Cambodia at a Crossroads: How Repealing UNTAC Article 63, Cambodia's Current Defamation Law, Will Lead to a More Vigorous Democracy


Cambodia’s current criminal defamation law is an impermissible intrusion of Cambodians’ constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression. The law itself is a remnant of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. Moreover it is now being used as a tool to silence the government’s political opposition through a weak judiciary system, leaving in its wake a democracy afraid to exercise its constitutionally guaranteed rights. This law is an unconstitutional violation for several reasons: first, it violates the right to freedom of expression which is guaranteed in Cambodia’s Constitution. Secondly, it is incompatible with Cambodia’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, it violates customary international law. This comment proposes that the Cambodian Parliament pass new a new civil defamation law which denies legal standing to the government. Legal standing should be denied to the government to safeguard against the potential abuse of any civil defamation law.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Courts | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Human Rights Law | International Law

Date of this Version

February 2006