The Criminal Justice Development Program encompasses the work for which APLE Cambodia is best known, and is founded on the belief that strengthening government institutions relevant to the criminal justice system is the highest priority in achieving long-term sustainable change. 

Through training and discussion sessions, high-level technical meetings, long-term mentorship, assistance in investigations and other innovative approaches to build capacities, the program targets national law enforcement agencies and other judicial protection mechanisms to increase adherence to national and international standards in cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children and the use of child-friendly procedures throughout the whole criminal justice process.

Institutions currently targeted by the Criminal Justice Development activities are the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking (including related-ministries, UN agencies and NGOs working on child protection), the Departments of Criminal Affairs and Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection from the Cambodian National Police.

Investigation Success:
4 Underage girls disclosed sexual abuse; offender charged.
On May 22, 2019, In Siem Reap, the provincial court charged one U.S. American national from Florida, aged 38, with the crime of Indecent Act against a Minor under Fifteen Years under the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
After four underage girls (aged 12-15) disclosed the abuse, the police, with an approval from the court prosecutor, proceeded to bring the suspect from his rented house in Siem Reap to the police station for questioning on May 20th, 2019. The suspect was then remanded in pre-trial detention at the provincial prison.
Siem Reap’s Anti- Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection (AHTJP) Police commenced the investigation after receiving information from APLE. Four girls were identified and interviewed by the police, leading to the arrest of the suspect.
Initially, APLE received a report from a local NGO partner who became concerned about the suspect’s behaviour towards underage girls in Siem Reap. APLE started gathering more information and collaborated with the police to investigate the possible violation.
APLE Cambodia and its partner organisation will continue to assess, monitor and provide support to the girl victims in order for them to recover from trauma and carry on with their lives in the healthiest way possible. APLE will provide legal aid services to the girls and their families shall they request so during their participation in further legal justice seeking process.