Cambodia and the US have committed to further enhancing cooperation in the fields of law and justice, especially under the new government led by Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Minister of Justice Koeut Rith and US ambassador to Cambodia W Patrick Murphy expressed their willingness to strengthen ties and assistance in the mutual interests of both countries, during their meeting held at the ministry in Phnom Penh on September 12.

Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said on September 13 that the minister and Murphy hailed past successful cooperation in the field of law and justice.

The two sides discussed mechanisms to solidify and expand this alliance.

“Under the new government, we expect Cambodia-US relations to continue to improve. We already have a significant amount of cooperation in the fields of law and justice, and both sides are looking forward to further improving this partnership,” said Malin.

He explained that the two countries have cooperated in addressing transnational crimes, provided mutual assistance in legal matters and augmented the capabilities of law enforcement personnel, while adhering to UN resolutions and combating human trafficking.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, noted the significance of the meeting, in the context of legal and judicial cooperation.

He underscored that it offered a chance to bolster institutional capacity and human resource development, as well as acting as a medium to convey Cambodia’s perspective on democracy and human rights to the US.

“Recent meetings between the US ambassador and Cambodian ministers demonstrates the commitment of the US to restoring relationships with Cambodia,” he said.

He suggested that the US engage with more Cambodian leaders to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s culture, governance, rule of law, democracy, human rights and environment instead of relying solely on “one-sided” reports.

Sok Sam Oeun, chief attorney at the AMRIN Law and Consultants Group, lauded the cooperation between the two countries, noting that the alliance depends on practical actions and targeted implementation to improve the legal and judicial sector.

He suggested that both sides increase their dialogue to address obstacles in joint law implementation.

Kang Ritheary, a lecturer in law and a former lawyer who represented Case 001 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, spoke highly of the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of law and justice.

He believed that through continued collaboration between the US and Cambodia in the realm of justice, Cambodia could actively uphold human rights and international law, as the US is committed to these principles.

“The tangible successes of the US contribution to establishing the ECCC are positive signs that Cambodia should trust and enhance legal cooperation with the US to strengthen the rule of law in Cambodia,” he said.