necessary for healing in a trauma framework. 151 Theravada Buddhism acknowledges that while
people will be angry, you are discouraged from expressing it and in fact, the restraint of anger is
prioritized. 152 If diversion plans that include restorative justice are put into place, then proper
incorporation of these principles must be included in order to have a long-term positive impact on
juvenile justice. There must be further research and implementation of these principles in rule of law
structures to ensure the full participation of the Cambodian people and perhaps longevity in
constructive rule of law.
It is clear that children in Cambodia are vulnerable to violations of their fundamental rights
especially as the rates of detention increase while international funding for legal aid organizations
diminishes. 153 Cambodia must provide protection to children at each stage of the legal process based
on a system that promotes equal justice and the rule of law. Unnecessarily holding juveniles in
detention is abusive and counterproductive, resulting in punitive practices that violate the
fundamental rights of children. Future plans for juvenile justice must include construction of separate
juvenile courts and prisons, as well as mechanisms for implementing diversion plans. There should
be training for police officers, legal and social justice professionals, prison guards, and all other
stakeholders in working on cases with juveniles. Mechanisms to enforce accountability must be made
a priority as well as non-custodial alternatives that provide a safe environment for juveniles. Lastly,
the adoption of a Buddhist lens and an incorporative attitude toward patron-client relations are
essential in constructing a rule of law that complements Cambodia. The international community has
been trying to promote a Western-style rule of law system in Cambodia since the early 1990s with
slow progress. We must work with these deeply ingrained cultural norms instead of against them in
order to truly protect the rights of Cambodia’s children.
151 Pen Khek Chear, Restorative Justice in the Cambodian Community: Challenges and Possibilities in Practice, BOS. U.
SCH. OF SOC. WORK (May 2011), http://restorativejustice.org/10fulltext/Pen%20Khek%20Chear%20-
153 See generally footnotes 46, 49, 52, and 58.