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Bar association takes on corruption among lawyers

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The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) has said it would strictly monitor theactivities of all professional lawyers to end corrupt practices among them in the judicial system. Hong Menea

Bar association takes on corruption among lawyers

The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) said it would strictly monitor the activities of all professional lawyers to end corrupt practices among them in the judicial system.

The move came after Prime Minister Hun Sen told Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana last Wednesday to review irregularities in the judicial system in general and corrupt acts facilitated by lawyers in particular.

Hun Sen was briefed on such irregularities by the Supreme Council for Consultation on the same day.

The Council’s general secretary, Chhim Phal Virun, reportedly told the prime minister that some judges and prosecutors were involved in corruption through lawyers.

‘To monitor and punish’

In a statement released on Friday, Phal Virun said: “To strengthen the implementation of the law and social justice, BAKC had created an inspection department to monitor and punish lawyers who violate the law and code of conduct.

“The department has been tasked with receiving complaints, investigating and referring the complaint to BAKC’s discipline committee and council for a decision.

“BAKC appeals to all members to join hands in strengthening the rule of law in Cambodia, fighting corruption in all forms, upholding the value of BAKC lawyers’ professionalism and prestige, and reporting all irregularities within the judicial system to the BAKC in a timely fashion.”

BAKC president Suon Visal and its spokesperson Yim Sary could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Preap Kol, the executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said cleaning up corruption in the judicial system as a whole was crucial to restoring trust among the general public and international stakeholders.

To end the corrupt practices effectively, he said, reforms must be made systematically and comprehensively.

“Addressing corruption among lawyers alone will not be effective. To ensure court independence, the appointment of judges must be done through a competitive recruitment process.

“All judges shall not be affiliated with any political party or be required to resign from political parties before they are officially appointed,” he said.

He said judicial processes also needed to be transparent and verifiable.