A Year Later, Fines Increased In Updated Acid Draft Law

Fines have increased in the latest version of a draft law to combat acid violence, which is awaiting approval by Interior Minister Sar Kheng be-fore it can be submitted to the Coun-cil of Ministers, according to the ministry.

Secretary of State Teng Savong, who chairs the committee drafting the law on acid, said the most recent version had undergone minor changes.

“We have increased the amount of the fines,” he added, declining to elaborate and confirming prison terms were unchanged. Under a working draft of the law from Oc-tober, perpetrators and accomplices to acid crimes would be sentenced to between 20 years and life in prison.

Those handling acid without a government license issued would in-cur up to five-year sentences and penalties of $250 to $2,500 while companies could be fined up to $12,500. Negligence leading to death caused by acid would be punishable by up to five years in jail and $7,500 in penalties while companies would pay up to $20,000.

The government began the drafting process in February last year and originally announced that a draft of the law would be completed by April 2010. But officials later pushed back the completion date and said the draft law would be submitted to the Council of Ministers by the end of 2010. Ouk Kimlek, undersecretary of state at the ministry, said that more time was needed to improve the draft. “We had to change the sentence construction and wording a little bit,” he said.

Sana Ghouse, a legal consultant at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the draft calls for a sub-decree to set procedures for regulating the sale and distribution of acid. “Lots of concerns raised are dealt with, but some flesh to the law is missing.”

Ziad Samman, project manager for the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said that the draft law did not include regulations on warning labels. So far this year, the CASC recorded two attacks injuring two women and a man plus one acid-related accident, he said. There were 19 acid attacks injuring 19 women and 17 men in the whole of 2010, CASC records show.

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