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June 28, 2023

Fair Trial Rights Report: The ADHOC Five

Map of Cambodia with flag overlay.

Map of Cambodia with flag overlay.

Executive Summary

Over the past several years, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and its members have worked to advance the cause of human rights in Cambodia and have also faced several prosecutions by the government. In its latest case against the group, the government secured a guilty verdict for five members of ADHOC in relation to a controversy in which the group offered pro bono legal services to an individual involved with the then-Vice President of Cambodia’s National Rescue Party.

In April 2016, four ADHOC staff and a former ADHOC leader were summoned by the Cambodian Anti-Corruption Unit for questioning and then detained. The four ADHOC staff were charged with bribery of a witness, a criminal offence under the Cambodian Criminal Code. The former ADHOC staff member was charged as an accomplice to the bribery. All five were denied bail numerous times before finally being released in June 2017, nearly two years after they were first detained. Their case was not tried until September 2018, more than two years after they were first detained.

Following their trial, all five were convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with credit for time served and the remainder of the sentence suspended. They appealed their convictions to the Cambodian Appeal and subsequently Supreme Court, but their appeals were rejected in both instances.

This report analyzes the case against the five, referred to as the “ADHOC Five”, including the decisions issued by the Municipal, Appeal, and Supreme Courts in the case. In particular, this report analyzes the violations which the ADHOC Five were subjected to during the investigation, pre-trial and trial phases of the case and the failure of the Cambodian authorities to properly uphold domestic and international law in detaining and trying the five. This report follows up on the 2016 American Bar Association Center for Human Rights’ fair trial report for ADHOC’s former head, Ny Chakrya.

Read the Full Report