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New evidence submitted to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) shows that the practice of land grabbing has adversely affected over 60,000 additional people since the beginning of 2014.

This long-standing practice, conducted by senior members of the Cambodian government, its security forces, and government-connected business leaders, has entailed forced evictions and population displacement that amount to crimes against humanity. The Supplementary Communication was compiled by lawyer Richard J. Rogers, Partner of Global Diligence LLP, and submitted on behalf of victims with the support of FIDH.

This new evidence of crimes against humanity, stemming from land grabbing, requires urgent action from the ICC Prosecutor. By opening a preliminary examination into the situation, the ICC can send a strong message to the Cambodian government that land grabbing and the policy of persecution must immediately stop,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

The land grabbing frenzy saw an increase in 2014 and in the first quarter of 2015. It is now estimated that an astounding 830,000 people have been affected by this disruptive practice since 2000. A massive number of people have been forcibly evicted from their homes without adequate compensation or faced other forms of persecution. Many continue to suffer appalling conditions in resettlement camps, where food insecurity and disease are rife.

Last year, 40 civil-society organisations from around the world that focus on land issues urged the ICC to take up the case stating, “We have a duty to protect the victims of land grabs and associated forced evictions who have no chance of obtaining justice in their own countries.” Cambodians themselves have also expressed a strong collective desire to see the ICC Prosecutor investigate the allegations – petitions signed by 7,606 Cambodians in support of the Communication will also be submitted to the ICC.

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