Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China MoU to help ‘reform’ judiciary



China MoU to help ‘reform’ judiciary

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana signs a judicial reforms agreement with China on Monday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana signs a judicial reforms agreement with China on Monday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

China MoU to help ‘reform’ judiciary

China has signed an agreement to assist the Kingdom with judicial reforms and to share expertise in overhauling such systems, though one international expert yesterday cautioned that China shouldn’t be considered “a model for justice reform in Cambodia”.

Under the five-year agreement, signed on Monday, China will provide training and financial, judicial and legal assistance, said Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin. China will help new administrative offices – created in 2014 – by providing training on managing caseloads, finances and personnel, as well as information technology, he said.

“We still need support for [the administrative offices] to function properly,” Malin said.

Judges would also receive training from China, although the specifics haven’t been decided yet. “We may have an exchange program,” he added.

What’s more, China will assist in the establishment of a legal and judicial research centre, which will provide policy recommendations to the government on general legal and judicial reforms.

The courts, however, have long been one of Cambodia’s most-maligned institutions, especially after the 2014 passage of three controversial laws purportedly aimed at “judicial reform”, but which critics claimed only further solidified the executive branch’s control of the judiciary.

The judiciary has yet again been under international fire recently for what observers have termed a raft of politically motivated and legally questionable cases against opposition members and leaders.

Kingsley Abbott, senior legal adviser at the International Commission of Jurists, yesterday questioned whether China was in the best position to help the Kingdom improve.

“Certainly, China should not be used as a model for justice reform in Cambodia, given its well-documented harassment of human rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists, and its own challenges with justice reform and the establishment of an independent judiciary,” he said.

Cambodia, he added, “should focus on establishing independent judges, prosecutors and lawyers who are able to carry out their work free from interference”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,