Thursday, January 31, 2013
"It's possible to speculate that the development of this legislation and the law being put into effect and the coverage in the media may have acted as a disincentive for would-be perpetrators, [but] I can't say for sure," he said.
Meanwhile, key aspects of the law have yet to be put in place or adequately enforced.
For instance, a crucial and preventive sub-decree regulating the purchase and transportation of acid - cheap and readily available throughout Cambodia - has yet to be issued.
A litre of battery acid on the streets of Phnom Penh costs as little as US$1, according to CASC's Samman.
"If we have [a] sub-decree that will control the access to acid and help people to follow some conditions in order to get acid. [it] may restrict the access to acid and may contribute to the elimination of the acid crime," said Ramana Sorn, project coordinator at the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) who ran a project on acid violence. "People get acid very freely."
Ouk Kimlek, an under- secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior who sat on the acid law drafting committee, said the sub-decree was still being worked on, but he did not know when it would be issued.
"The government is busy right now with other tasks," he said.
Other legal provisions
Observers also say sections of the law that stipulate free treatment at health centres and state-owned health institutions, and legal support from the state for acid attack victims, have also not been put into practice.
Provisions were vague, said CCHR's Sorn, and victims currently receive medical and legal assistance from various NGOs. "This part of the law hasn't been enforced properly, or you could say hasn't been enforced at all," she said.
Nhem Sreyda receives help from NGOs for medical and other treatment. "I get no help from my government," she said.
"There's still a lot of work to be done to implement the government's role," said Samman.
Ouk Kimlek said relevant ministries had been told to implement the law but he did not know if they were doing so. "Cambodia still has acid crimes. but the acid crime figures have decreased [since the law was passed]," he said.