their party affiliates substantial pay from the state.[296] The fact that Cambodian political parties control this process and both they and their affiliates benefit from the clout of influence, money, and authority provides an incentive for a bloated police force commonly consisting of "paper soldiers".[297] This lack of both educational and professional standards within both the military and civil police forces of Cambodia creates conditions ripe for nepotism, human rights abuses, and pervasive eroding of institutional structures.

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit]

Cambodia's recent and rather destructive history that has destroyed much of the social, political, and material infrastructure as well as the recent global financial collapse that has had a negative effect on the garment industry may be understood to contribute to the lack of stable employment that would mitigate the types of crime that defines much of the country. Considering this in conjunction with the fact that although Cambodian GDP has been growing at an estimated average of 8.4% for the last fifteen years with 2004 to 2007 experiencing "double-digit growth", in this same three year period wealth stratification increased from 0.39% to 0.43%.[298]

The Golden Triangle According to a New York Times 2007 article, "Three decades ago, the northernmost reaches of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar produced more than 70 percent of all the opium sold worldwide." According to the United Nations, the Golden Triangle's share of opium production has been eclipsed by the Golden Crescent which now produces an estimated "92 percent of the world’s opium." One source of this development has been the pressure placed on the drug-producing region from China. Due to China's proximity to the Golden Triangle it had become a "major market" for the opium produced by it and had experienced "a spike in addicts and H.I.V. infections from contaminated needles."[299]

This is most likely due to the fact that much of the rural population is left behind while development focuses on urban centers dedicated to facilitating Cambodia's niche within the globalized market economy.[300] Even within much of Cambodia's more urbanized areas, it is not uncommon to find mansions sitting on large tracts of land juxtaposed against crumbling shacks. These conditions set the stage for varying forms of national and transnational crime. International governmental and non-governmental organizations commonly focus on Cambodia's role in two specific categories of crime: drugs (counterfeit or otherwise), and human trafficking.[301][302][303] Both of these categories are multidimensional issues with severe health implications for the country. Drug's are not only illegally produced in Cambodia but are also increasingly consumed. Sex trafficking not only results in the kidnapping and shipment of young men and women, but domestic prostitution also increases the likely-hood of unprotected sex. These two problems compound each other with needle use and unprotected sex often resulting in the further spreading of disease in a country already burdened by high levels of H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. infection.[304] Unfortunately, the Cambodian government as well as its domestics security forces are notoriously corrupt with a large majority of illegal and illegitimate activity being state and provincially sponsored. This produces a lack of available statistics as to the general population's sentiments concerning crime.[305][306][307] A large percentage of the available information and literature that is produced concerning crime is provided by either international human rights observers relating to government complicity and culpability of abuses or by organizations concerned with transnational crime that may effect global markets.[308][309][310][311] On a positive note, the Cambodian government has showed genuine concern for the spread of H.I.V. as it has been reported that "high level political leadership and an impressive scale-up of a national HIV prevention, treatment and care response, Cambodia is one of few countries in the world known for having controlled and reversed a generalized HIV epidemic in the 1990s".[312] Although there has been a mitigation of H.I.V. infection, the escalating prevalence of drug use concerns many that a resurgence is likely on the horizon. Statistics show that in-between 2007 and 2009 there has been a steady rise in both total drug cases and offenders arrested.[313] Drug cases rose from approximately 150 in 2007 to over 300 in 2009, with offenders arrested rising from under 300 in 2007 to over 600 in 2009.[314] Methamphetamine pill seizure dropped precipitously from 2007 to 2008 and then climbed slightly in 2009.[315] However, both cocaine and heroine seizure substantially rose from 2007 to 2009. With approximately 13,000 grams of heroine seized in 2007 this number rose to over 25,000 in 2009.[316] Cocaine also rose from 150 grams in 2008 to 995 grams in 2009.[317] Although this rise may seem rather high, it is also possible that rather than simply being due to increased usage and transport the increase in seizures may be credited to mounting pressure and effort of law enforcement. According to the U.S. State Department reports that Cambodia has a high crime rate "including street crime."[318] Armed robberies are cited as common occurrences facilitated by the easy access within the country to military caches and weapons; international travelers are among those frequently plagued by such problems.[319] The State Department cautions internationals from traveling at night and mentions American citizens within the country being "attacked by rocks or pieces of brick" and "bound with wire, assaulted, and robbed", incidents which usually aren't investigated by the police.[320] According to a 2010 report by AsiaCorrespondant.Com "Most news stories that fill Cambodian newspapers are about crime."[321]

Rights[edit]

91 Problems but Democracy ain't One In March of 2010, the United Nations made 91 recommendations to Cambodia regarding their record on human rights which the country accepted. However, soon afterward when a U.N. officer stationed within Cambodia criticized Thai deportations carried out by the government he was subsequently threatened with expulsion from the country and the closing of the U.N. office at the direct behest of Hun Sen.[322]

The rights of the Cambodian citizenry is enshrined in the country's constitution. The constitution grants citizens the full protection of human rights outlined in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[323] Khmer citizens are extended equal privilege before the law "regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status".[324] Both sexes therefore enjoy the right to vote, enjoy access to "right to participated actively in the political , economic, social and cultural life of the nation", "choose any employment according to their ability and to the needs of the society", and "receive equal pay for equal work".[325] Also protected is the right of citizens to peacefully strike, private property rights, denounce, make complaints or file claims against any breach of the law by the State, and freedom of expression, press, publication and assembly; among others.[326] As has been cited in the previous sections, the rights enumerated and granted to Cambodian citizens are a different reality on paper than they are in practical terms. In a 2011 world report Human Rights Watch reported that "The Cambodian government increased its repression of freedoms of expression, assembly, and association in 2010, tightening the space for civil society to operate".[327] Specifically cited in the report was the extent to which Hun Sen and the CPP has consolidated its control over Cambodian institutions ("judiciary, new laws") in an effort to enforce its mandate through illegitimate coercion.[328] The report cited efforts by the CPP to "legal action to restrict free speech, jail government critics, disperse workers and farmers peacefully protesting, and silence opposition party members".[329] As of 2010, Cambodia was failing to live up to the stipulations of the 1951 Refugee Convention, have suppressed dissent through a new penal code that classifies speech critical of government as defamation and disinformation, the killing of ten opposition journalists in the last fifteen years, restrictions on freedom of association through "pending legislation" concerning the actions of N.G.O.'s and trade unions, violent quashing of public and popular protests, the use of the judiciary to target opposition members in court, 2,000 people "arbitrarily detained" for reported drug use, targeted violence towards sex-workers and women in general, and the list goes on and on.[330]

Family Law[edit]

Perhaps one of the most vulnerable sectors of Cambodian society is the female population. In 1999, Equality Now submitted a document to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), the investigative take force of the U.N. dedicated to monitoring state adherence to fundamental human rights, addressing the organizations grievances concerning violations of women's human rights in Cambodia. The document cited the Cambodian government's avowed dedication to gender equality enumerated through their nation's constitution.[331]

The Realities of Marriage The United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) reports that "25% of ever-married women have suffered emotional, physical and sexual violence" while "Officials, especially within the legal system, are predominantly male, and this hinders female accessibility to the legal system".[332] This highlights the lack of ability women realistically have in influencing the institutions they technically have equal control over in relation to men. Even if one is afforded the opportunity to engage legal mechanisms to redress grievances concerning a marriage partner, men have a virtual monopoly on the legal framework of family law.

The document specifically cited Article 31 which states "that citizens are equal before the law and have the same rights and duties without distinction based on race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political views, ethnic origin, social status, wealth or other circumstances", and went on to state that "the Constitution guarantees citizens of either sex the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation".[333] The particular issue concerning Equality Now was the increasing spread of human trafficking and prostitution primarily affecting women within the country.[334] It was stated by the document that this was due to an explicit lack of government concern with the "violence against women, discrimination in education, employment, political participation and the media, and the operation of family law in Cambodia".[335] The Cambodian Law on the Marriage and Family states that "the purpose of the Law on Marriage and Family is to regulate and protect the marriage and family, to ensure equality of the spouses in marriage and family, to strengthen the responsibility of the parents in raising up and taking care of their children, and to promote the moral and educational development of children to become good citizens imbued with a sense of responsibility for the nation and society, and the love of work."[336] The law passed by the Cambodian General Assembly on July 17, 1989 proceeds to stipulate that marriages among minors and members of the same gender/sex will not be recognized by the state as valid with minors being defined as men of twenty years of age and women of eight-teen years of age.[337] In the case of minors, under the special circumstances that a woman becomes impregnated upon the recognition and consent from the parents the marriage may be granted legitimacy by the government.[338]

Rhetoric vs Reality Several laws have been passed regarding the legal rights of women that have been ratified by the country of Cambodia. The Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims, the UNTAC Criminal Code, and the Law on Aggravating Circumstances of the Felonies protects women, including women who are married, from "rape, indecent assault and battery", all of which are classified as crimes.[339] However, it has been reported that "The strength of these laws is undermined by the lack of implementation within the domestic context and by the lack of sufficient efforts to assist and protect victims of domestic violence".[340]

The law further states that marriages may not be extended by right to "a person whose penis is impotent...a person who has leprous, tuberculosis, cancer or venereal diseases which are not completely cured...a person who is insane, and a person who has mental defect...a person who was bound by prior marriage which is not yet dissolved...between persons who are relatives by blood or who are relatives by marriage in direct line of all levels, whether or not legitimate or adoptive" and "between the collateral, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adoptive, or whether from the same mother, the same father or the same parents, or whether relatives by blood or relatives by marriage up to the third level inclusively". [341] The law also lists the legitimate circumstances under which marriages may be dissolved as well as the procedural requirements necessary for a new marriage to be recognized. Upon registration for a marriage, where parental consent from both parties is legally required, the "chief or member of the People's Committee of the Commune or Section Registrar Office" must post notice of the marriage at the brides house along with a required list of information.[342] The registrar (administrative official) who performs the marriage must operate within the jurisdiction where the bride resides and therefore that is where the marriage will also most likely take place.[343] Persons wishing to file a complaint against a marriage announcement are permitted to do so but must take action within ten days and sign their name to the petition they file.[344] These provisions in Cambodian marriage law are indicative of the strong communal and family ties relevant to a given community and Cambodian society at large. There are ample legal channels provided for community as well as parental interference into the institution of marriage are valid and often necessary. Traditional arranged marriages are still recognized by the state though are primarily enforced socially through the family rather than legally through the state.[345] Although western notions of the conditions under which marriage should take place would probably cringe at the idea of non-consensual arrangements, arranged marriages increasingly require the consent and input from both the bride and the groom.[346] The relatively weak legal position of women within Cambodian society is a rather new occurrence in light of cultural customs that have historically guaranteed women a vital position within Cambodian institutions and access to the vital decision making processes.[347] This tradition is reflected in the Assembly law which includes provisions concerning legal protections for women concerning forced marriages, their illegitimacy in the eyes of the state, and the correct process through which they may be annulled (although the filing of a complaint regarding a forced marriage must be filed within six months of the marriage ceremony).[348] This guarantees women the stated right of consensual familial relations with the men that they enter into marriages with. However, their lack of access to resources may limit their ability to petition the government on their own behalf and exercise their full rights in accordance with the law. Under age girls still face the prospect of being married at the behest of their parents with a "2004 United Nations report" estimating "that 12 per cent of girls between 15 and 19 years of age were married, divorced or widowed".[349] As regards children, women are granted equal participation in the raising of children, equal access to children in cases of divorce, and equal inheritance rights under the Assembly's Family Law.[350] However, as stated by noted by Equality Now's document to the United Nations states, under current divorce laws requirements are set for reconciliation upon the filing for divorce with the grounds under which this may be filed in the first case limited to "desertion, spousal abuse, immoral behavior, impotence, and separation for more than one year".[351] Cambodia's family courts would undoubtedly progress under improved infrastructure, targeted campaigns propelling women into critical institutions such as the judiciary, and a mitigation of governmental corruption. Until these measures are undertaken the disproportionate amount of men holding influential positions within family courts will continue to negate human rights covenants, incorporated into the Cambodian constitution, dedicated to implementing gender equality.[352] `

Social Inequality[edit]

Rural Flight Many of Cambodia's rural citizens are fleeing from the countryside to urban areas in search of wage-labor. Other rural residents are fleeing densely populated areas in search of land to clear and cultivate in less developed sections of the country. Approximately 31% of the population in 2004 were migrants with the population shift from rural to urban areas estimated at 243,000 individuals. Purported effects of such shifts include "agglomeration economies" (when urban capital creates networks where division of labor, labor surpluses and increased consumer markets produces larger profits for capital and poorer living conditions for labor) and the deterioration of rural social structures.[353]

According to a report by the Center for Economic and Social Rights, although Cambodia has experienced a steady rise in GDP per capita since 1993 and a rapid decline in poverty (though this has slowed "since the 1998 elections") efforts to stymie social inequality and economic stratification within the country by the government have been wholly inadequate.[354] The report cites the fact that the Cambodian government's rate of social expenditure stands at a meager "3.5 percent of GDP, the smallest of all low-income countries".[355] Cambodia's population is predominately rural, standing somewhere around 80% (95% by some estimates) while only approximately 19% of Cambodia's citizens live in urban areas (9% of which are situated within Phnom Penh), yet only 16% of "the poorest Cambodians" own land while there are increasing tax burdens placed on the poor to make-up for revenue lost through exports.[356][357] About 92% (3.7 million) of all poor persons in Cambodia live in rural areas with only 19% of rural dwellers having access to adequate sanitation facilities and only 10-20% of citizens living in three of Cambodians predominately rural provinces having access to safe drinking water.[358][359] Disparities in education is marked not only by rural versus urban residences but also by gender; while 43% of men in Cambodia enroll in secondary school only 34% of women do the same.[360] State expenditure in the education sector has fallen in-between 2001 and 2004 from seven percent of GDP to 5.6%.[361] These inadequacies between rural and urban development seems to follow the development initiatives of the government; road infrastructure development is highly skewed toward urban areas along with garbage collection, electricity, health care and safety conditions (landmine clearing initiatives).[362][363] While the government continues to grant major subsidies to its military the everyday living conditions of rural and urban inhabitants alike remains inadequate.

Human Rights[edit]

Dissent and the State Many within Cambodia's elite sectors utilize the country's institutions to enrich themselves, often if not always at the expense of citizens. In 2010, according to Human Rights Watch, a CPP senator employed "Soldiers, military police, and courts" while illegally confiscating land from "800 families" in order to secure sugar concessions. Many who protest such actions are at the mercy of corrupt officials which in 2010 imprisoned at least sixty protesters in one such instance. Human Rights Watch reports that in 2010 approximately 17,000 people were forcibly evicted from their land in thirteen of Cambodia's twenty-four provinces.[364]

As noted in all previous entries, the Kingdom of Cambodia's weakest point is the implementation of the codified legal structures intended to protect the human rights of it's citizens. Rampant with corruption, torn between regional geo-politics, and lacking the infrastructure to adequately facilitate legal frameworks, the law of Cambodia is often times no more than rhetoric upon which it secures international legitimacy, monetary grants, military support, state power, and consolidation of resources that benefit elite sectors. This is undoubtedly due to the years of colonialism, war, destruction of infrastructure, dismantling of social networks, imperialism, and genocide that have fully eroded the structures of Cambodian society. The government functions as an oligarchy more than a representative democracy and does what it can to suppress action taken by state actors and popular civil society alike in asserting the legal rights granted to them by the constitution; the murder of dissidents, show trials, suppression of labor, structural violence directed at women, a bloated military budget government expropriation of lands, spending directed at consolidating business infrastructure while fully ignoring citizen's health issues , banning of media exposing or alleging the government corruption, and an over-reliance on incarceration as a means of punishment are all common ocuurences in Cambodia.[365][366][367][368][369][370][371] Pailin Court President Pich Sarin was quoted by Human Rights Watch, commenting "If somebody kills a poisonous snake, are you angry with the killer?"[372] He was referring to the extrajudicial killings that took place of two alleged murderers.[373] They fact that they hadn't seen trial didn't and were summarily executed didn't seem to bother the administrator.[374]

Protests a Deadly Business In 2007 Cambodian Buddhist monks gathered in front of the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh to protest the mistreatment of the "Kampuchea Krom minority"; "ethnic Cambodians living in Vietnam." Attempting to deliver a petition to the embassy and staging a sit-down protest the 50 monks were met with beatings from the police who claimed they were trying to storm the building.[375]

The violations documented by H.R.W. also mention the following incidents: military officials with connections to a brothel beating a prostitute to death in front of witnesses and being only briefly detained before being released, the torture and murder of a sixteen year old by a provincial governor's bodyguards, soldiers executed torturing and murdering nine men in a field who are suspected of theft, and police officers failing to investigate the case of a man who shot and threw grenades into a crowd of villagers.[376] Included in a long list of structural factors creating the appropriate conditions for this environment including Article 51 of the Common Statutes on Civil Servants "which effectively grants impunity to police, military, gendarmerie, and civil servants who have committed criminal offenses" and the lack of laws regulating criminal and civil procedure, civil code, the statutes of magistrates, and the Ministry of Justice.[377] The military is also highly disorganized, suspect to manipulation by administration officials and business interests, and bloated with non-existent and illegitimate personal.[378] An adviser to Hun Sen has claimed that there are an estimated "20,000 phantom soldiers whose pay goes to their commanding officers".[379] A corrupt military, lack of judicial and police support, and reverberations still being felt from the global recession, violence is often used to settle disputes. There is no lack of ammunition, guns, or explosives on the Cambodian market to facilitate this process. Years of military conflict and a demobilization of the military has flooded the Cambodian market with cheap weaponry that is easily accessible.[380] This has the effect of putting police, who already have little concern for enforcing the law, to defer to force almost automatically when dealing with citizens and suspects. Cambodia's police are notorious for being highly corrupt. In 2010 H.R.W. interviewed over ninety Cambodian sex workers who overwhelmingly cited incidents were they were subject to police brutality including random beatings, rape, and threats if bribes were not provided.[381] Its no coincidence that citizens on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder are the most susceptible to abuse at the hands of authorities. Cambodia's drug addicts are routinely tortured in prison using "including being shocked with electric batons and whipped with twisted electrical wire".[382] Those who are poor lack the power to access to mechanisms that are manipulated through money. Prisoner's are often times forced to "donate their blood" and there is no doubt that the poor are profitable; the exploding prison population may highlight this sad reality.[383]

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