My dear Kacvey,

You are forewarned that this is not about your back which, at least according to the most recent medical report is not that bad, but it is about the back and front of the justice system in Cambodia that has been diagnosed by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) as extremely bad and is in need of a major overhaul if true justice is to be served to the Cambodian people.

You may also wish to give an assignment to your law school students to open the link below and to read the content through (text available in English and also in Khmer) in order to get the full extent of the report (72 pages) issued this month by the above IBAHRI. The report title is: “Justice versus corruption. Challenges to the independence of the judiciary in Cambodia.”

And please do not let any of your students escape this assignment if he/she is really a true student at heart who cares about Cambodia. Who knows, some of your students might one day become barristers or judges and not want to be classified in or associated with this group of rotten fish. As a forward to the assignment, you may also draw your students’ attention to one of Albert Einstein’s reflections which goes as follows: “In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.”

The reading of the report being done – the acronym BAKC deciphered – it will be no surprise to your students that all the issues or cases raised in the report are already known to them and to every Cambodian, in urban area or countryside, because if the cases are not known to Cambodians, there is no way the IBAHRI lawyers would get a hold on it. Let them, then, debate among themselves, formulate their own opinion and learn from the way outsiders perceive justice in Cambodia. Learning from criticism is similar to learning from failure or defeat. And with such a devastating finding and conclusion, how would BAKC itself be judged by their peers in future on the international arena?

The same also holds true that the issue of lack of justice and the deficient justice system in Cambodia are known to every living soul with the exception of those who hold justice in their autocratic hands. Kacvey, how often have you heard those in power talk about justice or “yutéthor” in their daily dealings with the public or the electorate?

Autocracy using its own police and armed forces creates its own justice system to oppress, incarcerate and eliminate voices of reason that go against their personal interests and those of their clan. Kangaroo court is what they establish and run to serve their purpose.

36 years after the KR abolished all systems of law and justice in the land of the Khmer, it has been 36 years that the principles of law and justice have been disregarded or perverted by those who have been governing Cambodia. There is nothing to be proud of. Respect of human dignity is relegated to the bottom of the priorities ladder for social development and harmony among the Khmer who live under the yoke of the justice by the powerful.

Frederick Douglas, once said: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”


Update: the link below adds more weight to the IBARHI report:

Thank you, Phnom Penh Post!