detail - Foundation Office Cambodia
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The support for the development of the legal system in Cambodia has been one of the main focuses of the work of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for many years. One of the essential elements of such a process of development is a flourishing discussion of legal topics. Such discussion has been difficult in Cambodia for many years due to its historical legacy and the legal vacuum during and in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime. Legal discourse is therefore still not very well developed in Cambodia today. It seems particularly important to help the emergence of a culture of legal discussion in the spirit of academic freedom, and the Law Talks were designed as one element of such support.
The Law Talks were started in 2008, initially in formal cooperation mainly with the Senate, now also with various law faculties. Until today six law talks have been held, some in Sihanoukville, some in Phnom Penh. Legal professionals from the Senate and National Assembly, from other government and state institutions, legal academics from universities, legal experts from NGOs and foreign legal experts are brought together for one or two days of presentations and discussions on legal subjects. More recently, a number of students have also been included in the group of participants. The purpose has remained to contribute to a culture of open and free discussion. For some of the young academics the Law Talks provide an opportunity to deliver presentations on an academic workshop and find confidence to participate in other events of this kind nationally and internationally. Due to the fact that it has been possible to conduct the law talks on a twice yearly basis since the initial workshop they now seem to be an established institution and we have enjoyed permanent support from partners and key academics (e.g. the Deans of two of the major law faculties in Phnom Penh). The Law Talks have been a good opportunity for networking not only among the participants, but also for KAS in its cooperation with current and future partners.
The “Law Talk VII” focuses on the general topic of “Rule of Law”. This workshop in Síhanoukville consists of presentations by participants and their discussion, but this time also of a general structured discussion on the multiple aspects of the principle of “Rule of Law”. It will also provide an opportunity for the new country representative of KAS in Cambodia as well as the new representative of the regional Rule of Law project in Singapore to introduce themselves as well as KAS approaches to Rule of Law promotion to the participants. Those participants are again university academics, legal professionals from state institutions, students, international experts (including a judge at ECCC) and representatives of some the leading rule of law NGOs in Cambodia. Up to 50 participants participate in two days of open discussion on some of the crucial topics of legal discourse in Cambodia today.