Citizen’s arrest in Cambodia

We are already noticing this kind of irregularities dealing with citizen’s arrest in Cambodia. I do not want to mention names of course, not to get into a complicate mare-magnum of discussions, but it is with the aim of improving our society. Anybody go to any court. Fill an accusation against any other person (national or foreigner.) The court orders his/her interrogation and opens a file to investigate that person. The Police looks for the person who was accused. The person is brought to the Police station. The person is interrogated. He/she has to remain in the station while they proceed the investigation. He/she is brought to the local prison while the investigation is under way. He/she remains in prison until the court meets to study the accusation. The person remains for a certain amount of days in prison. At the end, the authorities discovered that it was a false accusation (in the best of the cases.) What about the retention in a prison only for an accusation?

Now well, it seems that we are forgetting in our country some international rules in justice and law:

  • Nobody is guilty until proven otherwise.
  • Nobody can be put in prison until there are enough evidences to make a formal arrest (the accusation of an individual by itself is not a reason to detain a person.
  • Nobody can be put in any prison until a court gives a sentence over the case.

The more typical case is of child abuse. It happens now that you can go to any court and accuse anybody of child molestation. The court orders a kind of arrest on the accused individual and the case proceed as I describe. Imagine: you are accused by anybody who dislikes you or want to make extortion over you. This person arranges with the supposed-to-be victim or his/her parents promising money or gifts in order to mount a defamation over your behavior. You are put in prison because the authorities are investigating. There is not a real clear investigation to establish if the accusation is real or not, but you continue in a prison, while people around you, your friends, relatives and colleagues know that you are in a prison because you were accused of molestation on minors. If it happens that your name is rescued from such defamation and the court sends you home, the bad was already done.

I put this case of fake child abuse because it is the most common now in our country. Unfortunately, those organizations that advocate themselves in defend the children from abuse, local and foreigners, feed this legal misconception. Portraying all the time Cambodia as a kind of big brothel to their foreign benefactors in order to get funds, are supporting another kind of abuses: the attempt to the honor of people.

These kind of organizations with their big funds, providing big salaries to their staffs, creating a mafia style net of espionage over the cities, targeting all foreign visitors as pedophiles, use to invite sensationalist media from Europe that come to Cambodia to look our country as an only vice society. After the pedophile documentaries are shown in Europe, the funds grow toward this organizations, so they can buy better cars, bigger apartments, have more white collars employees, more spies over the campus and promote among ignorant Cambodians the idea that they can denounce any body to the court just for any thing that can be suspicious – everything ends to be suspicious.

This is one case.

The other case is on the roads

You are driving. We have several laws, but we do not have yet that conscious over order and discipline. We have nice roads now over our nation. We have very expensive and smart cars running the cities and roads. But nobody follows rules. Driving licenses are given as candies. Anybody can drive. I have seen minors driving. I have seen persons without driving license driving. I have seen accidents caused by the most stupid imprudence without any legal action.

But the problem is this: anybody enters the road without looking to right or to left. This anybody can be a pedestrian, a motorbike or a car (at the same level of cows.) It happens that you touch an imprudent bicycle. Let us suppose that nothing serious happens to the guy. He is okay, but he fall to the ground. He was the imprudent.

The police comes to the place. You cannot move the car. You are stopped for several hours. Even you can be detained also while the investigation is under way and it means that it can be even for days!  This situation as we are now only can cause something: that in any incident, the drivers would prefer to escape rather than wait for the Police.

Just let us modernize our country in simple laws. A country is not modern for its many smart and expensive cars or its tallest buildings, but for the discipline and honor of its society and rules.

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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