The older brother of a young boy killed in a construction
accident on a work site of Electricite du Cambodge last week has been promised
a job by the company and the family compensated with $1,500.
Men Chanpong, 13, was buried alive Friday night by an EdC
bulldozer in Lor Kambor village, Svay Pak commune, Russei Keo district, where
villagers say he was working part time.
EdC has denied employing the boy, but paid compensation to
his father and promised a job to Men Chanthy, the 23-year-old brother of the
Rights and union officials said such compensation, common in
perpetuated a system of impunity and weakened the rule of law.
“They gave my son a job in the company, but I don’t know
what it is because I just got a call this morning to get an application,” Men
Chanseng, 47-year-old father of the boy, said Tuesday.
Men Chanseng himself is a construction worker. He would not
confirm whether his son worked for EdC, but he confirmed receiving compensation
from the company.
Chea Sunhel, director of EdC’s supply department, denied the
boy worked for the company and said Tuesday EdC was giving Men Chanthy a job in
addition to compensation because the family was poor.
“He might work as a security guard or, if he is literate, he
can record meter readings,” Chea Sunhel said. “It depends on his abilities.”
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation Union,
said such compensation was not worth the life of a child.
“It is not fair, because if the company keeps paying just
$1,000 or $2,000 for the family of the deceased, and there is nothing happening
to it, that means impunity in Cambodia
is still high,” he said.
a habit exists where a perpetrator of a crime pays compensation to a family in
order to avoid the courts, which themselves are widely criticized as corrupt
and politically biased.
Ny Chakrya, a rights investigator for Adhoc, said if the
legal system cannot punish perpetrators, Cambodia cannot meet the rule of
“If impunity continues, none of the cases will be involved
with the people. They will not file in court, they will not cooperate and they
will not join in legal reform to strengthen the rule of law in Cambodia. So
the legal system here will become weaker and weaker.”