The Legacy of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal: Maintaining the Status Quo of Cambodia’s Legal and Judicial System

The Khmer Rouge had a devastating impact on the Cambodian judicial system. The regime attempted to exterminate the country’s intellectuals and consequently, when the Khmer Rouge fell in 1979, there were only ten qualified lawyers in the country. The justice system was decimated and has been slow to recover. Since that time, deficiencies within the Cambodian judicial system have been well documented. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) for instance, which advocates for greater adherence to international judicial standards by the Cambodian courts as part of its objective to enhance human rights protection, has recorded a number of deficiencies in the domestic courts through its Trial Monitoring Project. Although the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has pledged to reform the courts, progress has been slow.

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