Officials from the Ministry of Justice and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have agreed to hold a virtual Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting in April to discuss reforms of the Kingdom’s legal and judicial system.

Justice ministry spokesman Chin Malin told The Post on March 30 the meeting was scheduled following his meeting via video conference with OHCHR Cambodia representative Pradeep Wagle on March 29.

The meeting covered the achievements both sides had made and adjustments to the cooperation to be implemented in the context of Covid-19. Both sides also discussed holding the TWG meeting in April with development partners and civil society groups on the reforms.

“We agreed to set up TWG with myself and Pradeep Wagle as co-chairmen, and joined by development partners and civil society groups. We will discuss how development partners and stakeholders can contribute to the implementation of legal and judicial system reform programmes in 2021,” Malin said.

Pradeep told The Post on March 30 that UN Human Rights and the Ministry of Justice met in their capacity as co-chairs of the Technical Working Group on Legal and Judicial Reform (TWG-LJR), which is similar to other working groups that cooperate with the ministry.

TWG brings together the government, development partners and civil society organisations to exchange information concerning administrative reforms to the justice and legal systems.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director for rights group Licadho, said on March 30 that legal and judicial reforms in Cambodia are goals the government had set a long time ago, though the process has been slow.

“The problems of judicial system in Cambodia have drawn public criticism. We see that OHCHR, especially the special rapporteur on human rights situation in Cambodia, has made a series of recommendations relating to judicial reforms to restore public trust,” he said.

Sam Ath supported the ongoing meetings and cooperation by both sides.

He said that after justice minister Koeut Rith had taken office, a number of new reforms were carried out such as clearing a backlog of cases at municipal and provincial courts across the country. A policy was also established to solve disputes outside the courts.

“We have observed that justice officials have accelerated court proceedings and many commissions were set up to carry out the reforms. So, we see that these activities have just begun,” he said.