Rapists negotiate pay-offs to avoid going to court

Rapists negotiate pay-offs to avoid going to court

Only a minority of rapes in Cambodia go to court with perpetrators often avoiding prosecution by paying off their victims’ families.

Amnesty International’s 2010 report “Breaking the Silence – Sexual Violence in Cambodia” found that due to social stigma only a small proportion of rapes were reported to police. Often those that were ended in illegal financial settlements between the victims’ families and the rapists.

Chhan Sokunthea, head of ADHOC’s women’s and children’s rights section, admitted it was common for perpetrators and victims’ families to negotiate cash settlements to avoid a court case. “The victims’ families, most of them are poor, they need the money and they don’t know about the law,” said Sokunthea.

In some cases, the police would take money from the perpetrators to convince the victim’s family to accept a cash payment, she added.

Another disincentive to pressing charges was lack of faith in the judicial system. Most families believed the court system was corrupt and they wouldn’t get a fair hearing. “The family would rather get compensation from the perpetrator’s family,” said Sokunthea.

The problem largely stems from the fact that police officers in Cambodia are poorly paid and are open to what is called “tea money”.

“The salary of the police, of the local authorities, is low and if they [are not] corrupt how can they survive and live?” said Sokunthea.

Mok Chito, chief of the Interior Ministry’s Central Justice Department, said police officers were not allowed to offer a compromise settlement between a victim’s family and an accused perpetrator.

“Police had been trying to inform villagers and NGOs to let parents know about the law and to make sure their children were not left unattended,” added Chito.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release