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24 Nov 2020

Ben Sokhean, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Clooney Foundation for Justice urge the govt. to repeal incitement provisions to honour rights to freedom of expression

"Unjustified request: Ministry rejects US-based NGO’s call to repeal law on incitement", 24 November 2020

The Ministry of Justice ... rejected a call made by US-based Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) to “repeal” the incitement law and ensure respect for the rights to freedom of expression in the Kingdom.

The reaction comes after CFJ, which advocates for justice through accountability for human rights abuses around the world, on Friday released a statement under the title “TrialWatch Report Documents Misuse of Cambodia’s ‘Incitement’ Law on Conviction of Activist”, claiming political activist Kong Raiya was unjustly convicted.

“CFJ calls on the Cambodian government to repeal or reform Article 495 of the Cambodian Criminal Code and to ensure that any future prosecutions for incitement respect the rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial,” the statement said.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said ... that he is aware of the report and labelled the call from CFJ as “politically motivated”, saying it is “unreasonable and has no legal basis”.

... According to CFJ, the court convicted Raiya despite lacking any evidence of wrongdoing and violated his right to freedom of expression under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights...

Soeng Sen Karuna, senior investigator and spokesman for the human rights group Adhoc, yesterday said he does not object to the content of the Article 495 of the Cambodian Criminal Code.

“The content of the Article is intended to prevent such wrongful activities, but the implementation by the authority was not in accordance with the law when used against political activists, social and environmental activists as well as ordinary people,” he said.