Impact in Numbers

  • 6 Defender Resource Centers providing legal protection in 15 of 25 provinces
  • 749 lawyers trained
  • 12,389 cases represented
  • 1,718 justice officials trained through roundtables
  • 10,092,049 people reached through rights awareness campaigns

 Data as of January 2021


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.

Our activities in Cambodia include:

  1. Running radio rights awareness programs to explain to individuals their legal rights to counsel, a fair trial, and freedom from torture, and advising them where to seek legal aid services.
  2. Providing legal skills training to increase the capacity of Cambodia’s criminal defense lawyers.
  3. Establishing and maintaining a 24-hour legal aid hotline for accused which receives about 50 calls a month, allowing IBJ to provide the fastest possible legal representation to detainees.
  4. Providing access to high quality free legal aid services to the poorest in 15 provinces and in the Court of Appeal.

MOUs + Partnerships

  • Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Ministry of Justice 
  • Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
  • Ministry of Interior, General Department of Prisons
  • Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association
  • Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights 
  • Legal Aid of Cambodia

Future Goals

  • Increase the number of Defender Resource Centers to cover all 25 provinces.
  • Further increase early access to counsel through agreements with local police officials.
  • Continue capacity building and training of criminal defense lawyers and justice sector officials.
  • Expand rights awareness campaigns to reach out to all individuals in Cambodia.
  • Engage in an advocacy dialogue to establish a state-sponsored legal aid system

Country Background

Cambodia’s legal system was completely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Legal professionals were virtually driven into extinction as the regime systematically eliminated its “enemies.” 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. The lack of legal representation also increased the likelihood of torture at the hands of prison officials.

Today, Cambodia is working towards adopting a comprehensive state-sponsored legal aid system but continues to suffer from a significant shortage of lawyers and trained professionals. IBJ works to build collaborative and constructive relationships with local authorities, and train lawyers to provide competent legal representation to vulnerable prisoners.

IBJ Karen Tse from Eli Laliberte on Vimeo

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IBJ in Cambodia 2009| IBJ in Cambodia 2010| IBJ in Cambodia 2011-2012| IBJ in Cambodia 2013-2014