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Subedi: The Court System in Cambodia Still Has Difficulties in Providing Justice for Cambodian Citizens

By: The Mirror Posted: June-21-2010 in
The Mirror

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

Note:

1. Apologies for not having had any publication on Friday – a National Holiday, Birthday of the Queen Mother – and providing the Saturday issue only late on Sunday. I had difficulties to receive the draft materials in time.

2. I upload the Saturday publication in transit from the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong on the way to the regular meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN, the organization handling the global Internet address system – in Brussels, and further travel beyond, to Canada and the USA. This travel will also result in some irregular timing of the publication of The Mirror during the next weeks.

But we still try to keep up the publication regularly, though with some delays.

Norbert Klein

“The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia stated at the end of his third mission to Cambodia that serious flaws in the Cambodian court system affect the courts’ abilities to provide justice for common citizens.

“Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Subedi, said that the lack of resources, institutional problems, and the interference from outside of the court system have created institutions which are not trusted by citizens from all levels of society. He said, ‘More and more citizens had been jailed because of flaws in the court system, and such failures to provide justice are on the rise.’

“Mr. Subedi added that such cases relate especially to land disputes and to the freedom of expression. He added, ‘I am concerned about the impact from land disputes and from the relocation of common citizens… and the decline of political freedom to discuss issues the society is facing which result in complaints against journalists, human rights activists, and political opposition of defamation, disinformation, and incitations.’

“During his 10-day visit to Cambodia concentrating on the judicial system, Mr. Subedi met with the Khmer King, Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, high ranking officials, judges, members of the civil society, and parliamentarians. But Mr. Subedi said that a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday, 17.6.2010, was canceled due to health reason. He went on to say, ‘I will find other ways to convey my messages to the Prime Minister.’

“Citizens had directly delivered to Mr. Subedi a petition asking him to intervene to supprt their cases. On Monday, 14.6.2010, for a short time, he met with representatives of citizens involved in land disputes in Kandal, Kompong Speu, Kompong Thom, and Siem Reap.

“The next day, Mr. Ruos Sokhet, a journalist in jail, asked Mr. Subedi to intervene of behalf of his case. Mr. Ruos Sokhet has been jailed since November 2009 for sending a text message insulting Mr. Soy Sopheap, a well-known television presenter.

“Mr. Subedi stated that in his position, he cannot work on any specific complaints, but he said that direct visits show specific forms in the operations of the judicial system in Cambodia. He added, ‘The voices of the citizens are crucial for me, to specify the need for reforms in the court system, and to see what other sectors must also be reformed.’

“He continued to say that he asked the government to create a clear timetable to implement his recommendations on the court system. He said, ‘This is an obligation implemented voluntarily by the Cambodian Government, and I hope that the government will take up its commitment.’ Mr. Subedi will report the results of this visit to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2010.

“The head of the Cambodia Human Rights Commission, Mr. Om Yentieng, said that he does not know what Mr. Subedi will report to the UN Human Rights Council, but he said that the visit was short, so the assessment of the court system is not accurate. He suggested that the United Nations should create a work team to work with the government on human rights. He said, ‘In order to produce a proper report, they should create a work team to cooperate with the government, so that they have the details and additional information before they conduct any assessments.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, informed Mr. Subedi about the political bias of the courts, and especially about the complaints against the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the case of the parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua, who are strongly critic of the court system. He added that with the possibility to reach international institutions of the United Nations, Mr. Subedi can bring positive changes for Cambodia. He said, ‘So far, I have less and less trust, but we will wait and see.’” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #196, 18.6.2010

This article was first published by The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669 - Saturday, 19.6.2010
Have a look at the last editorial - you can access it directly from the main page of The Mirror.

Norbert Klein is the Editor of The Mirror – The Mirror is a daily comprehensive summary and translation of the major Khmer language press - More about The Mirror

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