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Debate marks 24-year constitution anniversary

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Chairman of the Constitutional Council of Cambodia, Im Chhun Lim. Supplied

Officials hailed the proper implementation of the law and growth of Cambodia’s legal system yesterday, while critics slammed the government’s disregard for the constitution on its 24-year anniversary.

Im Chhun Lim, chairman of the Constitutional Council of Cambodia, said national institutions have fulfilled their roles and helped implement and develop laws during the 24 years since the constitution was established.

“The creation and implementation of laws has complied with the spirit of the constitution as Cambodia moves forward,” he said.

“We have made a strong legal system to guarantee and serve important needs such as carrying out democratic rule of law, promoting human rights and free and fair elections.”

Mr Chhun Lim said the government had passed about 470 legal instruments from 1993 to 2017.

But San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia, said the government has not respected the constitution, as evidenced by a lack of freedom of expression and the recent arrest of opposition CNRP leader Kem Sokha.

“And after the 2013 election, freedom of assembly was seriously restricted, affecting rights to freedom of expression,” Mr Chey added.

Prime Minister Hun Sen recently slammed political analysts, advising them to educate themselves on the constitution and declaring that only the Constitutional Council can interpret if it’s being followed.

“Analysts need a clear understanding of the facts,” said Mr Hun Sen. “They have never served as prime minister. Before giving advice to me, they have to have experience of being prime minister and attending meetings at the National Assembly.”

CCC spokesman Uth Chhorn declined to comment on critics’ comments.

“Only the Constitutional Council can officially interpret the implementation of laws,” Mr Chhorn said.

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