The Ministry of Justice develops and implements legal and judicial reform strategies, according to its Secretary of State and Spokesperson Chin Malin.
Malin was speaking at a press conference on “Progress in Human Rights and Justice in Cambodia”, organized by the Government Spokesperson’s Unit and held on June 29 at the Council ministers.
Malin said the government’s judicial reform program aims to ensure the pursuit of justice in the justice system, which is a top priority.
He noted, however, that the reform work was not something that could be accomplished overnight, but a long-term effort that needed to be sustained continuously over time to achieve just results according to law.
“Up to now, we are still in the process of launching our program of reforms of the legal and judicial system. If you are wondering when these reforms will be completed, the answer is that we will not stop the work of reforming our system until because there are problems within the justice system that need to be corrected.
“Perhaps one day we will find that there are no more problems and that further reforms will no longer be necessary. But starting today, we recognize that there are problems in the area of justice and therefore we must put in place programs for the reform of the legal and judicial system and continue to implement them to improve the system.”
Malin said the reform focused on three strategies. The first was to review the old existing laws that were being implemented to see if they met the needs of the people and the social reality.
The second was to develop a new legal framework and a new policy on what was lacking in the Cambodian judicial system to guarantee legal justice to the people.
The third was to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the law, in which some laws were implemented and others were implemented for a single period and then stopped.
“We were discussing what was missing and why these laws were not enforced.
“The civil society organizations that are part of the technical working group on legal and judicial system reforms have had many discussions with us on these issues. I am the co-chair of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia and we also discussed many issues related to this reform agenda,” he said.
He explained that the first strategy is to examine, study and research the laws currently in force under the four legal codes of the Kingdom: the Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure and the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.
He said the review process has been ongoing for 10 years and carried out with the support of international experts. As an example, he noted that the Civil Code and its procedures are being reviewed with the help of legal experts from Japan.
He said that the Japanese had contributed their experiences and ideas regarding the implementation of civil law in Japan to help revise the laws in Cambodia, and that French experts had also provided considerable support for the revision of the Penal Code. and its procedures.
“We look at all of this because while certain regulations may be good in general, they must make sense in the context of the society in which they are implemented, so they must be good for that country in particular.
“In some cases, there were regulations in our legal codes that were not successfully implemented because the social context of Cambodia meant that they were not suitable for our country and our society at that time. Even law enforcement officials will have different opinions on the use of words, phrases and the mood of these laws,” Malin said.
He said the ministry’s technical working group has set up a joint commission to study and evaluate legal codes. The group started by assessing what problems existed with these four codes.
“They were tasked with finding out why certain provisions of the code were not yet applicable and how to make these four codes more applicable to our society in order to meet our needs in the context of the realities of Cambodian society,” he said. he declares. “This work consists of reviewing the key principles related to the justice system in order to meet the needs of the population.”
Malin said the second strategy was organizing new regulations and building a policy framework to regulate and guarantee the staffing of the Cambodian judiciary.
He said they had determined that the laws and policies needed to support the justice system were particularly lacking, the specific example being the work done this year on the preparation of laws and statutes relating to three of the main support professions in the judicial sector – clerks, bailiffs. and notaries.
He noted that judges, prosecutors and lawyers already had well-established professional regulations to manage their work, while for much-needed but less publicized jobs such as clerks, bailiffs and notaries, no laws currently governs them.
“This is why our team is working on drafting laws on these three professions hoping that they will be completed by the end of 2022. The ministry is also preparing draft laws and policies concerning notaries working outside the courtroom, especially for dispute mediation. at the local level,” he said.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of advocacy group LICADHO, acknowledged that the justice system was a tricky issue to resolve.
“As a civil society organization, we want to see a strong justice system that can restore public trust.”