Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government rejects pilot project for offenders to do community service



Government rejects pilot project for offenders to do community service

Justice Ministry official Keut Rith seen speaking earlier this year in Phnom Penh.
Justice Ministry official Keut Rith seen speaking earlier this year in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Government rejects pilot project for offenders to do community service

A senior Justice Ministry official said a pilot project to increase bail approvals and community service sentencing for small-time offenders would be impossible, weeks after the project was announced during the visit of a United Nations human rights official.

UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith, during her fact-finding mission in August, had discussed a pilot project in Battambang province to increase alternative sentences and bail approvals to reduce instances of pre-trial detention – which have seen a severe increase thanks to an ongoing government drug crackdown.

Speaking on Wednesday, Secretary of State Keut Rith said the proposal was too ambitious for the Cambodian context, where people would not warm to the idea of letting criminal offenders out of prison, calling it a “modernisation of the law that did not fit Cambodian society”.

“If the court does not jail a prisoner, but the court frees the prisoner, even though the prisoner participates in social work, the public will not understand this clearly,” he said.

Rith pointed to Cambodia’s frequent incidents of mob justice as evidence that community service sentencing would not work.

Smith did not respond to requests for comment and Battambang provincial officials seemed to be in the dark on the project. Buth Kimsean, deputy provincial governor, and Ol Thearith, provincial prison director, said they had not heard of the project.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian