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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 11 No 2 (2009)

Access to Justice? Forced Evictions in Cambodia

Suzanne Chinnery is a Masters student, Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne. This article was developed following work designing a project on the issue for an international NGO in 2009.

Preventing forced eviction and accessing justice for land rights are significant challenges for many Cambodians. The rapid transition to a market-economy, following years of violence and communist rule, has paved the way for massive land grabbing throughout Cambodia. Today, communities are frequently denied their legal rights, or are unable to access just outcomes in relation to disputes and evictions. This article argues that access to justice is restricted by the normative frameworks governing land law, the inability of the government to provide justice and the inability of those affected to seek justice. The lack of normative protection is evident in the lack of supporting guidelines and structures for the current Land Law to guide evictions, land sales and zoning. The judicial system is unable to provide justice to parties involved in land conflicts as a result of endemic corruption, government interference and a lack of judicial independence. Finally, government capture of the Bar Association, and a tendency to ignore or intimidate and prosecute civil society actors, has limited civil society influence over government decisions.

(2009) 11(2) Asian Law 167

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