Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM calls for tougher scrutiny on pardons



PM calls for tougher scrutiny on pardons

Robbers stand during a press conference at a Phnom Penh police station yesterday
Robbers stand during a press conference at a Phnom Penh police station yesterday. National Police

PM calls for tougher scrutiny on pardons

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday told the Ministry of Justice to re-check pardon applications from convicted robbers and drug dealers, saying that recidivism is a big problem in the Kingdom.

The premier’s statement, made in a speech on Koh Pich, follows a turbulent weekend rife with armed robberies in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Pursat and Battambang.

Many of those arrested had prior criminal histories, he said.

“Armed robbers and drug distributors should not be freed so often,” said Hun Sen. “According to the report of the military police and the police, the robbers are [former] prisoners who had been freed recently.”

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said that the ministry will examine the decision-making process used in pardon determinations to make it “more impartial” and “better”.

“Our mechanism is approved from the low to the high levels and it involves all the parties, such as ministries, prosecutors, police and prisons,” he said.

“We have to check our mechanism so we can figure out whether the prisoners are eligible to be released or not.”

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said that he fully supports the prime minister’s statement.

He said that two of the people arrested in Battambang for an armed robbery this weekend have been to jail before, though he did not identify which ones.

The same is true of many violent criminals apprehended by the police, he said.

“Sometimes, they don’t just have [armed robbery] on their records,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s other crimes.”

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor at rights group Licadho, which has long criticised the pardon process, welcomed the call for review.

“Some prisoners complain that they already changed their characteristics but do not get a pardon, while the ones that remain bad are pardoned because they have money,” he said.

“In the pardon process, it is necessary to make sure that they changed their attitude, or else they will commit the same thing after being released.”

Hun Sen also called on all levels of law enforcement to put more effort into intercepting violent criminals and drug dealers and on the public to help them.

“People have to cooperate with authorities by providing information in order to capture those armed robbers,” he said.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov and Phak Seangly

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,