The Politicisation of the Khmer Judiciary as a Means of Inflicting Legal Violence on Government Opponents
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Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Publication date: 2017-12-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2017;53(4):193-218
2018 marks the passage of a quarter century since the first democratic parliamentary elections were held in Cambodia. The country’s political transformation and the replacement of communist ideology with democratic rule of law were ac companied by efforts to implement wide-ranging reforms that also spanned the judiciary. As one of the pillars of modern statehood, independent courts are a guarantee of lawfulness and of maintaining balanced relations between all three components of Montesquieu’s separation of powers. The principle of rule of law underlying judiciary power was abandoned in Cambodia in favour of the increasing domination of elites associated with the Cambodian People’s Party. They eventually took over control of the country’s justice system, using legal instruments to keep the opposition down, which has led to the politicisation of courts. The article describes this process and points to its implications while seeking to identify the reasons why Cambodia has seen the emergence of a new type of oppression in the form of legal violence.
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