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Help for judiciary on way: ministry

The Ministry of Justice will soon provide more than 50 additional judges and deputy prosecutors to courts across the country in a bid to decrease long waits for court hearings and ensure effective trials.

“We will add more than 50 judges and deputy prosecutors,” Prom Sidhra, secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, told the Post yesterday. “They will facilitate the administation of justice, because we are having court cases pile up.”

Sidhra referred the Post to Bun Yai Narin, spokesman for Ministry of Justice, when pressed for more details, including the precise timeframe and qualifications of the judges, but Narin could not be reached.

Theam Chanpiseth, Banteay Meanchey provincial court judge, said that he did not know how many new judges would come to his court.

“The more judges we have, the more they can help us move through cases, so each judge has fewer cases to handle and we can work effectively,” he said.

Ou Virak, president of Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the additional judges and prosecutors will help the courts resolve disputes but that mechanisms to guarantee adequate time to each case are as important as additional judges and prosecutors.

“Most hearings are very quick. They do not involve thorough consideration or offer both sides the opportunity to present adequate evidence. These shortcomings could effect the court’s judgement and the public’s confidence,” Virak said.

When asked about these concerns, Judge Chanpiseth said: “I wouldn’t handle cases in that way because both parties, not the court, decide the time spent on a case. I give enough time for both sides to provide evidence, particularly in civil cases.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at channyda.chhay@phnompenhpost.com

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