The Royal Academy for Judicial Professions (RAJP) is recruiting 50 new judges and prosecutors as part of efforts to tackle the shortage of court officials across Cambodia.
The academy, which is responsible for training judges, kicked off the two-day entrance examinations on Tuesday with about 745 candidates participating.
Chin Malin, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice which oversees the RAJP, told The Post on Tuesday that successful candidates will learn theories and put them into practice at the academy and courts across the Kingdom for two years.
Upon completing the course, he said candidates can choose to become a judge or prosecutor at the immediate approval of the Supreme Council of Magistracy.
“Those who earn good grades would be given priority to select the good posts,” said Malin.
He added that for the past two years, the Justice Ministry had been recruiting 50 judges and prosecutors annually. But prior to that, 50 were recruited every two years.
Addressing the shortage of judges and prosecutors in Cambodia, Malin noted that there are about 400 of them in the Kingdom, but the number cannot keep up with demand.
“This is due to the increasing number of people requiring judicial services. The number of cases also surges at some courts,” he said.
Licadho monitoring manager Am Sam Ath praised the ministry’s decision, saying it should proceed with the creation of more appeal courts in the regions and the replacement of retiring judges and prosecutors.
But he warned that the increasing number of judicial staff alone would not help restore the reputation of the system of justice in Cambodia.
“The recruitment process must be carried out with transparency and without corruption. If they have to bribe to become judges and prosecutors, they will attempt to get the money back during their careers.
“Secondly, the judicial system must be reformed and be independent in order to gain the people’s trust. If the courts truly provide justice to the public, then the people’s trust [in them] will improve,” he said.
Moreover, he stressed that judges and prosecutors must avoid biases such as love, hate, fear, partisanship and ignorance.
The Cambodian judicial system has been criticised by the UN and international human rights organisations for being biased when dealing with certain political cases.
The RAJP has come under fire itself, with the International Bar Association lambasting it in a 2015 report for bribery.
It noted that lawyers and judges had to pay bribes of up to $50,000 to enter the academy.