Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Justice minister promises good governance, solidarity

Justice minister promises good governance, solidarity

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
New Minister of Justice Koeut Rith vows to strengthen the integrity and accuracy of the work of judicial officials by strengthening discipline and professional ethics in this sector. Ministry of Justice

Justice minister promises good governance, solidarity

Newly-appointed Minister of Justice Koeut Rith has vowed to continue implementing policy reforms to improve the quality of the judicial system and build public confidence.

He made the remarks at his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.

King Norodom Sihamoni issued a royal decree appointing Koeut Rith as Minister of Justice, replacing Ang Vong Vathana, who had held the position for 16 years. The King also ordered Vathana to be appointed Senior Minister in charge of Special Missions.

Before he was sworn in, Rith said he would continue to strengthen and expand the achievements of prior reforms in the interest of the judicial sector and the nation.

He also committed to letting good governance serve as the core of the judiciary and guaranteed internal solidarity.

“I vow to strengthen the integrity and accuracy of the work of judicial officials by strengthening discipline and professional ethics in this sector by promoting the honour and dignity of the courts.

“To achieve all these goals, I hope the senior leadership and officials of the Ministry of Justice, judicial officials at all levels and other relevant officials will take an active part in strengthening the rule of law in Cambodia,” he said.

Vathana said at the ceremony that Rith had learned a lot about the work of the judicial sector, having worked with him for more than one term.

He expressed hope that Rith would gain support from the ministry’s leadership and receive energetic and sincere participation from officials at all levels.

“I would like to support Rith in his mission to faithfully address all the challenges before him,” he said.

Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said Rith would continue addressing human resource shortages in the justice sector, just as the ministry had been doing before his appointment.

A rising imbalance between court cases and the number of judicial officials, he said, is one of the challenges to be addressed.

“A backlog of cases at the tribunal and the judiciary is more complicated, especially after the fourth anti-drugs campaign was put into motion successfully. The number of detainees has increased drastically, and we have not yet addressed it decisively,” he said.

He further said that as of Monday, there were 38,990 detainees in the Kingdom, including 2,593 women.

There are 4,725 accused persons in the Kingdom and 10,066 have been charged with a crime, said Sar Kheng.

The Kingdom has 13,402 accused, of which 903 are women. Of the total, 996 face outstanding appeals cases, 131 face outstanding Supreme Court cases, and 12,305 are waiting for a verdict from the Supreme Court.

Sar Kheng said there are 10,197 convicts in the country, of whom 726 are women.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) executive director San Chey told The Post on Thursday that before his appointment, Rith was a legal expert.

When he took his new position, it was seen as a politically motivated move, Chey said.

He said he wanted to see more adherence to the legal system, rather than political landscapes, lest the judiciary in Cambodia declines further.

“In the past, indecisiveness between the justice system and politics had been under criticism. We find that nothing is bad if the expert becomes the politician in a senior body. In reality, the office of the secretary of state is also a political one.

“Until now, we have not yet achieved an independent justice system. But [we] have to look at the balance between executive and judicial powers,” Chey said.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of

  • School reopening can’t wait

    With the Covid-19 pandemic now well into its second year, safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. School attendance is critical for children’s education and lifetime prospects. The long-term costs of closures – both for individual children and society – are simply too large to