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Cambodia

Access to Justice Program: Legal Aid for Vulnerable Populations

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Cambodian judicial system was, like many other sectors, abandoned during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. Then, two decades of civil war deprived the country of an entire generation of members of the legal profession.
 
The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, created on October 16, 1995, and comprising about 24 lawyers, most of whom had returned from exile, began to structure itself in such a way as to respond, at least in part, to the need for access to the law in the country. The cooperation between the Bar Association and ASF France, formalized since 2005, aims to meet this need as a priority.
 
Since 2006, the Legal Aid project has enabled the installation of 22 lawyers providing legal consultations and free legal aid in all provinces of the country. These legal aid lawyers also benefit from a capacity building program.

OBJECTIVES

This project aims to ensure access to quality defense for the most vulnerable populations throughout Cambodia. It participates in the promotion of fair justice, the strengthening of the legal profession and the dissemination of the rules and principles protecting human rights among the Cambodian population.

ACTIVITIES

  • Establishment of a legal aid system with a minimum of one lawyer per province
  • Provision of free legal consultation services
  • Free legal aid for the indigent
  • Continuing education for legal aid lawyers

RESULTS

  • Between 750 to 1200 cases defended per year for the benefit of the poorest.
  • More than 5000 cases defended since the beginning of the action
  • More than 15,000 legal consultations delivered across the country
  • 12 continuing education sessions for the program's lawyers on various topics such as: the role of the lawyer, the penal code, the code of criminal procedure, the use of international legal instruments protecting human rights before domestic courts.
Testimony of a beneficiary :
 
"I'm Mrs. SOK Kosol, I'm 75 years old, I used to sell cakes on the street; now I can't because of my age. My only son, who is my support, was arrested for drug use. It is thanks to Mr. Sun Eam who is the lawyer here in Kratie that I can follow my son's case. He told me that he will defend him for free. He is my only hope.
 
Interview with Mrs. SOK Kosol from Kratie.

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