Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ACU accepts request to monitor judicial exams

ACU accepts request to monitor judicial exams

A man walks past the Anti-Corruption Unit office last year in Phnom Penh.
A man walks past the Anti-Corruption Unit office last year in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

ACU accepts request to monitor judicial exams

Ending an impasse with the Justice Ministry that began last year, the Anti-Corruption Unit has announced that it will monitor examinations for the Kingdom’s future judges and prosecutors for the first time.

ACU vice president Nuon Bophal said the body had finally agreed to monitor the exams because the Justice Ministry accepted strict standards similar to the ones instituted for high school exams since 2014. Bophal said the ACU would be invited to inspect tests at every stage of the process, and cheaters would be fined.

“The ministry opened their hearts to the ACU,” he said.

In a statement last November, the ACU rejected a request from the Ministry of Justice’s Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals to monitor its seventh annual exams, stating that the academy had shown no interest in cooperation with the ACU in the past, presumably due to stricter demands for transparency.

While the ACU has never monitored the judges’ exams before, it previously monitored ones for court clerks. The Justice Ministry itself also has not administered the judges’ exams until now, with the six previous rounds handled by the Council of Ministers.

The ACU’s rejection caused the exams to be delayed. Originally slated for December 8 and 9, they will now be held on February 27 and 28.

“The ACU’s participation will enhance responsibility and transparency in the judicial exam process and make sure the results are acceptable to all,” Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said yesterday.

ACU head Om Yentieng did not elaborate yesterday on the roots of his organisation’s dispute with the judicial academy, but said the ministry had since “set up principles and committees”.

“These are the principles under which we agreed to participate,” he said.

Yentieng said, however, that the judicial exams still had “holes”, because it was the Justice Ministry’s first time administering them.

In total, 837 candidates for the exam are competing for only 50 spots this year.

Whether the ACU’s move will help the judiciary shake off its reputation as one of Cambodia’s most corrupt institutions remains to be seen.

According to a report from the International Bar Association released last September, bribes required to enter Royal Academy for Judicial Professions ranged between $30,000 and $50,000.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator with rights group Licadho, recognised the corruption’s vast scale but was hopeful.

“If the ACU becomes part of the process . . . corruption should be reduced,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman