Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Cambodia: UN Expert Alarmed By Reports Of Mass Trial Of Activists

The UN human rights expert on Cambodia today expressed serious concerns about an imminent mass trial of individuals associated with the disbanded Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Rhona Smith, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, said credible information pointed to trials commencing on 26 November of at least 113 individuals summoned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Several others have been summoned for a trial in December.

Most face charges of conspiracy and incitement to create serious chaos to social security, crimes punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

“The mass trials of CNRP activists appear to be politically motivated, lacking clear legal grounds and constitute a serious violation of the due process rights, firmly established by international human rights law,” said Smith, adding that such judicial proceedings appeared to be part of a strategy to intimidate and discredit opponents of the government.

“This is not an isolated episode. Civic and democratic space in Cambodia has continued to shrink and there remains little evidence of political rapprochement and reconciliation.”

In recent months, authorities have resorted to suppressive measures against those affiliated with CNRP. Since June 2019, over 150 people associated with CNRP have been arrested on various charges. Of them, 31 have been arrested since January 2020, with 30 remaining in detention. An additional 42 individuals have been summoned for questioning and subsequently released under judicial supervision this year, the UN expert said.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“Every person must have the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare his or her case.” Smith said.

“As some of the individuals summoned are currently residing outside Cambodia, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the defendants do not have access to relevant materials, including exculpatory material to prepare their defence,” she added.

“I call on the authorities to open up civic space, protect and promote fundamental freedoms, including the rights to assembly and of expression, and to ensure the right to a fair trial for all, as guaranteed by international human rights norms and standards and Cambodian laws,” Smith said.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.