The Ministry of Justice is working with relevant institutions to create mechanisms to prevent corruption in the judicial system, a week after Prime Minister Hun Sen brought up the issue during a meeting with members of the Supreme Council for Consultation.

Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana held an internal meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways to end corrupt practices among judicial officials and lawyers.

During the meeting, senior ministry officials also discussed ways to strengthen good governance in the judicial system in line with the prime minister’s recommendations.

“The meeting touched on the strengthening of our internal governance, integrity and transparency in the judicial system. We prepared measures for better collaboration with other stakeholders to prevent corruption. We laid out mechanisms to strengthen our inspection work, making it more effective.

“Any judicial officials found to violate their professional ethics and the law will be held accountable. We’ve also drafted mechanisms to be jointly approved by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), the Supreme Council of Magistracy and the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, (BAKC),” he said.

Malin said the ministry had not publicised the mechanisms as it needed to meet with the ACU, the BAKC and the Supreme Council of Magistracy for further discussions before they are finalised.

Prominent legal expert Sok Sam Oeun called on lawyers to refrain from corrupt practices and from using their connections in the government to win legal cases.

“All parties must say no to corruption and instead fight their legal battles with integrity and patience. Only then can the judicial system run more smoothly,” he said.

Licadho monitoring manager Am Sam Ath said civil society groups had frequently raised the issue of corrupt practices within the judicial system, especially in the forms of nepotism and bribe solicitation.

“We’ve seen that in the past, judicial institutions had not paid full attention [to corruption]. From my observation, relevant ministries only began to act after Prime Minister Hun Sen raised the issue.

“To effectively tackle corruption, there needs to be systematic and strategic mechanisms” he said.