Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court extension, a first step to reform

Court extension, a first step to reform

Court extension, a first step to reform

An extension to the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh aimed to help ease recently reported chronic overcrowding in Cambodia’s prison caused by a backlog of cases was officially opened yesterday.

The improvements also include the adoption of the case database management system used at the Khmer Rouge tribunal and were jointly funded by the Australian government’s aid program AusAid and the Cambodian government.

Australian ambassador to Cambodia, Penny Richards, said at yesterday’s opening that there were “currently serious delays in hearing appeals”.

“With this new building and a new data managment system, I hope that excessive detention will be eliminated and that we will see a reduction in prison overcrowding,” she said.

Richards also said the adoption of the Khmer Rouge tribunal database management system was exactly the type best-practice transfer from the court that helped sustain the international community’s con­tributions to the ECCC.

But ECCC defence council, Michael Karnavas, said that though administrative reforms were a good first step, a holistic overhaul of the judiciary required more than singular measures.

“That will probably help, but having a computerised system is not going to solve the problem if people are not processing cases in a methodical way,” he said.

“So this is one step in the right direction, but let’s see how committed they are.”

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said a draft Law on Organisation and Functioning of the Court – which would establish provincial appeal courts – would be debated at the Council of Ministers next week.

A report released in April by the rights group Licadho found that at least 800 detainees in provincial courts were at risk of not receiving a fair trial because of inadequate resources to take them to the country’s lone appeal court in Phnom Penh.

Licadho consultant Jeff Vize said he hoped the improvements would have something of an impact but that there were still big issues – such as the shortage of defence lawyers in the provinces – that needed to be addressed to reduce prison crowding.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Boyle at david.[email protected]
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National