Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - British lawyer targets 'ruling elite' in ICC complaint



British lawyer targets 'ruling elite' in ICC complaint

British lawyer targets 'ruling elite' in ICC complaint

A British lawyer has asked the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into “widespread and systematic” land grabbing in Cambodia for more than a decade by what he calls the Kingdom’s “ruling elite”.

The complaint filed with the Hague court today by lawyer Richard Rogers, who is representing Cambodian land grab victims, alleges that the displacement of an estimated 770,000 people over the past 14 years constitutes a crime against humanity.

“The communication contends that senior members of the Cambodian government, its security forces, and government-connected business leaders carried out an attack on the civilian population with the twin objectives of self-enrichment and preservation of power at all costs,” a statement released by Global Diligence LLP – where Rogers works – and the International Federation for Human Rights, says.

Rogers says that crimes committed by this group “include murder, forcible transfer of populations, illegal imprisonment, persecution and other inhumane acts”.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan, who had previously mocked the lawyer’s efforts, said yesterday that the complaint was “still a joke”, and was not only exaggerated, but politically motivated.

“It’s polarized by politics,” he said, adding that the government was making a significant effort to resolve the 1,263 land dispute cases that Cambodians had lodged at the national level.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has publicly made a statement that he won’t let land-grabbing issues [continue].”

Cambodia ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in March 2002.

It is up to the ICC prosecutor to decide whether a full investigation will be launched.

Investigations are currently being conducted at the court based on alleged crimes in eight countries, all of which are in Africa.

In March of this year, American human rights attorney Morton Sklar filed a complaint against Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials at the ICC alleging crimes of genocide based on “efforts to interfere” at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

In 2012, the US-based Khmer People Power Movement also filed a complaint with the ICC that accused the government of crimes against humanity related to forced evictions.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not