Since 2013 the Center’s Cambodia Programs has been working closely with Cambodian universities to improve the quality of human rights and legal education and to support long-term capacity building among Cambodian legal academics and lecturers. By working with lecturers on teaching skills and curriculum development, the Center is ensuring a greater number of students will have access to high quality education.
For Cambodian law students preparing to enter the justice sector, it is critical their education not only prepares them for the existing challenges within the domestic system, but also equips them with the critical thinking skills necessary to generate practical solutions to problems and advocate successfully for their clients.
The Handa Center’s approach is participatory and tailored to the needs of individual educators and institutions. Teachers receive training in fair trial rights and interactive teaching methodologies at an intensive training course run by the Center, after which they receive ongoing mentorship and teaching advice to support the long-term mainstreaming of their course.
To date the Center has worked with 24 lecturers who teach at 10 different universities across Cambodia in either English or Khmer. A handbook on ‘Fair Trial Rights in Theory and Practice’ has been piloted by the Center and is available in both Khmer and English language. The 12-module course can be adapted to suit the needs of particular universities.
In addition to curriculum development the Center also aims to foster a collegial atmosphere amongst young lawyers. We hold monthly Community of Practice meetings which focus on different topics of human rights and education. Find out more about our monthly meetings here. The Center’s legal education program was made possible by the generous financial support of the Canadian Government through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
Prior to the establishment of the Fair Trial Rights and Interactive Learning project, the Center worked with Cambodian universities on a number of discrete workshops. Some examples are listed below:
- “Lessons Learned from the ECCC”: In cooperation with CHRAC and CCHR, AIJI held a Training on Trial Monitoring Principles and Practice on August 7, 2013. The training was designed to share lessons learnt from trial monitoring principles and practice from both Domestic Court and ECCC as well as providing knowledge of basic monitoring techniques and reporting employed by AIJI and CCHR. The training was attended by some of our university partners as well as representatives from CHRAC’s members, amounting to around 20 participants. The program also has yielded a series of presentation on the topics presented in the training.
- “Fair Trial Rights and ECCC Jurisprudence”: AIJI co-organized an event with CHRAC detailing important Fair Trial Rights issues at the ECCC at Cambodian University of Specialties: Steung Meanchey on 28 September 2013.
- Fair Trial Rights and Legal Research for Cambodian University Students: AIJI held a legal training session with Paññāsāstra University law students on 8 February 2014 that covered fair trial rights and tools for research that are useful for their legal studies.
Open Source Education Resources for Students and Teachers:
AIJI’s English-Khmer Legal Glossary: AIJI’s national university interns help add to a glossary of English-Khmer legal terms used in our reports. Given Cambodia’s nascent legal system, some legal terms in English are just now being translated to Khmer. Find parts of our glossary here.
Capacity Building Information Handouts: Given our engagement with Cambodian law students, AIJI seeks to produce informal informational handouts to make legal topics easy to understand. For examples of some of these forms, see here. These handouts are produced in English and also available in Khmer.