The Ministry of Justice has received far fewer official requests for this year’s stricter round of pardons and sentence reductions, scheduled to coincide with the Visak Bochea Buddhist holiday, a spokesman said yesterday.
The pardons this year have been curtailed by directives from above to combat what officials have characterised as a rash of drug crimes and violent armed robberies.
Ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap said yesterday that the ministry had received a total of 294 requests for pardons and reduced sentences, which usually take place at Khmer New Year but were delayed this year.
By comparison, last year’s pardon process saw more than 900 such requests.
Santepheap said that this year authorities would apply more scrutiny to requests.
“We determined some offences we won’t give priority to, such as drug offences, robbery and stealing offences,” he said. “We will also consider carefully offences related to minors.”
Observers have long said the pardons process is corrupt, and more recently that the injunction against drug offenders could hurt small-time users, who would benefit more from treatment than incarceration.