The first time I visited Cambodia was after the country had been devastated by decades of horror, years of secret bombing by the United States, the terror of the mass murders by the Khmer Rouge, and finally, invasion and occupation by the Vietnamese army. Like unexploded bombs buried just below the surface of a rice field, like left-over mines hidden along the forest paths, each of these traumas continued to have a devastating impact on the society. Peace negotiations had finally resulted in an agreement among the warring factions to create a new way forward, and a commitment by the international community to support them in the rebuilding of the country. I was there to work with the emerging government to reform the police and legal systems to be more respectful of human rights. In some ways, it felt as if we were starting from the very beginning. The old government, the Khmer Rouge, had destroyed almost everything, they had tried to kill everyone who could read or who wore glasses. One of my first meetings was to be with the members of the Supreme Court, except that no one could tell me where to find them.
I spent a whole day searching through the city and I finally found one very elderly man sitting beside a single filing cabinet under a shady tree in someone's back garden. He was the Supreme Court.
Buy Dispatches from the Global Village book by Derek Evans from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(228mm x 152mm x 12mm)
Wood Lake Books,Canada
Publisher: Wood Lake Books,Canada
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Author Biography - Derek Evans
Derek Evans is a writer, teacher, scholar, and activist. His work in peace and human rights spans three decades and five continents. Evans has served two terms as Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International, and has led over 70 international delegations conducting human rights investigations or peace negotiations. He is married to Pat Deacon, a Homeopath. They are parents of three adult children, and live in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada.