Cambodia: Ensure independent courts and legal profession (UN Statement)

The ICJ, together with Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), delivered an oral statement to the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council calling on Cambodia to ensure the independence of the courts and the legal profession. 

The statement reads as follows:

“Mr. President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and the International Commission of Jurists appreciate the Special Rapporteur’s clear benchmarks for Cambodia to fulfil its international human rights obligations and the promises of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords.

It is time for Cambodia to implement the recommendations made for decades by Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies. It is time for the government to reverse its years of power consolidation; ensure a free and fair election in 2023; and end Cambodia’s human rights crisis by establishing independent and impartial courts and an independent legal profession.

These measures are urgently required to curb and reverse Cambodia’s entrenched patterns of:

  • corruption;
  • creation and abuse of laws, and unfair trials to criminalize and arbitrarily detain political opponents and human rights defenders for exercising their right to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, and expression both online and offline;
  • lack of access to effective remedies, resulting in impunity for serious violations, including extrajudicial killings; and
  • unfair elections that, since 2018, have culminated in Cambodia’s becoming a de facto one-party State.

What further measures does the Special Rapporteur suggest be undertaken by the Council, States and NGOs to encourage and assist Cambodia to implement the recommendations of Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies?

Thank you.”

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