Minister of Justice Koeut Rith reminded judges, prosecutors, court officials and all civil servants of the trial chamber at all levels to adhere to the law, behave professionally and ethically to provide legal services to people in an effective manner without corruption.
Koeut Rith made the remarks while presiding over the appointment and inauguration ceremony for the president of Phnom Penh Court of Appeal, directors of several provincial courts and Prey Veng provincial prosecutor held at the justice ministry on May 19.
The minister instructed the appointees to work hard and lead the judiciary and prosecution with responsibility. They have to ensure internal unity, better cooperation with relevant authorities and institutions, and strengthen the implementation of the laws.
“Court officials at all levels must ... ensure the fair provision of justice for the people. Legal services must be conducted quickly, accurately and fairly to further enhance the honour and dignity of the judiciary,” he said.
The King issued royal decrees to appoint and transfer court presidents and prosecutors last week.
Justice ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the appointment and transfer of officials in the judiciary is a standard administrative procedure.
“Some officials in the judiciary have reached retirement age, so it is necessary to appoint replacements while other officials are transferred from one province to another. We do this every four years to ensure the effectiveness of the institutions,” he said.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group Licadho, said that in the past Cambodia’s judicial system had drawn public criticism. The UN Human Rights Council, he said, has recommended reforming the legal system and the judiciary so that courts are independent, trustworthy and guarantee equality.
“There has been a lot of criticism of the Cambodian judicial system, both on Facebook and from national and international organisations, especially those involved with Cambodia’s judiciary,” he said.
Sam Ath said that reform is important as it increases public confidence, increases equality and eliminates impunity.
He observed that while Koeut Rith has introduced a series of judicial reform policies, more need to be done to make the legal system and the judiciary independent.
“Recommendations or a warning to court officials to strengthen their role, such as the implementation of professional ethics and adherence to the law, is important to reforming the judiciary,” he said.