Son Soubert States that Judges Must Resign from Their Positions at the Courts before They Leave to Work for the Government – Thursday, 11.6.2009

Posted on 11 June 2009. Filed under: Week 616 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 616

“A member of the Constitutional Council – the supreme legal institution of Cambodia – Mr. Son Soubert, said that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia states, ‘The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate’ [Article 51].

“Mr. Son Soubert said so after three judges had been appointed as advisors to [the President of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin, and to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

“Also a parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘There must be a separation among the legislative, executive, and judicial powers.’

“It should be noted that the appointments of these three senior judges as advisors to the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, and to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, was described to be against the Constitution by a member of the Constitutional Council, as this affects the independence of the legislative, because the executive power of the government interferes.

“Mr. Son Soubert said, ‘If a person is a judge and works for the government, this is not right. The Constitution states that the three powers shall be separate.’ He added that judges must resign from their positions at the courts before they accept another position [in the legislative or executive]. A publication by the well-known Khmer language newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea on Friday applauded the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Chiv Keng, for his recent appointment as an advisor of the council of legal experts at the Council of Ministers, administered by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

“The publication, on behalf of judges and prosecutors of this court to welcome Mr. Chiv Keng with his new position, displays the photo of the president of the Municipal Court standing next to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, with a note saying that this position is equal to the position of a minister.

“The president of the Kandal Municipal Court, Mr. Khieu Samet, said on Tuesday that he and the president of the Sihanoukville Municipal Court, Mr. Sin Dim, were appointed early this year as advisors to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin. Mr. Khieu Samet added that this position is not a salaried one.

“Mr. Son Soubert said that court officials should resign from their positions. He said, ‘Mr. Chiv Keng should resign from any positions at the courts – that means he cannot be a judge at a court, because he is in the government. For positions at the courts, one must be neutral and not related with anyone.’

“Mr. Son Soubert went on to say, ‘Mr. Chiv Keng can work in his new position, but he has to resign from his position as a judge.’ He added that the presidents of the Kandal and Sihanoukville Municipal Courts have to do the same.

“He continued to say that the courts cannot interfere into the function of other powers… Doing so is against the Constitution.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said on Tuesday that even though there is no law against such nominations, judges must be independent and should know that they have to be independent from the executive power of the government.

“Mr. Sok Sam Oeun said, ‘Courts are independent, and if judges start to work in the executive body, that means they lose their independence. They might try much to protect their independence, but however hard they try, they will still be criticized.’

“He added, ‘If we want the courts to be independent, the government should not assign judges as its advisors. Being judges, they cannot even provide advice.’

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘If the three bodies are mutually related, officials from the courts will work in the government, and government officials will work at the courts. And if the courts fall into such a situation, the Khmer citizens are the victims.’

“Yesterday, we could not reach Mr. Chiv Keng, Mr. Khieu Samet, and Mr. Sin Dim for comments regarding their roles as advisor to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, and to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #422, 11.6.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 11 June 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #207, 11.6.2009

  • [The president of the National Assembly and honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin, Agrees with the Request by [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay to Invite [the Minister at the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An, to Clarify to the Assembly the Drilling of [holes to fix electric lamps at] Angkor Wat
  • The Number of Found Passengers of the [crashed] Airbus-330 Increased to 41

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1967, 11.6.2009

  • Cambodia Asks the United States of America to Cancel the Debt of Cambodia [of more than US$300 million]
  • Germany Registers [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin in the Blacklist for Arrests [after there is information that Mr. Thaksin holds a document with the permission to live in Germany]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #422, 11.6.2009

  • Son Soubert States that Judges Must Resign from Their Positions at the Courts before They Leave to Work for the Government
  • The Court Announces Not to Accept and Handle [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua’s Defamation Complaint against [Prime Minister] Hun Sen
  • Lights Installed to Lit Angkor Wat Temple during the Night Are Removed Quietly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6673, 11.6.2009

  • Cambodia Sends 52 Deminers to Sudan
  • Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief ‘Duch’ Says that All Vietnamese Captives Arrested Were Smashed [killed]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3781, 11.6.2009

  • An Assessment [by the Economist Intelligence Unit] Is Embarrassing for [Phnom Penh governor] Kep Chuktema [it ranks Phnom Penh 128th among 140 cities based on five criteria: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure; however, Deputy Governor Pa Socheatevong said that the assessment is not accurate]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4917, 11.6.2009

  • Special Economic Zones Proceed to Be Set Up but Are Slow Due to the Lack of [investment] Partners
  • The Cambodian and Vietnamese Border Committees Agree to Solve [three] Unsolved Points [the Ou Ya Dav border crossing at Ratanakiri, the Phnom Den border crossing in Takeo, and the border marker number 313, the final marker in Kampot]
  • The Federation of Unions [with the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers as members] Announced to Demonstrate during the Visit of the Thai Prime Minister [who will arrive in Cambodia on 12 June 2009, to demand Thailand to stop invading Cambodia, and pay compensation for the burning down of the market at the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • Motorbike Drivers with a Driving License Operate Only About 2% of the Number of Motorbikes [20,110 drivers have driving licenses, while the number of motorbikes is 943,660]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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