Three regional appeal courts set up in the provinces will serve the public on April 1, said a Justice Ministry official.
The Tboung Khmum Appeal Court will handle appeals filed against decisions made by the provincial courts of Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, and Tboung Khmum.
The Battambang Appeal Court will take complaints over decisions by the provincial courts of Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, and Siem Reap.
The Preah Sihanouk Appeal Court will be responsible for appeals from cases in the provincial courts of Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, and Preah Sihanouk.
The Phnom Penh Appeal Court is tasked with settling cases filed against decisions made by the courts of Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Prey Veng, and Svay Rieng.
All of the appeal courts will also handle complaints sent back by the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh.
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said yesterday the construction of the buildings to house three regional appeal courts were completed early this month and are well-equipped.
“More judges and prosecutors will be appointed to work at the three appeal courts. Villagers are encouraged to file appeals as of April 1,” he said.
Mr Malin said the three appeal courts will settle all appeal complaints from all provincial courts, noting outstanding court cases in Phnom Penh appeal court will be handled in Phnom Penh.
“We expect these regional appeal courts will make it convenient for the people to file an appeal and help address the long-standing issues of prison overcrowding and innocent detainees,” he said.
Rights group Adhoc senior investigator Soeng Sen Karuna yesterday applauded the establishment of the three upper courts.
“I hope after the three appeal courts begin their operation, no more cases will be delayed. All parties should receive fair judgments,” he said.
According to the prison department statistics, the population of the Kingdom’s 28 prisons has ballooned from about 28,000 at the end of 2017 to more than 36,000 in October 2019.
Rights group Licadho last year released a report calling for the country’s judicial system to grant bail to those who are suspected of committing non-violent crimes as a solution to ease overcrowding.
It noted a person accused of a crime can be jailed without trial for up to 22 months, and overcrowding affects vulnerable groups like women and children.
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