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Clearing of case backlog still goes on

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Authorities stand guarding in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Heng Chivoan

Clearing of case backlog still goes on

The campaign to clear a backlog of criminal court cases continues even though the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and provincial courts have postponed trials because of Covid-19, an official said.

From May to October, the municipal and provincial courts had cleared 27,700 cases, or about 71 per cent, according to Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin.

Malin told The Post the campaign to clear the backlog is still moving forward despite no trials.

“The campaign still moves forward but with the recent Covid-19 community transmission, we have to be flexible according to the situation,” Malin said.

He said Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced postponing hearings temporarily from November 30 to December 14 due to Covid-19. But it does not mean courts throughout the country have postponed all hearings because courts examine each one case by case.

Hearings of all cases are stopped. If a case can be tried, it will be tried. If a case needs to be halted, it should be halted.

The backlog of cases is expected to reduce prison overcrowding.

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons spokesman Nuth Savana told The Post the clearing of the backlog means more trials will be heard soon.

He said the department of prisons has already moved more than 5,000 drug users to rehabilitation centres.

Savana said only the courts can fix a date to try cases frequently. If more trials are held, the clearing of cases will gain speed.

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