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Justice minister set to testify at parliament

Justice minister set to testify at parliament

The Prime Minister has approved a request by parliament’s human rights committee to grill Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vattana over complaints about “problems” in the judiciary that infringe upon citizen’s rights, including excessive sentences, juvenile prison terms and the court’s punitive role in land disputes.

Vong Vattana will testify before the National Assembly’s commission on human rights, complaints and investigation on March 24, according to CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang, the committee’s chair.

Chhay Eang’s invitation to the minister, sent on March 3, was approved on Tuesday by Hun Sen, the day after the premier, via social media, called for the release of two women jailed over a land dispute in Kampong Speu, saying he was “disappointed” with their detention.

According to the document, Vattana will face questions regarding the handling of juvenile crime, excessive prison terms, mistakes in the following of court procedures, and the handling of land disputes.

His answers will help parliamentarians “improve law enforcement, respect for human rights, procedural implementation, and to guarantee social justice”, the letter states.

Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said Vong Vattana was also scheduled to address the assembly’s commission on legislation and justice.

The premier’s intervention on Monday has placed the use of detention in land disputes back in the spotlight, though observers have questioned the government’s sincerity in tackling the issue, given its inaction over decades of land-grabbing claims.

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