The Legal Reform Unit (LRU) under the auspices of The Council of Ministers has begun
publishing a monthly bulletin containing a transcript of all laws, decrees, sub-decrees
and regulations approved during the past month.
The bulletin is printed in English, French and Khmer and will provide a valuable
tool for government authorities, organizations and businesses struggling to follow
the frantic flow of legal documents in Cambodia.
In the foreword to the first issue, completed earlier this month, Minister of the
Council of Ministers, Sok An, and Director of the LRU, Heng Vong Bunchhat, write
about the motivation for the bulletin:
"Access to the knowledge of the texts on the rules and regulations in force
is, in every country, the essential condition for the rule of law and the security
of the juridical relationship".
Covering the month of September, the first issue contains much-discussed items such
as the extension of pretrial detention for genocide suspects and the amendment of
Article 51 of the Law of Public Servants.
According to plans, the October issue will be completed shortly. The idea is to disseminate
and publish laws and regulations on a monthly basis in the middle of the following
The LRU has found no external funding for the project, so whereas governmental authorities
will receive the service for free, private organizations and businesses can subscribe
to the bulletin for three dollars per issue. The bulletin will also be made available
at selected book shops.
"This is not only a good idea, it's a necessary idea," says Eva Galabru
of the human rights organization Licadho.
"Most of the time we end up paying photocopy fees anyway, so we would probably
subscribe, if we were convinced that the bulletin would appear on a regular basis."
President of the Center for Social Development, Chea Vannath, also welcomes the initiative:
"In principle it's very useful, but in practice much depends on the translation
of the laws. It is crucial that the three languages read the same, otherwise we will
have different versions of the same text," says Vannath.
In the foreword, the LRU does state that it cannot guarantee total accuracy of the
translations, even though the Khmer versions are basically reproductions of the original
Also, the bulletin should not be regarded as an official document. It is merely a
tool to keep the public informed about the flow of new laws and regulations.
The LRU hopes to be able also to publish back issues, disseminating rules and regulations
all the way back to 1993. However, this depends on both funding and time.