Just 222 days after the launch of a campaign to address the court case backlog throughout the Kingdom, the Ministry of Justice has cleared 35,100, or 89 per cent, out of a total of 39,152 cases that were pending.
This has helped ease prison overcrowding by allowing the release of 26,100 inmates due to the ongoing campaign.
In a press release, the ministry said the municipal and provincial court prosecutors across the country had cleared the 35,100 criminal cases in the phase of prosecution, investigation and trial.
During the campaign, the municipal and provincial courts had also addressed more than 36,500 new criminal cases last year.
The ministry said that among the 26,100 inmates set to go free 11,200 have already been released, 5,600 have not been freed yet, 3,000 are free from detention, and the remaining 6,300 have been sent to drug rehabilitation centres instead of being charged.
Justice ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the campaign had achieved remarkable results.
“Within these 222 days, 15 courts had declared success and wrapped up the campaign. Only nine courts have yet to do so, but we expect that they will also declare their success soon,” he said.
Malin said the campaign is scheduled to conclude on May 17, 2021.
“Given the progress in addressing the backlog, we expect that the other nine courts will also declare success and wrap up the campaign [before schedule],” he said.
Justice minister Koeut Rith announced the start of the campaign on May 18 last year after identifying 39,152 criminal cases pending at municipal and provincial courts.
He introduced four approaches for all working groups to focus on: speed, accuracy, fairness and probity.
Licadho deputy director Am Sam Ath noted that the campaign has helped expedite court proceedings, reducing case backlog and easing prison overcrowding as a result.
“We see that the proceedings at municipal and provincial courts after the launch of the campaign are expedited, with much effort put in to address the backlog.
“We don’t monitor all [cases] but through some cases that lawyers from our organisation observed, we saw that the courts had issued a series of summons.
“Persons who request our help in their cases were summoned to courts one by one,” he said.