Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the official Inauguration of the buildings of School of Justice [Unofficial Translation]


(1) Court of Appeal was established in connection with the presence of UNTAC

At this point, I should also point out that the Court of Appeal was established in connection with the presence of UNTAC. Previously, we only had the court of first instance and the Supreme Court. The other day, at the inauguration of the Judicial Vocational Training School, I also confirmed that UNTAC requested that we set up this Court of Appeal. That is why there are three levels of courts.

(2) The trial process was slow due to the lack of court rooms, judges and lawyers

We should recall the past a bit. Many times that there were cases that did not go into trial. This situation requires the Royal Government to help. Not to help the trial, but to speed up the congestion of the case. At that time, the court informed the Royal Government that there was only one or few courtrooms. I said, if so, let us rent a hotel room to hold a hearing. At that time, Ang Vong Vathana (was the Minister of Justice). There was a case that I received from Stung Treng. According to the law, the person in case was tried to serve a two years imprisonment. However, the said person had been detained for up to four years without trial […] there had been many issues […]

(3) Strengthen the judiciary at all levels and increase the number of judges to ensure a timely trial

Not only that justice was not found, but also it was unfair to the defendants. When it comes to the trial, how do you repay them if the law required him to be imprisoned for only 12 months, but he had been detained for 36 months already. So how to repay that? To give the person longer sentence, it would be against the law. To give the person the sentence the law says, he had been detained 24 months more than the law required already […] how do we solve that problem? […] our judges need to do a lot of works. I do not think it will be the same as it used to be when our judiciary at all levels has strengthened, including by increasing the number of judges in the judiciary and by increasing the number of regional appeals courts […]

(4) Use all possible mediation rather than trial in all civil cases

His Excellency Keut Rith made a report just now. I would like to read it again – “conflict resolution through mediation is allowed both in the judiciary and outside the judiciary. According to the Cambodian Code of Civil Procedure, judges can mediate and mediate between the parties to end the civil dispute in the case, and this mediation can be done at any stage of court proceedings. Reconciliation by a court is of strong legal value because the record of a settlement resulting from a conciliation settlement by a judge is just as effective as a final judgment, and a successful settlement of a dispute by a judge will help resolve disputes quickly and be acceptable to all parties.” It is very important in this point. I encourage all judges to use all possible means of mediation rather than trial. This can be done in all civil cases.

(5) In order to ensure peace and political stability, the Royal Government, through the Ministry of Justce, must control policy on crimes

(The) criminal case is a different story (from the civil case). Our judges find it difficult and are incapable of mediating because criminality is a different matter. As a representative of the Royal Government in the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, the Ministry of Justice needs to maintain a strong policy regarding crimes, especially in times that the country is threatened by extremism. Therefore, the Royal Government, through the Ministry of Justice, is required to hold on tight to the policy regarding crimesa. This point should not be underestimated. Why there are armed clashes in our neighboring countries? Some (criminals) are running and hiding in our country. Why is there an insurgent armed force in Russia? This is an issue that should be explored. Why did Russia, a great power, have mercenaries who did not attack Ukraine but invaded Moscow? Therefore, in order to ensure peace and political stability of the country, it is obliged that the Royal Government must administer policy regarding crimes […]

(6) The Supreme Council of Magistracy approves before Royal Decree is issued for judges, whereas the Minister of Justice proposes appointment of the prosecutor

We are using the French system. The procedure of appointments is different. The procedure for appointing judges has to go through the Supreme Council of Magistracy (SCM) and a Royal Decree will be issued. But for the prosecutor, it is the Minister of Justice who will propose. The difference is in that point. Please do not use the words “standing judge” and “sitting judge.” The word “standing judge” is used to mean the prosecutor. In the case of civil disputes, as is reported by the Justice Minister HE Keut Rith, I urge our judges to use mediation as a basis. Unless it is impossible, you do the trial. However, we encourage all levels, including the authorities, to act as mediators until the case goes to court. It remains to be the competent authority to mediate the civil cases […]

(7) In civil cases, there are no winners, so it is better for the judge to help with conciliation to end the dispute between the parties

Now let me raise one thing about divorce. Do not encourage divorce. Call the parties in and mediate first. After a while, they would be back together. Sometimes it happens. They went to court and the court was about to issue a verdict to delete the marriage certificate, but a good mediator intervened, the parties are congratulated with another pregnancy […] Look at signs along the stairs. The winner has only one pair of pants left. The one who lost the case has nothing but his buttocks. My grandmother used to be a case supporter (a lawyer) and she went up and down between the court in Kampong Cham and in Phnom Penh […] she pointed out that the parties to the land border dispute, who are poor siblings, both sides had become poorer […] no one benefits. I would like to encourage all judges to pay attention to reconciliation to end disputes between the parties […]

(8) Expanding the point of agreement, narrowing the point of disagreement in resolving civil disputes

First of all, the judge must know how to use the conflict resolution method. We need to find out which ones are compatible and which ones are not. You need to find those points first. For example, even in political negotiations that I used to go through, such as the negotiations in Fere-en-Tardenois between me and the late King Father, we always examined what were the points that we could agree on and points that we were not able to agree on. We found a way to solve this mismatch point. We enlarge the match point and reduce the size of the mismatch. Finally, we reached a complete agreement. I encourage (the study of) this point so we can all solve problem in a win-win approach […]

(9) Even after leaving the local administration to the court, the judge should assume the role of mediator

When the trial is over, the winner always says the court is fair. As for the loser, they would say the court is unfair. So our court is in the middle between one side saying that we are right and the other side that we are wrong. So the court is in the mouth of a pliers. No matter how we ensure justice, the word is still there. Opposition groups used this trick too. With the winner, they said it is a collusion with money to pay the court. The loser is drawn to the opposition. In this regard, I suggest we use a win-win solution. If this matter has not yet reached the court, the local authorities should intervene to solve it so that the matter does not reach the court. But if the case already left the administration to court, our judges still have a role to play in mediation […]

(10) If there is no re-election, on August 28, the National Assembly will meet and on August 29 the Royal Government will be ready

We need to schedule the law-making program in the next legislature. We must get ready to go. I should have told you about the preparations for the future. I can inform the public (about the procedure) regarding the upcoming election on July 23, 2023. If there is going to be no re-election anywhere, we are waiting for the resolution process by the NEC, and after the inspections/resolution of the Constitutional Council until the announcement of the official results and the elected candidates, we need to set aside some time. As planned, the National Assembly will convene for the first time on August 28 (Monday) […] under the presidency of HM the King […]

(11) The new Government could meet on the 30th or 31st (of August)

On the evening of August 28, the National Assembly will sworn in. On August 29, in the morning, the Royal Government is formed. In the evening, the Royal Government will be sworn in […] this is the calendar for the formation of a new government after the upcoming election. In case the CPP wins, I have a duty to organize like this. If the other party wins, let them prepare […] if the Royal Government has to meet on the 30th or 31st (August), it will be on the full moon day and it will be on the month of Srap, when I was born in the year of Dragon […] we are making this preparation to match with the HM the King’s work calendar […]

(12) Specialized courts such as commercial courts should be ready in the next legislature

Thus, in the draft law, it is called the program of building legal testimony. The law on commercial courts should be expedited, because we now have bigger problem. We are a (developing) country and we need to strengthen investors’ confidence for doing business in Cambodia. I suggest that efforts should be made to push for the issuance of a law on commercial courts in the coming legislature. Set up this commercial court to try (business related) cases. As of now, we are using the present court to try everything. Our court decides everything. We need specialized courts […]

(13) No more appointment of the President of the Court and the Prosecutor of the Court of First Instance by the Prime Minister I would like to remind you of that […] I mentioned about this story that I took away my rights when I took office as Prime Minister […] originally, the judge, the president of the court and the prosecutor were all appointed by the Prime Minister. I stripped myself of that rights. I said it was not right. The judiciary is a separate power, why they had to be appointed by the decision of the Prime Minister? Doing that the court must bow to the Prime Minister. Therefore, even if the Prime Minister makes a mistake, they dare not indict him for fear that the Prime Minister would remove them […] it was at the time we established the Supreme Court. We have reorganized this appointing procedure now that we have the Supreme Council of Magistracy, for which HM the King is chairing, to organize this work […]./.


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