The Centre for Social Development’s annual court monitoring report for 2007 released March
20 identifies human rights issues and court funding as key concerns, noting
the sharp contrast between the budget for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and the
entire court system of Cambodia’s budget.
The report found “many instances where the judiciary failed to comply
with its obligations, resulting in serious violations of human rights.”
pre-trial detentions regularly exceeded the time limits imposed by law, while
legal rights, such as the right to the presumption of innocence and the right
to remain silent, were both routinely violated by judges and court officials,
the report said.
It added that 25.3 percent of defendants in the courts monitored alleged
that they were coerced into giving confessions by police.
The project monitored provincial courts in Kandal, Battambang and
Kampong Cham, the Supreme Court, Appeals
Court, and municipal courts in Phnom Penh.
“The CSD annual report makes clear that what goes on inside Cambodia’s
court rooms falls short of what can be considered procedural justice in a
democratic society,” US ambassador Joseph A. Mussomeli said at the launch of
“There remains a good deal to be done before the people of the judicial
system will earn the trust of the people of Cambodia.”
The report also described a critical lack of funding in the court
system. The budget for the Cambodian judiciary was set at $3,334,750 in 2007,
in stark contrast with the $56 million allocated to the Extraordinary Chambers
in the Courts of Cambodia.
“This disparity in
funding has left many questioning whether the ECCC is a relevant model for
local courts,” said the report.