IBJ Lawyers scrutinize Cambodia criminal codes and put them into practice

By M. Williams and J. Salomé On 24th and 25th March 2014 International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) partnered with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to host an inaugural Defense Lawyers Training Program.  IBJ invited all its lawyers, lawyer assistants and legal interns from its provincial offices. Keith Raynor, ECCC Senior Assistant Prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, International Prosecutor, and Song Chorvoin, National Deputy Co-Prosecutor, led an intense and interactive training, involving guest lawyers from Cambodia, France, Germany and … Continue Reading →

Vuthy, IBJ lawyer Vibol and Vuthy’s wife

A Criminal Case Hiding a Land Dispute

Back in 2006, eleven farmers in Takeo province were confronted by the head of the district who declared that he owns the land where they were farming and that it, in fact, belonged to the villagers. Takeo Court asked them to provide a deed of property to take a decision about the dispute. Vuty (not the client’s real name), a 58 years old rice farmer, brought the certificate to the court. Unfortunately, the head of the district also had a … Continue Reading →

Community Legal Education Session in Pusat

Opening Peoples’ Eyes To The Rights

By Vinicius Haesbaert Besides working to provide free legal aid and access to justice to every citizen, IBJ aims at raising awareness of legal issues in the community level. We envision a world where each and every person is knowledgeable about their rights and is empowered to demand that they are upheld in practice. In that context, IBJ Cambodia has organized a series of Community Legal Education Programs (CLE). They are one-day events, usually held at remote villages, in order … Continue Reading →

IBJ Client (Vanni) and IBJ lawyer (Mr. Roth Chantol)

A Boy Was Arrested Without Committing a Crime

In February 2013, Vanni (client’s name changed), a sixteen-year-old boy in Grade 6, his father and some of his relatives were fishing in lake Prek Phsout, Kampong Chhnang province. Before going fishing, they bought some electrical fishing equipment from some people who claimed they had invented it. However, this electrical equipment composed of a battery that was illegal. According to the fishery law, using this kind of electrical material for fishing can be subjected to a sentence of three to … Continue Reading →

Mr. Veasna, IBJ client and Mr. So Bengtharun, IBJ lawyer

“Appearances Can be Deceiving”: The Lack of Investigation Before Trial

by Charlène Buisson In 2010, a thief came into Mr. P’s house to rob him of 6,500,000 riels (about 1,625 USD) and beat him. The victim immediately went to the police post to file a complaint, informing them that he suspected two persons: Veasna (name changed) and his son. But Veasna, a 49 year-old farmer and father of seven children living in a deeply remote area, was in a pagoda at the time of the robbery. The police went to his … Continue Reading →

IBJ intern and IBJ client in front  of client's house-Oct 2013

Tried Twice

By Daniel Ginetty At 6 p.m. on November 10, 2007, seventeen-year-old Sopaea finally lost his patience and stepped outside of his family’s apartment to confront his thirty-five-year-old neighbor, Karona, who had been taunting him loudly from the courtyard for the past half hour. Karona was angry because Sopaea’s dog had bitten his young son a few days before. The child was rushed to the hospital and would be fine, but his father, having passed through the phase of instinctual paternal … Continue Reading →

IBJ Workshop © Olle Eriksson1

IBJ Cambodia Workshop on Community Legal Awareness

By Vinicius Haesbaert IBJ-Cambodia held a two-day event in Phnom Penh on September 25 and 26 with all staff, including lawyers, investigators and office administrators around the provinces. Charlène presents HR policies On the 25th, the focus was on IBJ’s internal policies, and on introducing IBJ’s Child Protection Policy. In the first part, Ms. Charlène Buisson, Program Officer, discussed the Human Resource policies and latest performance assessments with the staff . In the second one, Jeanne Salome, Program Officer, started … Continue Reading →

Street Law

IBJ celebrates 170th awareness-raising campaign in Cambodia

Contributed by Vinicius Haesbaert This is a special occasion for IBJ-Cambodia. On September 5th, we commemorated our 170th edition of Community Legal Education programs in the provinces in the country! The events started in 2009 as a way to inform citizens of their basic rights. By raising awareness on their rights, we aim at encouraging them to demand their rights be respected if they are ever arrested or accused. Campaigns are conducted by the Defender Resource Centers (DRCs) in the … Continue Reading →

Sok with his family

Murder in a Cornfield

Sok (not his real name), a boyish-looking nineteen-year-old man, acted courageously by agreeing  to be interviewed in IBJ’s Battambang office because this office is located inside the court complex where, just two months ago, he nearly lost ten years of his freedom. currently, IBJ is experimenting with three such offices inside court complexes because the location makes us more visible to the accused and their families. The fear, however, is that the proximity might lead the families to associate IBJ … Continue Reading →

Prisoners playing volleyball in Pursat Prison courtyard

Rights of the Accused

A handful of prisoners in blue jumpsuits are playing a lazy game of volleyball in the hot sun in the center of the Pursat prison courtyard; another is cutting hair in a tiny shack behind the volleyball court; the majority are squatting idly, hanging their arms through the wire fence that separates their cells from the yard. The more industrious, or, perhaps, merely those fortunate enough to have been assigned a task to pass the time, either carry garden tools … Continue Reading →