Cambodia : Judicial Aid
Access to Justice Programme: legal aid for the most vulnerable populations
The Cambodian judiciary system was abandonned during the Khmers Rouges regime from 1975 to 1979, alike many other sectors. Afterwards, two decades of civil war deprived the country from an entire generation of judicial professionals.
The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia was created on October, 16 1995 and gathered about 24 lawyers, most of them returned from exile. This association aspires to be more structured to better deal with the need to have an access to law in the country. The cooperation between the Bar and ASF France has been formalized since 2005 in order to meet this need.
Since 2006, the judicial assistance project has contributed to the settling in of 22 lawyers who deliver free legal consultations and judicial assistance in all the provinces of the country. These judiciary assistance lawyers benefits also from a capabilities reinforcement programme.
This project aims at providing access to a quality legal defense for the most vulnerable people of the cambodian territory. It fosters the promotion of a fair justice, the empowerment of lawyers and the diffusion of human rights rules and principle within Cambodia.
- Setting up a judicial assistance system (at least one lawyer per province)
- Delivering free legal consultations
- Free judicial assistance for the people in need
- Continuing education for legal aid lawyers.
- Between 750 and 1200 files dealt with per year to the benefit of the most vulnerable.
- More than 5 000 files defended since the beginning of the action.
- More than 15 000 legal consultations undertaken throughout the country.
- 12 continuing education sessions for the lawyers of the programme on diverses topics such as: the role of the lawyer, the penal code, the criminal procedure code, the use of international justice tools concerning human rights in domestic juridictions.
Bewteen 750 and 1200 files are dealt with for free each year, which amounts to 5000 cases since the beginning of the programme.
Testimony of a beneficiary :
« I am Miss SOK Kosol, I am 75 years old, I had the habit to sell cakes in the street; today I can no longer do that because of my age. My only son, who was supporting me, has been arrested for drug dealing. Thanks to Maitre Sun Eam who is the lawyer in Kratie I can follow my son's case. He told me he was going to defend my son for free. It is my only hope".
Statement by Mme SOK Kosol from Kratie.