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

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration