Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China MoU to help ‘reform’ judiciary

China MoU to help ‘reform’ judiciary

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana signs a judicial reforms agreement with China on Monday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana signs a judicial reforms agreement with China on Monday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

China MoU to help ‘reform’ judiciary

China has signed an agreement to assist the Kingdom with judicial reforms and to share expertise in overhauling such systems, though one international expert yesterday cautioned that China shouldn’t be considered “a model for justice reform in Cambodia”.

Under the five-year agreement, signed on Monday, China will provide training and financial, judicial and legal assistance, said Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin. China will help new administrative offices – created in 2014 – by providing training on managing caseloads, finances and personnel, as well as information technology, he said.

“We still need support for [the administrative offices] to function properly,” Malin said.

Judges would also receive training from China, although the specifics haven’t been decided yet. “We may have an exchange program,” he added.

What’s more, China will assist in the establishment of a legal and judicial research centre, which will provide policy recommendations to the government on general legal and judicial reforms.

The courts, however, have long been one of Cambodia’s most-maligned institutions, especially after the 2014 passage of three controversial laws purportedly aimed at “judicial reform”, but which critics claimed only further solidified the executive branch’s control of the judiciary.

The judiciary has yet again been under international fire recently for what observers have termed a raft of politically motivated and legally questionable cases against opposition members and leaders.

Kingsley Abbott, senior legal adviser at the International Commission of Jurists, yesterday questioned whether China was in the best position to help the Kingdom improve.

“Certainly, China should not be used as a model for justice reform in Cambodia, given its well-documented harassment of human rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists, and its own challenges with justice reform and the establishment of an independent judiciary,” he said.

Cambodia, he added, “should focus on establishing independent judges, prosecutors and lawyers who are able to carry out their work free from interference”.

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