Pannasastra University of Cambodia
Final Paper for Human Right and World Politics.
Topic: HOW HUMAN RIGHTS OFFENDER ABLE TO FLEE FROM JUSTIC
Submitted to: Prof. Stan Straygin
Course: Human Right and World Politic
Prepared by : Key Manera
My paper will be talking about how someone who committed illegal act on human rights can escape from justice and what are the causes of exemption from punishment or freedom. From what I’ve learnt so far I found out that there are many things that could be the causes of getting away from punishment when they committed illegal act. So I am going to take some case study and give recommendations that could reduce the problem of exemption from punishment in Cambodia.
II. The cause of exemption from punishment
- Problems in the Law Enforcement Process
- Lack of an Independent Judiciary
- Poor Cooperation between Police and Courts
III. Case Studies
- Kompong Speu: Execution of Teenage Boy by Official’s Bodyguards
If we look into the history of Cambodia during Pol Pot regime we can see that Human Rights in Cambodia is completely destroy, there was no Human Rights in that period of time. The stronger is the winner and those stronger is soldier that they hurt people whatever they want to, there was no justice. So the problem of exemption from punishment in which criminals escape justice happened a lot now in Cambodia even in the past until now a day there are hundreds unpunished crimes committed by current of government authorities. So why can’t we punish those government authorities?
II. The cause of exemption from punishment.
There are several reasons for this problem, and those are because of the army and police have unclear lines of authority, army and police they mostly t serve only to political interest. There are problems in law enforcement and the judiciary system in Cambodia is not independent sometimes its under the pressure of government also the relationship between the police and the courts is poor.
- Problems in the law enforcement process.
In 1998, there are 6 % of arrested suspects was killed by police. At least one in every thirteen arrests resulted in either dead or injury (1) . The police say they use guns because criminal use it too, actually the reality in Cambodia in 99percent of cases the robbers use gun but some police just kill thief or robbers without taking any action just shoot them because they afraid the suspect will open fire on them. The policeman’s reflect is to protect himself not to implement the law. And reason why police usually do this is because they figure out that the whole system will not punish them for shooting, so why shouldn’t they do it to protect themselves? And people mostly are happy when they see police could kill robber or thief, but it is the wrong doing of the police. being a police you cant just shoot any suspect you like and say those robber or thief use gun so what I’m doing is to protect myself. It’s part of the culture of implementing law and order.
- Lack of an Independent Judiciary.
For the state based on rule of law must have an independence judiciary. Most of the judges and prosecutors in Cambodia come from political party so they have been beholden to political party that in turn under direct control of top government officials. So for example Mr. A is a high ranking police man and also a member of a political party committed a human’s rights crime and the case has been brought to Mr. B who is a judge that works on Mr. A case. And while the investigation if there is a intervention from any high ranking government officer to the judge than the judge have no choice to deny because the judge is come from that party if he doesn’t follow he might be take out of the place so he has to follow. So Mr. B who is the judge will just keep the case away and say it is not enough evidence or something else therefore Mr. B must release.
- Poor Cooperation between Police and Courts.
Because of the judiciary system in Cambodia is not independence is under the pressure of the government. So court is never happy with the government therefore this could lead to the lack of collaboration, trust and respect to each other between the courts and police and is often a factor in the poor implementation of criminal justice procedures. Because in some cases the police take their life to take a risky action to arrest thief or robber, but then the courts are corrupt and slow to act, than the criminals are allowed to escape.
III. Case study
Kompong Sper: Execution of Teenage Boy by official’s bodyguards.
It was on February 23, 1998, three body guards work for provincial governor in Kompong Sper shot a 16 years old boy more than a dozen of AK-47 bullets into his body after he climbed the wall of the governor’s area. There was a person who live near by governor’s area house said that “ I woke up about at 3am and hear the sound of running in the governor’s area and the sound fighting, then the sound of beating and someone was crying and said please don’t hit me I steal only chickens” about half an hours later I could hear many shots” .
When they caught the boy they did not shoot him immediately, he was tortured and then shot. But police report did not mention any torture but stated that a group of thieves jumped into the governor’s area in order to steal the governor’s property.
The police report’s conclusion that boy is a bad person who along with a number of his associate used to commit illegal things which affect public order such as stealing people’s belonging.
Police reports did not mention any torture but stated that a group of thieves jumped into the governor’s compound “in order to steal the governor’s property” and that police on duty at the time “shot to death one thief.” The police report quoted one of the bodyguards as saying that at 4:35 a.m. he heard a goose honk and a dog bark, and saw a stranger climbing over the governor’s wall.
More than a year after the killing of the boy, no charges have been filed, nor has a lawyer been authorized to represent the boy’s family. The family filed a complaint with the court and contacted a legal aid organization for assistance. Meanwhile the three bodyguards are reportedly still at work in the provincial town. The prosecutor at the Kampong Sper Court explained the delay: “If the Ministry of Interior doesn't allow us to file charges, then this case is stopped. We wrote a letter in August 1998 to the Ministry of Justice. If they don't respond, we cannot proceed because of Article 51.
Under Article 51 of the Law on Common Statutes on Civil Servants, until the prosecutor receives authorization from the bodyguards’ supervising ministry, which in this case is the Ministry of Interior, charges cannot be filed nor can lawyers be assigned to the case. To date neither the Ministry of Justice nor the
After that the case is quiet. No one has been helpful in pushing this case, because it involves powerful men. The small people don't dare do anything against them.
All in all, we can see that human right’s offender can exemption from punishment is because of lack political will, lack of independence of the judicial and law enforcement system and also minimal cooperation between police and courts and fear of both bodies to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by the armed forces.
I think we need to have some changes to reduce the problem of exemption from punishment in Cambodia and those changes that should be made are:
Military and police- should take step to establish a real neutral police and military by minimum qualification for entry into service and competitive hiring procedures and by creating an independent appointment committee,
Judiciary- must be initiate serious independent and thorough investigation and prosecute those responsible for hundred of summary execution, incidents of torture and other serious human rights violation.
Monitoring on human rights- support the work of local human rights organization and the Cambodia Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights so that they can continue to assist in monitoring and investigating.
-(1) HRW rerview with Mav Jandara, chief of general staff, Ministry of Interior, Phnom Penh, April 13, 1999.
-Criminal code 1993
-Article 51 of the Law on Common Statutes on Civil Servants