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CHRC provides free legal aid

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin. KT/Siv Channa

The Cambodia Human Rights Committee has established a team to advise relevant institutions on formulating legal policies and providing free legal aid to poverty-stricken people facing human rights violations.

Keo Remy, CHRC president, said in a statement yesterday that the team consists of CHRC’s lawyers and members and also volunteer legal experts.

He said the team is tasked with offering recommendations to public institutions on setting up legal norms and regulations in line with national and international human rights standards.

The team is also tasked with assisting poor people who cannot afford to pay for legal services when they suffer harm or abuse in connection with human rights and to offer alternative solutions to litigation, such as out of court settlements, the statement added.

“The team will also monitor trial or court procedures in order to ensure the victims obtain fair judgements,” Mr Remy said. “The team must report to relevant institutions such as the Justice Ministry, Constitutional Council of Cambodia and Anti-Corruption Unit on legal action taken in accordance with the laws.”

Chin Malin, the team’s president, yesterday said it will further push for better law enforcement, as part of the Kingdom’s legal reform, noting that the team will only provide free support to impoverished people.

“The team is tasked with offering free aid in individual disputes but aims to deal with cases related to human rights violations and victims whose rights were abused,” he said. “I’m optimistic that the team will bring more positive outcomes to the current legal reform.”

In February, Prime Minister Hun Sen tasked the government’s Lawyers Council president Ky Tech to form a legal team under his direct supervision to provide free legal aid to poverty-stricken women in the Kingdom.

The team was set up on a voluntary basis and members are not paid a salary or become civil servants, but operate under a budget from Mr Hun Sen.

Mr Tech could not be reached yesterday while council member Chhi Sambath declined to comment on the team’s progress.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun yesterday said the creation of a team offering free legal service will give multiple choices for people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, but noted that the mechanism must be transparent in order to ensure its efficiency.

“It’s good to have many groups of legal consultants or lawyers who offer free legal services to poor people but the groups must be committed,” he said. “Some people just form a group to get benefits which they do not fully use to carry out their tasks.”

“If this new group is not committed, it can cause people to lose trust in the country’s legal reform,” Mr Sam Oeun added.

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