Judicial officials promoted

Seng Leang, pictured here at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, was one of almost 100 judges promoted in a sweep of judicial pay rises. Many of the prosecutors and judges rewarded have handed down controversial decisions that directly benefit the ruling party. ECCC
Seng Leang, pictured here at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, was one of almost 100 judges promoted in a sweep of judicial pay rises. Many of the prosecutors and judges rewarded have handed down controversial decisions that directly benefit the ruling party. ECCC

Judicial officials promoted

A number of Cambodian judges have been handed promotions after securing controversial rulings in cases that directly benefit the ruling party, sparking the ire of Cambodia’s recently outlawed opposition.

In a royal decree signed by the King on December 27, 123 judges and 72 prosecutors were bumped up the ranks of the judiciary, with a pay rise to match, Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin confirmed.

Among the promoted judges was Seng Leang, the investigating judge who secured a guilty verdict for Oeut Ang, known as “Choub Samlab”, or “Meet to Kill”. Ang was convicted for the daylight shooting of political analyst Kem Ley, which several observers viewed as politically motivated and orchestrated by the government.

Kung Lean Meng was also promoted, and has presided over controversial cases involving the imprisonment of human rights defenders the “Adhoc 5”, and of former opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour.

Lean Meng has also been involved in cases against broadcaster Mam Sonando, former Cambodia National Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy and his successor, Kem Sokha, who was jailed in September on allegations of “treason”.

Both Judge Pol Samoeun, who is connected to the case of jailed land rights activist Tep Vanny, and Judge Ros Piseth, who has been involved in cases against Rainsy, outspoken political analyst Kim Sok, and Khmer Power Party leader Souen Serey Ratha, also received promotions.

Meanwhile Ky Rithy, who was involved in cases against Sokha and Sok, was also promoted. Despite the King having previously ordered an investigation into Judge Keo Mony after he questioned a political activist without a lawyer present, he too received a promotion.

Another notable promotion includes that of Kampong Speu Deputy Court Director Men Vannak, who stands accused of drawing a pistol on a disabled employee.

Rainsy, who just last Friday was convicted in a fresh defamation case, said the round of promotions “shows how Cambodia’s existing court is politically subservient, cheap and despicable”.

“It deprives this judiciary of any credibility,” he said. “But it pushes the Cambodian people to revolt against the system.”

CNRP Deputy President Mu Sochua, who fled the country fearing arrest in October, said such promotions stemmed from a corrupt system. “It’s part of the culture of total and unquestionable allegiance to the supreme leader. No hope for judiciary reforms, no hope for justice until there’s a fundamental change of such a culture,” she said.

But Malin said that the promotions were due to “achievement”, and were “not based on their networks”.

Boeung Kak representative Chan Puthisak said the promotions were unfair to activists, human rights defenders and the opposition, and only encouraged court officials to follow the ruling party.

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not