Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to undertake its own study of courts

Ministry to undertake its own study of courts

Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin is seen speaking at an event announcing a 100-day campaign for judicial reform last week in Phnom Penh. Facebook
Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin is seen speaking at an event announcing a 100-day campaign for judicial reform last week in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Ministry to undertake its own study of courts

Citing bias in past independent assessments, the Ministry of Justice will conduct its own review of Cambodia’s much maligned judiciary starting in June, a project one analyst said constituted a “conflict of interest”.

According to a press release on Friday, a Justice Ministry committee will conduct an assessment of the quality and effectiveness of the Kingdom’s courts over the course of 100 days.

“The campaign is aimed at updating strategies, reforming the justice system to make it clear specific and applicable, especially in response to the current situation in Cambodia,” the press release reads, adding that the probe will be “organised and implemented scientifically”.

The investigation will examine the institutions’ management, internal policies, resources and legal procedures, as well as the needs and satisfaction of customers, accessibility and price of services and the public’s level of trust in the courts.

The judiciary has long been criticised for being subject to bribery and political influence. A report by Transparency International Cambodia revealed that the public perceives the judiciary to be the most corrupt institution in Cambodia.

Chin Malin, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said that TIC and other outside observers were biased and judged the government unfairly.

“It has been done many times by those with a political motivation in order to attack and criticise, but it does not help with reform,” Malin said yesterday.

“They assess the court without participation from the court,” he added.

But Ear Sophal, a Cambodian professor on world affairs at Occidental College in California, said reports by groups like TIC are accurate in their criticisms of the judiciary, and said the ministry is incapable of independently investigating itself.

“That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse . . . The reason why the courts are not independent is because of politics and if politicians conduct a survey, it’s not independent to begin with. Anyone can see that it’s self-serving, self-dealing and [a] conflict of interest,” Sophal said via email.

TIC Director Preap Kol was a bit more optimistic, saying he welcomed the “intention of the government to assess the quality of the courts”, but remained wary.

“A self-assessment led by the Ministry of Justice, if conducted objectively and transparently, could help identify fundamental problems that can help guide judicial reform efforts. However, if it is conducted with a purpose to . . . [just] improve the image of the courts, it will be a waste of time and resources,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused