Courts and the Cambodian Coup

Here’s an interesting use of American judicial authority: a U.S. court sentenced a Cambodian man to jail for life for plotting a coup against a dictator. Chhun Yasith, an accountant, founded the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, which attacked several Cambodian government buildings on November 24, 2000. Several people were killed and over 100 were jailed. According to his lawyer, Chhun saw Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as an evil on par with Pol Pot.

I imagine Hun Sen is thankful to America judicial practices for sentencing this political opponent for him. But I also doubt that the experience will inspire Hun Sen to consider reforming Cambodia’s notorious judicial system. Just a few weeks ago, the Cambodian Supreme Court upheld another defamation suit against Mu Sochua, an opposition MP. According to BBC, her lawyer quit the case and joined Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party when Cambodia’s Bar Council accused him of malpractice. But that’s another story…

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