Lack of transparency, lack of trust, lack of justice – in Cambodia’s justice system

CAMBODIAN ELECTION

Journalist Kevin Doyle based in Phnom Penh has written a blistering piece for the BBC which was published today.

The story revolves around the murder of a young woman, a mother of  are 10-year-old,  who was shot in cold blood by her jealous boyfriend  a policeman.  Witnesses saw him. But he has not been brought to justice.

Earlier this year, karaoke parlour singer, Sam Yin, 29, was shot dead by a police officer.

He escaped – but then resurfaced in August as a free man. He had reached a deal, it was reported, with the court, which closed the case after he paid $1,500 (£960) to Sam Yin’s relatives.

“I heard about the compensation, but I can’t confirm it,” Takeo province’s deputy police chief Suon Phon said in September.

Officers could only be dispatched to apprehend the suspected killer when the court issued an arrest warrant, the deputy police chief said, adding this week that he has yet to receive one.

“I don’t know what happened because everything has been done at the provincial court.”

In Cambodia, a small cash payment is often the most people can hope for when the rich and powerful are involved – and cases such as Sam Yin are far from unique.

The story then springboards onto the wider question of the justice system in Cambodia, and how it is far from transparent. As Doyle notes:

Anti-corruption monitor Transparency International reported in 2013 that Cambodia’s judiciary “was perceived to be the most corrupt institution out of 12 public institutions reviewed”.

Police officers fared no better. Bribery of officers was “widespread across the country,” Transparency reported, noting that 65% of respondents reported paying a police office a bribe in the previous 12 months.

In a 24 September statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN human rights envoy to Cambodia Surya Subedi said the list of impunity cases was “long and growing”.

“Little has been done to bring perpetrators to justice,” he said.

Kevin Doyle’s article is well worth a read.  Click here: BBC report on corruption.

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