Minister of Justice Koeut Rith calls on court and prosecutor’s office leaders as well as judicial and law enforcement officials at all levels to prioritise “legal and judicial reform”. He also called upon civil society organisation (CSOs) to endorse this initiative.

The minister made the call during the October 16 swearing-in ceremony of Cheu Sok as the new director of Kandal Provincial Court, succeeding Hok Vanthina, who now assumes the directorship of Siem Reap Provincial Court.

During the event, Koeut Rith reiterated the government’s commitment to advancing legal and judicial reform, which is a cornerstone of the Pentagonal Strategy-Phase I introduced by Prime Minister Hun Manet upon taking office on August 24, according to a ministry social media post.

“Enhancing the quality and efficiency of the judiciary is among the government’s five key measures. The government has entrusted the justice ministry with the responsibility of formulating a practical action plan,” Koeut Rith was quoted as saying.

The minister also conveyed a message to the newly-minted Kandal Provincial Court director, along with judges, prosecutors, clerks and relevant officials. They were urged to enhance the efficacy of law enforcement and place greater emphasis on rigorous, accurate and transparent handling of cases, particularly those involving drug offences, money laundering, trafficking and the illicit use of firearms.

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn lauded the dedication of the justice sector, commending the leaders and officials of the court for their attention and collaboration with authorities and expert officials at all levels to provide efficient and professional justice services to the public.

“I trust that the provincial court leaders and officials will employ their knowledge, expertise and experience to collaborate seamlessly with the provincial administration. The aim is to deliver prompt and transparent justice services while effectively addressing the challenges faced by Kandal residents,” he remarked.

Upon assuming his new role and receiving the official seal, the court director pledged his dedication to delivering justice to the public with transparency, responsibility, internal cohesion and a focus on achieving tangible outcomes.

On October 17, Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, voiced his backing for the justice minister, emphasising that legal and judicial reform aligns with the aspirations of CSOs.

“If there is reform of the law and the judiciary, it is beneficial because, first and foremost, it restores public trust. Secondly, it safeguards the democratic exercise of people’s rights and freedoms, ensuring the rule of law and also serving as a guarantee for investors,” he detailed.

He also mentioned that for reform to be effective, it requires steadfast commitment to regular implementation, particularly from all relevant institutions, including the prosecution, the judiciary and judicial police, all of whom must wholeheartedly adhere to legal principles and, in addition, eliminate all forms of corruption.