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CNRP's proposed changes to judicial laws ‘invalid’

Lawmaker Son Chhay speaks at the CNRP headquarters earlier this month, where he said the party was preparing to submit amendments to the 2014 Laws on the Judiciary. Photo supplied
Lawmaker Son Chhay speaks at the CNRP headquarters earlier this month, where he said the party was preparing to submit amendments to the 2014 Laws on the Judiciary. Photo supplied

CNRP's proposed changes to judicial laws ‘invalid’

The National Assembly has knocked back a set of proposed amendments by opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party to legislation regulating the Kingdom’s judiciary because the submission did not follow procedure, a parliamentary official said yesterday.

Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long said the CNRP’s suggestions to update the three laws on the judiciary, submitted last week, were invalid because they had only put forward one letter of proposal for changes along with an accompanying statement.

To comply with parliamentary regulations, Peng Long claimed the party needed to provide separate submissions for each law.

He said the parliament, controlled by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, would reconsider the amendments if they were submitted correctly.

Contacted yesterday, CNRP chief whip Son Chhay said the rejection was not a “big problem”, adding a revised and corrected submission was made yesterday.

Chhay said the amendments seek to bolster the independence of the courts.

The three laws – which regulate judiciary’s top body, the Supreme Council of the Magistracy (SCM), as well as the functioning of the courts and the roles of judges and prosecutors – were passed in 2014 during the CNRP’s post-election parliamentary boycott. They later came under fire from the International Bar Association for entrenching the executive branch’s power over the constitutionally separate courts.

Noting law enforcement was “not equal for everyone”, Chhay said the opposition wanted the King – nominally the SCM’s head – to play a more active role in ensuring justice.

“These three laws . . . are contrary to the principle stated in the constitution regarding the role of the King in guaranteeing the independence of court system,” Chhay said.

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