Minister of Interior Sar Sokha has urged the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT) to intensify their educational outreach and to expand collaboration with relevant authorities and organisations to bolster the respect for human rights and to tackle torture, cruelty and the degradation of societal ethics.

Sokha’s comments came during the conclusion of the annual review meeting of the NCAT’s Implementation Plan on October 3, as reported by the ministry.

He lauded NCAT’s achievements in training, education and legal assistance. However, he emphasised the importance of embedding international human rights instruments at the points of arrest and detention.

“The NCAT should consistently recommend that its personnel, under appropriate supervision, undertake inquiries and research in all suspected torture cases,” Sokha stated, adding that any probe should ensure it doesn’t overstep its jurisdictional boundaries.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, acknowledged the NCAT’s efforts in promoting anti-torture initiatives.

“Yet, beyond mere outreach and investigations, civil society organisations aspire to see a more potent NCAT that can effectively protect and secure justice for torture victims,” he remarked.

Sam Ath said that in the past, efforts to look into cases and deliver justice for torture victims often seemed limited and not always commensurate with the gravity of the situation.

“We also advocate for the government and associated parties to fortify the NCAT’s authority, enabling them to work with increased efficacy,” he added.

Legal analyst Sok Sam Oeun stated that to genuinely eliminate torture, the competent bodies, with NCAT at the forefront, should initiate prompt investigations, autopsies and legal actions following a complaint.