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Juvenile justice law clears Senate hurdle

Teenagers are escorted to a vehicle by Phnom Penh authorities last year after being apprehended in Por Sen Chey district and charged with rape and murder. National Police
Teenagers are escorted to a vehicle by Phnom Penh authorities last year after being apprehended in Por Sen Chey district and charged with rape and murder. National Police

Juvenile justice law clears Senate hurdle

The Senate yesterday voted unanimously to approve the draft juvenile justice law, according to secretary-general Um Sarith.

Once signed into law by the King, it will require Cambodia’s estimated 700 child offenders to be detained separately from adult prisoners, the establishment of a special children’s rehabilitation centre, and that guards be trained in child psychology.

Debora Comini, representative to Cambodia for UNICEF, yesterday said she was pleased by the Senate’s ratification. “The draft law is the first measure of its kind to protect the rights of children in conflict with the law in Cambodia. It focuses on diversion as the proper response to youth criminality rather than punishment,” she said.

However, freelance human rights and legal consultant Billy Tai was less optimistic.

“I think we need to move away from applauding the law being simply enacted, but demand the proper implementation and enforcement,” he said.

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