Work at the CASC continues with the provision of surgeries, legal aid and ongoing care for victims of acid attacks. A central part of CASC’s focus is to advocate for comprehensive laws to prevent these attacks by regulating the sale of acid and prosecuting perpetrators of acid violence. New Day received the following positive update from CASC Project Manager Ziad Samman:
Acid Law: The Cambodian‘Acid Law’ was passed in December of 2012. However, only the ‘punishment and sentencing’ aspects have been enacted. The details of all regulatory aspects of the legislation are dependent on a sub decree that is currently still under development, therefore the sale and distribution of acid remains unregulated at this stage. However, we have received information from sources in the Ministry of Interior that the sub decree is likely to be finalized and put into effect before the end of 2012.
Legal Cases: In 2012 CASC has had some successes in the court room. Two legal cases went to trial both resulting in the conviction of the perpetrators – one eight year sentence (in absentia), and one 10 year sentence (with the perpetrator in prison). However it is worth noting that these cases did not fall under the Acid Law as they relate to attacks that took place in 2011 before the law was enacted. We are expecting the first legal cases to be tried under the new legislation before the end of 2012.
Statistics: Over the past 2 years the number of acid attacks recorded has decreased dramatically. In 2010 CASC recorded a total of 26 acid attacks resulting is 43 people being burnt. So far in 2012 CASC has only recorded a total of 6 confirmed acid attacks, four accidental burns, and two suicides by drinking acid, resulting in a total of 13 people being burnt. One can speculate that this is partially due to the development of the acid law, the up scaling of prevention activities (by organizations such as CASC and CCHR), and the increased publicity relating to acid violence issues in the local media.