Cambodian Parliamentary Immunity in Danger

Cambodian Parliamentary Immunity in DangerParliamentary immunity is enshrined in Article 80 of the 1993 Cambodian Constitution, which states that members of the National Assembly can only be prosecuted, arrested or detained with the approval of two-thirds of the National Assembly. The constitution provides one narrow exception to this rule: negating the necessity for a vote if a parliamentarian is…

Opinion: Cambodian Rice Industry Endangered by Bad Policy

Opinion: Cambodian Rice Industry Endangered by Bad PolicyIt may be only a matter of time before Cambodia’s rice industry disintegrates, partly as a result of a weak Cambodian Rice Federation and partly because of misguided government policies. It is an industry fraught with deep problems since the 1970s, when it was largely destroyed from the depredations of the Khmer Rouge. As a…

Khmer Rouge vs. Islamic State (IS) – which is more evil?

Khmer Rouge vs. Islamic State (IS) – which is more evil?Two days ago, an elderly Cambodian father told the Khmer Rouge tribunal here – yes, it is still in existence – of how his son from the boy’s Vietnamese mother had been thrown in the air, then fatally impaled on a Khmer Rouge bayonet as he fell.  That happened to other children, including girls.  Meanwhile,…

Going Viral in Cambodian Cyberspace

Going Viral in Cambodian CyberspaceSocial media is on the rise in Cambodia, and it may just mark the beginning of the end of the systemic culture of judicial impunity, as well as the long-dysfunctional democratic system. To shine some context on the matter, social media vigilantes have been busy linking brutal attacks on two lawmakers outside the National Assembly…

Cambodia Holiday Policy Hampers Competiveness

Cambodia Holiday Policy Hampers CompetivenessThe Cambodian government just released its official list of public holidays for 2016, beating past years’ record by increasing the number of public holidays for 2016 to be 28 days notwithstanding when holidays fall on a weekend (Saturday-Sunday) the following Monday is off as compensation. Add to that mandatory annual leave of 18 days, people…

Cambodia’s Quest for Effective Leadership

Cambodia’s Quest for Effective LeadershipTwo solid years after Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed in an hours-long speech at the inaugural first Cabinet Meeting to lead a “Reform Mandate” (2013-2018), the momentum has subsided and the balloon has deflated. The New Normal has ceded place to the Old Normal. Reflecting back to leadership quality and challenges described in books published…

Cambodia’s NGO Law: Legislation with Chinese characteristics

Cambodia’s NGO Law: Legislation with Chinese characteristicsAs the Cambodian government prepares to finalize its draft Law on Associations and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), which has faced severe criticisms from international rights groups, Cambodia’s civil society – one of Asia’s most vibrant – risks taking a giant leap backwards. The draft NGO law, if passed, might also signal that Cambodia is falling further…

UN Credibility on Trial in Cambodia

UN Credibility on Trial in CambodiaThe United Nations faces a credibility test. For more than a decade, it has supported the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC, a hybrid tribunal with national and international sides created to try “senior leaders” and others “most responsible” for atrocities of the Pol Pot regime, which enjoyed Chinese support. The ECCC…

Former Official Recalls Cambodian Collapse

Former Official Recalls Cambodian CollapseOn April 10, John Gunther Dean, the US ambassador to Cambodia at the fall of Phnom Penh, gave a startling interview to Denis D. Gray of the Associated Press, in which Dean accused the US of abandoning the country and “handing it over to the butcher.” Dean left on one of the last helicopters out.…

Reform in Cambodia May Signal Change

Reform in Cambodia May Signal ChangeCambodia had a year of political reform in 2014, and observers are skeptical about how much change it will bring. But it might be premature to dismiss Prime Minister Hun Sen’s reform efforts as cosmetic. The year began with a series of mass protests organized by the Cambodian National Rescue Party over alleged massive fraud…