Minister of Justice Koeut Rith said on Monday that his ministry is focused on strengthening the justice sector and ensuring judges, prosecutors and court officials perform their duties with dignity and discipline.
He said the ministry’s efforts are aimed at promoting the honour and dignity of judges, the quality of trials, legality and justice. The ministry is also focused on providing quick and clean justice to earn the public’s trust.
Rith made the remarks while presiding over a ceremony to designate Judge Sam Bunthon as Battambang Appeal Court president, Nuon San as chief prosecutor, and Kue Bunnara as a prosecutor.
He said judges, prosecutors and court officials must conform to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s five pillars which serve as a metaphor for occupying a government office with dignity.
One must look at oneself in the mirror, he said, to honestly assess and clean any filth, treat any wounds and operate as necessary if he is to be an effective official.
Judges, prosecutors and court officials have to strictly follow the law to ensure impartial trials and genuine justice for the people. When they took their positions, they vowed to avoid partialities to love, anger, fear and ignorance, he said.
Rith said: “The judges, prosecutors and all officials must maintain discipline and ethical values while fulfilling their daily work. By sticking to a high level of professionalism and ethical values, they can enhance their pride and dignity. It also strengthens citizens’ belief in the justice system.”
He told judges, prosecutors and officials related to the court to take responsibility in their jobs by tackling the backlog of cases in the courts of first instance.
A measure to clear backlogged court cases was implemented by the ministry on May 18. The solution must be implemented with a “Fast, accurate, fair and non-corrupt” approach, Rith said.
Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said on Tuesday that its priority is clearing the number of cases stuck in court. If the caseload is too high, it can affect the ability of the institution and slow down justice for citizens.
The ministry said it would focus on enhancing human resources and improving officials’ professionalism and ethical values.
Building additional physical infrastructure in the courts and inspection mechanisms on judicial officials is also a priority for the Ministry of Justice, he said.
Transparency International Cambodia executive director Pich Pisey said he supported Rith’s remarks. Holding judges and judicial officials accountable to high standards of professionalism and ensuring they adhere to the Code of Conduct will improve peoples’ access to justice, Pisey said.
He said maintaining the judicial sector’s independence is another priority because a reliable system is capable of creating an environment where other sectors can thrive.
He reiterated that the judicial system should remain independent, a right guaranteed by the Cambodian Constitution.