Thursday, 29.5.2008: Legal and Judicial Reform Remain Main Problems for Cambodia

Posted on 30 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: The Senate of Cambodia, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Center for International Migration and Development, held a conference about ‘Legal and Judicial Reform for the Modernization of the Kingdom of Cambodia’ on 27 May 2008.

The chairperson of the Commission on Legislation and the Judiciary of the Senate, Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun, stated, ‘The main problems for our commission to deal with are the legal and judicial reforms towards modernization.’

“Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun said that strategies for reforms in the fields of legislation and of the judiciary were adopted by the Royal Government in June 2003, to consider four basic areas: individual rights, democracy, the separation of powers, and legislation [cf. the address on ‘Doctrine of Precedents, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances‘ by Minister Sok An at a ‘Workshop on National Vision and Priorities on the Rule of Law and Judicial Reform,’ 10-11 June 2002].

“Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun hopes that the Royal Government will speed up the reforms on legislation and the judiciary, and also push to take policy initiatives to promote the wider provision of legal and judicial services, which are key conditions for a continuous development of social justice and for poverty alleviation.

“Mr. Kong Phaleak, a professor of law and a member of the Arbitration Council, mentioned that the legal and judicial reform process in Cambodia, from the past until now, has four main concerns: the general view of the legal and of the judiciary reforms, strategies for organizing the reforms, the implementation of the reforms, and the results of the implementation of the legal and judiciary reforms.

“The professor said that the general view of the legal and judiciary reforms is related to the political will of the Royal Government of Cambodia, where a Council for Legal and Judicial Reform was created in 2002. A permanent coordinating unit was created in 2002, and a project management unit was also created in 2002.

“Mr. Kong Phaleak stressed that the goal of the legal and judicial reforms is to create a state of law and a court system which can be trusted and which have the necessary stability to support the policies of individual rights, the separation of powers, and of the legislative process.

“The professor raised the question, ‘What should be done to achieve the goal of the legal and judicial reforms?’ Strategies for organizing the legal and judicial reforms have to consider basic values when organizing related documents, and these involve the four basic considerations of the Constitution of 1993: those views are individual rights, democracy, the separation of powers, and the constitution itself.

“The President of the Royal Academy for the Legal Professions, Mr. Tep Darong, intervened by pointing to the fact that the law is a tool which plays a most important role to guarantee economic growth, the progress of politics, of the culture, and of many other sectors.

“Mr. Tep Darong stated that a large number of judges and prosecutors working in the courts countrywide were not educated in professional legal educational institutions. Their basic capacity is low, which makes it difficult to implement important laws which will be adopted soon.

“Dr. Jörg Menzel, a Senior Legal Advisor to the Senate, said that in the process of the legal and judicial reforms in Cambodia, one should look and focus on minor points and start from there.

“Dr. Menzel raised as an example that now, when traveling at night and the traffic light is red, still there are vehicles crossing. At this point it is necessary to think what people should do when there are traffic lights, but people do not obey them.

“A Senate member from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kong Korm, said that so far, legal and judicial reforms have not yet clearly focused on the separation of the legislative, the executive, and the judicial powers, as well as on the decentralization policy – all this is very difficult.

“Mr. Tep Darong explained that so far, the separation of the three powers has not yet been clearly established, i.e. the separation is still weak.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:

Article 128:
The Judicial power shall be an independent power…

Article 130:
Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.

“He affirmed that if we want to achieve the separation of powers, we have to wait until an elected party fully adopt that absolute principle of law. Talking about decentralization, a part of the [executive] power is transferred to the communes, but this is not the whole power.

“He added that the reason why the Royal Government proceeds step by step is that the capacity for training for commune councilors is limited, and most of the commune councilors have a low level of knowledge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4601, 29.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 May 2008


Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #27, 29-4.5-6.2008

  • ‘If We Can Reduce Domestic Violence, the Number of Divorces Will Also Decline’ [says Director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – Dr. Kek Galabru]


Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #108, 29.5.2008

  • [Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Is Successful in Moving Citizens from Expensive Areas to Suburbs [where there is no development, and the very poor infrastructure makes it difficult for them to live there]


Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #18, 29-30.5.2008

  • Minister of Social Affairs and Labor H.E. Ith Sam Heng and the Director of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Mr. Chea Son Have Been Criticized over Their Partisanship [nepotism in employment]
  • Rubbish Piles of the CINTRI Company [rubbish collection] Destroy the Beauty and Reputation of Phnom Penh, the Heart of the Country


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1653, 29.5.2008

  • There Are Some Reactions [from the Sam Rainsy Party, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and Funcinpec] Related to the Survey Results of the [US bases] International Republican Institute [which show that 77% of citizens think that the government walks in the right direction]
  • [Human Rights Party president] Kem Sokha Will Hold a Farmers Congress on 30 May, but Some in Civil Society Said It Is Political Trick


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #164, 29.5.2008

  • Former Yuon [Vietnamese] Expert [Mr. Uy Tin] Talked about the Invasion by Yuon Soldiers into Cambodia [in 1979 – he said that the war in Cambodia by Vietnam was caused by China, he accused China to have urged the Khmer Rouge to fight against Vietnam in order to weaken Vietnam, which had just been united after the war against the US]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6357, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen]: Some Developing Partners Are not Qualified because They Believe Other Reports and Do Not Ask the Government
  • The House Arrest of [Burmese elected democracy leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Was Extended for One More Year [on Tuesday, 27 May 2008]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3472, 29.5.2008

  • The US Checks the Possibility to Provide Funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4601, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor: ‘Reforms Are Crucial to Make the Royal Government to Die or to Live’ [he said so on 28 May 2008 in the annual review meeting on financial reform]
  • Legal and Judicial Reform Remain Main Problems for Cambodia
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Called the Sou Guon [phonetic] Company to Evaluate the Use of Old Trucks [which cause many problems on the roads]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3320, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh]: Hun Sen Wants to Take Me to Prey Sar Prison, so Why Not they Arrest Murderers Murdering Film Stars, Singers, and Politicians?


Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #666, 29.5.2008

  • Poipet Immigration Police Cause Damage to Khmer Laborers [by extorting money from Khmer poor laborers]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and China

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