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Khmer Rouge moot point for law students

Khmer Rouge moot point for law students

Thirty people have begun a legal training course that includes mock Khmer Rouge genocide

trial scenarios.

The six-week course is part of a project designed and operated by the Documentation

Center of Cambodia, to train a new generation of legal leaders.

"During the Pol Pot era, all but ten of Cambodia's trained jurists were killed

as 'class enemies,' leaving the country with severely depleted human capital,"

said the DC-Cam director, Youk Chhang.

"Training a new generation of Cambodian legal leaders is essential if the country

is to develop a stronger rule of law, which has long been absent."

The Legal Training Project aimed to contribute to the development of a strong rule

of law and democracy and would help Cambodian leaders and ordinary citizens to understand

the legal issues surrounding the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

He said the shortcomings of Cambodia's legal system extended far beyond the Khmer

Rouge issue.

"The country is still plagued by a legal system that often rewards corruption

with impunity," he said. "Citizens with insufficient wealth or education

effectively face significant barriers to accessing the legal system and pursuing

successful claims. These problems are part of the legacy of years of turmoil before,

during, and after the Khmer Rouge period, and they must be addressed if Cambodia

is to pursue a stable and democratic future," said Youk.

The course will include mock cases such as genocide against minority groups, and

torture against perceived enemies of the Pol Pot regime.

DC-Cam will also publish a short "Guide to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal" of

about 80 to 100 pages to build public awareness of the law through clear and easily

digestible legal information about the coming tribunal.

Informing people about the tribunal process would help to ensure that the forthcoming

trials did not create political instability, Youk said.

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