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The HR bread seller

Dear Editor,

Anette Marcher's article "Latest proposal criticized" (Post,

April 28-May 11) describes Brad Adams's opposition to a US proposal for a panel

of judges to settle possible disagreements between co-prosecutors in a trial of

Khmer Rouge leaders. The article indicates that Adams's opinion on this matter

is important because he is a "human rights lawyer".

I asked our bread

seller whether he is in favour of human rights, and he said he assuredly is. If

he should have the misfortune to be run over by a truck, will the Post's report

of the accident refer to him as a "human rights bread seller"?

Or, to

take another example, has the Post inquired of the Prime Minister whether he

favours human rights? If he answers in the affirmative, will the Post henceforth

refer to "human rights Prime Minister Hun Sen"?

My point is that "human

rights lawyer" is not a moral qualification, but a job description. It denotes a

lawyer who specializes in human rights law, in the same way that "criminal

lawyer" denotes a legal specialty, not support for criminality.

However,

Adams's quoted remarks do not concern his legal expertise, but only his

political opinion that the Cambodian government will successfully try to corrupt

the operations of the judges' panel.

Adams is of course entitled to his

opinion, but I fail to see why it should receive any more space in the Post than

the opinions of our human rights bread seller or any other

person.

- Allen Myers, Phnom Penh

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