PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) – More than 100 senior representatives from NGOs and law experts met at the bi-monthly Cooperation Committee for Cambodia meeting to discuss the potential impacts of the three newly-adopted laws on judiciary in Cambodia.
Mr. Duch Piseth, Coordinator for Trial Monitoring and Business and Human Rights Projects, Cambodia Center for Human Rights, said “We are really concerned with the three draft laws because the national assembly hasn’t involved any direct participation of the people and civil society.”
Civil societies are concerned the law will not only affect the court’s independency, but also cause negative impacts on the lives of the poor and disadvantaged people.”
“If the Senate approves the adoption of the three judiciary law without civil societies discussion, we will file request to the constitutional council for revision and review of the laws again,” he added.
Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, Executive Director of Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP), said “I am very disappointed that the legislative branch does not hold open discussions with civil society. The laws could affect political stability, and people’s accountability towards the government.”
“We do not have the right to intervene, but we have the freedom of expression for the political institutions to reconsider. The National Assembly should have waited to discuss the adoption of the law with the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) before approving the documents,” he said.
Mr. Soeung Saroeun, Executive Director of Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, said, “I congratulate these three draft laws on judiciary, but I am worried about the organization of Supreme Council of Magistracy, and the budget of the court that will be managed by the Ministry of Justice.”
Mr. Phay Siphan, spokesman of council of ministers, said, “Civil society’s concern reflect their strong commitment. On the other hand, government has the duty to make laws to ensure security and harmony to the people.
Mr. Siphan also said that according to past experiences, civil societies even used to disagree with anti-corruption law.
“The government cannot wait for CNRP to join the adoption of the laws; it will take them forever,” he said.