On October 22, 2020, Cambodia Bridges to Justice (CBJ), IBJ’s affiliate organization in Cambodia, introduced key Cambodian justice sector stakeholders to its recently launched iConnectJustice mobile application.
Cambodia Bridges to Justice launches groundbreaking iConnectJustice mobile app
On October 22, 2020, Cambodia Bridges to Justice (CBJ), IBJ’s affiliate organization in Cambodia, introduced key Cambodian justice sector stakeholders to its recently launched iConnectJustice mobile application. iConnectJustice is a smartphone app that allows Cambodians to submit their legal issues via phone and be directly connected with a lawyer who will take on their cases free of charge. To date, over 80 Cambodian lawyers from across the country have signed up to provide free legal advice and representation to vulnerable accused who would otherwise not be able to afford a lawyer.
As a leading global justice provider to the world’s most vulnerable accused, IBJ is proud to launch the iConnectJustice app in Cambodia. Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever before, we must harness the power of technology to serve those most in need of legal defense. We can not and should not look away.-Andrew Ozanian, IBJ Associate Director & Technology Lead
Scores of police officers, prison officers, and military police officials attended the CBJ event, that was held in partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Justice and is part of the United Nations Democracy Fund-supported project, Ensuring the right to legal representation in Cambodia. App developer Phou Pheakdey trained participants on how to use the App to connect accused persons to lawyers from their place of detention. The App received overwhelming praise, with many participants expressing how much iConnectJustice will help them facilitate access to justice and uphold the rights of the accused.
Judicial police officers present at the event raised a number of issues with Cambodia’s current legal framework. Of particular concern is that accused persons do not have the right to access a lawyer until after they have been in detention for 24 hours or more, as stipulated in Article 98 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Following a discussion around the potential implications of this article, participants recommended that the law be amended to ensure that accused persons have the right to access a lawyer from the moment of their arrest. Participants made a number of additional recommendations and commitments to ensure that the rights of vulnerable accused are upheld.
The following resolutions were agreed upon:
- Information discussed at the CBJ event be published and distributed to police officers nationally;
- Accused persons should have the right to a lawyer immediately after arrest;
- A defense lawyer should always present when an accused person is brought before a judge;
- A support program should be developed to help vulnerable detainees reintegrate into society so as to minimize the likelihood of re-offense; and
- The general public should be made aware of their legal rights.
For more information on the iConnectJustice mobile app, please contact IBJ Associate Director & Technology Lead Andrew Ozanian at firstname.lastname@example.org.