The Ministry of Justice opened the first training course on the “Fundamentals of Mediation Skills” to 13 trainees on July 18.

The move comes as ministry and sub-national administration officials and legal experts conduct further training in theoretical and practical exercises aimed at encouraging participants in Cambodia to become mediation instructors.

The opening ceremony was presided over by Pen Somethea, director-general of the General Department of Civil Affairs at the Ministry of Justice, director of Mediation and Local Justice (MLJ) Department, and was attended by members of the Legislative and Justice Council.

Suyheang Kry, the executive director of Women Peace Makers (WPM), and justice ministry officials were also in attendance.

“The training was organised in collaboration with the Department of Mediation and Local Justice and WPM under the auspices of Danmission to 13 trainees in order for them become core trainers of mediation,” the Ministry of Justice said. The ministry said the training process will be organised in three phases.

The first includes 40 hours of study on theory, and the second is advanced online training from mediation teachers from the Mediation Centre Australia in accordance with National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) international standards, while the third is the final exam.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said the ministry was developing policies and mechanisms in line with current legal and judicial reforms in Cambodia and it was also creating a number of draft laws, including on mediation processes – or non-judicial dispute resolution mechanisms – to promote effective services for the public.

“We will also develop laws and policies related to other professions, particularly mediators, who play an important role as out-of-court arbiters, especially at the grassroots level,” Malin said.

He said there were many mediators currently working in Cambodia to settle disputes outside the judiciary, including local authorities, the private sector, civil society organisations and public officials.

Malin said the ministry was preparing mechanisms to manage the effective operations of mediation, to ensure quality and the recognition of qualifications and the advantages of non-judicial dispute resolution.