Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US lawyer praises Chhouk Rin judgement

US lawyer praises Chhouk Rin judgement

US lawyer praises Chhouk Rin judgement

us.jpg
us.jpg

Chhouk Rin at his trial

A

judge's decision last month to release former Khmer Rouge commander Chhouk Rin

was an "independent" court ruling, and the lawyers at Rin's trial should

be proud of their work, said an American judicial expert at a legal forum on Aug

8.

"I would like to congratulate the prosecutors and the judges [at Rin's trial],"

said Skip Gant, a UN Judicial Mentor at the Phnom Penh Municipal court.

"We should take this case as an example of the lawyering we should all be doing."

Rin was charged with the kidnap and murder of three Western backpackers in 1994.

At his July 18 trial, heavily criticized by legal and human rights groups, Rin was

freed on the basis of a six-month amnesty for defecting rebels in the 1994 law banning

the KR.

Rin's trial and the 1994 law were the main topics of the discussion forum, organized

by the Cambodian Bar Association and the UN Center for Human Rights. Opinions on

the subject varied considerably with some questioning the law and the trial and others

defending it.

The Chief of the UN Center's Legal Assistance Unit, Surya Dhungel argued that the

KR law was unconstitutional.

"If we look at the preamble and some of the paragraphs, it is clear that the

National Assembly assumed judicial power when writing the law," said Dhungel,

pointing to Article 2, which states that the KR shall automatically "be deemed

offenders against the Constitution and violators of the laws of the Kingdom of Cambodia".

"Parliament had already passed judgment, which according to the Constitution

is only in the power of the judiciary," said Dhungel.

He also argued that the law violates the equality for all Cambodians provided by

the Constitution by being applicable only to the KR.

Others debated who would fall into the category of "leaders" that the law's

Article 6 exempts from amnesty. Also, there was some discussion about when and what

crimes the amnesty covers.

The kidnapping of the three backpackers took place shortly after the KR law was approved

by the National Assembly. Some lawyers have argued that the six month amnesty provision

could only cover crimes committed before the law was promulgated. To include crimes

committed after the promulgation would amount to issuing a six month carte blanche

for the KR to kill, rape, rob and murder as long as they defected before the end

of the amnesty period.

Rin's lawyer, Put Theavy, believes that's the way the law should be read.

"The amnesty covers any crime committed any day. As long as it was committed

before the amnesty period expired it can not be punished - even if somebody killed

one million people," said Theavy after the forum.

The Cambodian Government and the embassies of the three slain backpackers have appealed

against Rin's release.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the