Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Clearing of backlogged cases to start




Clearing of backlogged cases to start

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Justice Koeut Rith met with ministries, prosecutors and chiefs of municipal and provincial courts over the issue of clearing a backlog of legal cases across the country. Justice Ministry

Clearing of backlogged cases to start

A long-awaited campaign to clear a backlog of legal cases across the Kingdom is likely to begin next week after Minister of Justice Koeut Rith met with the relevant ministries, prosecutors and chiefs of municipal and provincial courts over the issue.

Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin told The Post on Wednesday that the campaign aimed to ease overcrowding in prisons.

“The meetings are preparation to clear pending legal cases in courts across the Kingdom. It is a prelude to solving the prison overcrowding issue. The campaign will probably start next week,” he said.

Malin said action plans, mechanism, duration and expected outcomes will be announced before the start of the campaign.

He said the ministry had identified three priority areas to clear the backlog. First, drug-related cases will be expedited.

Second, the needs of each court will be identified and addressed to speed up drug-related trials, and third, minor drug-related trials will be handled urgently based on legal procedures and humanitarian principles.

This, he said, includes allowing suspects to get bail, suspended sentences or sentences based on mitigating circumstances following legal procedures.

Malin said in March that there were around 10,000 pending cases piled up in courts each year, mostly involving drug-related crimes.

“Most cases are stuck in Phnom Penh, so if we can solve the cases here, we can address the problem throughout Cambodia. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court is capable of solving about 10,000 cases a year.

“We have pooled all our human resources and worked day and night to speed up proceedings. Despite these efforts, we could only solve around 10,000 cases a year. But don’t forget that around 10,000 new cases also make their way to the court each year,” he said.

General Department of Prison spokesman Nuth Savna welcomed the move. He said the past efforts did not yield fruitful results in addressing prison overcrowding.

“In my opinion, depending on the seriousness of each case, inmates should be granted bail. This would help reduce overcrowding,” he said.

He said the court should consider a suspect’s background and seriousness of his case. Minor cases, he said, should be solved outsides of court.

Officials from municipal and provincial courts recently compiled reports of detainees and details of their crimes, which he said is a good step to reducing overcrowding in prisons.

“Trial delays have a lot of impacts. As a prison official, I cannot do anything but call on the Ministry of Justice to address the issues that prisons are facing.

“At least, the courts should speed up proceedings. Of all the detainees currently in prisons, only 50 per cent have received final verdicts. It [the ministry’s campaign] would help,” he said.

Rights group Adhoc spokesperson Soeng Sen Karuna said trial delays affect the detainees’ rights.

“We applaud the new minister’s willingness to address problems in Cambodia’s judicial system. He sees the problems, and so do civil society organisations,” he said.

He said such reforms could restore public trust in the judiciary. “Past reforms did not respond to the need of the public who want to see a judicial system that correctly applies the law and is trusted by the people,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara