Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to undertake its own study of courts

Ministry to undertake its own study of courts

Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin is seen speaking at an event announcing a 100-day campaign for judicial reform last week in Phnom Penh. Facebook
Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin is seen speaking at an event announcing a 100-day campaign for judicial reform last week in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Ministry to undertake its own study of courts

Citing bias in past independent assessments, the Ministry of Justice will conduct its own review of Cambodia’s much maligned judiciary starting in June, a project one analyst said constituted a “conflict of interest”.

According to a press release on Friday, a Justice Ministry committee will conduct an assessment of the quality and effectiveness of the Kingdom’s courts over the course of 100 days.

“The campaign is aimed at updating strategies, reforming the justice system to make it clear specific and applicable, especially in response to the current situation in Cambodia,” the press release reads, adding that the probe will be “organised and implemented scientifically”.

The investigation will examine the institutions’ management, internal policies, resources and legal procedures, as well as the needs and satisfaction of customers, accessibility and price of services and the public’s level of trust in the courts.

The judiciary has long been criticised for being subject to bribery and political influence. A report by Transparency International Cambodia revealed that the public perceives the judiciary to be the most corrupt institution in Cambodia.

Chin Malin, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said that TIC and other outside observers were biased and judged the government unfairly.

“It has been done many times by those with a political motivation in order to attack and criticise, but it does not help with reform,” Malin said yesterday.

“They assess the court without participation from the court,” he added.

But Ear Sophal, a Cambodian professor on world affairs at Occidental College in California, said reports by groups like TIC are accurate in their criticisms of the judiciary, and said the ministry is incapable of independently investigating itself.

“That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse . . . The reason why the courts are not independent is because of politics and if politicians conduct a survey, it’s not independent to begin with. Anyone can see that it’s self-serving, self-dealing and [a] conflict of interest,” Sophal said via email.

TIC Director Preap Kol was a bit more optimistic, saying he welcomed the “intention of the government to assess the quality of the courts”, but remained wary.

“A self-assessment led by the Ministry of Justice, if conducted objectively and transparently, could help identify fundamental problems that can help guide judicial reform efforts. However, if it is conducted with a purpose to . . . [just] improve the image of the courts, it will be a waste of time and resources,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the