Cambodia’s legal system was completely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime. When IBJ’s CEO and Founder, Karen Tse first started working in Cambodia in 1994 in the aftermath of Pol Pot’s regime, there were only 10 lawyers left alive in the whole country. Those arrested had no access to justice and were left in prison indefinitely. IBJ began work in Cambodia in 2005, with its first Defender Resource Center established in 2006. Today, we continue to work to build constructive relationships with authorities in order to provide comprehensive legal representation to vulnerable prisoners.
Less than 30 years ago Cambodia only had 10 lawyers to serve its population of over 10 million, Legal professionals were virtually driven into extinction as the regime systematically eliminated its “enemies”. Since then IBJ has worked to transform the criminal justice system, institutionalizing state sponsored legal aid, enhancing the capacity of lawyers through training and continuing to achieve impactful change.
In Cambodia strategic partnerships have been created with government bodies, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior, General Department of Prisons and with justice organizations such as the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights and Legal Aid of Cambodia. These partnerships allow IBJ to maximise their impact and build constructive relationships with authorities, legal organizations and local NGO’s, institutionalizing IBJ’s mission of early access to a lawyer.
High impact successes include:
We provide training, tools, manuals and eLearning developed with our partners, funded through grants, and resourced through pro-bono assistance. Our Defense Wiki has been accessed over 44 thousand times and it, along with our other resources, provides a critical tool, enhancing the capacity of lawyers and improving their productivity.
There are many ways to get involved, to help make a long term difference. Please get in touch.
IBJ has now been working in the Courts of Appeal for over a decade. This policy paper informs and guides decision-makers, and those with the power to drive change, to transform systems and practices to realise access to justice for all.