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

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Bumpy road for local ride apps

    Ride-hailing services seem to have grown into a dominant player in the capital’s transportation sector. Relatively unknown and little used in the Kingdom at the beginning of this year, services like PassApp, Grab and ExNet are now commonplace on Phnom Penh streets. However, the

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition