Although the provisions governing marriage and divorce in the Cambodian Civil Code of 2007 are in general formally sufficient, there are serious practical barriers limiting women’s access to the benefits of the statutory regime, resulting in substandard protection of their rights. As a consequence, women’s circumstances in both marriage and divorce situations are frequently precarious, necessitating regulatory improvements.
Volume 2 - July 2014
This article explores the value of non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms as a complementary approach to hybrid national/international judicial bodies, using the example of the Women’s Hearings on sexual and gender-based violence in conflict that were held in Cambodia by the Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP) in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
ECCC Case 002 is considered a landmark in international law given the gravity of the alleged crimes and the leadership level of the defendants. Nevertheless, its legacy will prove extremely limited in advancing the lessons learned from past tribunals in addressing sexual violence crimes. This is primarily due to the Court’s reluctant and narrow approach in taking up only a portion of the full spectrum of reported crimes committed under the regime.
The topic of severe famine has received scant attention at international and hybrid tribunals despite the fact that an interdisciplinary discourse has emerged concerning the suitability of international criminal law as a legal response. This is the first of two articles scrutinizing this prosecutorial gap by considering whether former Khmer Rouge leaders could be successfully prosecuted for international crimes predicated on the catastrophic famine that occurred while the Khmer Rouge held power in Cambodia from 1975-1979. Part 1 develops a detailed history of the Khmer Rouge period famine. Part 2 will analyze this history according to current formulations of international crimes.
In Cambodia’s first Oscar-nominated film, Rithy Panh uses clay figures, archival footage and voice-over narration to tell a deeply personal story: “For many years, I have been looking for the missing picture: a photograph taken between 1975 and 1979 by the Khmer Rouge when they ruled over Cambodia…On its own, of course, an image cannot prove mass murder, but it gives us cause for thought, prompts us to meditate, to record History. I searched for it vainly in the archives, in old papers, in the country villages of Cambodia. Today I know: this image must be missing. I was not really looking for it; would it not be obscene and insignificant? So I created it. What I give you today is neither the picture nor the search for a unique image, but the picture of a quest: the quest that cinema allows.”
In this excerpt from Judge Lemonde’s memoir of his four years at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, he recounts his evolving impressions of Kaing Guek Eav alias “Duch” as he investigated the nature of Duch’s responsibility for torture and murder of at least 12,272 men, women, and children at the Khmer Rouge’s S-21 security center and associated facilities.
In 2009, journalist Thierry Cruvellier attended all evidentiary hearings and closing arguments in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia trial of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, the former director of the Khmer Rouge’s S-21 security center. These are two Chapters from his book on the trial.
This article scrutinizes the enacted international crimes provisions in the Cambodian Criminal Code of 2009 and concludes by finding that, by criminalizing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in its new criminal code, Cambodia has complied with some, but not all, of its obligations under the ICC Statute. Divergent definitions of crimes and the failure to recognize some ICC crimes and modes of responsibility may result in an ICC determination that Cambodia is unable to prosecute certain crimes in its domestic courts, should international crimes be committed. If Cambodia wishes to retain full sovereignty over the prosecution of international crimes, it should amend its criminal code.