The International Law Scholar Association of Cambodia (ILSAC) has published a 173-page International Law Bulletin. This is the first publication by the association and comes with the official permission of the Ministry of Interior.

Written in the Khmer language, it highlights the principle of Uti possidetis Juris, the obligations of treaties and provides analysis on the principle of unchanging borders, particularly in the context of the contentious Preah Vihear Temple issue that saw Cambodia and Thailand at loggerheads just over a decade ago.

ILSAC vice-president Yaung Chan Sophea told The Post on October 19 that the book provides insights into disputes concerning islands and also has an explanation of the procedures used for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

“The question is whether we are legally prepared enough when this sort of legal wrangling arises. We encourage our scholars to take part in the research with association in the future to create work that will educate the next generation,” he said.

He added that matters like international trading activities, the demarcation of land and sea borders, foreign direct investment issues, peaceful settlement of disputes through the jurisdiction system and other international affairs required legal experts.

For example, the case of the Preah Vihear temple went to the International Court of Justice twice, which should be a wake-up call for Cambodia in terms of its need for greater expertise in international law, according to Chan Sophea.

“So, in order to contribute to this work, [ILSAC] recruited scholars and researchers to study these topics and write a collection of colourful articles, both long and short, based on their professional expertise and on topics in line with new developments in international law,” he said.

He added that each article contains convincing arguments supported by conventional and customary interpretations of international law, its general principles and international jurisprudence. The journal was crafted in an authoritative style with academic rigor that provides examples and the related jurisprudence, and it engages its readers with examples of international law put into practice.

“Our association’s only intention is to share our views and findings with other Cambodian scholars. We would like to stress that our journal focuses merely on international law, but it does not necessarily address political issues,” he said.

Attorney West Nareth Hib, who has read through the journal, said it presents a definitive research effort and would be a good resource for further research by scholars and lawyers looking to find out more.

“Having read the book carefully, I commend all of the authors for their meticulous efforts based on international laws, international customs and principles and international norms,” he said.

He added that Cambodia does have a growing need for lawyers who practise in the area of international law, whether public or private international laws, particularly international trade and investment law as well as international commercial courts and arbitration.

“As a lawyer keen on learning and practising international law, I am well aware of the growing need for lawyers with expertise in this subject in Cambodia as we have become more active in international relations. Therefore, I encourage Cambodian law students to read this journal to acquire some basic knowledge of international law,” he said.