The Solemn Oath of the Cambodian Legal System
|In the United States, the usual oath required of all those who will give witness in court asks: "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
In the Cambodian legal system, an oath to tell the truth is also required. Because Buddhism--the prevailing religious belief in Cambodia--does not believe in a god, the oath is typically sworn to Buddha, the spirits of the courtroom, or the ghosts of famous Khmer warriors. The wording threatens dire punishments for those who would testify falsely:
"If I am home, let fire destroy my house for 800 reincarnations; if I am in a boat, let it sink for 800 reincarnations; when I become a ghost, let me eat bloody pus, or swim in boiling chili oil for 800 reincarnations."
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