Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to open more local justice centres to ease court case backlog

Ministry to open more local justice centres to ease court case backlog

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A truck transports prisoners to court. Hong Menea

Ministry to open more local justice centres to ease court case backlog

The Ministry of Justice is concerned over the delay in scheduling court cases, particularly at the Appeal Court level, and it has been creating regional justice centres and appeal courts to resolve the problem.

Its spokesman Chin Malin said this when speaking at a press conference on Thursday outlining the government’s achievements a year on from the national elections.

“We can resolve some delays but not all of them. We have dealt with 50 per cent of the cases but new ones keep coming in, especially with the current anti-drug campaign. The long-term plan is to create regional appeal courts to help speed up the process.

“In addition, we have created some 68 justice centres to deal with cases at the grassroots level and encourage out of court resolutions. In the future, justice centres will be created in all districts and towns throughout the country.

“In the last year, we have started building appeal courts in three provinces – Tbong Khmum, Battambang and Preah Sihanouk. The construction is 80 per cent complete and it’s expected that they will be opened next year,” he said.

In late March, Be Tea Leng, the deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons, said there were 31,400 inmates, 2,440 of whom were women, and that two-thirds of those detained had not yet been convicted by the courts.

Of the total, 7,767 have been placed in pre-trial detention, 3,643 charged, 10,890 tried and 9,137 have received final verdicts from the highest court.

General Department of Prisons spokesman Nuth Savana said the slowness to convict had caused prisons to become overcrowded, and it was increasingly difficult to manage inmates, some of whom had been waiting for a hearing for eight or nine months.

“Expediting these cases would be extremely helpful because the charged people won’t have to stay so long in prison. When cases are drawn-out, it’s detrimental to the interests of the accused or charged people who have not yet been found guilty.

“But because they were detained by investigating judges, they have to wait in prison for a hearing. When the courts speed up the processing of cases, it will improve the situation in prisons throughout the country,” he said.

Soeung Sen Karuna, the senior investigator at rights group Adhoc, said judicial institutions should address the issue immediately, as overcrowding affected the rights of the inmates.

“It affects their rights and freedoms because pre-trial detention is lasting too long. Judicial institutions ought to have a clear mechanism to handle cases more quickly,” he said.


  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At