Dr Saba Joshi, a member of DEMETER’s Cambodia team has published a new article in Third World Quarterly. The piece focuses on issues of hybrid governance and legal pluralism in order to better understand the potential and limitations of the use of ‘forum shopping’ by rural communities seeking redress in cases of land grabbing.

The study draws on interviews and process tracing to examine the outcomes of a mediation conducted under the auspices of the International Finance Corporation’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO). The case involved a number of indigenous communities and a Vietnamese, IFC-financed, rubber company operating in north-east Cambodia.

The article argues that while international accountability mechanisms provide platforms for dispossessed groups to assert land claims, they fail to fully circumvent the problems associated with justice delivery under Cambodia’s authoritarian régime. The researcher highlights questions of interaction, competition and collaboration between the forms of regulatory authority exercised by national and transnational actors involved in land grabbing in Cambodia, thereby demonstrating their role in ’negotiating statehood’ through the governance of local land claims.

Joshi, Saba. 2020. Contesting land grabs, negotiating statehood: the politics of international accountability mechanisms and land disputes in rural Cambodia. Third World Quarterly.

Image: Rubber plantation, © Kittisak Srithorn / Shutterstock.com