Cambodia

Szablewska, Natalia (2022). Cambodia. In: Sayapin, Sergey; Atadjanov, Rustam; Kadam, Umesh; Kemp, Gerhard; Zambrana-Tévar, Nicolás and Quénivet, Noëlle eds. International Conflict and Security Law: A Research Handbook. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, pp. 1229–1255.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-515-7_55

Abstract

Since gaining its independence from France in 1953, Cambodia has endured nearly 30 years of conflict, followed by a precarious road towards recovery and socioeconomic development. Cambodia represents a complex case where historic and modern-day foreign interventionism coupled with geopolitical conditions contributed to the outbreak of a civil war, leading to the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975–1979), bringing about mass killings and resulting in a ten-year foreign occupation. Cambodia’s modern-day legal and political systems continue to be impacted by the brutal legacy of its past. From the 1990s onwards, the involvement of the United Nations, the dispensation of foreign aid and the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a hybrid court to try atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge era, have had a positive effect on strengthening the rule of law and (re)building the legal and judicial system in the country. At the same time, these events have inadvertently contributed to the emergence and consolidation of the ruling elite, which, in turn, has weakened the democratisation process and stalled the advancement of the rule of law in Cambodia.

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