Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Judiciary laws moving forward with ‘debate’

Judiciary laws moving forward with ‘debate’

The National Assembly in Phnom Penh yesterday, where the first two chapters of the Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Courts were approved in principle
The National Assembly in Phnom Penh yesterday, where the first two chapters of the Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Courts were approved in principle. Scott Howes

Judiciary laws moving forward with ‘debate’

The National Assembly yesterday opened debate for the first time on the first of three controversial judicial draft laws, approving in principle the first two chapters of the Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Courts, in the continued absence of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Addressing lawmakers, Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana maintained that the laws would “improve public justice services, strengthen the independence of the court’s powers, as well as strengthen the state of law and good governance”.

Civil society observers have criticised the laws for placing excessive power in the hands of the executive branch and for sailing through the drafting period without outside input, but Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap insisted yesterday that “nobody can order around the parliament, especially human rights groups”.

Fellow CPP lawmaker Hu Sry yesterday took to task those who attacked the assembly for moving forward with the laws without the CNRP, calling such criticism “shameful”.

“Why don’t those individual organisations call for the [CNRP] to sit in the National Assembly?” Sry asked.

Despite the statements made by the minister of justice, legal expert Sok Sam Oeun expressed reservations yesterday about the Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Courts, saying that it would create a needlessly complicated hierarchy, leave administration of courts in the hands of the Justice Ministry and maintain troubling aspects of the current system, such as the lack of juvenile courts.

“This law is not reform,” he said. “Reform means change, right? But this is just the same; it legalises the current practice.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’